Ryan King [WME]
Ryan King is an Agent in WME’s music department. He represents a variety of artists, performers, producers, and DJs including Borgore, Botnek, Gareth Emery, Feed Me, Chris Lake, Wax Motif, Nero, Nervo, Ummet Ozcan, Jesse Rose, Scuba, tINI, Seth Troxler, and Michael Woods. King joined WME in 2008. He previously spent time at Warner Chappell Publishing and served as the tour manager for The Henry Clay People. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, he currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
To me, being influential in this industry means having the privilege to support an artist’s vision, and working with our incredible team at WME to create opportunities that will allow them to impact change in music and the cultural landscape. In addition, it means maintaining strong relationships and always keeping an ear to the ground with an eye towards the future.
Matt Meyer [AM Only]
Before joining AM Only in 2012, Matt produced and coordinated shows in 20+ states with his own promotion company and with Life In Color (formally called Dayglow). Since then, Matt has developed into one of the youngest agents in the industry. As an agent at AM Only, he looks after a wide-range of artists including Cash Cash, Cosmic Gate, Haywyre, Halsey, Krewella, Paul Oakenfold, Sam Feldt, Tritonal, Whilk & Misky, and more.
I get the opportunity to work side by side with people like Paul Morris, Matt Rodriguez, Lee Anderson, Marty Diamond, Matt Galle, and Corrie Christopher. I cherish the lessons I learn from this elite group of people and hope one day my personal impact on the music industry can measure up to the likes of those living legends. I want to be known for doing it the right way and hold a high standard for my integrity and reputation
Sonny Moore / Skrillex
Sonny Moore, a man needing no introduction but still one of the key players in electronic music. Born and raised in southern California, his musical career began as the frontman in From First to Last, before breaking with the group to pursue a solo path which ultimately led to dance music. The rest is history… From his debut EP Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites holding the majority of the Beatport top 10, to his multiple Grammy nominations, Skrillex has had a major hand in shaping dance music for years to come. His new superduos Jack Ü (with Diplo) and Dog Blood (with Boys Noize), as well as collaborations with artists from the hip hop world, the remaining Doors members, and his role in developing the careers of up and coming acts have truly made him one of the most influential people in dance music.
Porter Robinson / Porter Robinson
“Two years ago,” remembers Porter Robinson, “I only had the inkling of the idea that I wanted to do something different. I needed to do something that was honest and real,” Porter explains. So he turned down countless DJ offers in 2013 to spend the entire year devoting himself to a process of introspection and reinvention. “I figured that one way to develop a unique identity as an artist would be to combine all my favorite things in music — it would result in something that is really personal, a collective expression of my taste and experience. Something nobody else has.” And thus begat Worlds (Astralwerks/Virgin EMI), a cinematic excursion that commingles Porter’s technological prowess with his love of evocative melody. His first studio album, it finds an unlikely common ground for Porter’s diverse inspirations: Kanye West’s Graduation, Daft Punk’s Discovery, The Postal Service, and an array of orchestral movie scores. “Sea of Voices,” for instance, is just that: gauzy, feather-light vocals that float above an ethereal-shoegaze soundscape. That track trickles into the “Years of War,” which transfers those levitating vocals onto radiant synth pop propelled by a fuzzy beat. He prolongs that pop euphoria with the anthemic “Lionhearted,” which pushes-and-pulls between ambient sighs and power chords, further rewarding the listener with the glitched-out “Fellow Feeling,” an avant centerpiece that swells from violin-driven sentiment to industrial static, before settling into palpitating chords.
Not surprisingly, there’s never been anything conventional about Porter’s introduction to music. The artist’s first foray into music came through the arcade-stomping game Dance Dance Revolution. (These days, he’s graduated to StepMania, which, yes, he totally dominates.)
“A huge amount of music that I listened to for a long time, like 200 people have probably ever heard these songs,” he says. “And a lot of it was bad, C-grade emulations of dance music being made in Europe. But something about the tempo was super-interesting to me.”
