There is no denying that there is a family dynamic to the EDM community. It is the affinity towards your fellow dancer that maintains a steady growth in the music's popularity and the sustainability of the industry. Many record labels have adopted the family structure by building a core group of artists that feed off of each other and collectively lift each other to unpredicted heights. LA’s OWSLA is a great example of what is possible when a forward thinking patriarch or matriarch adopts talent from opposite ends of the style spectrum while maintaining a clear focus and essence to the label's ethos. Study Group, the new kid on New York City’s block, is one such label that has fully embraced these ideals. Headed by Mark Martinez, the label takes a progressive approach to its structure by putting a strong emphasis on music education and charity that aims to lift the entire community.
Study Group has taken initiative in its local community by teaming up with Building Beats, “a registered non-profit organization that develops and expands DJ and music programs that teach entrepreneurial, leadership, and life skills.” The record label donates a portion of their record and event sales to the charity and plan on developing a deeper connection between the two entities in the future. The expanded partnership will branch out into music education, an initiative Martinez has already put into motion.
“We have a heavy focus on education, hence the name Study Group. It comes from a collective of people trying to come together and utilizing everyone’s knowledge and really being able to elevate each other,” described Martinez. The education venture takes the form of pre-show workshops that “get people a little more involved and let them peek behind the curtains a little.” The workshops cover all aspects of the EDM industry from technical DJing, music production, and EDM-industry business practices.
Study Group’s workshops are unique in that they are lead by the performers of their live shows. Not only do fans get to catch their favorite artists throw down in NYC, but they also get the opportunity to participate in an intimate instructional session prior to the show. Martinez’s interest in pushing education is rooted in an intrinsic devotion to sharing the gifts he has received. He spent two and a half years working in the admissions department at Dubspot, an electronic music school with campuses in New York, Los Angeles and online. His position at Dubspot eventually led him to one of his first track releases in an odd twist of fate.
“Last year, one of my friends in France included a track in his monthly playlist. I instantly went and bought [the artist’s] EP and I fell in love with it,” describes Martinez’s introduction to the producer Francois Dillinger. “It turned out that I had registered Francois for classes at Dubspot. I was the one that convinced him to take classes [there], which ultimately led him to becoming one of my favorite producers. Now he is doing graphic design for my label as well as releasing tracks.”
Francois Dillinger tops an impressive list of artists working with Study Group. The label appeals to the more psychedelic side of house and trap music and looks to nurture unlikely collaborations and remixes between its artists. One artist looking to break the genre mold with Study Group is the NY native Craz. The young producer is currently climbing the notoriety charts following the massive success of his collaboration with Bassnectar, “Thursty.” Although he tends to cater to the heavier side of bass music, his enigmatic style has found a comfortable home with the Study Group family.
While many EDM fans and artists claimi that the scene has become over-saturated with thousands of kids hopping on the DJ bandwagon, Study Group stands in the noble state of mind that an artform can never have enough participants. To move past this stigma, they encourage people to try their hand at the discipline, as the competition benefits the entire community.
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