Welcome to Magnetic’s Industry Focus, a series 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 the DJs on stage, 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.
Meet Tom Astley - Founder and CEO of L'Affaire Musicale.
How did you begin your career in the music industry?
I’ve been involved in the music scene in some way or another since I first started raving and collecting records at 14 years old. I got my first break in 2004 when I moved to NYC to work as an assistant to Grammy nominated producer Andres Levin. He was my mentor and inspiration to start my own production outfit Hellfire Machina and events company BFM Events in 2008. I released a lot of music from 2008-2012 and worked on albums for Wu-Tang & Brand Nubian. We toured extensively throughout the US and held residencies at Webster Hall and The Nokia Theater in NYC. Music has always been at the forefront of my life.
You’re the founder of L'Affaire Musicale; tell us a bit about your company and how you got to where you are today?
I moved to LA in July of 2013 and haven’t looked back. I founded L’Affaire Musicale last year and hit the ground running producing events. It’s grown quickly and organically into something much more than just an Event Production company. I set up The Astley Group at the start of 2015, which became the music house/umbrella company to the L’Affaire Musicale & Wicked Paradise event brands and specializes in Nightlife Investments.
In February of this year we partnered up with Ouija Entertainment. The partnership enabled our companies to grow and produce the events we really wanted to bring to LA. We share the same vision and at the core are passionate about what we do and love the industry. It worked out perfectly.
What is a day in the life like for you?
Wake up, check in with myself and then I’m on the go from morning to night. Work never stops when you own your own business and I’m married to emails and to daily scheduled meetings. I oversee my team that work on talent buying for our events, keep track of the L’Affaire Musicale Mix Series and various different podcasts, but most importantly write down all the creative ideas for our upcoming events and thoughts on how to keep expanding the company. Oh, and I love to Mambo!
What are the most exciting aspects of your job?
The music industry constantly evolves and changes. I have to constantly keep my ears to the ground and know what’s ‘next’. I get to live and breathe music all day long, that’s exciting to me.
What are the biggest challenges?
Finding professionalism and people of integrity within the industry.
If you could offer advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ask yourself why you want to be in the music industry. If it’s because you want your name in lights, like to rage, are a fanboy/fangirl OR because it may bring you action in the bedroom then jog on. This industry will chew you up and spit you out, period!
What makes your events unique?
Every event is carefully curated and the overall production is our main priority. L’Affaire Musicale is about a musical experience not just putting a bunch of known DJ’s in a club. We are about variety and keeping things fresh. I don’t believe in music events being programmed in just one direction each and every time. Last week we had Golf Clap playing Detroit Techno into a Future Bass set by Prince Fox and FKJ playing a live set. The night was magical!
Where do you hope to go from here?
I’m very thankful for where we have come in a year. I have surrounded myself with great people and true friends that have helped the company grow in a short period of time. We are now expanding into different musical markets and working on a series of live shows at different venues in Los Angeles and launching in different territories across the States and Europe. We have our first L’Affaire Musicale & Ouija Entertainment show in San Francisco with Oliver Nelson next month and exciting announcements for our Wicked Paradise Pool Party this coming summer here in LA. The Astley Group & L’Affaire Musicale at its core is a one-stop music business; I hope to see it morph into a Record Label, A&R, Management, and Worldwide Events Engine.
How has social media helped or hindered the scene?
There used to be mystery within the music world that made it exciting for people on the outside listening in. Nowadays every Musical Act or Band can air their dirty laundry and mindless opinions on twitter and lose all their mystery and coolness in a split second. Social Media killed the Rockstar!
If you weren’t in the music biz, where could we find you?
I would either be fully concentrated on building my real estate business or hand shaping Surfboard’s in Jericoacoara, Brazil.