Interview: Mathew Garthwaite, A&R and Label Manager For Australian Recording Division WVS
Mathew Garthwaite is an A&R and Label Manager for WVS, a recording division of Onelove that was established in 2016 as an outlet to showcase and release the new wave of Australian Hip Hop and RnB music coming out of the country. The current roster of artists on WVS includes Travy P (Brisbane), Lil Spacely (Sydney), Kwasi x HFNR (Melbourne), Hvncoq (Melbourne), Sophiegrophy (Melbourne), Vic August (Darwin), and Figuero Jones (Perth). DCWS has featured quite a few of these artists already and looks forward to showcasing some more, and that's how Mathew and DCWS first corresponded. For this interview, we connected with Mathew to discuss what he and his staff look for in the artists that sign to WVS, what city has the best music scene in Australia, their goals for the remainder of 2018 and much more.
After reading this Q&A with Mathew, be sure to follow WVS on social media and listen to the latest DOPE music coming from WVS's roster on their Soundcloud page.
For those who don't know, what is WVS and how did it get its start?
WVS is an independent record label based in Melbourne, Australia that supports Australian artists mainly in the rap/hip hop space. WVS started in 2016 as we noticed a growing scene of Australian hip hop that wasn't being represented yet and we wanted to make a place for these artists to develop and present their music to a wider audience.
What do you look for in the artists that you bring aboard to WVS?
We look for an individual style that is more than just the music, artists these days need to connect to their fans on more levels so we love working with creatives that know how to tell their story. Record labels these days are pretty much marketing companies so when the artist has more to talk about it makes it a lot more interesting to us to help them tell that story. Also artists that understand that this isn't a easy road and we are all in this together, no time for egos. At the moment WVS is pretty rap heavy on the roster side, but I would love to work with more soul/rnb artists as that's something I really love as well and feel it's being under represented in Australia.
Who would you consider to be the Australian Drake? As in, the artist who will officially open the collective ears of the world to the incredible urban music that is coming out of Australia, like Drake did for Toronto?
TBH I don't think we are at that point yet with anyone, but if I was to name anyone right now making those moves it would have to be Manu Crook$. Manu is the homie, I've known him for a long time and it's so great to see him making his mark on his own terms across the world at the moment. I think there is still a while to go before the world really pays attention but we have time, and as long as artists stay patient in their process, we will get there.
What city in Australia would you say has the best music scene, regardless of genre?
Melbourne hands down, it's just the city for it and you would be crazy to argue against that. BTW I would love to see Australian artists rep their city a lot more; we are starting to see it in Sydney and Perth and it's exciting, I want to see more of that!
What are your goals for WVS the remainder of 2018?
2016 we started, 2017 we came out with a bang, 2018 we continue that momentum and focus in more on our roster and creating career artists. I really like the development process with artists, building their fan bases gradually and keeping strong relationships along the way. We are spending a lot of time overseas this year as well working with International teams and building relationships with labels/artists in different cities. We are going to extra lengths for our guys and in time I know it will work out for the best for everyone involved. Other than that its more music, more videos, more parties, just keeping that energy high and building our legacy.
How do artists get in touch with you who are interested in joining WVS?
We have a demo submissions section on our website (wvswvs.com) that we check every few days and always give feedback, otherwise come to a show and introduce yourself, show love, show support, we love that.