Dom Clifton is label manager for DJ Chuckie’s imprint Dirty Dutch Music. He talks to VIRPP about what new talent should do to get noticed and the music industry.
Dirty Dutch Music is one of a number of record labels Dom manages as part of Club Class Music Group, which operates some of the highest levels of the business with over 20 years experience from events and promotion to management and record labels, strategically enhancing and developing their understanding across the breadth of the industry as suppliers but also consumers. Their management roster consists of globally recognised names such as Chuckie, Goodboys, Gok Wan, James Hype and Meduza.
How does DDM look at new talent?
“It depends, really. There are a lot of people out there that want to make it in this industry. Next to the traditional demo drops, we sometimes get tips from our artists or other clients on who they’re excited about. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and that experience helps in understanding what a radio record should sound like. When we hear something new, we look at the potential. It can be a strange road, for example Meduza, didn’t exist before 2019, so together we built them into this new act, which has turned into a global monster. Sometimes you have to look really hard and sometimes it can just present itself to you.”
What would your advice be to aspiring DJ’s and producers?
“Pay attention to what kind of music is popular and on what label you want to get released on. The music on a major label is obviously different compared to Dirty Dutch Music. And don’t forget to factor in streaming platforms. The shift to streaming has necessitated to tracks being under three minutes with no real ‘beat’ intro. The radio version is the one that would get the most exposure, given the ubiquity and power that streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple music have now, especially with all the clubs being closed and everybody being at home during the COVID-pandemic. You have got to realise there is a bigger world out there then just DJ’s and dance floors so don’t forget the big consumer market that has got a lot of potential to grow your records. A lot of independent labels don’t necessarily try to tap into that.”
What should new artist do to stand out and get noticed?
“That is difficult nowadays seeing there is quite a oversaturation in different markets. When I listen to new music, I always hope to find good club music with crossover potential for radio. Make something catchy whether it is a vocal hook or an instrumental or lead. It’s not enough to just have a good beat. Your music should make the ears of the listener stand up.”
So, be original?
“Not necessarily. You don’t have to come up with something groundbreaking. Use the tools you have, like covers or maybe inspiration to create a moment, that draws you in. Melody is also important. Something that is recognizable for a big audience. Words, and beats that are easy to remember and sing along to.”
What are your thoughts on VIRPP?
“This platform has a lot of potential to help us find those diamonds in the rough. We also love that you can get in touch with the talent directly. It’s great that you guys do the heavy lifting so we can reach all those unknown talents. We started with a competition where DJ’s and producers can drop their demo for a potential release on Chuckie’s Dirty Dutch Music.”
How do you listen to demos?
“The thing is demos usually get about three or four clicks of five second each. I’m looking at the first few bars. After that the buildup to the first drop, obviously the drop and the last breakdown to the final drop. Those moments in a song are the key points to get a gist of how viable the song is for us to get a release.”