IMPRINTS: Black Sunset Music

Let this dark, progressive trance label show you the light.

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Dec 5 2014, 2:25am

Imprints brings you regular profiles of the most exciting record labels the world over, with input from the movers and shakers who contribute to their local electronic music communities.

Name: Black Sunset Music
Vibe: Dark, Progressive Trance
Founded: 2012
Location: Toronto
Upcoming Releases: Jeremy Vancaulart - "To The Edge," Assaf - "Apollyon," Dan Chase - "All We Are (feat. Danny Claire)" and The Reverend - "Trinity"
Artists To Watch: Assaf, Mixail, Dan Chase, The Reverend and Jeremy Vancaulart.

THUMP: Explain the name.
Jeremy Vancaulart: Black Sunset came to me after two weeks of narrowing down names. I had brainstormed on a huge whiteboard in my apartment. I really started to think of how these names fit with me or what my vision is for what the company would grow to be. My feeling is that music is here to change people's lives. I think if you're an artist or musician, you have a responsibility to share that art with people. Where the name fits in―Black Sunset―that was basically the most accurate representation of how I envisioned the company. Our music isn't just standard trance music, the sort of every day stuff you hear weekly at every club―we're darker. We have a little bit of grit and little bit of edge. It shows throughout the music. 

When did you decide to form the label?
I thought about it over the span of three or four months. I didn't tell anyone, I kept it to myself because at the time I was writing music. But this idea kept knowing at the back of my head saying 'start a label, start a label, start a label.' This was just before the summer of 2012, I launched on October 1, 2012.

What makes your label different?
It's different because the people that are involved are in it for the right reasons―they're involved to share music, to create good products and getting them out to people. Music is important to me because when I was in my early 20s, I had a really good friend that was murdered by another one of my friends. I was an emotional wreck at the time and I didn't know what to make of the situation. It was pretty difficult. Through that time I basically started writing music and I started to show it to my friends and it picked up. Even if it's just me, this one guy, making these songs―it actually had an effect on quite a few people in the area that were suffering from the same thing that I was. I thought that maybe this is what I'm going to do with my life, but it became a 'yes this is what I'm going to do with my life.'

So then came Black Sunset Music, the label is focused on creating emotionally driven dark progressive trance music. We're a small team of people that think very similar and we're obsessed with perfection and detail. We give the artists the freedom to create music they personally feel is a good representation of themselves. We don't really believe in sacrificing creativity and self reflection for sales and a spot in the popularity contest. Black Sunset is also about building media into and around the music to create a deeper and more meaningful experience with the music we produce.

There's no doubt in my mind that music can change everything, it can change the world if it's used properly. So the guys on Black Sunset feel the same way. They understand that there's a profound power behind music.

Which release would you recommend to introduce a new listener to your label?
I would say, Mixail's Prologue: A New Encounter and Assaf featuring Moscow Noir, "Faded." "Faded" was Assaf's first release on Black Sunset and the track ended up getting picked up by Armada and reworked by Antillas and Dankann. Mixail has been supported numerous times by Armin van Buuren on A State of Trance and his album received a shout out from Armin himself on the show.

What's the next release on the label?
Next up is a single I produced called, "To The Edge." It's a piece I wrote while daydreaming about walking around on Mars, literally. I'm obsessed with space.

How far ahead do you plan your release?
Our releases are usually planned a month out, sometimes it's shorter and sometimes much longer. It really depends on the scope of the project and the amount of connection the artist has with it.

What challenges do you face running the label? 
Time is my biggest enemy right now. Administration can be a time vampire and balancing that with managing artists and planning releases can be heavy. Another huge challenge is finding a level of recognition with the Digital Sales Platform stores like Beatport or iTunes, without the help of a major label. It's a cut throat industry and breaking through the shit out there isn't something that can be completed in a day, a week, or even months. It takes consistency and a lot of strategy. 

How do you choose the artists you work with?
First thing is first, they have to have music that I believe in. If I hear their music and it immediately speaks to me, I'll probably pick them up. That being said, I also work with people sometimes that don't have an excellent product because I often see that they have the heart and ambition for music. But mainly, it has to be the product. I have to be able to feel what they're feeling when they write it.

Aside from that I need to get along with them on a personal level, because writing music is a really personal thing. Our team right now is really small, with five people: Mixail, Dan Chase, Assaf, The Reverend and myself. 

What is each artist like?
Assaf is from Toronto and his first track "Faded" actually got the attention of Armada. They licensed it off Black Sunset and they took that track and went on IHU Records. The rework went #4 on Beatport. He creates a very unique trance sound. 

Mixal is from Russia. He's been supported by Armin on ASOT quite a few times. His music is on the more aggressive side of things. We actually produced an entire album with him, which also got a shout out from Armin on ASOT.

Dan Chase is another Toronto guy. He produces uplifting trance but keeps it a little bit darker. 

The Reverend is from Holland in the Netherlands. In my opinion, his music is more musical. It's got this funky trance style. It's like Anjunabeats but darker.

What is the Toronto scene like, to you?
Getting the music out there in the Toronto local scene is almost impossible. There are some genres that Toronto is a little more educated in―house music for sure. But for trance, it seems like Toronto is generally looking for big names. To start a movement in Toronto is difficult because there's so much competition, especially in events. Toronto's industry is incredible―but for Torontonians to actually start supporting local Toronto acts a little bit more, is difficult.

What can we expect from Black Sunset in the new year? 
We have releases planned, a couple with some new vocalists. Dan Chase is doing one with Danny Claire right now and it's remixed by Mixal. Danny Claire is a fantastic vocalist. I believe we're going to be working on one for Assaf and Tania Zygar, and also myself and Tania Zygar. I'm also reaching out to quite a few artists to do remixes on Black Sunset. For events, we've actually started to slowly plan to try something different in Toronto. I can't give out too many details but it's basically going to be like a trance events with deeper artistic meaning integrated into the event.