INTERVIEW: PURPLE DINOSAUR MUSIC; the new label promoting Copyright Free Music for lockdown streamers.
In the last 11 months, it’s fair to say the music industry has been turned on its head; with pubs, bars, music venues, festivals and even radio stations being out of bounds due to COVID-19, many musicians and DJs have turned to online streaming, using sites like Mixcloud, Twitch, and of course Facebook Live.
One huge stumbling block for DJs in particular is the Copyright regulations, whereby streamers have had their streams stopped, cancelled, and even their accounts suspended.
One of the most clever business ideas we’ve seen in recent months comes from Christian Jones AKA Decimal 5, a producer / DJ from Dorset UK, and more recently founder of Purple Dinosaur Music (PDM). With a huge catalogue of brand new music releases coming through their label from all genres across the spectrum, their only rule is that it must be in the public domain and copyright free; meaning DJs who use PDM cataloged music won’t have their streams cut short, and their profiles suspended.
We speak to Christian Jones about the idea behind PDM, and how he’s still keeping involved in music, even during a worldwide pandemic.
Frazer Mitchell; Hey Christian, I hope you’re keeping well! How have you been these past 11 or so months?
Christian Jones; Hi Frazer, good to speak to you. All good on this end thanks. The past 11 months have been quite interesting as you can imagine. The last year I've been finishing my master's degree in broadcast journalism.
FM; Before COVID, you played as a DJ at several festivals, including Anonymous Festival in Dorchester, Home Farm Fest in Yeovil, headlining Hewishstock in Crewkerne, and Yeovil Beer Fest; how are you finding life without a live gig?
CJ; Hewishstock was by far one of my favourites to play. Everyone there embraced the music well so I was fortunate to be able to go a bit harder on the music side. Life without live music or festivals is tough. I miss not only the performing aspect but also all the major festivals and getting to see new trends in music that are developing.
FM; Absolutely - even with everyone being so connected via the internet, it’s difficult to see new trends beginning. So let’s move onto the current situation and Purple Dinosaur Music - first off, what is PDM? How long have you been operating?
CJ; - Purple Dinosaur Music is a record label designed to release music that content creators and streamers can use without receiving copyright strikes. We had an idea to make a label back in 2016 so it's been a long time in the works with so many things getting in the way of finally being able to set it up properly. Purple Dinosaur Music launched with its first release on 1 January so it's very new still. Purple Dinosaur doesn't look for specific genres but rather matches my own musical tastes - if it sounds good, it's in. Similarly, so many artists get swamped by all these different elements of making an industry standard sounding record so if I hear a demo that has awesome production and compositional ideas but is really lacking on the technical side, we'll do it for them - I don't feel it should restrict an artists potential because they're not as experienced with the more technical aspects that normally make or break a record.
FM; So you’ve been releasing music for artists across the globe; how are you finding these talented individuals, or are they finding you?
CJ; Well a lot of the time, it's word of mouth. We ping out on social media that we're looking for demos and then I'll come back to a full inbox. That doesn't mean we don't go looking for artists too - probably one of the more exciting parts of running a label is being able to look for artists that you're excited about and then work with them. It's not difficult to find a demo submission for Purple Dinosaur if you head to the website.
FM; Do you take submissions from anyone? What’s your criteria? Have you got any particular genres which you specialise in?
CJ; Yes, anyone can send a demo. As long as the song sounds good and we believe in it and it's the sort of thing I'd add to my personal playlist then we'll sign it. We don't specialise in any one genre in particular - at the moment we're signing more electronic music simply because there's more artists making electronic music. Bands take significantly longer to put together a track whereas a lot of dance music is made entirely on a computer, but bands and less electronic music is something we're really looking to sign.
FM; So let’s talk more about the future, after COVID is a thing of the past. What’s your plans? Will you be looking for gigs? Have you got any big plans for PDM which you can’t do during lockdown? What’s the future for PDM?
CJ; It's almost weird to think forward to a time when Covid-19 is a thing of the past. It's taken control of everyone's lives for so long and dictated what we can and can't do that I'm not sure anyone will know what to do when we're given free reign again. I'll definitely be excited to go to music festivals again - I particularly want to go to Oktoberfest in Germany. I have loads of plans for what I'd like to do with Purple Dinosaur Music but I don't want to give away too much - it's still in the very early stages so finding exciting new artists across all genres is at the top of the list.
FM; And what do you think about the future of the music industry in general? What do you think artists have to do in these times to get noticed, and how should artists prepare for the post COVID world?
CJ; The future of the industry could look different for some time. Hospitality industries being hit hard as Covid-19 continues to evolve even after the pandemic has cleared up, it may be some time before you'll see a band in your local pub. However, artists should keep making and releasing fantastic music, that's what it comes down to at the end of the day. Even though people say it's the 'music biz' and everything is centred around money, the music still has to be top notch and continually break new ground to stand out of the crowd. My main advice would be to keep mastering your craft because if you can use this time to build a portfolio, there's really no limit to what you can do when everything goes back to normal.
FM; Being a record label, you must get a lot of submissions from budding producers and artists. Some for you must stand out, and some might not get your attention so much. What advice do you have for producers and artists who are thinking of submitting to a record label in 2021?
CJ; A lot of artists don't appreciate how many demos that come through. My main advice is to make it as easy as possible for us to listen to your music and make a decision. Attaching an audio file takes time for us to download it, scan it, then listen to it - if you ping a link that I can listen to it right now without downloading it, that's always the best.
Make life as easy for the label as possible, and in turn, we'll do the same.
FM; Solid advice there. One of your recent singles on PDM was a track from you and Jorden Lindsay, called Currents - Jorden being a notable talent around the South West, especially Yeovil. I remember you playing me this track several years ago. I’m very glad it’s out there, and it’s gone straight into my personal playlist. How did that collaboration come about?
CJ; Haha yes, it's been unreleased for quite some time and has actually gone through several different versions for it to be where it is now. I made the instrumental in approximately two hours one afternoon in between a lecture. I'd seen Jorden play live and his voice is impeccable so he wrote for it, then five versions later, it is what you hear now. Jorden is such a nice person and I have a great deal of respect for him.
FM; That will just about wrap things up for now, thank you for taking the time out to talk to Antix Music Network. I hope you do really well with Purple Dinosaur Music, and hope to see you at a gig, or indeed the pub, very soon!
CJ; Thanks a lot, and the same goes, see you soon!
For more information on Purple Dinosaur Music, including where to submit your music, check out their Facebook, Instagram and website.
You can also check out Christian’s productions under the name Decimal 5 here.
Frazer Mitchell - Producer, DJ, and Events Coordinator at Antix Music Network