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Progressing in the Music Industry with Nick Halkes, Co-Founder of XL Recordings (Pt.2)

Following on from our first video a few weeks back, we return to the guest music industry masterclass given by Nick Halkes. Nick is currently the manager of Liam Howlett (The Prodigy), Stanton Warriors, DnB dons Bad Company UK, Ministry of Sound-signed One Bit and more. He is also a member of the Reach Up crew who are bringing their disco/boogie soundtrack to Blue Dot, Bestival and Festival Number 6 this summer. Furthermore, since we shared the first part of this video, his ‘Trailblazers’ podcast with Eddie Temple Morris has launched, which aims to explore the lives of electronic music pioneers. At the time of writing, they have covered Gary Numan, Mary Anne Hobbes and Fatboy Slim, and the programme is the number 2 music podcast on iTunes. We’re big fans already and, if you have any interest in electronic music, we recommend you subscribe right away. Don’t forget we offer a range of music industry courses here at Point Blank, including our new BA (Hons) in Music Industry Management, starting in September.

For the second part of his masterclass with us, we pick up where we left off last time, with Nick in NYC…

As Nick brings us along on his journey from WBLS back to university, Easy Street Records to City Beat, Club Promo to A&R and finally to the formation of XL Recordings and the discovery of Liam Howlett and the Prodigy. Much like the first instalment, the story is full of golden anecdotes. These include getting calls from the likes of Pete Tong to his shared phone in student accommodation and hearing ‘Numero Uno’ by Starlight at a party and encountering the familiar hostility of some DJs to track hunters. Plus the fact that Nick designed the XL label himself, despite having no graphic design tuition.

Perhaps more importantly, the video is packed with invaluable wisdom, foremost of which is to be true to your own vision when starting a label or brand. The thing for Nick, it seems, was the desire to pour his energy into something that would look exactly how he wanted and, for him to achieve this, starting his own thing was the most surefire route. Not only that but, as with The Prodigy, it is equally vital to respect the vision that the artists you work with might have, as demonstrated by the Prodigy’s initial reluctance to appear on Top of the Pops, and their subsequent long career stacked with several number 1 releases.

You can follow Nick on social media:

Guest masterclasses like this one are something we strive to bring students of all of our classes and recent examples include Shan McGinley visiting our radio students. Check out our courses in these subjects and beyond at each of our schools in LondonMumbaiLos AngelesIbiza and online. If you have any questions, please call a course advisor on +44 20 7729 4884.

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