A VIBRANT APPROACH TO CHANGING THE UK HARDCORE MANAGEMENT GAME
Interviewed by Jon Brown
Meet April Taylor. She works around the clock every single day on a number of different ventures, from creatively developing her own artistic talents, to managing fledgling and fast growing businesses, to being a brilliant loving and caring Mother of two; April recently had the opportunity to transform her love of the currently booming underground electronic music scene known as UK hardcore into a bonafide, fully functioning career.
From talented artists she admired from afar as a fan, to recognised headliners that she can now with ease, call friends, April has created the Vibrant Agency which represents some of the most talented people in the electronic music scene with a view to pioneering their already busy booking schedules and accompanying that representation with a personal touch that includes development of their image and a bespoke service that also aids in the boosting of their press portfolio.
We caught up with April for a chat, about her plans for such an exciting new venture.
Hello April! How are you? Tell us a bit about yourself and what it is you’re doing that’s got many talented artists and promoters so excited?
“Hello! Well I am a Mum of my two little boys Ollie & Dexter and I also run two businesses plus volunteering so a busy bee! I got into UK hardcore back in 2006 actually going out to events, but my brother played me Hixxy’s ‘Shooting Star’ coming on for 14 years ago now and I fell in love with the music! I never thought that when I was out raving that I would actually one day become an agent!”
What was the inspiration behind the project? What was it that gave you the idea to develop the agency in the way that you have?
“I actually saw that Mike (Enemy) was looking for an agent. My previous job, I was a PA for a Senior Manager, so I knew that side of the work, little did I know how different it would be but I do love it and adapted very well.
I wanted to be able to offer something different to ensure all artists have goals that I can help them reach. Representing some of the most widely known artists like Outforce, Al Storm, Enemy, Skatty, but also taking on some of the freshest up and coming artists like all the guys in the Demo Sessions group and artists such as Jakka-B, Jekyll, Clarkey and Shutts, giving them a chance to get them to be seen. There are some seriously amazing up and coming artists out there and I really do feel it’s time we see more of them on the bigger line ups!”
As a result of launching the agency, which artists have you taken on?
“I’m very proud to say, that I have now got on the Agency:
Al Storm (Deadman) – is well known in the hardcore scene running his own label 24/7 and on a number of albums. With the support of Hardcore Underground his latest album ‘Dark Shadows 2’ has been a huge success and since getting his VISA, his work in the USA has been extremely popular.
Outforce – started out at GTYM but since venturing off into his own has been working hard on his newest free download album ‘Out In Force’ and he is now currently working on ‘Relentless 2’ with MC Enemy and looking to be signed to a label early this year. He is becoming hugely popular in the South West and fantastic to have him on board!
Jakka-B – signed to Future World, has associations with Demo Sessions and is also part of #SWM, Jakka also runs Raveolution events and podcasts and manages to work full time! He is very passionate and dedicated to hardcore supporting the scene in any way possible, his main goal of 2016 is to get more bookings up North and keep working hard in the studio. He played at ‘HTID Soundwave’ last October and with the support of HTID he has been able to get bookings at other events like Core Blimey. I have no doubt that this year he will become very popular.
Bananaman – has been more known for his old school sets and we wanted to have a legend of the hardcore history on the agency! He has two brilliant labels Jump for Joy and Silk Cuts; I wanted to support him and get increased bookings for his new material he has been working on but also encourage old classic sets at events. This is where hardcore came from and we need to ensure we remember this!
Jekyll – is also signed to Future World and in association with Demo Sessions has made a huge impression in the hardcore scene at ‘HTID NYE’ with Clarkey and MC Whizzkid, this was an incredible step for him and fully deserves it. Working a full time job and being a Dad he manages to come up with his own incredible edge and style of his music! He has a massive interest in bookings and is one to watch out for!
