Kalm Kaoz seem like the best DJs to offer life advice when it comes to the wild unpredictability of living a double life – in one they make music, in the other they’re bona fide businessmen.
The LA based house duo recently had an itch to scratch with the questionable business ethics of certain companies biting into EDM shares. But life is always unpredictable. A few months ago they were on high stride and then the accident happened. John Langdon (SlingR), the one half of Nathan Filby (aka Motoe Haus), who together make-up Kalm Kaoz, thankfully recovered.
With Ibiza and the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) on the horizon, some hard questions had to be asked.
John (Slingr) how has the accident influenced your music?
SLINGR: Through my drive and passion for music, I was able to recover fairly quickly. We’ve been working assiduously on our new tracks, our sets and musical vision. We want to bring more complexity – from vocals to the instrumental. We’re working to build a bridge between electro and rock. We feel it’s time for the genre to be a bit more expansive, colourful and head-banging. Our test on the drops is… if we don’t start fist pumping and jumping 15 feet off the ground, there’s more work to be done!
You and Nathan also run Massive Enterprises, LLC, which provides various services supporting growth in music-related businesses. How do you balance your time?
SLINGR: It isn’t easy doing business and making music – they’re right and left-brain efforts. But working in the music industry is a gift. Music is the preferred medium of human beings to communicate, with 9 out of 10 YouTube views around the world being music related, and dance music often elegantly combines love, celebration, and banging music all in one, so it is fundamental to our cause and the reason Kalm Kaoz exits.
We must assume we will never make money selling music. Music should be free. It should act as the healing element in the equation of life, but we still have to pay the bills. We aren’t counting on music sales to feed ourselves – which brings freedom to our musical efforts. Instead, we formed businesses that are data-driven value adding service providers to the EDM space.
Massive Enterprises’, mandate is to: through our love of music, be a solutions provider to all of EDM, make a living, freely produce music and help other independent artists, while also funding a charity that aims to save twelve underprivileged kids per year.
FILBY: We actually have remote controlled drones. So, essentially, there are ten of us.
Slingr, you attended as a delegate at IMS Ibiza 2013. Do you feel that we, as lovers of EDM, have come any closer to winning the battle of private equity firms Vs. EDM?
SLINGR: The Massive team understands the dance music market deeply as well as private equity and how it works, but we are fundamentally coming from a place of adoration for all music, and dance music in particular. The money vs. music battle has only just begun, but will be short-lived. Private equity will continue its effort to control large-scale global festivals and club markets. The machine will start manufacturing talent and utilize the festival distribution channel and Ibiza and Miami club scenes to push out these incubated artists.
The private equity/big business model ignores the inherently low cost of music production, the sea of talent that is coming our way over the next 5 to 10 years, the power of creative people to induce Fibonocci-like attention, and the low cost of throwing traditional raves. Controlling EDM is impossible and it’s amorphous, innovative, and maverick culture – in the end – cannot be bridled.
Music is eternal and as long as there is electricity flowing, electronic dance music and the festival will live on.
FILBY: If the battle, as we know it, is won by P.E. firms, raves will look like hockey rinks. It is an on-going struggle to keep the culture pure while encouraging evolution and innovation.
What about the drama surrounding music licensing at the moment, any comments on the situation of “retitling”?
SLINGR: Both retitling and the “360 deal” are methods of chronic marginalization of talent. Controlling content – the artist’s ever shrinking piece of the economic pie – is anathema to me, and we believe sharing more with artists is the answer, not less. The music industry, due to its control of distribution channels, has taken advantage of artists. It isn’t a fair fight. These techniques are about control. Period. In the age of the internet, and the disruptive nature of technology, however – along with the inherent elasticity of EDM and its artists –control will become increasingly difficult. Technology will be a platform for freedom of artistry.
FILBY: Retitling is going to really mess up the value of the art. We must find other ways to monetise the delivery of art. Not whore the art until it is looked at as a commodity.
Kalm Kaoz Details