At age 12, the autodidact started futzing around with cuts and beats on his mom’s computer using pirated software. (He’s since paid for and repped everything he nicked, as an act of voluntary reparation.) He came into his own in 2010, when he scored a No.1 Beatport hit with his crunchy, twitchy single “Say My Name,” which lead to his first gig at a tiny club in Santa Cruz, Calif. “It was very much baptism by fire because I had never seen a DJ,” Porter says of the lack of any discernible scene in Chapel Hill. “I had to more or less do it based on what I had learned on the Internet.” Needless to say, he was a quick study. His grassroots following exploded through the release of a successful EP and series of high profile DJ gigs. Then, in 2012, Porter scored an iTunes No.1 with the shimmering “Language.” Porter found himself touring five days a week, crashing at his parents’ house when he was in town. “It took me to a place where I wasn’t writing music. And I was DJing a lot of other people’s music,” he says. “I think that helped speed up how sick I got of dance music and all of its tropes.” Making worlds was an intriguing artistic challenge for him. “A huge part of my work has always been this effortful, expedited self-discovery,” Porter says. For worlds, “I would pick three things and say, ‘This song is going to have these three traits.’ And then I would start writing, and halfway through the song it would become something that I’d never heard before,” he says, citing the first track he recorded for worlds, “Divinity Made.” The voluminous, ethereal hymn was born of his seemingly impossible self-challenge to write a song that was beautiful (“I really like pretty music, almost to the point of sappiness,” he admits), loud, yet vintage-sounding. That, in turn, calibrated the overall aesthetic for worlds, for which he also recruited fresh, unknown vocalists.
Even though his creative pulse no long hinges on BPMs, early incarnations of his newer, more melodic compositions still perked the ears of countless labels. And that led him to Astralwerks/Virgin EMI. “They were really supportive of my weirdness,” he says, laughing. Or his ambitions, as it were: because Porter’s live show will likewise be a unique experience — one that doesn’t involve him DJing. “I don’t want to be the flag bearer for any genre. I don’t want to change the game,” he says. “I really just want to have my own signature, my own sound. I know it sounds crazy, but I want to start my legacy.”
I definitely feel a strong connection to electronic music and I think I always will. It’s a genre where the skillsets of songwriting, production, sound design pretty much always overlap. In acoustic or band music, artists have to rely on outside help (with production, mixing, mastering, etc); electronic music is so inspiring to me because so many of its artists are presenting one, cohesive, uncompromised vision.
Will Runzel [Hashtag Jukelife]
Will Runzel has been a mover and shaker in the music industry since he was booking hip hop tours for such artists as Big Sean, Jeremih, Curren$y, and Mike Posner as a college senior at Indiana University. After doing a tour with Steve Aoki, Steve requested he move to LA and he positioned himself at Dim Mak Live as the talent buyer for internationally famous “Dim Mak Tuesdays” weekly at Dim Mak Studios / Cinespace. He introduced talent like Zedd, Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, Baauer, The Magician, Flight Facilties and Iggy Azalea to LA before they would gain major headliner status. Will would then move to Lure Hollywood and React Presents where he cultivated the taste maker fueled Private Label weekly and brought groundbreaking underground talent like Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Gorgon City, Thomas Jack, M83, and Jamie XX to an outdoor patio in Hollywood. He also was one of the original talent buyers on the inaugural Splash House Music Festival in Palm Springs, CA booking acts like Bag Raiders, Neon Indian, and RAC.
In 2014 Will dove into the management side, signing acts like Bixel Boys, Slander and breaking them almost immediately into the touring circuit and is now following suit with Meaux Green, NGHTMRE and Bobby Puma all the while helping Grammy nominated songstress Nadia Ali craft her first album in two years. He championed the FREELIFE culture movement and introduced the brand to immediate recognition on a national stage, raising over $43,000 along the way for Camp Kesem, a summer camp dedicated to helping kids who have been affected by cancer. Making the transition from Talent Buyer to Artist Manager is not an easy one in this industry but Will has made the transition quickly and efficiently and now looks forward to introducing and growing major headliners from the ground up at HASHTAG JUKELIFE Management with partner Steven Haddad in 2015 and beyond.
Being influential in dance music (or any industry) causes you to adapt, grow and change efficiently. If an idea or tactic becomes saturated because people are duplicating your strategy it’s both humbling and challenging but is the main reason why this is one of the most exciting industries in the world to be in.