Pesto EP001: Deep Discoveries - behind the scenes pt. 1

cover artwork for Pesto EP001
Remember when we announced a new release format, the Pesto EP? That was end of April, in other words - four months ago. Quite a long time in this business. You might be wondering what took us so long and I have the great pleasure to give you some behind-the-scenes insight, straight from Jon Silva's desk. Taking Pesto EP001 - Deep Discoveries as an example, let me explain the steps required to make such a product.

Everything starts with the artists: I know a couple of people whose music I like and whom I'm in touch with on a regular basis. These guys do send me their unreleased music and if I like it, I'll try to sign it to Pesto.

The second group are producers that I haven't been in contact with before and who send me demos. My task here is being a filter: not to judge between good or bad music but to tell if I like a tune or if I don't. Tracks that I'm rejecting might be the favourite of the next A&R or label manager so it's not automatically a sign they're bad ones - I just don't feel them, I don't feel they belong to Pesto, I don't see them on the horizon I envision for the label.

When signing such tunes, I mostly do not have a specific release in mind. Very often, I'm saying to myself "this could be a good one for the next 2.0 compilation" or "this one has great remix potential but does not feel like a Pesto single, let's put it in the 'Pesto EP inbox' playlist".

The third group are producers that start following me on Soundcloud, for instance and I'm checking their profile and listen to their tunes - just to discover true pearls of (mostly) young talents. I will then try to license these tunes for Pesto, as well - usually also not with any specific product in mind.

Send me your track


This is a constant process throughout the year, it's part of my daily business so to say. Another constant in my daily routine is - believe it or not - listening to music. When answering emails, doing administrative things, reading news and blogs, I have music running in the background. Very often, I listen to podcasts and DJ mixes I get sent. On other occasions, I listen to the "inbox" playlist mentioned above in loop mode. Some subconscient process starts then and my mind begins to associate one tune with another, virtually compiling playlists of tunes that match a certain vibe or otherwise belong to each other.

I would then start grouping these tunes in new playlists and try to develop a product that eventually can be bought on all major download stores.

Back in April, I already had a playlist for the first Pesto EP. The playlist consisted of raw tunes - some of them unmastered WAV files, some of them crappy MP3s (that's still good enough to get the picture). I listened to that playlist repeatedly and tried to find a catchy term for what I was listening to. Sure, they all were deep but "Deep Tunes" is not much of a good EP title, now is it? I'm also a fan of twists with language (I'm much better at it in german, believe me) so I went searching for a nice alliteration. Since all of these tunes were not by artists I was already working with, rather than new discoveries, "Deep Discoveries" was the way to go. I asked my wife how she liked the name and a couple of other people, doing market research if you will. They all liked it.

The next steps were designing the cover artwork to give an easily recognizable face to this music and the Pesto EP itself. I would exchange all the paperwork with the artists, asking them to send hi-resolution files of their tracks, infos about themselves so I could use it for promotion, mastering the tracks, speaking with my distribution about the best strategy to place the Pesto EP, and so on. And this is where the trouble started, but that's another story which you will read here tomorrow in part 2 of this little behind-the-scenes write-up.