Alexander Vandriessche is a Belgium based artist manager who runs the agency DBNR, with his most reputable client being the techno titan Charlotte de Witte. Whilst looking after Charlotte, he also takes care of the day to day running of her very successful KNTXT label, which has just celebrated its one year anniversary. We reached out to him to see if he could share any tips when it comes to artist and label management, and to learn more about his relationship with Charlotte…
WWD: Hey Alexander, great to meet you! How are you, how has this crazy year been for you personally, how have you coped?
At first it felt very unreal, but weirdly it was also a very creative period. Being forced to rethink our business gave us a creative drive! Think that’s the best way to look at this crisis, trying to find creative opportunities and learn from all the input. For example, artists have been way too easy with giving away content to third parties. Don’t think we’ll be doing that anytime soon again. I think the hardest part for creative people is to see how small the support was in the beginning. Governments really didn’t see how important creative business is for our social health! People in power saying that we had to retrain and find other jobs was really shocking to the whole scene!
WWD: Tell us how you met Charlotte initially?
We go back a long way. I met Charlotte when she was just 18 or 19. I just briefly saw a clip from a set of hers and immediately got convinced about her amazing talent. And we grew together in this scene, and our working relationship was always very clear.
WWD: What made you hit it off? Why do you get on so well?
She’s someone who knows what she wants and I’ve been quite successful in getting what she wanted. So that’s a pretty healthy working relationship if you ask me!
WWD: What is your role with her and the label, what are you responsible for, what do you do day to day?
WWD: What is the sound and vibe and position of the label? Who is it for, what is its identity?
- Open: Supporting an open and inclusive music community.
- Cutting edge: Not only bringing cutting edge music, also showing experimentationΩ with new techniques and approach in the merchandise, communication or event sector.
- Pure: Pure love for techno-music and its lifestyle
- Strength: Express the power in techno music and its derivatives.
WWD: What are the key skills you need to be an artist and label manager? What do you think are your strongest talents?
I think you really have to love what you do. Be true to the scene and your artists. If the music is not part of who you really are, you’re not in it for the right reasons! And that’s what basically defines a good manager, agent, recordlabel or artist for me. And that’s a unique talent that you don’t find much! But when you do it’s very exciting to work with these people. I think that’s one of my strongest talents or maybe I’ve just been extremely lucky till now.
WWD: What impact has Charlotte and the label’s success had on the Belgian scene do you think?
Belgium has always had a vibrant rave scene, thanks to so many various artists and organisations. We were always at the centre of interesting evolutions. So we try to stay true to that heritage to the best of our abilities, using Charlotte’s unique talent to create new things. Charlotte will always be proud of her Belgian heritage!
WWD: What is next for Charlotte, the label, and you? How do you come out of this weird period of no gigs, and when, and where?
The KNTXT label started 1 year ago, we had a lot of plans with our KNTXT nights in 2020. We made our US debut in February, which was the last one we were able to do. The other nights we’d planned internationally were unfortunately cancelled. We definitely want to pick this back up in 2021. We’re also working on some new acts that we want to release on the KNTXT label. So 2021 should be great!
WWD :What are you most proud of having achieved together in the last few years?
I’ve been very fortunate so far, it’s really hard to chose one project. It’s all been a wild ride filled with proud moments. Whether it’s headlining festivals, selling out arenas, touring the world, creating a label that stands out. Discovering new talents. I think it’s basically the fact that we never had to do a job that was not from the heart, as cliché as that might sound.
KNTXT’s latest release from Alignment “Nothingness” is out now. Grab it HERE.