Category Archives: Behind The Scene

Building a family, making the most of the weekend and not wanting to be a DJ; Behind The Scene with Jakob Plant [ATI Management]

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.

If you would like to get in contact with ATI Management about representation, or enquire about booking one of their artists, you can do so at atimanagement.co.uk

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Behind The Scene: Birthday cakes, good vibes and taking over Leeds with 1Forty [Interview]

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Having been absolutely smashing it since their opening event, Leeds based UK Bass brand 1Forty have built up a reputation as one of the scene’s top events. We caught up with them for a chat to find out why they started and where things are headed for them in 2017.

 

Easy! So lets start from the beginning: How did 1Forty come to exist and why?

I went to a lot of events once I turned 18 and there was 1 major influence which stood out for me which was Jamz [run by Butterz head honchos Elijah & Skiliam]. They were some of the best parties I’ve ever been to. When they called it a day it left a massive gap in the market, as no one else in Leeds really offered a combination of genres within the spectrum of UK underground bass music. From that moment I knew it was time to get something in motion and put our own twist on it.

For those that might not know, tell us the thinking behind the name of the brand?

140BPM is the origins of what our brand has evolved around. When Grime, Bassline & Garage started it was all at 140BPM a decade ago or thereabouts. However with the developing sound of bass music in the last few years its coming in at lower BPMs, even though its still catered for the same crowd. I think its great as it has become much more diverse. Especially when combined with old & new. Some people call it bass house, but its a fine line. It still has elements from these original genres though, which is why its grouped with them and fits so well.

Oneman headlined for you on his birthday at the start of February. How did that go?

It was a wicked experience. We got him a personalised 1Forty birthday cake with his logo on it. He loved it and we got everyone to sing him Happy Birthday! You’ll see on the aftermovie which is dropping very soon. Every name on the bill brought to the table exactly what we expected. Oneman with his unique selection playing everything from The Streets to Preditah, Spooky with his dubplates and ridiculous refix’s and Notion who has a lot of weighty VIP’s for his sets even though people go nuts for the originals so no one expects it.. turned the place on its head.

Photography By Elliot Young www.eyphoto.co.uk

Oneman’s personalised birthday cake

Whats been the biggest struggle for you as an event so far?

I think it has to be the same as any new brand and thats establishing yourself in the scene. Leeds has so many events its always going to be a challenge to force yourself to the forefront of those within your scene. The way we have branded ourselves along with the names we have brought in on the line ups and the team we have on board has all combined to achieve this so were really happy we hit the ground running.

What do you think the most rewarding part of putting on your own events is?

Our main statement as a brand is:

‘A club night that captures the resurgence in some of the UK’s best underground genres by curating the best line ups the underground scene has to offer, creating high energy atmospheres that will live long in the memory.’

We put on our parties for the people. Thats why we collate the line ups we do. So for me it has to be looking out from the booth onto a sold out Mint Club and just seeing the scenes. It really puts everything into perspective, knowing people will walk away and will always look back to 1 of our parties and say that night was insane.. we still get that quite regularly which is humbling!

You’ve got a couple of collaborative events coming up with Alloy and Jungle Jam, how did they come about?

Jungle Jam got in touch and said they loved what we were doing and how diverse we were making ourselves. They work in the same way as us in a sense they just love putting on parties for the same thing they have in common with their fan base, which is the love of Jungle. With us it evolves around our genres we showcase. There is a crossover between us as plenty of people who like 140bpm tempo also enjoy 170bpm (Jungle/DnB) and vice versa. It will be a great night celebrating their 12th Birthday, we’re honoured to be involved. It’s at Mint Warehouse this Friday (03/03/17)!

Alloy came to us with a really unique proposal about putting on a series of live stream events with other big brands in Leeds and beyond. Live streams are something that have always been of interest to us as I myself am a big fan of Boiler Room, as it’s always revolved around underground culture and promoting it to the masses. Our stream with Alloy sold out in 2 hours after tickets went live which blew us away! You can catch this live on Twitch on the 27/04/17.

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Room 3 of Jungle Jam’s 12th Birthday is being hosted by 1Forty

Is there any plans to bring the 1Forty Project to the South?

We’re always thinking ahead. We’ve got some massive plans to expand in the future but we can’t give away too much yet unfortunately!

What’s been your favourite moment since starting the event?

I think it has to be Kane (Cause & Affect) at our Launch and how much he buzzed off the crowd and the vibe. That energy filtered through to the crowd which in turn gave Kane even more energy and it was back and forth like that for a full hour. I’ve never seen anything like it personally. He was cutting all kind of shapes whilst on the decks and the atmosphere he created by using that energy in his set as well was unreal.

What’s next for 1Forty?

As mentioned above we have our collaboration events coming up and then we have a massive event coming to close us off for Summer. This will be announced on Monday (06/03/17). We’ve been sitting on it since Christmas and we can’t put into words how excited we are to see the reaction it has when we drop it. We won’t be totally quiet over Summer though. We’re going to be putting out content plus we also have our residency on UK Mondo and we’ll doing lots of planning ready to take it up a notch come September/October.

Finally, what do you think is in store for the UK Bass scene in 2017?

There’s a lot of speculation surrounding Dubstep at the moment. A lot of people seem to think that could make a return so that will be very interesting to see. Grime is still breaking down walls on a massive scale so I am personally very excited to see the next generation of MC’s and producers come through and how their sound will evolve. Bassline is very much alive and kicking and thats showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon so 2017 will be a massive year for underground music

To keep up with all things 1Forty, make sure you follow them on Facebook and Twitter and check out their mix series below. Jungle Jam x 1Forty is this Friday, at Mint Warehouse.

