For the next instalment of ‘Behind The Scene’, we spoke to current manager of J69, Palizé and Livsey – Jakob Plant – about his relationships in the Bassline scene, starting out and perks of the job.
It’s easy to forget that behind every great artist is a great manager, seemingly creating opportunities from thin air and making sure the talent is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.
Good managers within dance music are unsung hero’s, especially in todays climate, with every man and his dog trying to make a living from their respective scenes; pulling in bookings, making sure music gets wrapped up and introducing artists to likeminded brands are some of the biggest jobs on a manager’s to-do list.
We spoke to Jakob Plant, the man behind the talent at ATI (Aspire to Inspire) Management. As the guy working behind the scenes for a crop of Bassline’s promising fresh artists, we wanted to get his insight into the world of UK Bass music.
Easy Jakob! Firstly, tell us how you ended up getting in to Bass music in general?
Bass music is a madness! It was in it’s prime when I was a teenager, then it faded for a bit and now its back. Because it was around when I was growing up, it’s one of those thing that sticks with you. Tunes like ‘Heartbroken’; that was chart topping. When I first met T2 it was a madness because obviously when we were young we had ‘Heartbroken’ being Bluetoothed at school. So the interest’s always been there. One day I’ll be listening to Bassline, next it’ll be Hip Hop, then Classical; there’s a genre for everyday but for me Bassline is a mood lifter.
From there, how did you get into managing artists within Bass music?
Managing came naturally. All of my mates were DJs and/or producers and Livsey really kicked it all of for me. We’ve known each other for years, since he first started out and was producing off this ancient Macbook in my bedroom at 16. I was going to all the nights he played at, meeting people and making relationships, so I wanted to be involved in the scene but had no interest in being a DJ. We were driving to a gig one day and Livsey just turned and asked “Do you want to be my manager?” and I snapped at the chance.
Livsey was the first artist on ATI’s roster
Image property of Sticky Feet
After that, how did you build relationships with, and progress to managing more and more artists?
Well like I said it all started with Livsey, and after him was J69, Kristian James, Palizé, ma?k, and Ferguson. I’m not at the huge level that some agencies are but we’ve built a family. J69 is another close friend who came on board a few days after Livsey. Kristian James happened through helping out with [event] Reminisce who are killing things in Leeds at the moment. So are 1Forty, which is where Ferguson came in. Palizé was another friendship made through Livsey & J69. They all happened naturally and the only person I’ve approached is Palizé which felt right because of how close we were anyway. There is a few more in the pipeline that may happen but that’s on the hush hush at the moment.
What’s a standard day for you as an Artist Manager within the bass scene?
Standard days as an Artist Manager are on the weekend; through the week I still work a full time job. When I get home though I open my laptop and just work until I go to sleep.
There’s countless emails to go through and sorting out current projects, scouting, contracts and invoices, liasing with promotors, organising calendars and travel and looking on how to improve each artist as a brand. Theres a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work as well.
J69 has recently been booked for BassFest’s 2017 Summer Festival
Photo taken by Elliot Young
The weekend is when things come to life. Once I clock out on Friday it begins – driving to and from gigs, networking, sorting pay for the artists, working with promoters and just being about is all equally important.
We also have a lot of work to do as a team. We could look for bookings but no one really wants to book an artist they don’t know, so we focus on building our artists to make them more bookable in a sense. From that we’re working on big collaborations (Palizé has just had a song on Pure Bassline), clothing, EP’s, festival bookings and most importantly, work on building relationships.
What would you look for in new artists you may consider approaching?
An artist needs to be humble, with no ego; aspire to be the best but treat everyone equally. There’s nothing worse then a hierarchy. Chris Lorenzo is the perfect example of humble – I had chance to catch up with him at Reminisce at Mint Warehouse, we were talking, and some kids stopped him to tell him how amazing he was. He replied “I’m just a normal guy who made a couple of bangers”. Super down to earth guy.
Work rate is a must as well. Someone who wants to hone their craft and do well and has the right attitude to do so.
Palizé, with KDot on mic duties, at Parked Out Festival
What are the perks of being a manger, and are there any downsides?
There are downsides. It takes a lot of time and effort and it can get exhausting when you work a full day then come home and start working again, or working a full day Friday then driving up and down the country Friday/Saturday night. I’ve fallen asleep in countless clubs, sat next to the monitors slumped snoring away, but its all for the love of progression and the job!
There’s a lot of perks too though. Making friendships and meeting people I used to look up to is sick, because after all I was a fan before i was involved. There’s also a lot of free entries and free alcohol which is always a bonus, but I’m in it more for the love. Seeing my guys play out or in the lab making a banger, I literally get goosebumps.