MEOKO AGENT NO CLICK 1

Happy New Year! I’m back. If I were the apologetic type I’d say I was sorry for the delay. Where was I? This is Episode 3 of my Dance Agent guide for Meoko. Establishing yourself in the music business can be tricky. Not if you keep following these words…

Clubbin’ UK International Music Booking Agents and Promotions Limited were originally based in my bedroom, on the streets, in back-street Birmingham pubs and other people’s kitchens. I didn’t start out of an office. Nobody in this game does, but if you end up being successful you have to get one… in London. After DJ Carl’s 1992 Christmas Day performance of Es Are Good on the Top of the Pops provided the day after the following day’s chip papers something to get uppity about, my phone didn’t stop ringing.

 

– Is DJ Carl endorsing homosexuality? 

– What?

– Is DJ Carl making coded references on Top of the Pops to man shags?

– Eh?

– Come on, Dante. He’s singing “He’s are good”. It can only mean that DJ Carl enjoys carnal relationships with other men. Do you deny this accusation?

– I don’t know him enough to say.

– So you are saying that Es Are Good is a song about how good it is to get off with men…by a man?

– It’s about drugs I think.

– Bullshit. He’s a duckie.

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Tabloid journalists. This was the early nineties. Elton hadn’t come out yet, Freddy was a sex symbol for women and Boy George was just thought of as a stringy bit of pop candy floss. They were not the enlightened times we live in today. DJ Carl had written Es Are Good as a tribute to ecstasy but nobody believed him. Unfortunately for him, and temporarily for me, he stopped DJing and ceased to make records. That Top of the Pops performance where he – remember that this was 1992 – licked his lips as one of his backing dancers hugged him was his one and only appearance on television.

I still make comfortable money from Es Are Good because of my ‘10%’, publishing rights and ‘intellectual property’; DJ Carl, however, sunk into a funk and committed a dreadful suicide. In April 1993 he was found hung, drawn and quartered by the neck until dead in his kitchen by me and his then girlfriend. We were sleeping with one another behind his back and he’d told us that he was in Bristol that weekend. He was a fantastic liar.

The initial modest success of Es Are Good turned into a great commercial success on the back of it first becoming an unexpected gay anthem and, secondly, after the death of DJ Carl. This catchy, heady mixture of blink-and-you-miss-him, one-hit pop star, futuristic DJ and tragic idol made me cash rich for the first time. The death of DJ Carl also freed me up to work with new artists. After DJ Carl’s funeral, Es Are Good went to number one in 14 countries (that’s 14 territories) and there was to be no pressure to follow it up from the major record label that had paid me a substantial amount of money for a cut of the contract.

I dumped DJ Carl’s girlfriend, moved to London and bought myself an office in Soho. Clubbin’ UK International Music Booking Agents and Promotions Limited was to be a proper organisation.

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Tip 1 – where to base yourself

If you live in the UK and want to make a name for yourself in the music business, you move to London. I’ve had offices in Muswell Hill, Queens Park, Northolt and Greenford but the office that I miss the most is my old Soho HQ. Soho has it all. It just sounds good if you tell a prospective artist or business partner that you are based in Soho. Soho is in the very heart of London; it has loads of cafes, boozers and private members clubs. It is easy to get to from any part of London and is not swarming with the awful, soul-sapping, try-hard, wannabe Mongols that you have parading about Dalston, Shoreditch, Whitechapel, Bethnal Green, Hoxton Square, Stoke Newington, Kingsland, Brick Lane, Aldgate, Aldgate East, Hackney, Hackney Downs, Hackney Central, London Fields, certain streets in Southwark and Peckham in the summer, all pretending to be a part of a scene that only exists in their hairstyles. Soho is the real deal. In 1995 I was the very first business man to install stainless steel fixtures and fittings against a backdrop of shiny wood floor panelling and bright, Perspex partitioning in Soho. Every Soho office space has since adopted this style. It is also where I was first able to impress and woo local journalists and influential media types.

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Tip 2 – Selecting which journalists and media outlets to curry favour with

Simple. Don’t go straight for your senior journalists and editors at your Mixmags, DJ Mags, Jockey Sluts, NMEs and your Muziks directly. Unless you’re already established they don’t want to know. Go on Twitter and start Retweeting journalists who work at these magazines but are quite far down the ladder. Reply to what they think are humourous Tweets with a LOL here and a #BangOn there. Endorse everything that they endorse. Ingratiate yourself with the lower downers and eventually your name, face, whatever will be known to at least one person at the magazine/website/etc. Pretend to like their articles and lie when they ask you if you like bass and 90s tinged piano hip-house. After a month or two of pandering, say that you are also going to the club night that they have been banging on about, casually say that you’ll see them there and bowl over with drinks when you spot them. Get them drunk, offer them coke and insist that their little reviews in the magazine and blog posts on the website are better than everybody else’s contributions. Confidently mention that you are a DJ, promoter, agent, whatever you actually are and continue the courtship until you’re on nodding terms with their colleagues. When you feel comfortable, move on to their superiors and continue the game. Buy drinks, arrange drugs, introduce girls and throw parties, share everything they write around the internet and even buy them dinner if you have to. Slowly suck on the egos of the people who write about what you are involved in and, if you’re good enough at it, within a few years it’ll be the other way round. Trust me.

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Tip 3 – Cut dead wood

DJ Carl was a success. EDManuelle could yet be a success. DJ Slag Hammer is MASSIVE in Budapest. Bill Pitt is atrocious at DJing and does not have any work ethic. He may be my cousin but I’ve had to terminate our rolling contract. In business, water is thicker than blood. Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions at the start of your career, in the middle and – when you get there – at the end. Over Christmas I moved house, sacked my cousin, the divorce came through and I made the toughest decision of my life: I have hung up my dance agent boots. I no longer represent anyone. I’m not hip anymore and my finger couldn’t give a fuck about the pulse. In the world of dance music I’m a sad old twat who lost it years ago – hence this sorry series of nostalgic articles by me. Next week (Episode 4) I’m going remember the good old days and tell you how great I was for a bit; it’s the fun one before Episode 5 where I go very dark.

Read Dante Pascal Episode One Here

Read Dante Pascal Episode Two Here

 

See you next week,

Dante