It’s no easy task to run a record label these days, let alone be successful. It’s even harder to balance being an artist. One guy who’s done it is Oscar Poche, Better known to house music fans as Oscar P. His production resume has seen it all. With over 25 years in the music biz, we had to lock him down to simply ask - What Does It Take?
1. KEEP TRACK OF MY TIME! You can't buy time. Every week I have a system that sets up my work week. Mondays and Tuesdays are for distribution, contracts, and record labels. Wednesday mornings are for event promotions. Wed evenings and Thursdays are for studio production and remix work. Fridays to Sundays are for gigs, travel, or checking out events. I try to keep this schedule all year round. If I take care of the schedule, it takes care of me.
2. TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT! Treat everyone professionally, no matter what. The guys and legends that came before us. There would be no ME or YOU without these guys. We are influenced by what we hear and you learn from the guys that came before us. Most people these days are very entitled. They want things overnight, but it doesn’t work that way.
3. BEAT YOUR OWN DRUM! Not everything works for everyone. There's no ONE way to succeed. Everyone is unique. Every situation is unique. You learn from people who are doing it. But what works for them, may not work for you. You have to analyze it, try a few things and see what you can apply to yourself and your situations.
4. TAKE SOCIAL MEDIA SERIOUSLY! We live in a different time. Make sure your social media image is REAL. It has to be YOU. People will read right through it if they think you’re full of shit. People who can help you in your career or give you opportunities will see right through you. I see this everyday.
5. SET GOALS BUT DON’T DAYDREAM! Its more than ok to say…I want to be the best DJ in the world. I want that #1 slot on Traxsource or Beatport. If you are not thinking this way then pack your bags. Believe in yourself. However be realistic. If you don’t put in the work it’s not going to happen. Most people don’t set goals because there’s a chance, you may fail. Failure only comes when you don't try. We grow from mistakes. Everyone makes them. We’re human. It’s OK.
6. DON’T DO THINGS ONLY FOR MONEY! If you want to be successful don't work for just money. Think bigger. The work I have done for free over the last 20 years is what got me here. It built my resume. I know this because I have done it. Today I work on things that get me up in the morning. It doesn’t mean you have to be a fool, and let people take advantage of you, but a great body of work will bring you money. Sure the bills have to be paid, but if you don’t feel the project, don’t take the remix gig. Believe me it shows in the work. People hear it and see it. Being successful in life means having Passion for what you do. Sometimes Passion can overcome talent. But you can't invent passion for your work. You either have it or you don’t. I have seen talented people, way more talented than me not succeed because they have no passion for the game. If you don’t respect the game, don’t expect the game to respect you.
7. DISCONNECT! This one is hard, but I’m working on it each day. Most people sleep with their phones by their beds. Getting notifications, tweets, emails. You need a break from the Matrix. It will still be there tomorrow. The work will still be there. My best ideas I get at the gym, or in the shower when I don’t have my phone. Now at night I leave my phone in the home office, but I still have to work on that some more.
8. OPEN THE DOOR FOR NEW TALENT! Bottomline, without new talent, or new faces you don’t find the next big star. There is no industry without new people coming into it. Think about it. How many people want to be producers or become Djs? This feeds everything. New Blood. But when you are on the top floor you have to send the elevator down, and let others come up. A lot of guys did it for me. You do it where you can. It’s very important. But I must stress that people who want open doors also have to earn it! There are no free rides in the elevator. When you earn something people respond to that. It resonates. This guy isn’t trying to take from me, he’s trying to contribute, and be a part of it.
9. JUST DO THE WORK! Stop complaining. Stop worrying about what everyone else has. Stop thinking why him, not me? Stop procrastinating. Most people have success because they work hard. Most guys that you think came out of nowhere didn’t. You just didn’t see the journey. The time you spend on this stuff, if you applied it to doing the actual work. That’s 90% of the game right there.
10. RELATIONSHIPS - This business revolves around this and your reputation. Every year I’m amazed at how someone from 20-25 years ago affects my life today because of strong long lasting relationships. It's the most important thing in my life. If people respect you, it will take you far.
10.2. BONUS - You may have heard this one before. But it’s true. There is No I In TEAM! I have several people who work with me, and who look after my best interests. Everyone from my wife, to my business partners, to my distribution staff. They help the machine run. No one does this alone. I could not be here and do what I do without them. You may not always see them, but without them I really couldn’t do this. They are essential and irreplaceable. When you find people like that and have them in your life...treat them the way you want to be treated.
Photo Credit: Black Stereo Records
Oscar P was raised in Williamsburg Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Washington Heights. Over the last 25 years his discography has grown over a variety of labels including Strictly Rhythm, Tool Room, Yoruba, Kolour Recordings, Open Bar Music, MoBlack, Naughty Boy, and Balance Music. As a producer, he’s done remixes for Mark Farina, KiNK, Soul Minority, Jamiroquai, Adele, Omar, Todd Terry, & Physics.
He’s logged in set times at some of the world’s leading venues like The Works (Detroit), Output (Brooklyn), Cielo (NY), King King (Los Angeles), Norad & Beta (Denver), Supperclub (NL), La Santanera (Mexico), Area 22 (Italy), Cinema Club (Bogota), Spin Nightclub (San Diego), Stereo (Montreal), and The Grasshopper (MI).