Clarkey – with some of the UK’s biggest events under his belt including main stage ‘HTID NYE’ with Jekyll and his previous involvement with Future World Records, Clarkey is rapidly becoming a household name in the UK’s hardcore scene, since coming back he has been focusing on his production. When playing out his stage presence and tune selection certainly makes an impact on the night – great to have him back and part of the agency!
Demo Sessions – (comprising of Clarkey, Jakka-B, Jekyll, Leggett, Shutts, Mono and Fluid), these guys bring to the stage something I never seen before and they have managed to put a dent in the hardcore scene with their brand and support pushing it. Their connection is so tight on stage and you can really see that passion within them when they are on stage together! Their latest new ‘Demo Sessions’ mix is due to be out soon and cannot wait!
MC Enemy – is one of the biggest MC artists in the scene and really pushing himself for 2016. He has just released his latest album, ‘Album Sessions Four: The History’ with DJ Mob which you can get from the Hardcore Underground store, there is the comeback of SE1’s ‘Bar Wars’ with MC Static and there is huge excitement and anticipation for this. Then we have ‘Relentless 2’ with Outforce and after ‘Relentless 1’ & ‘1.5’ mixes everyone in the UK scene is really looking forward to seeing what they are going to do for this mix. Being well known in the UK he has had a huge increase in international bookings over the last year and we are going to carry on pushing that this year!
MC Static – having a year out to focus on family life, Static is back, ready for business and already hitting main stages across the entire UK! Signed to Future World Records and half of the well-known duo act SE1 with MC Enemy, his return has already proved to be popular with bookings flying in!
MC Skatty – is so talented and really using this year to get himself back out over the UK and settled down, with also the support of Marc Smith now being signed to Notourious Label and past label Broken Records with MC Whizzkid, he has been well known in the past for his party style MCin & impact he has made a dent in the Hardcore Scene but yet he still manages to smash each and every set whether sober or not!. He is now also running new event called Insomnia so we can expect big things for 007 Bondage this year!
Shutts – has come through so quickly he seems to be all over the UK most weekends! Highlights include playing at ‘HTID NYE’, also signed to Future of Hardcore and part of Demo Sessions & SWM he is becoming very well known – this year will definitely be his break-through he has been working on for so long.
Why did you feel this was the right time to launch the agency, and what is it about the artists that you’ve signed in particular that makes you say “these are the guys that I want on my team”?
I saw the opportunity with Mike and I thought it would work well around the family along with my other business – I used him as a trial to see if it was something I wanted to continue with and see if we both got on well.
After a few months I decided to continue the agency and I knew who I wanted to approach to be on the agency, since then I have had a high demand of artists wanting to join the agency but I wanted to walk before I could run.
The guys I have on the agency are incredible, they are so lovely and also great friends too. I really do believe in every one of them and I want to see amazing things for 2016, I have their goals and work with them to help ensure they are met.
So where next for Vibrant and where can we find out more about everything you are doing?
I have a number of artists interested in joining the agency but as I say, I wanted to walk before I could run, as I spend long hours working and it is extremely time consuming to do right.
I have a few well known artists I am looking to take on board in the next few months and I am also supporting an up and coming artist who really adds something different to the other artists on the agency with his unique style, we are trying to build his portfolio up and get him some more studio sessions with the guys that are already on the agency and if all goes well we will be taking him on fully this Summer!
I am focusing on building a good working relationship with the promoters too and help them in any way possible to help their events, I don’t want them thinking I am bugging them for bookings, I really do want to push the hardcore scene and support it!
We have a Facebook page which we post daily upon of all of the artists latest music from and what events they will be appearing at. We have also just launched our new website www.vibrantagency.co.uk which you can find all you need to know about the agency and the artists including links to all of their social media channels, music related sites and so forth! We are also currently looking at doing podcasts and mixes and are looking to take on some more artists as 2016 unfolds, as well looking at some regular shows on FM radio and DAB channels amongst other avenues. Very exciting stuff!
April thanks for your time and the very best of luck with it! To find out more about the Vibrant Agency, visit www.vibrantagency.co.uk