The IMI 24th Apr 2023

'Imagine hearing an Osunlade or Ron Trent tune in a major motion picture, it would do so much for our genre'

Newly launched Ocha Publishing’s CEO Carlos Mena talks to The IMI about his mission as a cheerleader for underground house music in mainstream media…

Earlier this year, New York-based Ocha Media announced the launch of a new publishing administration and music synchronisation service with a focus primarily on underground house music.

It’s aim: to represent artists and record labels that otherwise would not be heard by music supervisors, producers and creative directors, therefore missing out on a lucrative sync market.

Ocha said its new publishing division would become the custodian of a highly curated catalogue of songs from within the house music genre, including sub-genres such as afro house, deep house, soulful house, techno and others.

The first label to sign for sync representation was Osunlade’s Yoruba Records – one of the most prolific independent house music labels in the genre – while rising house music star Coflo also joined the company’s artist roster.

We caught up with Ocha Publishing CEO Carlos Mena, who spoke about why sync was a particular focus for the company and the wider impact it could have on the genre as a whole.

Why are you targeting sync in particular with Ocha Publishing?

There has been an explosion of visual content, within film, television, streaming services, and commercials, in recent years and it all needs music. Given the significant sizes of the Yoruba Records’ and Ocha Records’ catalogues, it is the perfect opportunity for us to provide another avenue for revenue for our artists and their respective labels.  As we gain our footing, we will open up to additional labels as well.

What are the problems of representation for underground house music and sync? Why are the opportunities not there?

First of all, the word underground means it is not heard by the masses, meaning there is less opportunity for exposure and less opportunity to be discovered by a music supervisor.  I also see my role as one of educator and cheerleader.  For the most part, when house music is used in film, it’s usually EDM. I want filmmakers, creative directors, agencies, and music supervisors to know that a full range of emotion can be expressed via house music songs. Whether it’s afro house, deep house, techno or soulful house, there are songs for all situations, and I am excited to bring the music to them.

"Part of my mission is to bring our music to a broader audience."

What role do you hope sync can have in continuing to push underground house music mainstream?

Exposure. Imagine hearing an Osunlade or Ron Trent tune in a major motion picture, it would do so much for our genre. While most house heads know who those two legends are, for the general public they are relatively unknown. Part of my mission is to bring our music to a broader audience.

On the flip side, what should music supervisors and creative directors see as a benefit in what you’re doing?

Creative directors and music supervisors are extremely busy and only want to work with artists and libraries that have their paperwork in order, so they can act quickly. Ocha Publishing is just that, a passionate, organised team of house music lovers that will provide them with curated selections. Songs that they can feel assured will be cleared easily, and can fulfil their initial need for a song with tragically beautiful lyrics or a passionate love song during a tender scene.