5 Minutes With: Outset Artists
Jamie links up with bookings veteran Jordan Wells to chat about his brand new agency venture. Rider requests at the ready, we are going in!
Your agency life hasn’t just started with Outset has it? Give us the breakdown for those that don’t know about your career so far in the music industry.
“I started off at an agency called Absence which then turned into what was now known as Kinphonic what must have been 5 or 6 years ago now? They were more of an EDM agency, but gave me some quality experience!
In 2016 I started at Urban Agency. This was a dream come true for me – an absolutely massive roster with the music that I originally grew up with. I’ve also done the odd event under a couple of different brand names.”
Before all the glamour of haggling with promoters and booking flights, what were you doing before all of this?
“I was actually a customer service representative for a company handling magazine subscriptions. I know it doesn’t sound much but if the Radio Times didn’t hit doorsteps on a Tuesday there was hell to pay! I was also putting on small parties under a brand named Distinct Audio in Maidstone, which is actually where I met Jon at Urban for the first time.”
Talking of promoters, that must be a joy sometimes? Do you have any funny stories from past experience?
“To be honest with you, I love dealing with promoters! Hearing about how their events have gone and building relationships with them is all a part of the job.
I remember when I was at Urban a promoter got in touch with us to say they didn’t think an act had turned up to their event. Turns out the artist just looked incredibly different to their press picture, to the point the promoter thought they’d got a mate to stand in.”
Riders are a big deal these days no? Is this something that’s been around forever? I swear this wasn’t a thing back in the days of jungle?
“Definitely since I’ve started they’ve been a thing and even when I was promoting parties. There’s no doubt that drum & bass has thrived in the last few years, and I think because of that, there has been more artists playing alongside some of the top names, where riders are a normal thing.”
What’s the best rider you have ever requested for an artist?
“To be fair, there’s been nothing too crazy – the odd ‘Bob Marley kit’ for some guys. I’m sure one guy made me double everything on his rider because he knew the promoter could afford it.”
So no more hunting down the promoter at the end of the night for an envelope filled with £5 notes?
“Ha ha none of that mate, I can’t remember the last time I had to handle with an artist getting shorted!”
How do you find dealing with large scale events and overseas shenanigans compares to your small, intimate raves? I suspect it’s sometimes easier with the bigger promoters?
“Not at all to be honest with you. The only thing you’ll find with the larger scale events is that everything will be paid well upfront instead of a payment plan you might have to put in with the smaller guys. You can really build a relationship with the smaller promoters, when the bigger guys come in it’s all business!”
Do you have a personal dream team of DJs and MCs you would love to see on a line up playing whatever era you wanted? How could you make it happen?
Oh mate, 100% – you know my tastes as well as I do. Everything that was peaking 98-02 and then 06-10. I mean I’m in the privileged position to have met a lot of my heroes over the years – maybe I could call some favours on, ay?”
Tell us about Outset, how did this all come together?
“I’ve always wanted my own agency, myself and Urban parted ways back in March and after that, there wasn’t a second thought – this was the time to do it. A.M.C put me in touch with the S9 boys and Jae Overtech (now a part of Magnetude) set me up with Kryptomedic and the rest is history!”
Being an agent must all be about relationships with artists and the reputation you create? What steps do you put in place to deal with this?
“Oh of course man! You’re working with these guys everyday – you start to get each other on a personal level pretty quickly.
For me it’s to always go in and not be a massive fan boy ha ha! Business is business at the end of the day, you have to show these guys that you mean it. I think that goes for relationships with everyone in this industry to be honest, not just the artists.”
Why do you think so many agencies start up then vanish a few months later? It all seems like SUCH a good idea I guess?
“This is a tough one, but I don’t think many people notice how much time you have to dedicate to an agency. It’s not your normal 9 to 5 – it’s a worldwide business and you have to be open most hours of the day to cater for everyone.”
Who’s on your rosta at the moment?
Ekko & Sidetrack
If an up and coming artist is reading this, how do they start to create links with Outset?
“All they have to do is drop me an email. I reply and check 100% of my emails, so I will be checking out their music etc – guaranteed”
I assume you don’t just take on anyone with a sync button?
“Ha ha nope! I’ve had this chat with a few guys recently. If an artist is gigging regularly, or is a project that I see with massive potential then it’s a yes from me. To be honest, the joy I’ve got with Outset is I’m building a roster of artists whose music I adore and I know I can give a proper push to!”
What about genres? Are you just a drum and bass agency?
“At the moment, it’s just drum & bass yes. But I’m in talks with a few other acts outside of the scene. Like I said, I’m building a roster of artists whose music I like – and my taste goes deeper than just drum and bass.”
Finally, any shouts?
“Jon and Micky at Urban Agency and – I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance and the opportunities they gave me. A.M.C, MC AD, Jae Overtech, Keya and Erritate – these boys really put me in the right mindset to make Outset happen. Also – Ash Blewer – I started In Ya Face with him last year, and he was an incredible mentor to me for a few years, definitely learned a few life lessons from this guy!”