WAKAAN Is Home to the Weird, Wild, and Wonderful
DiVisuals [Don Idio]
In the realm of experimental bass, one label has worked tirelessly to push new and innovative sounds, WAKAAN. Founded by the iconic left-field producer Liquid Stranger, the label has been home to the weird, wild, wonderful, and heavy in electronic music. Boasting a roster that includes LSDREAM, LUZCID, Peekaboo, G-Rex, Hydraulix, Champagne Drip, TVBOO, and many more, it’s no surprise that the platform has become one of the most highly-regarded within their space.
To get an inside look into the inner workings of WAKAAN, we connected with Chloe Suit, Director of Marketing & Label Management. She provides insight into what inspired WAKAAN’s creation, the label’s mission and vision, Liquid Stranger’s involvement, the importance of WAKAAN Festival, and much more.
Like many artist-born labels, WAKAAN’s inception came from an uncompromising desire to find a home for Liquid Stranger’s own releases and those of like-minded artists that didn’t quite fit in elsewhere.
“WAKAAN was created to help artists find a home, find a place where their art was understood, and had a team behind them believing in the vision for the project. When Liquid Stranger started releasing music, he wanted to release his music, of his choice and how he envisioned it, and eventually a community was built around that,” Chloe explains.
While music is at the core, WAKAAN’s vision expands beyond releases. The foundation of the brand is people and community. WAKAAN is a family that supports the roster in all aspects of their artistic journey, from creative direction to live events and even their personal well-being.
Given this level of commitment and dedication, it should be no surprise that they look beyond just the individual track when signing artists. Chloe elaborates on their process, saying, “We don’t just sign good records, we sign good people. Having a vision and wanting to provide good music for the bass community is a huge plus when signing an artist. My favorite part of releasing a record is seeing the vision come to life, being able to work with artists and get creative making this happen.”
Despite their impact, WAKAAN operates with a very small team footprint. Alongside Chloe, Loper serves as the label manager focusing on big picture with Chloe running point on marketing and branding efforts, A&R, and everything in between. Kyndal is a relatively new addition who’s been assisting with the day-to-day operations. With three members at their core, they prove that great things are possible without a major headcount. As for Liquid Stranger, he plays a crucial role in nearly all facets of the label.
“Martin is pretty involved with every process within the label. We have weekly meetings going over demos, merchandise, curated events, tours, and pretty much everything in between. I remember one day on the BALANCE tour, we had a day off. Martin, Loper, and I stayed on the bus listening to demos for over six hours alone!”
She goes on to explain how their dedication seeps even further into every aspect of the brand. “Every piece of merchandise we sample and try on, we all send ideas, colors we like and constantly look to do more with every aspect of the label. The goal is to grow, to become bigger and better than our previous goals.”
A growth mindset and improving on past successes drive the team daily. The aforementioned focus on community ties into their core purpose, with Chloe saying, “We know we don’t know everything and there is always room for growth. That’s what makes us work harder, one win in the bass community is a win for everyone.” It’s a mentality that more in the scene should look to adopt. WAKAAN understands their influence on the scene, and as the scene grows holistically, it also impacts them positively. Ditching the competitive spirit for one that focuses on the greater good is a recipe for success in all walks of life.
Nothing in music fosters a greater sense of community more than live events. Festivals create real-life magic for fans and artists alike. A place to connect while disconnecting, make lifelong memories, and truly let the music take over. In 2019 WAKAAN launched its sold-out inaugural festival, which saw 10,000 fans uniting through their love of bass. The pandemic forced WAKAAN to postpone its annual gathering for the past two years, but it will be making its triumphant return to Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas, from September 29th to October 1st, 2022.
Chloe reflects on the event’s impact and what makes it unique, saying, “It provided a bigger stage for our community than we could ever imagine. Of course, we see our fans all over going to festivals and meeting up, but at Mulberry Mountain, you are there for WAKAAN. You are there for the family, the music, the experience.”
Aside from the festival, there’s a lot to be excited about from WAKAAN this year. Chloe sets the tone for 2022, saying, “We are only blasting off from here. We have more music, more events, more merchandise, more surprises than we have ever had and we are extremely excited to share it with everyone!”
As bass music continues to expand, look out for WAKAAN leading the charge with boundary-pushing sounds, incredible artists, and mind-expanding events.
WAKAAN’s Most Iconic Releases Playlist
The WAKAAN team put together a playlist of their most iconic songs to date. Listen below.
“These tracks are some of the biggest staples in our WAKAAN catalog. The selected songs are a collection in bass music that have shaped the left-field genre. Each track is unique and brings something diverse to the label in its own way with a finishing masterpiece for our listeners!” - Chloe Suit, Director of Marketing & Label Management at WAKAAN