Defected Records has grown from a label with over 20 years of experience to a large event brand that puts on shows around the world. With festivals in Croatia, London and elsewhere, plus events in the US, Ibiza, Europe, Asia and other spots around the world, the brand has elevated to one of the best in the business. Combined with Glitterbox, people have come to trust Defected for quality house music in their headphones and at clubs.
Defected has a very full schedule for not just releases, but also events around the world in 2022. It will kick off a five-date run of shows in the US this weekend at Sound in Los Angeles with A-Trak and Ferreck Dawn DJing. The rest of the tour will take place this month with DJs like Catz N Dogs, Eats Everything, Sam Divine, Floorplan, Melé and others doing select stops. Get info on tickets and the lineups for each of the other events in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Miami and Austin. There will also be two Brazil dates at the beginning of April.
To get a better idea of how the events come together, the busy schedule and surviving the pandemic as a business, we decided to chat with Defected’s Director Of Events, George Pritchard, for a new Industry Insider feature. He has been with Defected for five and a half years and now oversees their stacked event calendar.
First, foremost and most importantly, how is your dog Ralph? What has he been doing today?
Ralph is great, he is busy building moral / annoying everyone in the office.
You have worked in Ibiza, London and elsewhere. Are there any lessons in putting on events that work in many different locations or some that are completely unique to that one place?
Working in multiple territories really helps, most places work differently and gathering that experience is invaluable as you never know where they will take you. Defected is now across the globe including the likes of Australia / Asia / USA / SA / Europe + much more.
How do you plot tours in the US versus other countries? What strategies are different?
We have been picking away in the US for over 5 years now. It started out by me flying over to all the cities arranging meetings with all the clubs convincing them to give us a chance. Fast forward to know we have an extensive touring schedule and the venues we are in are growing in capacity each & every time. The strategy stays the same in my opinion, it needs to be organic and never take the foot off the gas.
What is the booking policy for events and tours? How does race and gender factor in?
We always adhere to make our line-ups as diverse as possible.
What is something you learned from trying to do events during a pandemic that you can take forward into the endemic times?
We didn’t do events during the pandemic; we decided against doing seated or limited shows as we wouldn’t be able to give the customer the full experience and we want everyone leaving say what an amazing night they had, we never like to do things by half. The postponed gigs have been a challenge for sure, lots of moving parts to manage whilst ensuring we look forward and lock in new fresh dates.
Have there been any events or cities that surprised you in how great the event was?
Yes, one of the best events I feel we have put on was Defected in Bali. It was at Omnia, which is now called Savaya. It was really amazing to see 2000 Defected fans on a cliff edge in Bali dancing throughout the day and night. The energy was insane and 5 years ago we would never of imagined pulling that off.
What would be your advice for someone in the music business looking to pivot to the event side of things and can’t afford to do unpaid internships and may not have event experience already, which most entry level jobs seem to require?
My advice for someone wanting to be in the music business on the events side, or maybe just in general, is I’m a firm believer if you are in Europe you should do Ibiza seasons, seasons really open up your network and it’s the hub of the music throughout the summer. If you can work at bars, PR like I did, to get by with money and then really push yourself to be with the right people, the up-and-coming DJs, the correct promoters, and really try and make friends and network you will see doors open for you within the music industry. Lots and lots of my friends who have done that are now in high and powerful positions, and I still bump into people today I’ve not seen for 10 years, and we were doing Ibiza seasons together. It’s a really powerful tool.
What is your favorite part about throwing events and do you get a chance to actually enjoy them or are you running around the whole time?
Seeing the crowd’s reaction to the music. Our community listens to our releases constantly and when we are able to bring this to life in our events it is really special seeing them react and getting lost in the dance.
I do get to enjoy the events, the team we have here are the real heroes. The hours and effort that goes in to each event is incredible so big-up to them for making this all possible.
How did you get into the music business?
Like my previous comment, I got into the music industry through working in Ibiza. I started off handing out flyers as a PR, and then I was a barman and went on to manage the bar, then Ministry of Sound approached me and asked if I wanted a trainee shift in London, and obviously I snapped it up. Then I was a trainee for a year with Hector Dewar, the COO of Ministry, and also Nodd MC Donagh who is Gold Management at Glastonbury, so I was very fortunate and lucky to get that. Then I was at Ministry for four years, managing the club, the experience was invaluable, again it was a real opening to the industry. I then needed to release my creativity, so I left and joined a techno roster agency with Blue Print, big up Joe Christie. Then Defected approached me to come and work with them, I started off as the Events and DJ Marketing Manager and I’ve never looked back.
What type of people / specific qualifications do you look for in potential employees at Defected?
To be honest it is completely open. You do not need specific qualifications. I am a firm believer in hard workers, passionate and have the desire to succeed within the role someone is applying for, this is easy to identify. We want everyone to be able to grow and learn and be able to direct their own paths. Yes experience is helpful but sometimes you need to take a step back to move forward.
What are the upcoming big projects for Defected and what are you most excited about (if you can pick one)?
I am most excited about being back on the road and seeing out the tours we have been working on for years. Of course, Ibiza is the hub of everything we do and it is looking to be a huge summer!