We are pleased to have guest columnists, DJs and remix artists The Disco Fries, offering their takes on Electronic Dance Music (EDM), popular music education, and core elements of popular music success.
It was late fall of 2004 when Danny (Boselovic) and I jumped into Berklee College of Music in Boston and met as roommates freshman year. Polar opposite is an understatement. I grew up on hip-hop and New York centric dance music, ran an independent record label, and was always looking for ways to make a buck and return the investment on 10 years of piano lessons. On the other hand, Danny was a trombone player, academic over achiever, Radiohead and technology fanatic and basically the kid that could run you in Tetris within minutes. There was no shortage of jokes about our differences but the common ground was always evident. We started experimenting on music together our freshman year and by junior year had an apartment where we managed to piss off every neighbor in a half mile radius by blaring electronic dance music or “EDM” as it is now commonly known. It was for certain that we would be making melodic dance music for the long haul; we just didn’t expect the tidal wave that was coming.
Fast-forward 5 years from graduation and here we are in the midst of mass-crazy. With weekly festivals to attend and EDM DJs raking in hundreds of millions of dollars every year on touring, licensing and endorsement deals. We went from Derek Jeter being everyone’s hero to Tiesto being the “second coming.” Kids ask their parents for a DJ rig rather than going out for pop-Warner and some of the biggest EDM artists on the planet were born after 1995. Our booking rate in Las Vegas easily would have covered a lifetime supply ramen noodles and 6 months rent in our Boston apartment during college and yet there are still naysayers in regard to what’s happening not only in this music but in the business of this music. Despite the negative Nancys, plenty of mega corporations are staying on top of all of it. Major conglomerates such as Live Nation and SFX are dedicating massive resources to obtain, partner with, and create new EDM entities to keep feeding the machine. Unlike most music waves that have a shelf life, there is absolutely no end in sight on this one because of the broad demographic that it reaches. When was the last time you heard of stockbrokers, hipsters, fans of 2Chainz, and your parents, all listening and partying to the same genre of music? Likely, the answer is NEVER before NOW.
With all of that said, there are a few hot button items, which, in hindsight, would have been great to know while digging in at Berklee. Like most things, the majority of knowledge comes with real world experience and especially with what’s happening at the moment, it wouldn’t have been the easiest task to tackle in the curriculum, but having a foundation for how to establish brand equity would’ve been an incredibly helpful focus to have throughout the program considering its importance in today’s marketplace.
CONSISTENCY: No matter if its Pizza Hut, Macy’s or KASKADE (the DJ, not the detergent), the look, vibe, delivery, and most importantly, PRODUCT, must all remain consistent.
ENGAGEMENT: What is making people talk about your brand? Is it the live show, your musical releases, or maybe it’s your character and all of those other things feed into what your personality is all about. Identify what your brand focus is, and let all engagement activities (social media interaction, live shows, radio interviews, music releases, etc.) feed that focus.
ACCESSIBILITY: The most important part of being an artist is not only having your musical output readily available for people to download, but it is also appearing in as many cities as you possibly can to extend the face of your brand. Touring will likely be your main source of revenue. Don’t overextend and overbook yourself so the art suffers, but keep a balance between creating your product (the music) and promoting the product (live shows).
At this point in our careers, we have honed in on focusing the brand of Disco Fries. It has taken 5 years to get to a point where we are comfortable on where the direction of our sound is headed, our live show is polished to a point that it makes sense to have a fulltime agency on board and we schedule our work weeks with more hours on call than your local physician. A career in music is simply about prioritizing your goals and focusing your brand, teaching the skills on how to do this is imperative to further the education of our future creators.
By Nick Ditri of the Disco Fries
The Disco Fries have gone from making tunes in their dorm room to inducing mass ruckus at clubs across the globe with signature tracks, which have been co-signed by some of the biggest names in EDM like Tiesto, Hardwell, Kaskade, Steve Aoki, and Armand Van Helden. Nick “Piklz” Ditri and Danny “Danger” Boselovic have consistently blurred the lines between genres.
Like the Disco Fries on Facebook:Facebook.com/TheDiscoFries
Follow the Disco Fries on Twitter: @TheDiscoFries