We caught up with WAYU Records boss Julian Castaneda to talk about the ins and outs of running a successful label.
How are you, what’s good and bad in your world?
All is good! WAYU Records has been celebrating 5 years, and we are also celebrating the return of MIICHII to WAYU with “Someone,” a beautiful song he co-wrote with the Toronto-based duo LEILAXMAREK.
Why did you start WAYU records? what was the inspiration? what was the aim?
To be honest, I created WAYU to help my best friend, Leonardo Ortegon. Back in late 2016 he had started a new electronic music project called MIICHII and mentioned that he had been sharing his new music with DJs and labels without much luck in getting real support. I noticed that bigger labels and DJs tend to ignore new artists that do not have a big social media presence, even if their sound is unique and well-produced. So… since I previously ran the USA division of a Colombian punk label back in the early 2000’s I thought I could give it another chance, but this time tailored to electronic music. In a way, I can say the inspiration for WAYU was MIICHII, and the sound that he created at that time sort of dictated the future of the label.
Were there any other labels you looked up to at the time in terms of how they operated if not for the sound they put out?
Yes… labels such as Kindish/Get Physical and Underyourskin were big influences in many ways from the sound to the way they handled their releases. I also loved how Suara did their covers, at that time they had a unique hand-drawn cat on each cover. So from the start of the label, I decided I wanted to make a memorable logo and be predominantly displayed on all the covers.
How important is artwork and format do you think 2022?
For me, the artwork is as important as the music. I always tell my artists that I like to think of the artwork as the visualization or continuation of the story of their music. I tend to work closely with the producer so that their whole vision is realized, from the artwork to the promo videos and press text.
And what about videos and social media? do they play a role in getting the label out there?
Definitely, they are very important as well! They play a major role in every single one of our releases. As a record label, getting our artists’ music out into the world is our top priority. As I previously said, part of my job is to help the artists realize their full vision of the music we are releasing. So posting on social media videos that captivate and extend that vision ensures that the general public engages and discovers our music.
What is the signature sound of the label? what defines it musically?
This one is tricky. I honestly don’t think we have a signature sound. Surprisingly for some… I’m not a DJ or Producer, so I think that explains why the label has such a wide range of sounds/genres being released. I tend to gravitate to music that I can listen to while I work, or while I relax at the beach/pool. That being said, I do believe we can fall within the organic house / downtempo genre if you want to put us in a bucket 😀
How has the label evolved since you first started it?
It has become a worldwide community of artists who share a common passion for their craft and ideas. Not only the label has become a launchpad for many talented up-and-coming producers, but it has also become a brand that believes in helping artists in any way possible– beyond just releasing music.
How do you manage that while staying true to the original and core sound?
As previously stated, we are not tied to a core sound, so for WAYU, it has been easy to evolve as a label and community. In a way, I have let the artistry and creativity of new producers somehow shape or dictate the evolution of the label’s sound.
What have been the best releases or the ones you’re most proud of so far?
I’m proud of all our releases. I’m not a huge fan of measuring the success of a release by sales or the number of plays. But if I had to pick one, it would have to be MIICHII’s “Stay,” since it was our first release ever and the one that paved the way for all the other music on the label. As a matter of fact, Deep House Amsterdam did the premiere of that track over 5 years ago as a free download.
What else are you doing forward to/have you got coming up?
We have some very exciting projects including the perfect summer track “Someone” which comes out this Friday, July 8th, and includes an amazing remix from GIOKA (Giovanny Aparicio & Kamilo Sanclemente) as well as the rest of our 5-part compilation that celebrates five years of WAYU and, upcoming releases from Depart, Ben & Vincent and Archila to name a few. We are also trying to restart our monthly newsletter and expand our WAYU shop, so be sure to follow what’s the latest with our label by going here: https://wayurecords.com/latest
Stream / Purchase ‘Someone’ HERE