SKRILLEX’S BOOKING AGENT DROPS THE SECRET TO EDM’S FUTURE
Lee Anderson is a genius of the music industry. As Vice President of AM Only’s East Coast office, he’s had a hand in the rise of Zedd, Skrillex, Disclosure, Boys Noize, Tchami, and countless others, in addition to orchestrating tours like Dirtybird BBQ, Full Flex Express, and Disclosure’s Wildlife.
In a recent interview with Dancing Astronaut, Anderson dropped some serious knowledge about current trends in dance music, what the future holds, and what it takes to stand out in today’s landscape.
While Anderson wasn’t about to reveal all his secrets, he certainly offers a couple noteworthy trinkets well worth the read. Of course it’s much more complicated, but the essential ingredients for success boil down to quality music, a passionate team, and stellar performances. If you’re interested in learning more, you can catch Lee Anderson speak at IMS Engage in Los Angeles on April 21st.
Click here for the entire interview, and read on for some a few of the discussion’s highlights.
What music trends do you see on the rise?
“A few right now. There is a real resurgence of bass music at the moment. Acts like Getter and Jauz are selling real tickets and and there is a wild energy that the fans have at their shows, which I feel has been missing as of late. It felt to me like kids were sort of going through the motions at clubs and festivals for a little bit there, and some of the artists were as well. Watching the Getter set at Ultra this year reminded me very much of watching Sonny play that festival for the first time six years ago. Kids climbing up into trees and going absolutely apeshit all over the place. There was a crazy energy that can’t be created with production elements; it comes from the fans’ authentic love and excitement for the DJ. Jauz has been selling a ton of tickets on his tour, and you will see Getter do the same in the very near future.”
Another trend we are seeing is the “underground” not being so underground anymore. There is a massive audience for acts like Claude VonStroke, Richie Hawtin, Jamie Jones, and others. The acts are doing big numbers in terms of tickets, and the the bigger multi genre talent buyers and fans are really starting to take notice. We will continue to see more of these bookings on the multi genre festivals, more shows in hard ticket venues, and more music fans gravitating towards this scene and their music.
Lastly, I think Grime is finally breaking through in America. What Skepta has done, and what we are starting to see Stormzy do is rather impressive. The audience is comprised of tastemakers, hip hop fans, bloggers, and I think soon, the mainstream. For the first time it’s being treated as it’s own genre rather than just “UK rap”…. Grime is going to continue to rise, and it is here to stay.”
You’ve booked BBQ tours, train tours, arena tours — what type of tours have you yet to organize that you would like to?
“I’m still trying to figure out how to do a show with Skrillex in space. Seriously.”
You’ve helped build out AM Only’s live roster: would you like to see more DJs experiment with live shows?
“Very rarely do we at AM Only represent a DJ who is not a producer. Many producers use DJing as the platform to present their music in a live setting. Going to see a DJ is awesome, and I will always love that, as will the fans. There will be always be a place for this and the DJ will live on forever. At this stage however, I think it’s time for producers the raise the bar on how they present their music. We have all seen the cryo, LED Walls, confetti and SFX gags. That is not a knock on production. Production is important. That’s why Justin Bieber has a big production, and The Weeknd, and Katy Perry, and Jay Z, and any other large scale touring act. These things are great and impactful, but we’ve seen it over and over. At this stage, it is now expected of you to bring a solid production if you want to be taken seriously. It’s time to start raising the bar on how electronic music is presented from a performance perspective. Not ALL the time, but I hope to start seeing it MORE of the time.”
You also represent some up-and-coming talent. What do you look for when signing new talent?
“First and foremast, quality music. After that, I ask myself if they have a unique sound and feel. I’m not in the assembly line business. Acts that I sign need to be special, and different than my other clients. If those boxes are checked, then I look at the team. Your team is SO SO SO important to your success as an artist. This does not mean that you must have Coran Capshaw listed on your Facebook page as a management contact. I work with managers of all walks of life and levels of experience. A seasoned and experienced manager is great, but passion for the client and the willingness to put hard work in is often enough for me. I work my ass for my clients, and I want to work with teams who are putting in the same level of effort. There are some other things I look at in my formula for signing, but I’m going to keep those to myself for the time being.”