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Management with an Artistic Touch

From getting International DJs to perform in India to creating a platform for new talent, this trio of 20 somethings have already made a formidable name for themselves in the field of Artist Management. Meet Piyush Nahata and Ashish Ahuja (who were incidentally very jittery about this tête-à-tête, as it was their very first interview!)…

What is artise management?
Artiste management is a field that is still largely unexplored. We buy artistes and sell them to clubs in India. We organise multi-city tours with them, during which we take care of everything from their visas, international and domestic flights, accommodation and food to the driver’s license number.
Apart from this, we conjure up cool content for the MySpace profiles of these DJs. We even design their posters and invites.

This is a new field and people are just beginning to take it seriously. Initially, we had a lot of difficulty explaining ourselves to club owners. We had to do a lot of explaining. Now we provide a CD with a mix music set, which they can hand out to people. It is like giving a corporate touch to clubbing. We have dabbled in music production as well.

How difficult was it to get started?
As difficult as it would be for a Std V boy to get a job in a bank. Nobody knew what artiste management was and we were the new kids on the block. So, we needed to make everyone understand what we were about.
We did our first gig on 25th January, 2008, and the next one was in October. There was a huge gap in between, and we did not want to small events. It took us a lot of effort to get it rolling. We had to go to each of the clubs and the phone bills rose to 3K a month.

We did not have money to pay our phone bills- so we celebrated each others’ birthdays five times a year to get an excuse to stay out in the night and work. We had to lie to our parents, as all the DJs based in UK and US are available in the night only. It was difficult, but we are all set now and loving it.

Today, we can organise a gig or a party with just 24 hours’ notice.

What kind of music are you involved in?
It is more of progressive and progressive tech. We mainly we do non-vocalist tracks, but are now moving onto using more Indian vocals in the form of aalaps and ragas. We can cater to the Bollywood crowd also, so that they know what progressive music is all about.

But it is not only about the genre of music. It is always more about what the crowd likes.

How many artistes do you manage?
On the whole, there are about 17 to 18 artistes, of which about 8 are Indian. We are very selective about the artistes we take on. Only an artiste knows what the art is all about. The artistes knew we were into good stuff and so they had no issues coming on board with us.

Once the artistes were on board, we enhanced each others’ reputation. This made it easier for us to snag the attention of club owners.

Meet the team

Piyush Nahata (23):
His father is not aware of his company, but with the support of his friends, he managed to bring Element Sessions on the map. At the age of 15, he started out with events and coordinating. This went on till he was 17. Moving on, he worked for Redom Entertainment for a couple of months, but discovered that he liked working for himself better.

Added to that, as a music lover, he was highly disappointed with the kind of music being played at clubs. That is when Element Sessions was born and he hasn’t looked back since.

Deepak Valecha:
He heads the business development team. He is a BSc-IT graduate from Mumbai’s Sathaye College and has done his MBA from SPJIMR. He works for an IT firm during the day. His forte is electronic music.

Ashish Ahuja:
He is a part of the business development team. After graduating from Mumbai University, he flew with an airline for three years, but recession clipped his wings. He is also thinking about getting into a B-school. Initially, music was just a hobby. Today it’s a passion for him.

-Nikita

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