John Digweed, the immensely successful DJ who has transcended industry lines to become a highly respected producer, promoter and manager, generously shares his seasoned advice with us. He talks about how he made the jump from a DJ to a successful record label owner, how he selects new artists, how he manages his team, advice for younger artists and what he expects from promoters.
We summed up our favorite quotes below to save you some time but we recommend listening to the entire interview. Don’t miss this one!
Our Favorite Quotes
How did you take the step from being an artist to being a producer of music and representing other artists through your label?
“The night that everyone knows so well is the night at Heaven which started in 1998. That’s the pivotal night where it was a real industry night […] we had pretty much every DJ under the planet come and play for us. From that spawned the record label. It was one of those things were I was given so much music on a weekly basis by these up and coming artists and producers […] and it seemed like an ideal outlet for me to release tracks.” (0:31-1:11)
How do continue to look for new talent and artists? What resources do you use?
“To be honest, if you have a well known label people find you. The artists want to be associated with a label that seems to be following through. We’re still putting vinyl out, we’ve got a good reputation and the releases do well. If you’re an artist and want to release a record you ask, do I want to put it with this label that’s not doing so well or this one that’s doing well.” (1:35-2:04)
“There’s a lot of stuff that we’d like to release but don’t because we don’t want the other releases to suffer […] I don’t see the point in flooding the market with too many releases when it makes sense to focus on 12 releases a year for the labels […] If you have too much product out there it can go against you.” (2:12-2:58)
How do you be selective in the artists that you choose? Is just about the music or is it about the persona as well?
“It has to be the record first and foremost […] Does this record work on the dance floor? Do people like it? Does it have something a little different than what I’ve already released? Now you also look at things like are they touring, are they DJing, are they a live act? Are there other aspects that you can use from their talent to actually promote the record even more?” (3:16-3:47)
When you’re on tour, how do you collaborate with your support team?
“I’m pretty low maintenance. I’ve got my agent that does all my worldwide bookings, and an agent that does North America bookings […] I’m pretty much self managed. […] Because I’ve been in the industry so long, I know what I want. […] The best way to do it is to get on and get the work done. That way everyone is happy rather than having too many cooks in the kitchen.” (4:40-5:39)
What would you recommend for younger artists? Should they get a manager or go it alone?
“The most important thing is you got to ask what is the manager going to do for me? If he’s going to bring gigs and remixes to the table and introduce you to different aspects of the musical career […] then it’s worth every aspect of it. […] It’s up to the individual to figure out how talented they are and what the manager is going to bring to the table for them. The manager is only going to channel your talent to greater sources.” (5:59-7:03)
“Just by having a manager doesn’t mean you have to work less. […] You have to be prepared to work harder. If they’re bringing stuff in and you’re knocking it back they’re going to lose interest.” (7:27-7:37)
How is your relationship with Promoters? What do you expect from a Promoter?
“I started off promoting myself so I know what it’s like to be on both sides. I think it’s important for promoters to know […] that the most important thing that I’m going to ask for is that the set up is right. The DJ booth, the monitors, and the whole work environment for me. I’m not going to be demanding bottles of champagne and XYZ. I’m there to play well and I need to make sure I have the tools to do it. […] It’s a no brainer. If you’re a good promoter, you’ll make sure that whatever the DJ wants, you’re going to deliver. ” (8:20-9:49)
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