Access All Areas with air london's David O

Words by: Stephen Flynn
Posted: 13/3/12 10:31

Access All Areas with air london's David OSince forming in 2009, air london has quickly emerged as one of electronic music's leading agencies, representing a host of diverse and international artists under their increasingly bulging roster. The intervening years has seen them branch out too, so much so that they now incorporate a label as well as the occasional party into proceedings.

With Djs and producers of the calibre of Nick Curly, Session Victim and Simon Baker all on their books, it's little wonder really, that the success has come thick and fast. But what makes an underground inclined agency tick? And is it really necessary?

I Voice caught up with their founder, David O recently, to discover the answer to these questions and much more besides...

Can you explain to those who don't know, exactly what your role is?
I’m David, and I'm the founder of air london.

And what is it air london do exactly?
We're an agency and a label, a loose collective of independently minded artists. To be honest, the agency is more established than the label, although this is something we are addressing this year.

So how did the venture start?
Completely by accident. I was fortunate enough to befriend a couple of rising DJs/producers, namely Simon Baker and a pair of guys called The Electric Press. I gave them a hand with their first bookings, and after a while they started to do well.  Nothing that has come afterwards would have happened had it not been for that fortunate situation.

We look for individuals who don’t want to follow the crowd, & for people who can perform, & not “just” make good music... So part of your success is attributable to chance then?
The early part, yes. Later on came a lot of hard work, some smart decisions, a ton of patience and a lot of late nights.

Was there any or particular reasoning or long term planning behind the venture?
There was no reasoning, no. It was just one of those things that you do when you are kid because it's fun. It still is fun. We love our acts, we love what we do.

You entered the market at an uncertain economic time. Did that impact your thoughts and plans at all?
It's never felt uncertain to us, even when London clubs were dropping like flies around us. You hear people say that “folks will always want to go out and dance”, and I am wonderfully happy to report that that seems to be the case. I love that.

What exactly do you look for in an air london artist?
We look for individuals who don’t want to follow the crowd, and for people who can perform, and not “just” make good music.

How does a booking agency help the artist out though? Is it any different than having an agent?
In my mind they're the same thing. Hopefully what we have accomplished with air london is to give the artist

  • A) the best possible platform and means of communicating what they do,
  • B) a sense of freedom to do whatever they want to do, (musically or otherwise), whilst
  • C) having a feeling of family with the other acts in our crew...

So maintaining a 'family' philosophy is important to the agency I gather...
It's fairly important, yeah. Everyone gets on because they choose to, not because they have to. It’s a big buzz to go away together and have a blast.

Do air london lean towards a certain 'sound' at all?
I would say no, although others may well say yes. Inevitably, there are groups within the group – for example Matt, Laura, Simon, Gavin, Sam and a few more from Leftroom. Nick and some of the Cecille acts.

When we do our parties we really try and mix things up as much as possible though, and it's fun to see new connections being made, such as Nick Curly and Glimpse. Glimpse cracks Nick up, although to be fair Glimpse cracks everyone up. We are all on the train to Sankeys at the moment and we’re all missing Chris, especially after his confectionery-based antics last time around...

Confectionery-based antics...?!
Yeah, it started with 12 Krispy Kreme donuts and grew from there. Stream of consciousness comedy all the way from Manchester to London. You know Grego? Well he was there and can probably describe it better than me. Let's just say last Sunday’s trip was worse off for being Glimpse-free....

Right....! You metioned earlier about you being an agency first and foremost, but was the label part of the plan from the off?
No, not really. Although I started doing the murmur label with Geddes and really enjoyed doing it. When we parted ways on that, I still wanted to be involved in that side of things, so starting the air london label became an obvious choice when I was surrounded by good acts and talking to them every day.

You're returning to Miami this year, so I gather parties are a big part of what you do too?
Important yes, big no. We love doing parties and most of us originally come from that background. With air london parties, we do them infrequently and only when we are really turned on to it. The Miami party is the only regular thing we do in terms of timing, and that’s annually.

Why's that?
I love Miami, I love the Electric Pickle and we have made that first day there kind of our own. I'm not handing that over to anyone else now!

With such an international roster and agenda then, why the need for the 'London' association? Is it simply where you're based or an integral component of what you do?
At the time it was a question of location, yeah. Im thinking about changing it though. I change my mind like the wind changes though.

You're also bringing air london to Moscow, San Francisco and Ibiza soon. How important is an international agenda to you?
It's massively important. Any excuse to go away for the weekend and carry on is grabbed with both hands, and always will be.

And what's different about an air london party?
Of the ones we do ourselves, we always try and introduce a different concept every time. Don't get me wrong, a regular-style, 10pm-6am Saturday night is cool; but I like to take chances and offer up something that will get people buzzing to come.

Take the last two London parties were we did something last Easter with most of the crew coming to play on a Sunday night. I thought to myself: “how good would it be if we did this for free”. I knew I would lose money, but once I had the idea I couldn’t let it go. The party was ace - although it was fucking hot in there!

You did a daytime one recently too right?
The last one was a daytime thing, again on a Sunday but this time in November. I think we just wanted to avoid competition with that one. Not many people do daytime parties in November. Thankfully for my bank balance, this one wasn't free though. Again, it was a gamble but it turned out well. We'd done Sankeys the night before though, so we were all ruined come Sunday night. We did learn that the Hoxton Hotel’s Bloody Mary’s really help you out on a Sunday afternoon though. Check them out!

And what have you got in store for us over the coming months?
The completion of (hopefully) a very cool new website - it's been killing me getting this done. And some really cool parties. And possibly one or two really cool new acts coming with us too...

air london presents A Night In The Air @ Electric Pickle
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 20:00 - 05:00
Electric Pickle/ 2826 N. Miami Ave. - Miami, FL 33127
Elon, Gavin Herlihy, Geddes, Jaen Paniagua, Jordan Peak, Kate Simko, Laura Jones
MANIK, Matt Tolfrey, Nitin, Sam Russo, Simon Baker & Tim Green
Air London presents A Night In The Air @ Electric Pickle
For more information contact  Cecilia Börjeson

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