INTERVIEW: Sophie Flint talks Music Is Love, house music & more with label boss, Oli Furness.

The last few years have seen Manchester-based Oli Furness’ involvement in the music scene become increasingly diverse. Originally focusing on his DJ’ing and production Oli has now settled into life owning two labels, Music is Love and MIL and running a music management company, MIL-MGMT.
“I didn’t always want to be a DJ, I used to DJ a lot when I was younger but the scene changed and the new disco sound came in and I never wanted to DJ that kind of music.”  Oli only found his feet DJing five years ago, where he began playing for friends and then eventually in clubs across Manchester such as Manchester’s very own acid house surviving club Sankeys, based at Ancoats, and clubs all over Europe like Chalet in Berlin, up until then he’s been working on the oilrigs out at sea.
Oli spoke about his work offshore; “I’ve not been there since September because I want to work on my music. It’s usually two weeks on and two weeks off, but the balance is flipping more towards music and making a career out of music.”

Oli has always been passionate about music and raving; “I like the emotional content of house music, I was a heavy raver, we used to go all around the country raving.”
“We used to go to this wicked club in Sheffield called Bed, they had amazing parties. We also went down South to clubs like Fabric.”
“I’m influenced mainly by the music I grew up listening to, mainly in Sankeys where we’re residents now. The community vibe back in the electronic music scene in Manchester was amazing. We used to see people like Sasha and Digweed for six hours.” Oli says. 
Since his raving days Oli has continued partying, this time from inside the DJ booth. His views on equipment are extremely open, and he believes too many artists are caught up about the kit they use. He said;” It’s this simple- imagine you’re in your favourite club, with all your friends and the DJ drops your favourite song and you all lose your shit and run up to the DJ and you see it’s a CD over a vinyl, it wouldn’t stop you enjoying that moment.” He makes a fair point. 
He added; “If I play I use vinyl’s, CD’s, USB, drum machines, it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you can do it.” 

Oli set up Music Is Love two years ago with Angus Jefford after they met by playing each other’s mixes, as they both have a similar house passion; “It was made to give people like us, artists at that level a chance without having to send an EP to a big label and them never getting heard from again.”
Not only was Music Is Love set up to give artists a chance but Oli and Angus set up the label to create the community the scene once had.        Oli is not just passionate about the music, but he’s also, if not more so passionate about the people and passionate about the community. I got the overwhelming feeling that Oli wants the house community to evolve into something we can all relate to, a community where we all feel the same and we are all feeling the music, where music isn’t underappreciated or produced for the sake of it. 
“We wanted to produce and to try and create a community based around people like us, who weren’t feeling the music, which had diversified at the time, house music was no longer house music,
“This was because of the sales and things like that, everything was put into deep house and it wasn’t deep house- deep house was made in the late 90’s by someone in Detroit not Manchester!” Oli explained.

Their label, Music Is Love, is different to other labels in many ways, one of which is that they don’t accept demos; “If I think someone is suitable for the label I won’t tell them, I’ll just watch what they make, what they do and how they handle themselves. It’s not just about making good music you’ve got to be a nice person as well.” Oli said.  
Oli spoke highly about one of the artists on the label, in particular Liam Geddes; “He already is an amazing incredible producer. I get messages from his Dad saying thanks for looking after our Liam, it’s things like that, that’s everything to me, if I can do that for that kid then sweet.”

Since the launch of Music Is Love Oli has launched its sister label, MIL, which is a year old and who he owns with Sankeys owner Paul Fletcher; “MIL is an expression of all other shades of music we like, but they tie together nicely because there’s still a house aspect to them.
“People who love house music don’t just love house music, music is music. I love jazz and motown but that doesn’t mean I can’t like house.”  Oli explained.
More recently Oli has developed a music label management company, MIL-MGMT, offering his knowledge and expertise, which he has learnt over the past years in the business to others.
Oli explained the three-tier service MIL-MGMT offers: “One tier is label management- so you can contact me at any time. The other is mastering solutions, so we send releases to our mastering engineer who is solid.”
“Then the third is press campaigns, we send the final package to DJs for feedback and send it to blogs and online magazines.  With us you get maximum exposure and it’s done on a bespoke service.”

It’s clear that Oli has set up MIL-MGMT, as well as both labels, to give back to the community that helped him and aid developing artists out.
“In the long run it’s going to give people who haven’t got a hope in hells chance. If they live in some little backwater shed but they’ve got amazing music then it’s going to give them a chance.”
“It’s going to give everyone a clean sheet to get their music heard. MIL-MGMT will hopefully push up the level of the music industry and mean there are less shit releases out there.” Oli explained. 
Oli doesn’t just care about his production and businesses he cares about the community that fostered him, and is committed to ensuring that it continues to progress.

Oli added “I know what I was like when I was asking for help and when you see your product coming together it’s so sweet and if you can help someone achieve that, then that’s cool right?” 
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