LiftOff started three years ago as an event organization in Amsterdam. In those three years, a lot has changed internally at LiftOff; during these three years, they focused more on the management of smaller artists. In the meantime, they gained a lot of new crew members and LiftOff is taking up the organization again. One thing surely hasn’t changed: their vision to give smaller artists a chance. They help artists who they think have the potential to grow and develop themselves.
Like the good old days, LiftOff decided to give an event in Volta Amsterdam, called Show Dem Beatz. I spoke with Floor and Mark about what LiftOff and Show Dem Beatz are.
Floor: “Our previous Show Dem Beatz was a success; we were sold out! The event was hosted in a nice venue called Volta. If Show Dem Beatz continues to run so well, we also want to look if we can have a bigger concept. In the meantime, we continue to focus on the management of smaller artists with potential. We’re talking about producers who really can do something and are talented, but are, for example, not that good with social media or putting themselves out at all. We also look at how we can connect these artists with a label that fits well with them. ”
So, we could say LiftOff is the step between starters and a bigger, more established brand?
Floor: “LiftOff stands for a launching platform. When you look at the band-world, you notice that there are many more possibilities for the smaller artists. We found that electronic music lacks this a bit. Or you are either extremely social and arrange things by talking to right people, or you either instantly blow up as a producer. We’re here for the middle class: the people who are just good and do fun things. We want to create a place where they come into contact with the other side of music, for example, doing shows.”
And with whom do you make all this happen, who does your crew consist of?
Floor: “There’s me, I do the global event and artist management, and then you have Mark,”
Mark: “I mainly do artist management and am always looking for points of improvement. We also have Yaleesa, she does the IT; the website, discord and our ticket system.”
Floor: “Also Bart Jan and Lionel. Together they do everything around the events. Think of the promotion, managing the promotions team and keeping up with the social media. Then our newest addition, that is Elisa, she does all our graphic design. ”
You guys are very fond of pushing talent that has not yet been discovered, so if you have an evening such as Show Dem Beatz, are there only people on the line-up signed to LiftOff, or people from outside the agency too?
Floor: “Show Dem Beatz is an intimate concept anyway, it is for a maximum of 150 visitors. Unfortunately, you see a lot of favoritism in a huge number of events, and we want to break that. Being signed to us does not mean that you are always on the line-up. We are always open to people we are not yet familiar with yet. ”
You have an agency and do events; how did that happen? They are two things that are quite separate from each other. Why not a label for example?
Mark: “Because this fits better with which LiftOff stands for. We want to guide our artists to a wider platform and I think that we, as an agency, can do that much better than a label. We do try to connect our producers with labels though.”
Floor: “What Mark says indeed. Our most recent signings were DJs, but DJs who work really hard to achieve their goals. We then guide them with which step to take and when; regular uploading, image building and also pragmatic thinking. Mark and I are on top of that. The other day I was talking to someone who actually didn’t want to become a famous DJ and do shows at all, but rather wanted to go in the direction of ghost-producing. I didn’t really know much about that, so sometimes it’s a challenge for me and the artist on how we can guide them in the best way possible. With LiftOff, we take a good look at where our strength lies: we can pretend that we are a huge and spectacular party, but that is not us. For us, it is clear that our strength lies with helping emerging talent. ”
There are quite a few other organizations that once started out with the idea of supporting small artists, but then, when things are going well, let go of that and start working with bigger names. Do you also have the idea that you ultimately want to work with the bigger names?
Floor: “For that reason exactly we started LiftOff Events and not just one specific party. Under LiftOff events there are many different concepts. Show Dem Beatz will always remain Show Dem Beatz; a small party with small names. But if this continues to sell out we alternate with a larger event, with a headliner and then a lot of support acts. When you combine small names with a big name so you automatically give the small names more publicity. We have an event organizer and not just a single event, this gives us an enormous amount of freedom. It gives a little more work to promote and establish your name, but if you do it right, you create a lot of extra possibilities. ”
LiftOff has of course been around for three years now, what are some of the highlights that you have achieved when you look back?
Floor: “When we started, we grew quite fast. We have never had an event that went really badly; that there were no visitors, for example. I am very happy with that. And when it comes to artists, during our first four editions we had 2 DJs/producers named Volture and daPlaque. After the first three parties, were they both had solo sets, we came with the idea to put them back to back. Well, they did not like that at first but after finally agreeing to trying it out, Polygon was born and now they have releases on other Liquicity, Viper and Korsakov. Polygon is an example for what we stand for. The two can now grow further on larger platforms.
So things are going pretty well in Amsterdam, also plans to set up something elsewhere in the Netherlands?
Floor: “Yes! Anyway, Show Dem Beatz is a concept that would work enormously well to travel with. It is small and accessible. The vision is not a big and busy party, the vision is to give local talent a stage. But it is something that we want to look into in the future. First, sell it out again here and look for a larger location. We certainly do not have to rush and force anything. It seems good to us to cooperate with other organizations throughout the Netherlands anyway. We’re not about competing and all; on the contrary, we’re about being a link and platform for the artists, which is something you can achieve very well through cooperation.
One last important message?
People can always register on our website. Artists who really want to get started, but don’t know where to start, are always welcome. But even if you already have a beginning, but don’t know how to continue. We are not just for Drum and Bass, by the way. We are open to everything but do tend to the bass side.
What are some of the requirements that people should have when they turn to you for help?
Floor: “Before you ask us for help, I do want you to have an idea, a concept, any form of social media, a theme and motivation! Just don’t come to us empty-handed. It’s important you have a vision of what you want to become. We can help in the area of production, getting you in touch with other artists, searching for vocalists, giving advice on branding and you name it. We can always think along and are open to everything. ”
Want to see the crew and artists in full effect? Make sure to get your boarding passes & get ready for LiftOff at Show Dem Beatz on June 1st!