Progressing in the Music Industry with Nick Halkes, Co-Founder of XL Recordings
Nick Halkes is currently the manager of Liam Howlett (The Prodigy), Stanton Warriors, DnB dons Bad Company UK, Ministry of Sound-signed One Bit and more. He is also a member of the Reach Up crew who are bringing their disco/boogie soundtrack to Blue Dot, Bestival and Festival Number 6 this summer. Furthermore, since the first part of this video was shared, his ‘Trailblazers’ podcast with Eddie Temple Morris has launched, which aims to explore the lives of electronic music pioneers.
For this masterclass with Point Blank Music School:
Nick describes his journey from WBLS back to university, Easy Street Records to City Beat, Club Promo to A&R and finally to the formation of XL Recordings and the discovery of Liam Howlett and the Prodigy. Much like the first instalment, the story is full of golden anecdotes. These include getting calls from the likes of Pete Tong to his shared phone in student accommodation and hearing ‘Numero Uno’ by Starlight at a party and encountering the familiar hostility of some DJs to track hunters. Plus the fact that Nick designed the XL label himself, despite having no graphic design tuition.
More importantly, the video is packed with invaluable wisdom, foremost of which is to be true to your own vision when starting a label or brand. The thing for Nick, it seems, was the desire to pour his energy into something that would look exactly how he wanted and, for him to achieve this, starting his own thing was the most sure-fire route. Not only that but, as with The Prodigy, it is equally vital to respect the vision that the artists you work with might have, as demonstrated by the Prodigy’s initial reluctance to appear on Top of the Pops, and their subsequent long career stacked with several number 1 releases.