Do you want to tell us a bit about the Ad Hoc group and what gave you the push towards focusing on a career in the music industry?
I moved to Manchester around eight years ago as a student. I spent less time studying and more time getting to know the city’s nightlife – fantastic club nights like So Flute, Hoya Hoya, Heads Up, Wet Play, CULT, Meat Free and Banana Hill (among many others). I fell in love with the music scene and was inspired by the producers, DJs and promoters I met and became friends with along the way. Over the years I was involved in student radio and a few small events, but more than anything I had a passion to create a label and shine a light on some of the great producers I had met. So that’s what I decided to do! I’d describe Ad Hoc Group as a musical collective – with a record label at its core, plus events, a radio show and booking agency alongside it.
You’re originally from South London but moved to Manchester to study partially because of the city’s vibrant music scene. How would you say the music scene in Manchester differs from the scene down south?
Whilst Manchester is a big city, the music scene definitely has a compact, community feel to it. It helps that a lot of the venues (bars, clubs, record stores etc) are clustered around together, and most people live relatively near to each other. In London you might get a similar thing in an individual neighbourhood, but being just one part of an enormous city definitely changes that dynamic.
Also, to paraphrase Ruf Dug, Manchester has 10,000% fewer turds because people don’t move here to ‘make it’, so (on the whole) going to an underground night up here means you get a crowd that care about being there as opposed to caring about being seen there. Not hating on London though, I’m just madly in love with Manchester and will defend it until I die.
I read that you worked for a while as a resident DJ in Ghana. That’s a very unique experience. Can you tell us a bit about how that happened and what you learnt from your time there?
I was lucky enough to be accepted onto a government programme where I worked as a consultant in a small business in the capital for three months. So during the week I worked an office job, and on the weekends I played some bar gigs – a mix of music that is popular over there (mostly West African RnB/Hip-Hop) with stuff that isn’t as well known (UK Garage went down a treat!) It sounds a bit cheesy but it showed me how music is this magical tool that can make people happy regardless of their language, ethnicity, wealth etc. I think that’s the real reason why the vast majority of us work so hard to make music our livelihood, as opposed to just chasing money or fame for the sake of it.
It also made me realise the importance of being proactive and finding opportunities wherever you are. Be bold and put yourself out there… the only way I got gigs was by contacting venues with one of my mixes and asking to play. Accept the fact that you’re guaranteed to face many rejections in pursuing your passion, but continue to put all your effort into it anyway! Bouncing back from rejections will build resilience in yourself, and resilience combined with talent and a strong work ethic is a formula for success.
Focusing on the record label, do you want to tell us a bit about your current roster of artists?
In keeping with the community scene of Manchester that inspired me to start the label, our roster started as (and still mostly is) a collection of my mates who make music I really like! But saying that if anyone approaches us with music I really like we’ll release it, regardless of who they are / where they’re from etc. We’ve just sorted out our first non-UK signing which is excited… not least because we can throw our first party abroad to promote the release! I’ve also made a decision not to release too many artists, because I want to put in as much time and effort as possible into making sure each release (and hence each producer) succeeds.