Our weekly series about promoters from India and how it really works in this business has been a great success. After a very informative interview with Limn Entertainment last week, we had a chat with Prateek Pandey (Head Honcho at sLick!). Known to do some of the ‘sLickest’ tours across India, Prateek has been responsible for showcasing legendary artists in India. From Dubfire to James Zabiela to John Digweed, sLick! has been on the forefront of underground music in India from Day one. To take to the next level he also introduced ‘A Day of sLick’ featuring top notch artists like Jeremy Olander, Guy J, Magdalena, Sharam Jey, Kohra and many more. Adding to the legendary names that have already toured with the company, Cristoph is scheduled to tour this September with them. To know more on how Prateek and sLick go on about their business, read our interview below:
Q1. What are the biggest challenges you face when trying to promote your events to a niche audience?
Majority of the people in india, who are going out to clubs or bars every weekend are still not a music oriented crowd. They are there for an X number of reasons but not for checking out new music or any music for that matter.
One really has to dig deep, work on networking, build a database of people who are 1) music oriented & going out clubbing for the music & 2) you then have to sift through that list to find people who like the kind of music you promote.
Some of the fees that these artists charge are completely disproportionate to the number of people in india who are into that ‘niche’ music scene.
Q2. How many people normally assist in the production and promotion of an event? (Festival & Club Night)
It can range from 2 people to 300 or more depending on the scale of the event. I prefer a small team filled with people who can multitask
Q3. What do you look for when booking international acts and your support lineups?
A lot of times I’ve booked artists solely because I wanted to hear them in India. Lot of times that has backfired haha
One has to gauge their fan following, check with the clubs you work with if they think this works at an X price & try to strike a balance between what satisfies your own personal music taste with what the people want vis a vis what you want to promote in your market. For me, choosing the international act to book is the toughest & yet most satisfying part of the job.
We always try to strike a balance between booking established acts to support international talent alongside some rank newcomers or DJs trying to make a name. Unfortunately a lot of clubs in india gauge the Indian talent upon their ability to bring in the numbers which sometimes makes it tough to book a lot of DJs I would have liked to book based purely on their sound. But if the sound fits, for me, it’s a go. Case in point : Hoax being on the support lineup for Joseph Capriati 😉
Q4. How long have you been listening to electronic music? What’s your preferred genre?
I’ve been listening to dance music for close to 11 years now if not more. As you grow older your taste naturally matures to serious no frills attached music. I’m very open to all kinds of dance music but still prefer a good slab of serious, heads down progressive house which DJs like Digweed, Cattaneo or Guy J throw down.
Q5. In your opinion, how would you like our scene to progress? What can party-goers do to be a part of a cohesive scene?
It’s still all very new for India. The clubbing scene in Europe has been around for decades. We are in the nascent stage right now although it’s rapidly increasing, for better or worse, due to the incessant exposure to all sorts of music. Some of it is good & done with the right reason. Some of it is done just to make a quick buck.
Party goers are the single most important aspect. I have so many promoter friends in Europe who have a fixed number of regulars attending all their gigs,helping them behind the scene & then partying in front in the floor. We definitely need more interactive party goers who treat a particular night or property as their own, get their friends involved & then their friends involve their friends ….it’s happening right now but it needs to happen even more
Q6. List some of your worst experiences? (Dealing with clubs, fans or any other problems you have faced)
I’ve said this before & I’ll say it again : delayed payments, which is somehow so ingrained in the Indian club owners brains is the biggest pest. One delayed payment has a chain reaction & a it’s a vicious cycle of delayed payments all around. If you’re business is dependent on payments coming on time to pay DJs, vendors, other promoters etc & club owners or sponsors continue to delay payments it becomes increasingly difficult to keep monies in rotation.
Some over enthusiastic fans, really really eager to get backstage, as if their life depends on it is another annoying thing haha.
Q7. Is your approach different when you promote a commercial gig? (EDM –Scentric)
We havnt dabbled that much in commercial gigs & when we have we joked the artist has a big enough name to pull the crowd on his own might. We usually stuck to the usual methods of promoting the music & listing his/her highlights on social media & getting as much as press as possible.
Whole different ball game when we promote underground nights
Q8. In your experience, which has been your most memorable gig and why?
There are so many gigs which I can list here, but for me personally I think the most memorable one has to be ( there are 2 of them infact, can’t choose )
Dubfire @ blue Frog Mumbai. We had almost the same number of people that Armin van buuren had, which was a result of almost 5 months of promotions, the sheer amount of hard work that went into this tour & to see that vibe in the club : super satisfying. I wish I remembered more from this night
John Digweed at Pebble Bangalore :
There are very few things which come close to bring locked onto a Digweed set, when he is in in the zone & in top form. He was on the money this night. You know it’d a great night when Digweed looks up while playing, takes out his phone & takes a 5 minute video. Even that big banyan tree was raving it up that night.
Q9. Which is the next best promotion company according to you (Apart from your own)
I really really like how OML goes about their stuff & I think they are the perfect role model as to how an event company should structure & operate. I also really like working with Divij from LiMN entertainment. He’s booking quality acts, most of them my personal favourites & he is super professional in going about his work.
Q10. What is your advise to people who want to make a career in music promotion.
It’s been said before : don’t join to take selfies with the artists backstage. It’s not all rosy back here : be in it for the love of music & there is no greater joy than turning your passion into a full time job.