Skrufff: How many promos do you receive on average each week?
Chris Fortier: “It is definitely in the hundreds for sure, and they come from all kinds of places: whether rom artists and labels directly and also promo services. Going through them is incredibly time consuming to say the least and for me it
comes down to trying to prioritize things. Usually I dedicate the mornings to going through emails and also promos at the time. I don’t try to simply dismiss things that I have not heard of just because of that, but I will say that there are certainly some specific promo services and also labels that go to the top of the list to listen first.
Other tracks or releases from labels I haven’t supported in the past go into folders to revisit at a later date. As I said it’s extremely time consuming, but also still vital and important if you want to discover new music and find something special for your sets. I remain very thankful for all the music people send me and for the access I have to new music.”
Skrufff: How do you select which ones to listen to, which ones to ignore?
Chris Fortier: “Firstly I start with promo services and labels that I know. Generally there are certain promo services and labels that support the type of music and sounds I’m after on the those, and when these services provide something from artist not heard before, there is some trust in the service that the new artist is in the ballpark of what they have done or do with their existing clients. But you just have to get on with it and start listening. I try to have a two or three step approach; to go through things to see if I like them enough to download. Then from the download, things have to be re-listened to see if they are worthy of burning to CD, then afer that, there can be another listen to see if it makes it into the CD case. The ones that are avoided altogether are probably those tracks and releases that you know are not for you in that they come as described as a sound not relevant to what I play.”
Skrufff: What advice would you offer someone hoping to catch your attention?
Chris Fortier: “I’d like to stress that artists and labels shouldn’t give up on sending things just because they’ve so far had no luck in connecting with the DJs they are targeting. You have to be persistent and keep at it. But a couple ways would be to include a remixer or artists on the release that are established and help pair the unknown with the known. When you use a remixer that gets a lot of support from DJ,when djs receive the release, they will recognize a name they like and give it a listen. Another way is to seek out a promo service to use that is working with other labels and artists that you feel your music is close sounding too. Because as I mentioned in my own preferences, there are promo services that I have more trust in that consistently deliver music I want and play, so these would be good places to help get over the hurdle and increase your chances to be heard.”
Skrufff: How could someone you've not heard of persuade you to listen? (What would make you decide to check them out?
Chris Fortier: “I think there are key words to make sure are front and center when sending out tracks. Not really a description of the track or sound, but if you have a remixer that has a following included on the release, make sure that is visible in the message and subject lines so it is easily recognized to the receiver. Also try to use players like Soundcloud which is great to send to DJs so they can quickly and easily listen without having to download a file. I think sending only download links these days can reduce your chances of connecting to DJs especially if there are no recognizable artists and/or remixers as part of the release.”
Skrufff: Where do you mainly find out information about new tracks and new artists?
Chris Fortier: “I do still try to listen to everything that comes, but it is tough. Often times tracks can sit in my folder to be listened to for months. But I think most new discoveries still come from record shopping. Going to record stores, both physical and also digital and spending time digging in the crates. If you are someone who is serious about searching for good music and tracks that are unique and can be special for your sets, you have to put the time in.
I know there are DJs who have people that work for them that will assist them in narrowing down the huge amount of promos they get so it is more manageable, but for me, I don’t think I could trust someone with that role. Finding new music is exciting and that was always a great part of this job, the hunt . . . that eventual discovery of a great track that brings a smile to your face and you can envision how it goes down in the club right then and there.”
Skrufff: How much time do you spend reading music magazines and/ or online websites?
Chris Fortier: “i don’t really visit websites, I guess because so busy with going through music more directly. There are a handful of websites that have email newsletters that I’m signed up to, so I am sure I learn a bit from them from time to time. But I am not a big web surfer and searcher like that. But I do still pick up a copy of print magazines when I can, but that is more for interviews and features then for music and track reviews.”
Jonty Skrufff: http://listn.to/JontySkrufff