P. Leone is a musician, DJ and producer hailing from South Brooklyn, New York. Alongside his fellow New Yorker Caizzo, Leone launched his E-MISSIONS label. He has recently released the label’s tenth release, Raw Emotion. We spoke to him about the release and the label.
P. Leone, your latest EP on your label E-Missions, Raw Emotion, is the 10th release on your label. Congratulations. How have you gone about setting up your label, and what is the ideology behind it?
Thank you very much! I’ve done my best over the past three years to find new and exciting stuff to release and I feel the patience of that has played a role in our growth. As we continue to grow, I’ve decided to take a more shared approach with our artists granting them the opportunity to share their sales equally amongst other artists on the label. I put a tremendous amount of belief and trust into the artists on the label, and it was no surprise that they all agreed to share funds, making us one of the few if the only label to do so. We’re in this for the long haul together.
There is a very 90’s breakbeat revivalist sound to Raw Emotion. Did you have that in mind when you were making the record?
Raw Emotion had fallen together pretty seamlessly, almost a little too much so. I would come back to make some edits of what would be sketches, and they would evolve to tracks in just a session. The lack of 4×4 tracks on the EP was by no means intentional, I was writing music in a different headspace and I felt the breaks better translated that. I also wanted to display a different side of my production; I always wanted to show that I’m in a constant state of learning as best I can, without dropping the ball altogether.
Who are your inspirations for the style of music that you make?
I would say over the years my most significant source of inspiration has always been staying open to hearing absolutely anything. Living in Berlin I picked up this habit when watching movies or docs – I would listen carefully if a sample would come up and try to find it afterward, I became obsessed with scenes where music was in the background I never heard before. I also love hearing actors and actresses cover old songs. At one point, I pulled back from listening to the back catalogs of old artists I love, and newer artists I was growing to love. I realized as much inspiration I could gain there, it would be hard making it my own. I needed a departure, Raw Emotion, and the ways I source my inspiration was my departure.
When starting a record label, what advice would you have to someone who is looking from the outside in?
My advice – be patient, don’t put yourself in a position that jeopardizes your growth, focus on building a mental race car – sure, the motor is essential but don’t forget about the brakes and suspension. You’ll need to slow down and handle situations a lot more than you will speed right through them. Trust me.
Believe in artists that make you feel something, trust your gut. Keep the idea open that not every typical business model needs to be yours. Develop new ways to get your artists paid, understand you aren’t shit without them.
Your style would not necessarily feel synonymous with New York. Do you think that being based in New York has had an impact on your musical style?
I think it should be confusing with some elements of mystery there for sure. Me and New York we go together. But that doesn’t mean I sell it either. I think your environment plays a small part Vs. where you’re at within yourself, it’s the most important.
When producing music, do you use mostly hardware, or software, or a combination of both?
My setup recently has been simplified and I’m falling in love with production all over again. I’ll use my Analog Rytm in harmony with some soft synths, I love diving digitally sometimes. I feel like I create somethings even by chance that sound and feel better than me on hardware tinkering. Just a personal preference.
When making Raw Emotion, was there a certain idea in mind, or was it a collection of tracks made around the same time?
All the tracks for the project were produced during the same time.
I was only working on delivering #10 to E-Missions. I realized how important it was for me that it was my own label but also it was my 10th release as an artist. It was a time in my life where I was really learning about myself, I was so in love with my emotions both good and bad and, I was learning how to invest them properly. I wanted the project to feel thoughtful and freeing. I think I did that well. I used the same headspace when writing “Parting Currents” which is out on Nerang Recordings this month.
Who would you recommend for readers to listen to on E-Missions, for those unfamiliar with the label?
We’re a family, I don’t have a favorite!
Where would you like to take E-Missions in the future?