Contact Selecta:

Find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or email us at selectamusicuk@gmail.com

Behind The Scene: Project Allout Records

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Our brand new interview series ‘Behind The Scene’ is dedicated to finding out more about the platforms at the forefront of the UK Bass scene and how they got there.

If you’ve played or listened to a set centred around bass music or been to a bass event in the last 6 years, it’s more than likely you’ve heard a track released on Project Allout Records, aka PAR. Releasing music across the bass spectrum, they consistently deliver a combination of hard hitting, high quality music.

PAR have released tracks from some of the hottest names in garage, grime, bass and bassline, including the likes of Notion, Moony, Dubzta, Tuff Culture and Deadbeat. Not content with relying on the established names, Project Allout also put out a steady stream of content from up and coming producers.

Having been such a mainstay in the scene for 6 years we caught up with PAR label head Skillz to get an insight in to their success:

You’ve told the story behind the creation of PAR before but for those that didn’t already know, remind us briefly?

Basically me and a friend set up PAR in 2011 with the aim to push Sheffield based artists out independently to the Grime and Bass scene and get them the recognition they deserved.

What was it that made you change up from releasing zippy’s full of tunes to becoming a fully fledged label? Was becoming a genuine label always the aim?

The aim was always to become a independent label, we just didn’t realise how far we would get with it. We knew we needed to go Allout, so thats why we gave away massive zips at the start; to build our label and our artist’s profiles. I can see that’s what’s got us to where we are now though.

 Did you ever have worries that with such a broad sonic output, people wouldn’t get what you were trying to do?

My perspective at that time was that people love free downloads and if the quality is 10/10, they will see what our aim is. Like I say, we started just pushing Sheffield based artists first. That was the PROJECT and with that we were going to go ALLOUT.

Do you have any advice for anyone in the process of starting up a label?

My advice would be to take your time. Explore all avenues, make sure you are good at networking and make time for all your artists. Ive made a lot of new friends in this game and at PAR its more of a family. We all push the label together. #PARGANG

You’ve released music from artists who are now major influences in the scene. In a previous interview you said you handpick the talent, so what’s your process like now?

Well a lot has changed from when we first started. A lot of music is still handpicked but the PAR email receives around 50 submissions a week and we’re lucky to be in contact with so many aspiring producers who want to work with us. There’s also producers I want on the label and most of the time I just message them via their email or Twitter and be straight to the point; tell them I want to work on a EP with them for PAR. A lot of producers who already release with us also refer their mates who produce. Like I said, it’s a big family here

If an upcoming producer wants to release on PAR, what are 3 things they can do to do to catch your eye?

  • Have a good attitude; we don’t work with rude people.
  • Make sure the music is exclusive! I want to be the only person who as heard it and I hate when a producer sends 10 labels a submission. If I find out that has happened you can count me out.
  •   Finally: make Lengerz!

Speaking of eye catching, the cover art for your releases are always sick! Is there always an idea in your head of what you want or do you let the designer do their own thing?

 Thanks. I always ask the producer what they want and we work from there. If they haven’t got a clue I let our designer go wild. All of our art is done by Danny G Designs, he’s an absolute boss!

You’ve got a few different series of compilations, including ‘Lengerz’ and ‘Krampus’. How did you come up with those titles?

‘Krampus’ was a Christmas Free Download so I was searching Google for Christmas themes and found the Krampus. It’s a  Christmas demon and I found it reflected well with the label.

‘Lengerz’ is a term that me and Dr Cryptic have always said from since we started doing music 15 or so years ago. I’ve always had plans to do a release called ‘Lengerz’ but I wanted the right tunes on that EP

Your compilations are always massive, not only in quality but also in quantity. How long does the process take? 

Thanks. It can take up to a year. I knew I wanted to do a ‘Lengerz Volume 2’, so straight after the release of Volume 1 we got to work. That did take a year, but I think it depends on what quality you want. I always aim for 10/10.

If you could release music from anyone, who would it be and why?

I’m going to give you 2 answers:

Firstly, I would love to release a Wiley 4 track Grime instrumental EP. The guy is The Godfather of Grime and I’d love to see how his mind works!

I’d also love to release a Todd Edwards Garage EP. I grew up listening to Todd Edwards and his production is so unusual that the kids of today would be amazed.

 How do you feel about bass music right now? Is it in a better place than it was when you started back in 2011?

The scene is in a solid place at the moment. You have the new guys like Darkzy, Skepsis, Dr Cryptic, Tuff Culture and Mr Dubz all smashing it in their own way, and they’re all so different sounding. Then you’ve also got some of the legends like DJ EJ still leading the way. Its only gonna get better!

What do you think the next major step for the scene will be?

Well with the revival of Bassline, I think this time around the Bass scene will take the step into the mainstream. It only takes that one producer to make a big tune like ‘Heartbroken’ and it opens loads of avenues for a lot of people. I think there’s more people pushing together now and not as much a divide in the scene as there was back then.

 Finally, what’s coming up for you and PAR? 

 Well, there will be a lot more releases this year; we’re 3 releases deep already. There’s gonna be more compilations too! Lookout for ‘PAR Meets Deeprot Volume 2’, that will be going out for free in Feb / March. Also, there’ll be more PAR Takeovers, and we’re merging with another established label so yeah,lots happening!

Listen to Project Allout Records’ latest release from P Jam below:

Contact Selecta:

Find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or email us at selectamusicuk@gmail.com