Get to know the epic party people.
Where does the name Astral People come from?
We had a lot of trouble coming up with our name and one night I remember Jonti (one of our first managed acts) came up with the word ‘Astral’ which we loved as we always felt our original sound was very intergalactic and beyond this world. I then slapped on ‘People’ on the end of it to give it more of a unique approach and generally just to make the name easier to search. And the rest is history.
Who is the original team that came up with Astral?
The original team behind Astral People was myself (Tom Huggett), Vic Edirisinghe and Lee Danilewitz. Lee is now working over at Sony doing some amazing things with their electronic division and Vic and I are still doing the same thing …. flying this Astral flag.
At what point did you guys decide the timing was right to start Astral?
We launched Astral People in August 2011. The timing was perfect really. I graduated from university that year, Lee wanted to go full time in the music industry and Vic was starting to finish up his university degree and everything just fell in to place. At the time there was no real dedicated home in Sydney managing electronic artists and putting on club nights which bridged the gap between live acts and dj’s so we thought … hey, let’s give this a shot. It was a very different world back then in Sydney, there wasn’t nearly as much competition compared to today and everything was a lot more fresh to your local punter so it all just worked out, I guess we were in the right place at the right time.
What day jobs were you each working when you decided to quit to pursue this full time?
Vic was finishing his degree in Health Science while working at a call centre and promoting for clubs on the side. Lee (from memory) was working in insurance and managing Jonti on the side. I was working in an accounting firm and managing a couple of artists on the side and running some club nights around town.
Quitting your job to pursue a dream doesn’t seem like an easy decision to make, you all must have been pretty confident in Astral to come to this consensus?
I remember when I was a little kid listening to this guy Daryl Somers saying ”you never know if you never go” and it’s absolutely true. If you truly have a passion to pursue your dream then you will do all what is (ethically) possible to make it a reality. It took us years of working our asses off and living thrifty until this business made financial sense but we made it!
So it seems at its roots Astral People was formed to bring together Australian artists?
Yeah we definitely wanted to create a home for like minded Australian where they could collaborate and play shows together. It’s awesome to see all the little niche crews which have formed out of our family – on one side you have Cliques, Alba, Dro Carey etc. who are working together in more of the house/bass/techno world and then on the other end of the spectrum you have kids like Cosmo’s Midnight, Wave Racer and Basenji who are almost creating their own genre pullings from all different bright and bubbly electronic sounds across the web which have ended up influencing an entire wave of bedroom producers via Soundcloud.
Was it a domino effect when getting artists together where you guys got a couple and then more and more local artists wanted your support?
It was definitely a bit of a domino effect. We started with our core 6-8 artists and then it just grew organically from there. Our original artists ended up creating side projects which we would then manage and then we’d pretty much find all the other talent ourselves. That’s really how it should work when it comes to management – the artist shouldn’t be knocking on the managers door, if the music is amazing then the right manager will find you.
At what point did you start introducing artists from overseas?
This all happened pretty much from the get go. Our second ever party we put on was with Chicago R&B artist How To Dress Well just 4 months after our launch.
Was it always part of the plan to start locally and then eventually branch out to putting together tours for artists from all over the world?
Our international touring division was always a priority from day one, it just took a little while to kick the gears in to motion. As you can imagine there isn’t too much money in keeping a business afloat on management commission from local artists who are only just starting up so in the early stages of Astral People we needed to find a way to allow this business to survive and international touring was the answer, especially back then when there was much less competing Australian tour promoters in the game. It’s a tough game, but we’re pretty stoked to say we’ve now booked close to 100 Australian tours for international artists come mid 2017.
What does the future hold for Astral People? More artists? More countries?
We’re starting to spend a lot more time in the US with Astral so we’ll definitely be doing a lot more of that next year and beyond. Apart from that we have some big debut albums from our management roster which will drop next year and we also just signed our first act to management in close to 2 years which we will be launching in January. On the tours/events front we’re bringing back our Summer Dance series at The National Art School this January and we’re touring everyone from NAO to Pantha du Prince next year.
Favorite fashion, skate or film spot in Sydney?
Skate Spot – My old stomping grounds at Menai Bowl.
Film Spot – The Chauvel Cinema in Paddington will always hold a place in my heart.
Fashion – I’m all online baby.