As one of dance music’s fastest-rising managers, Krystal Lee has ascended the ranks from unpaid record label intern to representative of top-drawer talent like Ookay and Riggi & Piros.

Krystal first plunged into the electronic music scene when frequenting Dim Mak’s notorious weekly Los Angeles parties Dim Mak Tuesdays and Banana Split eight years ago. After inquiring about Dim Mak career opportunities to Marketing Director, Bryan Linares, she quit her paid job as a paralegal to intern for free at Steve Aoki’s iconic lifestyle brand. 

A rapid-fire learner and intrinsically-motivated workhorse, Krystal quickly conquered the art of releasing successful records and earned a full-time promotion to the role of Marketing and Promotions Coordinator. Mastering the ins and outs of both digital and grassroots marketing and promotions, Krystal dedicated three years to Dim Mak before realizing her true calling of management and the unlimited growth potential available when responsible for guiding artists to success.

Driven by her newfound passion, Krystal accepted a position with Buygore Management where she currently represents Ookay and Riggi & Piros. Working nights and weekends behind the scenes so her artists have maximum time to create music and never have to worry about the business backend, Krystal has propelled her acts into the limelight. As the main liaison between her clients and their record labels, she ensures that all release plans are carefully constructed and thoroughly executed. She also spearheads all branding directives, sets digital marketing strategies, oversees social media channels and hunts for untapped growth opportunities. 

Thanks to the early support of Steve Aoki and his Dim Mak family, Krystal was able to hone her eclectic music business proficiency into a successful management career that promises to only evolve from here. Curious and hungry as ever, she is constantly growing her industry knowledge by soaking in every learnable moment presented as well as consistently carving out new opportunities for herself and her talent.

How long have you been involved in the music industry? What specifically attracted you to electronic music?

As a fan, I started going to Banana Split and Dim Mak Tuesdays back in the Cinespace era when Steve Aoki and DJ AM would be spinning regularly as resident DJs. That was about eight years ago. From the industry side, I began working as an intern at Dim Mak about five years ago. It was a turning point in my life going from working as a paralegal to working on the same parties I had so much fun attending over the years. The internship led to a full-time position as a marketing and promotions coordinator at Dim Mak  where I gained a wealth of experience in social media, PR and everything associated with running weekly events.

How does your roster of artists reflect your taste in dance music? Do they represent your favorite type of music?

I am a big fan of dance music in general. My personal tastes are very diverse and that definitely holds true  about my roster. Although Ookay is commonly considered a trap DJ, he’s constantly evolving his sound far beyond the confines of that genre. His Ghost EP (Dim Mak Records), while still including trap and big room sounds, showcased a bold exploration of genres from indie and electronica to bassline house and garage. My other act, Riggi & Piros, carries a much different aesthetic. Best known for their big room house songwriting, the duo has been incredibly successful lately in mastering Melbourne Bounce and future house styles.
                                                                                                    Photocredit: @theholymountain

Of all potential career choices within dance music, what drew you to artist management?

While working behind the scenes at Dim Mak, I had the opportunity to observe a wide range of jobs and opportunities within the industry. What was most appealing to me about management was that there are no limits to growth and creative opportunity. That unlimited potential, coupled with the opportunity of watching and aiding in the unfolding of our creative visions lies at the heart of my love for management.

Describe the artist-manager relationship. What are some important qualities to strive for in an artist to build a strong relationship?

The artist-manager relationship is definitely a tricky one. It is important to maintain a friendship without losing any professionalism. The most important qualities, in my opinion, are to manage expectations while being transparent with one another.

What is the importance of branding to an artist and what are your views as far as branding goes in managing artists? Do you take on a larger role in that area?

A strong brand may be the most valuable asset to any artist in the dance music industry. Rather than trying to transform an artist to fit a given brand, I find it best to assess each artist’s personality and develop their brand organically in a way fans, new and old, can identify with. There is no blueprint for branding a dance artist, the same fans will identify with many acts for completely different reasons.

Do you look for anything in particular when bringing on new artists to your roster? Or are you interested in seeing more of a foundation to build upon?

Instead of searching for a checklist of production skills and performance qualities when scouting new talent, I like to focus on the big picture. Because music is so subjective, and a track I have no interest in could be anyone else’s favorite song, it’s important to concentrate on an artist’s overall potential instead of specific musical details. Although talent is the first thing that will set an artist apart, personality and brand development will build a stronger foundation to keep artists relevant throughout the ever-changing tastes of the dance music industry.
Oh Dag Yo Photography © 2015
                                                                                                    Photocredit: @ohdagyo

Representing such a distinguished roster of clients, you are undoubtably headed in a great direction. Where do you see you and your artists in the next few years?

Well now you are going to make me blush 🙂
In all seriousness – I am very grateful about where I am in my career and I credit that to the success of my artists. I am incredibly proud of how far we have come and my artists’ undying dedication re-inspires me on a daily basis. I look forward to watching us continue to grow, and as far as we have come in such a short time, it is tough to gauge the future because I feel we are beginning to discover what we are really capable of.

Any advice for individuals aspiring to work in the dance music industry?

Although working in dance music is probably one of the most fun careers you can pursue, it is important to remember that it is still a job. Everyone has to start at the bottom and will need to work harder than anyone else in order to stand out and grow in the industry. People glamorize the lifestyle of the music industry as a never ending party, but the most successful people find the right balance of both.

What to you attribute your success to thus far?

Despite my deep-rooted passion for music, I quickly realized I wouldn’t be a content creator so I pursued management as my chosen creative outlet. Deckstar founder Matt Colon said it best in a quote that really resonated with me throughout the years, “I realized very early on that I wasn’t so much an artist as someone who can recognize great art. I just don’t have that level of creativity that true artists display. So I did the next best thing, surround myself with people who do.”
Right now I am surrounded by that massive amount of creativity within my team. Ben Hogan (Circle Talent Agency), Nikki Solgot (Circle Talent Agency), Matt Jenks (Baller Tour Manager), Cubby Cramer (Creator of absurd videos), and of course the inspiring acts I represent: Ookay and Riggi & Piros. They drive me to work harder and inspire me to think bigger every day.