Image Credit: THALIA DAVIES
Industry Focus: Danny Bell, Director Of Marketing For HARD Events
This is Magnetic’s Industry Focus, where we highlight the major players working behind the scenes of the EDM biz. These are the folks running the record labels, representing the artists, promoting the shows and just getting it done.
They may not get the shine of a deadmau5 or Skrillex, but they work just as hard making sure the parties are packed, the music is perfect, and that the artists are where they need to be. We’ve decided to shine the light on the behind the scenes movers and shakers that are helping you making you move and shake.
Today, we highlight Danny Bell, director of marketing for HARD Events. Danny began his career with Hard selling merch at a Bloody Beetroots show and hasn't looked back. Here are his words...
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
I was interning at a management company as a junior in college, and HARD shared an office with them. I met Gary during my time there, and we bonded over a Gaslamp Killer video. I asked him to let me sell merch at his next event, which was a Bloody Beetroots show at the Palladium and he said yes. That was 4 years ago, and I’m still here. My whole career has been at HARD.
What is the best part of the business?
Watching the scene exponentially grow year after year, and working with amazing, forward thinking artists. It’s also pretty cool to travel the world and have friends in every major city across the globe. I have couches to crash on everywhere from Miami, to Melbourne, to Berlin.
What are the biggest challenges?
Getting enough sleep.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
If you want it that bad, be ready to work harder than you ever imagined. It’s a brutal business, and only the hardest working and strongest willed survive. When times do get tough, make sure to take a step back from your work and put into perspective how cool your job is.
As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
Originality and Innovation. I know this sounds cliché, but following the trends of the moment will result in a short career. The artists who have risen to the top of the electronic music world started out making music that sounded like nothing else. The ones who continue to rise are those who continuously push their sound and are not afraid to take risks in their productions and DJ sets.
Did you start off as a fan of electronic music and then became involved on the business side, or did business bring you into the electronic music world?
Kind of both. When I was a freshman in college, a good buddy of mine from Prague played me Boys Noize and Justice. I was instantly hooked, but still a classic rock and hip hop head at heart. I then saw Daft Punk in Vegas at the Vegoose festival and realized this is the future of music. When I started working for Gary in 2010, he introduced me to countless acts and gave me the knowledge to dig deeper into the world of electronic music. It was not until then that I really understood and began to genuinely love the music. I am extremely lucky because Gary has an incredible ear; he has been working in this genre for over 20 years.
What does electronic music mean to you?
I’ve been using the term “electronic music” in all of my answers thus far, but I like the term “dance music” better. It is simply music with an infectious pulse that makes people want to dance (or even just move. It’s tough to call what some people do at festivals “dancing”).
What cities/regions do you think electronic dance music is best thriving?
LA is booming! It seems like everyone lives here now. Every month another producer or industry professional moves here. It’s also going off in Australia. HARD is lucky enough to host a stage at the Stereosonic festival in Australia every year. Stereosonic is now the biggest festival in Australia – they get significantly more attendees than the world-renowned, established, genre-crossing festival Big Day Out that had massive headliners like Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire this year. Its crazy!
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
Traveling, attempting to be a world famous Jewish hard-core rapper, or selling falafels at Mamaouns in NYC…they do make the best falafels in the world.
Where do you see the most innovation in the EDM industry?
The songs/productions. The roots of everything in the music biz are songs. You can have the greatest marketing plan of all time and all the connections in the world, but if the songs are not good, you won’t have a long career. There are tons of new and interesting sounds coming out of kid’s bedrooms on a daily basis. It’s so cool that acts like Flume and Cashmere Cat are really popular and are selling significant amounts of tickets now. I remember sitting in the HARD office in 2011 playing the Flume track “Sleepless” thinking it would be so cool if kids would get into this. We both thought it would take a while for it to take off in the US, but here we are, 3 years later, and young Harley killed it in an extremely over packed Gobi tent at Coachella in April. He also sold out two Club Nokia’s in a couple days! 4,700 tickets in one market.