Joe Gauthreaux’s career rose over the past 15 years, from playing in the clubs in New Orleans to producing official remixes for major artists and being one of the 140 contributing DJs to the Billboard Hot Dance Music Club Play chart. Out Magazine named him the “Hottest DJ of 2005,” and his popularity has only continued to grow. So, naturally, it makes sense that Gauthreaux started up his own record label in June.
Gauthreaux’s DJing career began in 1996 and later was signed to Centaur Entertainment, an independent record label known for putting out releases by Ultra Nate, Junior Vasquez, Tony Moran, and others. Two compilation sets — Party Groove: Blueball and Party Groove: Cherry Volume 2 — came out in the 2000s, while eight years ago, Gauthreaux started putting out official remixes for such dance music performers as Kristine W, Bimbo Jones, and John LePage, as well as more mainstream acts like RuPaul, Justin Bieber, and The Wanted.
Prop D Recordings – now, according to an interview Gauthreaux did with The Edge, for his own music and collaborations – officially started in June. Single “Bye Felicia,” moving up the Billboard Dance charts, kicked it off to a strong start.
As Prop D gets its early footing, Crossfadr spoke with him about his plans for the label and more music.
How did you come up with the name for Prop D Recordings?
I came up with the name Prop D Recordings ‘cause I was trying to think of a name that meant something to me, and I wanted to call the label maybe my initials, but believe it or not, JG Recordings and JG Productions are both taken. So, I had to think outside of the box a little bit, so I lived in Los Angeles during the whole Proposition 8 thing, so I was like – I always liked the word “Proposition,” for some reason, and I was like, “Why don’t we call it Proposition Dance?” So, Prop D stands for Proposition Dance.
Why did you select “Bye Felicia” as your label’s first single?
Well, to be honest with you, I – it’s not something that’s in my usual wheelhouse. For people are familiar with me, would not really think that would be like the first thing I would put out to the world like, “This is my first single,” but it was one of those things where I had more – I had played it for people close to me and friends that I trusted, and they gave really good feedback. They were all like, “Joe, this is like you have tapped into something that’s indie, right now, so you have to put this out right now.” That’s kind of why that’s a single now, and plus, I should think it’s really fun.
For this track, how did you end up working with Mitch Amtr@k?
Well, Mitch and I know each other for a couple years. He used to do lights at the Roxy in New York, and he also did a couple of tracks with Peter Rauhofer. I’ve always kind of been a fan of his, and we actually are friends. We both live here in Manhattan, so it was one of those things where I got this idea and I had his voice in my head. So I called him up. I’m like, “Hey, I have this idea. It’s kind of crazy, but I know you can kind of bring that fun factor that it needs.” That honestly was the one thing I wanted to accomplish with the track, was to not make it negative, was to actually make it something fun and positive to listen to.
What other plans do you have for the label’s launch?
Well, I have about four songs already written and recorded, and right now, I’m just trying figure out the next move. Honestly, I’d be moving onto the next single right now, but because “Bye Felicia” is doing so well on the Billboard charts, and last week, we went to Number 42, and 31. So, the song is kind of taking on a life of its own, so I have to put off plans for my second single, to kind of give this single the life that it deserves, you know?
You talk about featuring a wide range of music on Prop D. What’s the scope of subgenres you’d like to cover?
Honestly, you know, for me, the whole purpose of this label is about my own music, so for me, most of it is going to be tracks that I write myself. I feel like that’s the best for me to do that. When people come to hear me play, I write myself from the heart about what I feel like they do, and then that’s kind of the main goal of what I’m trying to do.
What particular genres these tracks might fall into? I mean, I’m kind of not wanting to put myself into a box like that, and that’s kind of one of the cool things I really hope to accomplish. If I do dance-pop or if it might be a little more trance-y, or a little more progressive, it’s whatever production is strong, it’s the emotion. That’s the direction that the song will go, because I’m a big believer in thinking outside the box, so I’m pretty much into a box. And just letting the song have the life it can.
Are any subgenres or styles off limits?
I mean, obviously, my label is more dance centered. Something like rock or country or something like that – it’s probably something that wouldn’t quite fit in, but that’s not to say I won’t incorporate elements of what you might associate with country or rock into a dance track. I’ve done it before, and I’m always the most entertained when a song takes a risk, when a song breaks out of the mold. Like a very good example is Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” He kind of blended country and dance, and it has been one of the best dance tracks to come out. And he took a risk, and that really inspired me to be like, “You know what? Follow what I think a song needs, and not be ‘Well, okay, this is a dance track, so I can’t put this certain sound in it.’”
Your label could potentially cross underground and mainstream styles. Where do you stand on the division between underground and mainstream dance music?
You know, I think for me, personally, I want to reach as many people possible, so whether something is underground or mainstream, it just depends, in my opinion, on basically how many people it’s able to get out to, and what the world does with it. So I can make a track, and it’s going to reach the amount of people that I hope it would reach, and it’ll probably be a little more underground, especially because the world hasn’t had a chance to hear it. But it’s really hard to reach everyone, which is why I’m talking to you right now. For me, I want to love for as many people to hear the music that I’m making. I’m not making music for a particular genre; I’m making music for anyone who enjoys good, quality music, to be honest with you.
“All This Time” was supposed to be the label’s first single. What plans do you have for this track?
That is actually one of the songs that I have written and recorded with a friend of mine, Jared Bradford. Right now, I’m going to let the crowd decide, kind of let them decide what happens to that song. Right now, there’s no really – I’m trying to focus on my first single, and kind of give it the life that it needs. Hopefully, it will come out at some point, but right now, I’m trying to focus on the first single.
Where would you like the label to go in the future?
I mean, I don’t know. Obviously, it would be a dream that I could have a real impact in the world. I think what it comes down to is, putting out really good, quality music. It’s not some kind of vanity project, so I can say, “Oh, I have a record label.” And then it’s something we boast about. So hopefully, I am a one-man show at this point – I have a couple of team members – I mean, more or less, I don’t have a huge marketing whatever behind me. And I’m hope that if I just put out a really good, quality song, it will find a place into wherever it fits in the world. That’s just my goal.
Aside from Prop D, what other projects do you have coming up?
I am always touring, and right now, I am writing a lot of songs that I hope to put out, and that’s pretty much what I’m doing. Touring and writing. There are a couple of other projects that I can’t get into right now, but it’s a very exciting time for me, because this is the first year where I am in control of my career, if that makes sense. Because whenever you produce for somebody else, you are part of their project. When you DJ for a certain club, or for a certain party, or promoter, it’s kind of their event. That being said, this is the year I have started to open my own record label, and further in the year, I’m going to present my music to the public in a way that is more of my decision for now.