“People are always trying to take advantage of you or trying some new kind of scheme. One great individual once told me that the music business is just like the prostitution business. At first I didn’t get it, but once you get it you realize the comparison is uncanny…”
Check out the interview with Tony Sour exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
SKILLY: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
TS: It all started when I was 14 years old. I got my first DJ controller and taught myself how to use it. After six months I had mastered this beginner level DJ controller. I eventually got bored from it and took a break for almost two years. When I ran into a friend of a friend who I barely knew, we began to talk and DJing came up. As we talked about it when we had met before, he said was starting his new job as VP of student services at Laurentian University (in Sudbury, Ontario) and offered me gigs if I was still into DJing. Knowing I had the chance to perform in front of people at events and shows was so motivating.
From there on I played shows almost every weekend at clubs all over town, opening for larger name acts like the Killabits, Botnek, Nick Thayer, Autoerotique and much others. It was a thrill. Over the next few years I slowly lost the passion and excitement for DJing. By this time I am going into my first year of economics at my university, and at the time, I thought that graduating with an economics degree and going to work a “suit and tie” job was the end goal. At the same time, I began exploring music production wanting more than playing other peoples songs out to an audience.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
The ways that have helped me promote myself and my music best has been by reaching out to all kinds of people in the industry. Reach out to other artists, managers, A&R’s, promoters, consultants and club owners. Basically anyone and everyone who works in the industry is a good start. You never know who knows who or what they’re looking for until they find it.
When it comes to releases I think collaborating with other artists, especially cross-genre is an awesome way to get noticed by people who otherwise may have never heard your name or music. Sending your releases to artists that have their own mix or podcast series can really get some attention for yourself. Send tracks to Soundcloud channels so they can re-post your music.
Overall, you have to be unique and different to stand out. Whats the easiest way to do that? Be yourself and you’ll attract an audience that supports you and your music.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
Ultimately, I see myself as the Dr. Dre of electronic music. I run my label (Blue Label Records), manage other artists, produce for myself and others and have a vision as to where I see music evolving in the future.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
The hardest thing about the music business is that it’s a stereotypical dog-eat-dog world out here. There’s just as many bad people as there is good. People are always trying to take advantage of you or trying some new kind of scheme. One great individual once told me that the music business is just like the prostitution business. At first I didn’t get it, but once you get it you realize the comparison is uncanny.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
I’m based in Kelowna, BC, Canada. I moved out here years ago to attend a music school. The initial move was temporary, but I fell in love with this city and decided to set up shop. The summers are filled with tropical-like weather. Kelowna is a smaller city (roughly 140,000 people) needless to say the scene is solid. We have some great promoters and clubs that do a great job at keeping up with the scene and trends. We’re also home to Canada’s largest beach festival, Centre of Gravity.
What are some of advice you can give and share to other artists who are still trying to come up?
As I already mentioned, be you and stay true to your beliefs and styles. Don’t completely change your style so that a label will release your track. Understand that it’s not the right fit for you and find something that is. Be open to trying new things both on the decks and the studio. There’s something to learn from everyone you meet so remember that, even if you learn something not to ever do LOL. The first person that will believe in you and support your dreams are you. Figure out what separates you from every other producer and then make it relevant and clear.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
The best thing that has happened in may career is probably the day I realized that this was a career and not a hobby or part time job anymore. I love what I do and I’m so thankful that I have the privilege to do meet wonderful people and travel to amazing places all the time.
What is your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from a lot of places, depending on which project I’m working on at the time. First and foremost, my family is number one. They are the major key to why I do what I do, and where my inspiration is rooted. They were friends, fans and investors long before Tony Sour ever existed. They are the reason I’m here and the reason why I am the way I am.
Wildlife and nature are also huge inspirations. I strike inspiration from anything and everything like thunderstorms, the rain forests, the oceans and so much more. The way I like to simply describe my music no matter the genre or style is that once I choose a theme, I take my interpretation of it and turn it into a song.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
Definitely not. It takes a lot of work. A lifestyle change and a full time commitment. It’s not about having an amazing song or being funny or having a big following or being a good live performer or have financial backing. Times have changed, you need all those on your side and much more. You need to be able to present yourself as a self-sustained, all-in-one package before anyone will take a serious look at you.
Where can we find you on social media?
You guys can check me out on Facebook for all my major updates and coverage like show dates. You can find my music as well as my Autobahn Mix Series on SoundCloud. For the next little while, everything is a free download on my page. My favorite day to day platform is Instagram. I’m on Instagram throughout the day whether I’m uploading or just browsing! Thanks so much for the interview. It was my pleasure to speak with you today Skilly!