Breaking Into The Music Industry With Nick Halkes, Co-Founder Of XL Recordings

Music’s power to seduce the minds of young people is well documented. Since Rock n Roll’s halcyon days in the 1950s and 1960s it is perhaps only football that has attracted more hopeful pretenders worldwide with its promises of glory and excitement. These promises take many forms and, indeed, there are many routes into the world of music, but the one thing that binds them all is doggedness. One man who knows this and who embodies the kind of dedication and graft needed is Nick Halkes. Nick is currently the manager of Liam Howlett (The Prodigy), Stanton Warriors, DnB dons Bad Company UK, Ministry of Sound-signed One Bit and more. He is a member of the Reach Up crew who are bringing their disco/boogie soundtrack to Blue Dot, Bestival and Festival Number 6 this summer as well as co-host with Eddy Temple Morris of the forthcoming ‘Trailblazers’ podcast series which explores the lives of electronic music pioneers. His personal story was bequeathed to a Music Industry class at Point Blank Music School, and you can watch it yourself here.

For the first part of his masterclass, Nick describes the first part of his history in the industry, leading to the revelation that shaped much of his working life thereafter: that by putting himself out there and diving headlong into his convictions, there was no telling how far he would get. His story begins in Portishead, Somerset – where Geoff Barrow, founder of the band of the same name, also grew up (he even attended the same school as Nick). As a child, he discovered dance music at a young age, through Al Mathews’ Disocvatin’ show on BBC Radio 1, and it wasn’t long before he and a friend took their respective hi-fi systems around town to play music at birthday parties. He later graduated to playing on hospital radio in Bristol, before following the industry to its natural hub in London.

In London, Nick followed his nose and engineered an encounter with Peter Powell, a Radio 1 DJ, the result of which was that he became one of the station’s Pop Panel, reviewing the records of the week. From there he made his way across the pond where he found himself working as an usher at a cinema in Queens, New York. His initiative kicked in once again as he convinced the station manager of WBLS, B.K. Kirkland, that he was a journalist writing a story on New York radio, so he might get his foot in the door once again. Once there, he did exactly that, and became the station’s intern, leading to yet another piece of serendipity: an invite to the launch of the latest Michael Jackson release onboard a yacht on the Hudson River. All of which is to illustrate the power of putting yourself in the right place, because any time could be the right time.

This is just one example of the guest masterclasses Point Blank provide their students. Check out all courses at each of their schools in London, Mumbai, Los Angeles, Ibiza and online and see which take your fancy. If you have any questions, call a course advisor on +44 20 7729 4884.