Recently I had the opportunity to interview UK beatmaker Cypria. Cypria talks about his latest release Broken Dream Boulevard, being a record label owner and shares 5 tips for marketing an instrumental hip hop release. Check out the interview below and follow Cypria on Twitter.
Recently you released Broken Dream Boulevard. How does this project differ from your previous projects?
Broken Dream Boulevard is definitely a little darker than my previous stuff. I mean, my stuff has always been really soulful and upbeat but for this one I wanted to show people the diversity in my beats. I can make the uplifting soulful stuff, I can take a darker sample and flip it and I can also sample jazz and make that sound dope.
During the process of putting the EP together I was listening to less hip-hop and playing stuff like Marvin Gaye, Sly & The Family Stone, D'Angelo ect, and I think that meant I wasn't tangled up in what other producers were doing and that's why the project sounds so different.
The process of releasing music is very stressful. Some artists judge success by sales, while some artists judge success by fans acquired or reach. How does Cypria judge success?
I don't really care too much about sales at the moment I just want to reach people. To me, the best way of judging success is by listening to what people are saying about your stuff. The Sunday Soul Sessions was by far my most successful project so far in terms of how many downloads/plays it got, but it was the things people were saying about it that really gave me a feeling of accomplishment. With Broken Dream Boulevard the comments I've got off people so far have been amazing, which is great because to me it's my best material yet.
The instrumental market is saturated with beatmakers. How do you remain sane given the amount of healthy competition?
Honestly I don't really worry too much about the competition. I mean in the last couple of years I've noticed it's harder to get music recognized because of how many people are doing it now, but I think the main advantage that I have is my originality. That's 100% the most important thing to me, in the past I've been compared to people like Apollo Brown or 9th Wonder on occasion, but I honestly believe that there's nobody else out there that sounds like me. I'm self taught and I've spent a lot of time working on my sound and that's why I think people hear my music and can recognize that I made it.
Some may not be aware but you are the founder of Lunatick Records. How do you balance the artist and record owner dynamic?
That's right, it is actually very difficult to balance the two at the moment. I recently graduated university, I DJ a few nights a week in local clubs and I'm working on trying to build a career in journalism. So between all that I barely have time to make music or run the record label.
I think the most important thing I've learnt is not to overwhelm myself. It's OK to kick back and watch a movie every now and again instead of worrying about my music or the next release the label has. You've got to find balance if you want to do a lot, and time management is absolutely key.
Would you mind sharing 5 tips for marketing an instrumental hip-hop release?
1. Have a signature sound.
2. Find a great team to help you out.
3. Think about what makes you stand out, it's not just your music.
4. Write a plan. Without a plan you plan to fail.
5. Be relentless. You better be prepared to work hard if you're going to be a success as an independent artist.