We chat to co-founders of the music website Chase the Compass on their tips on how to make it in the music industry.
Despite the fact that it's only owned by two people, the music blog, event and management collective, Chase the Compass has built up a band of loyal followers, introduced various artists to the world, and even has it's collection of talented DJs who perform at clubs all around London.
As they reach their two and a half year point, we meet up to chat with the co-founders of this influential and creative company, Charlotte Cijffers and Jamie Ferguson.
Can you tell us a little about Chase the Compass? Who’s behind it, how’d you start it?
Charlotte: "I started CTC as a shop front for my writing just over two and a half years ago, Jamie came on board shortly afterwards and it just spiralled from there! We're namely a music blog and an events company — but we also dabble in artist management, tour operating and lots more!"
Jamie: "I jumped on board at CTC shortly after Charlotte kicked off with it as a music blog and we haven't looked back since. I still have a full-time job working for The Daily Mirror so it is very much a juggling act, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
What three projects that you have been involved in are you most proud of?
C: "The biggest project for me is seeing the blog grow into what it is today. We've interviewed some incredible artists — some of my personal heroes and mentors — and attracted a loyal cult of readers from around the world. It's a really rewarding feeling, I’m so proud of what we’ve built. I've recently handed over the reigns to our new editor Declan McGlynn and he's smashing it!”
J: "We've been lucky enough to build strong relationships with other promoters — for example, our friends CUBED, who recently included CTC DJs on their stage at Bugged Out Weekender. We have also just had our first overseas event in Brooklyn, New York in December alongside our pals SUPPLY NY and featuring Jacques Renault and Walker & Royce. We have big plans for a Sydney event next month — watch this space! Lastly, our work with up-and-coming artists is key to what we do. We pride ourselves on providing a platform for these artists, we love supporting new talent. You can check out some of our featured artists on the CTC Supports section of the site."
How did you first get into the music industry? When did you know that’s what you wanted as a career?
C: "I got into the music industry through Chase The Compass, before that I was a fashion journalist but had no experience writing about dance music, so CTC was my way in. Now I'm the Digital/News Editor at DJ Mag! My brothers went to boarding school in the UK so they used to send me CDs home to Australia — Sasha 'Involver' album really changed things for me musically. I think that’s when I realised I wanted to do music as a job! Plus LPs like Leftfield 'Leftism', Underworld 'A Hundred Days Off’, and the early Global Underground compilations and everything by Orbital.”
J:- "My route into the music industry was off the back of being involved with CTC. I have always been really passionate about music and my desire to be more involved in the industry continued to grow as I put my stamp on the events and music side of CTC. I have continued to search high and low for the best new acts and sounds across other blogs, going to gigs and simply listening to other people in the industry's recommendations. This has led to some guest mixes, premieres and in-depth interview pieces that I'm really proud of."
What’s your favourite book on music/journalism?
C: "I must have read every dance music history book ever written, I’m a nerd like that, but any budding dance music writer should have Simon Reynolds' Energy Flash as their bible. You can also head to the Chase the Compass website for lots of great history pieces from people like Eddie Richards and Kevin McKay.”
J: "It has to be Electrochoc by Laurent Garnier. I cannot say enough good things about this book as it takes you on a journey of not only the legend Laurent Garnier's life, but the electronic music industry as a whole. I had the pleasure of interviewing Laurent for The Mirror recently, which was amazing. He really is an inspiration and will be putting out unreleased parts of the interview on CTC real soon!"
What are the three most important things about a good music story to you?
C: "As in a piece of music journalism? Flow, drama and synthesis!”
J: "Relevance, back-story (background of artist) and inspiring!"
Any advice for people wanting to get into music journalism as a career?
C: "Be prepared to work (really) hard, be humble and always ask for feedback on every piece you write. Don't be scared to introduce yourself to fellow journalists and editors. I know it can be scary but we're all just shy music nerds at heart — trust me! Also, it sounds really simple, but read, read, read! “
J: "Charlotte is totally right. Don't be shy, put yourself out there and let your passion shine through. If you know your stuff and believe in what you are doing then don't let anyone stop you getting to your final goal!"
How does your career or the music you listen to affect the way you dress?
C: "Potentially, I think when you're going raving or covering events you go for functionality as well as style. Skinny jeans, oversized t-shirt, bomber jacket, Doc Martins — sorted."
J: "My style is very much seasonally based. I grew up between the UK and Sydney so I have elements of both country's style in my locker. You really do have to be prepared for a rave at any time so simplicity is the key. My usual look at the moment is a flat rim cap, buttoned up Farah shirt with skinny jeans with Nike Roche's!"
Where do you get style inspiration from?
C: "I realised a long time ago that dressing for your body type is the key to timeless style. I don't really follow trends but I like things that are simple and I wear a lot of black. I really like reading fashion blogs — my favourite is The Blonde Salad, but I also love Rumi Neely from Fashion Toast and Jess from Tula Vintage."
J: "My main source of inspiration is on the streets and out and about at gigs. I don't think many guys would admit this but I always appreciate what other guys are wearing and will have this in mind when changing up my wardrobe. I also keep tabs on brands from around the globe such as Zanerobe (Aus) and Farah to see what they are doing, as well as my monthly fix of Esquire each month!"
You can next catch the CTC crew at Chase The Compass Presents WORKITOUT at Work Bar with DJ Anna Wall, Ceri, Coco Cole, NINJA and CTC DJs on 29th January. Free entry and full details here: http://on.fb.me/1U9jFrI