Max Kessler is at the head of one of the electronic music world’s leading labels, KESS Records. With releases from groundbreaking artists that reach millions of listeners across music platforms, the success of this label shows no signs of stopping. VAVO, TWINSICK and LZRD are some of the impressive artists signed to the label that have reached new heights with every production they put out.
The passion and innovative practices of KESS Records set them apart from other labels, and while they keep up the good and high-quality work, providing artists a full-fledged service and support for their careers, they continue to find new ways of implementing new technologies and processes to ensure their name keeps climbing withing the electronic dance music scene.
We sat down with the label boss, Max Kessler, to ask him more about the label, his experience working with it and his hopes for the future.
Hi Max, how are things going?
Things are going great thank you! A bit busy but really great.
We’d like to know more about your background in the music business, when did you begin working in the Electronic Music world? And how was it like?
I first started when I was in college. I had a huge passion for the genre and music, so on top of working with local artists at my school, I sought out a job to help a local EDM promotions company arranging events in New Orleans. My time doing this was great. I was so excited by the space that I was constantly inspired and new immediately this is what I want to do.
How did you realize you wanted to start a music label?
Interestingly, starting a label was something I knew I wanted to do very early on. I’ve also always been fascinated by the record labels of the late 20th century. Where these record companies would find and develop undiscovered talent. For those who know me well, know that I’m an artist manager and use that same approach in everything I do. I love working directly with the artists on helping them grow their brands, careers, on top of the music. Working as a manager for years, I knew that having a strong label partner who works closely with the management would give the artists an incredible system for growth. That’s where KESS Records came into play. It was originally started to be a partner to the artists I manage, however, as the label has grown, I felt like we should be opening our doors to all the amazing talent out here manager or not.
What would you say it’s the hardest part about being a label boss?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I love my job and because of this, I enjoy every aspect of what I do and never feel like anything is too hard.
And what would you say it’s the most rewarding thing about having your own music label?
The most rewarding thing is seeing the artists achieve their goals. Whether it’s the first time they’re on the radio, getting a big editorial playlist add, reaching a #1 or whatever it may be, that is the most rewarding thing.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned regarding managing a music label?
I would say the biggest lesson is the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to be working with such an amazing team. As a result, we can continue creating opportunity for the amazing artists we work with and expand our reach globally.
What do you look out for when signing a new artist?
I look for passion from the artist, quality in the music, and artists with a big picture mentality. If we sign an artist to KESS, we’re going to give them 100% because we’re signing artists that we want to work with for many years. Yes, we can still do one-off single deals, but the focus is building a long-term partnership with the artist.
What are some of the qualities and characteristics that set KESS Records apart from other labels?
I like to think of KESS Records as more of a partner to the artist than anything else. I’m a manager first, so everything done at KESS is from the perspective of someone who is. I also like to believe we’re forward thinking and are always looking to incorporate new technologies into our processes. Lastly, KESS favors quality over quantity. Our goal is not to sign every artist we can, but rather work with the artists we believe in, on a long-term basis.
What’s coming up for the label in the coming months?
Well, excitingly, we have some of our biggest releases yet coming out very soon! There are a few new songs on the horizon that are big time and I’m beyond excited. We’re also welcoming some new artists to KESS Records, which is always fun. Separately, I am fascinated by web3 and the possibilities it can unlock for music fans and artists, so we’re exploring some opportunities there. Lastly, we are developing a new radio show, so make sure to check it out on Insomniac Radio!
What are some things you’d like to achieve with KESS Records in the future?
There are many things I’d like to achieve in the future, but at the top of the list would be for us to look back one day and know we helped tons of artists achieve their dreams. Whether it’s getting them off the ground, breaking them big time or helping them in their established artist role. Knowing we had a part in that is what I strive for in KESS.
KESS Records Online