Well Done! Label Boss Ulrich Harrison (HRRSN) Talks Business

Berlin-based singer and producer Ulrich Harrison (better known by his stage alias HRRSN) has played a fundamental role in the advancement of the city’s deep house movement. In addition to working on his latest project, Tender Games with fellow producer Marlon Hoffstadt, the multifaceted artist also takes charge of running Well Done! Music, a label of his own creation dedicated toward experimenting with new and interesting sounds within the deep house and techno spectrum. Harrison sat down with DJOYbeat to chat about what its like to run a label, setting the imprint’s creative vision, and what it takes to stand out in a constantly evolving musical arena.

Tell us a little bit about how you started Well Done! Music? What moved you in the direction of  running your own imprint?

Actually it was sort of the logical next step to having a party series and all these great DJs week after week. We merged all we do (booking, label, artist development and the parties) it into a company  in the fall of 2013. Now the main idea behind the label is to assemble a crew of young, talented individuals who all relate to the label instead of releasing random artists. We have some interesting releases by the likes of Matteo Luis, who a few people should already know, but also guys who are just now getting attention like Nicolas Hannig, who has a great EP coming up on our label.

Has the label job taken a lot of time away from your career as a producer?

It has a bit, but as you can imagine I don’t run it alone. Ben and Seppi, the two other guys, have been holding up great. I made an album with a side-project called Tender Games and also scored a feature film, so I was swamped at times. The two managed everything I could not, and as far as planning releases and signing new EPs goes, we phone a lot anyway so I am  not completely bound to a place and can operate from the studio as well.

Tell us a little bit about that team dynamic. Who does what in the label family? What’s your role right now, and what are meetings and studio sessions like?

To be totally honest, I have not been to the office too much lately. But the dynamic is easy. I am the A&R and as a fellow producer I talk to artists anyway. But Ben does that part a lot too, and apart from that he helps artists especially in the beginning. I mean, as you know he also helped Marlon [Hoffstadt] out a lot with his career start. Then Seppi does all the parts you wouldn’t want to do and has been involved with the party series from the very start. In the end we´ll simply talk about anything and then decide.

What’s the most difficult part about running a label, in your opinion?

I think the most difficult part is maintaining consistency with the quality of the music, whatever that quality may be to your ears. But in my opinion you have to represent a sound at least to a certain degree.

Anything you didn’t anticipate? What has been your biggest lesson throughout this process?

Probably that a somebody’s word is not always a good word. It seems dumb to even mention that in this day and age but I think a lot of people underestimate the value of integrity and how fast it can discredited.

What’s the vision behind Well Done!?

I really like the approach of taking young talent and developing it. I consider my self to be “young talent” also and I am far from being a made musician, but that´s part of the fun to me as well because I learn every day. Ultimately I´d love to have crew with people who all bring their own things to the table but in the end relate and also represent Well Done! with their unique styles.

How do you go about finding artists to sign/feature as part of the label family?

That’s different. I listen to demos a lot and if it hits me, it hits me. Or Ben sends me a million songs to listen through. But its mostly demos or the old-fashioned way of someone recommending a producer to us. You can also go on Soundcloud and find more talent then you can handle.

Are there any artists you’ve been particularly hands on with? Anybody you’ve helped develop from the very beginning?

Well I’d say Tropical Chaos. They sent us a demo and I knew right from the start that it would be a great release. They are two really talented guys from Lithuania, and worth looking out for in the future. We have another fresh talent, Nicolas Hannig. I would say that Ben was and is more hands on with him, but he is in the process of starting a big career in my opinion, so watch out for his releases. Overall, I am cool with all the guys and we talk openly about the music and send each other new stuff all the time so it is a prolific environment.

Tell us about Suicide Circus and its significance to the label as a venue?

It is a nice location. In summer you have the club which is nice by itself, but also a really big open-air area which is quite nice. We don’t want to tie the Well Done! Experience to a club or city, though. Ben also does an event at Kosmonaut called Out of Time and we are always looking for partners and venues in other cities, where we can host a Well Done! Party.

You do a lot in Berlin, obviously, but where else in the world has your sound garnered a lot of support? What other audiences would you like to expand into, if any?

I have been a lot to Switzerland, at least in my short career, and I just like the people there. Nice and calm, and the clubs have always been nice. I would like to expand as far as I can. Like Asia or Latin America, and so forth. If people like my music then I´ll be happy to play for them wherever.

What makes Well Done! and its artists different from everything out there right now?

That´s a tough one. I don’t think we are different from everyone else. We just try not to think in boxes. And if a song catches our attention then that’s the most important thing. We release stuff that might be considered too poppy but we also like music straight for the floor. So I’d say you cannot really pin us down to a sound, but more so to a way of life and that may be a difference.

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