60 seconds with Steve Hulme

Leeds born Steve Hulme is the man behind Pacha Recordings; director of the world famous label, he is charged with steering the juggernaught through the trials and tribulations of the dance music scene. Essential Ibiza catch up with him on his journey back from Vienna to get the lowdown on working for one of the biggest club brands in the world and living in Ibiza...

How would you describe Pacha Recordings?

We are a label that gives a home to good music, our mantra is "If it's good, its got a home", we are not sub-genre specific, but we are a dance music label that loves house, tech house, soulful grooves, Latin based tracks, trance, electro and all else - are we confused? No! "If it's good, it's got a home."

How did you get involved with the brand?

I ran Subliminal Records for about six years in New York, but for personal reasons I had to come back to Europe and Pacha asked me to take hold of the label, shape it, build it, direct it and make it work as a business - that's what I do and that's what I have done.

Is there an added pressure to deliver given the size of the Pacha name globally?

I like to think we are part and parcel of growing that name globally; we have opened partner deals all over the world from South Korea to Brazil, Argentina to Australia, all of Europe, Russia and beyond, and have delivered amazing results in our back yard of Ibiza as well. Working with brands is my passion to be honest, I have worked in this industry in London, New York and Ibiza, so I have a lot of experience to fall back on. I am sensitive to the brand always, and think I have the right tools to navigate it in the unique world of the dance music business - no pressure, but lots of sensitivity to the star of the show, the brand.

What is the biggest release on the label to date?

We sold 100,000 units of Pacha Experience, and last year 50,000 of Pacha Classics, those two felt good. We have a massive catalogue that we work extremely well and we feel like the label is more a "sum of its parts" than about one or two hit records. That all said, we have had the chance to work with amazing talent, from Elvis Presley to Bob Marley, from Shakira to Robbie Williams, in one way or another. As an individual single maybe Richard Grey vs Bob Marley 'No Deputy' has done pretty well, as did 'Warped Bass/Tainted Love', "Ride The Storm' with Roachford", Los De La Intuition' with Shakira and 'Thriller' has been pretty major as well.

What makes a good compilation?

For me, it is about capturing a moment in time, a memory, triggering an emotion, hearing the CD while driving the car and thinking "damm this is rockin'" - those things are more important than a 'star DJ' on the mix, or a track list that has all the 'common hits' on it - the same as every other label comp, those two elements we don't employ too much. We sell more records of our own catalogue, with no name DJ on board, than anything else, that's pretty satisfying. It's our music, our mix, our brand - I think the trick is not to get too bent out of shape when programming a comp, its far better to go with a good feeling and believing it will transfer to the listening post in a store and then into the hands of one of the buying public, go with the flow but keep a hand on the rudder.

Are compilations still commercially viable or are they more about brand promotion these days?

For us they are viable, and for us they are very much part of the brand awareness and promotion as well, so it is two fold - the continued growth and sustained positioning of the brand at the top of the global tree.

What makes a potential label signing?

"If it's good, it's got a home."" That mantra and also the fact that we don't work with anybody who is high maintenance, if an artist wants a track on the label, and they are reasonable about what they want, have realistic expectations, then we have open minds and ears to what they have to present.

What can we expect from Pacha Recordings for summer 2010?

We have ten projects from in-house hitting the Ibiza market that include some killer DJ mixes that take on multiple sub-genres of dance and leave a smile on the face of the listener. The 'Pacha Life' CD with Cagedbaby, Tomas Hedberg vs Tuccillo and Al Velilla is mega, as is 'Club Crucial And Crossover' Vol II from in-house stars Peter Brown, Josef Bamba and Graham Sahara. The 'Introducing The Nu Breed - Pacha Global' artist/mix CD takes in sets from Russia, Colombia and Tel Aviv, there are loads of killer comps coming from in-house and from our partners around the world - 2010 will be bigger than ever for us!

How close have you come to realizing your dream for the label?

It's an ever-evolving dream, but the first target was to control the label and get it in shape, we did that. The next was to create a catalogue of owned music and we did that. The next was to get a team of artists working with us solidly, we have done that - we have given a base for lots of new talent and that is satisfying, but we will never realize the dream, when we hit a goal we go right on to the next goal, always!

What's the last album you downloaded to your mp3 player?

I don't have an mp3 player, I play music from the computer all day in the office, and in the studio, and every time I am in the car, that's all dance music. When I get home I listen to Latin based sounds as my wife is Cuban, right now I'm listening to Cuban-dance-ragga flavoured music for pleasure.

What's the best thing about living in Ibiza?

My Cuban wife Yusi and our wannabe 5 yr old DJ that pumps up the beats around our home - future DJ Xavi de Ibiza, my two dogs and two cats, the weather, the local people, the ex pats that live here...everything they say about Ibiza is true, its the best place in the world to live, cool in winter and crazy in summer, and a great place to live, work and have a family to enjoy it all with.