Check out Point Blank's music industry masterclass with Nick Halkes

The music industry, especially electronic one, has grown to unpredictable heights in the last decade or so. With new artists, labels, events and agencies being born every day, the business side of music became a huge industry full of challenges and opportunities. Point Blank music school has been regularly organising masterclasses with various different guests within the music society. Their latest lecture brought Nick Halkes who's currently the manager of Liam Howlett (The Prodigy), Stanton Warriors, and more.

He is also a member of the Reach Up crew who are bringing their disco/boogie soundtrack to Blue Dot, Bestival and Festival Number 6 this summer. Nick recently launched his ‘Trailblazers’ podcast with Eddie Temple Morris, which aims to explore the lives of electronic music pioneers. They've already covered Gary Numan, Mary Anne Hobbes and Fatboy Slim. If you have any interest in electronic music, we recommend you subscribe right away.


The second masterclass kicks, logically, where the first one ended. Nick brings us along on his journey from WBLS back to university, Easy Street Records to City Beat, Club Promo to A&R and finally to the formation of XL Recordings and the discovery of Liam Howlett and The Prodigy. Much like the first instalment, the story is full of golden anecdotes. These include getting calls from the likes of Pete Tong to his shared phone in student accommodation and hearing ‘Numero Uno’ by Starlight at a party and encountering the familiar hostility of some DJs to track hunters. Plus the fact that Nick designed the XL label himself, despite having no graphic design tuition.

Perhaps more importantly, the video is packed with invaluable wisdom, foremost of which is to be true to your own vision when starting a label or brand. The thing for Nick, it seems, was the desire to pour his energy into something that would look exactly how he wanted and, for him to achieve this, starting his own thing was the most surefire route. Not only that but, as with The Prodigy, it is equally vital to respect the vision that the artists you work with might have, as demonstrated by the Prodigy’s initial reluctance to appear on Top of the Pops, and their subsequent long career stacked with several number 1 releases.



Tips & Tutorials column is curated by producer Alex Ranerro. The articles are created with a simple aim to share his experiences and knowledge with SolvdMag readers. If you would like to contribute or you have any other questions, please write Alex at

By Saša, edited on 06 June 2018