Interview with A&R manager Sander

January 18th, 2013

Hey Sander! Thanks for taking some time to reply to our questions. First off, could you tell us a bit about your job at Armada?
Sander: ”No problem, it’s a pleasure! My job at Armada is quite diverse, the headline of the interview says A&R, but nowadays I’m actually a lot less involved in A&R than I used to be. I try to keep an overview of the entire Armada brand and the way it’s positioned. In times of social media it’s very easy to reach out to your fans, but the other side of it is that all you do is very visible.. so it’s important that everything is done right. The artist projects I take care of right now are Markus Schulz (also overall management), W&W, Dash Berlin & BT. What I do for these projects is very diverse, some I’m involved from a to z with management and A&R, others I only take care of the product management and promotion. I won’t bore you all with the specifics on what I do for whom exactly. ;-)”

For those that don’t know what being an A&R manager means, what are your day-to-day tasks?
Sander: ”A&R stands for Artist & Repertoire, it’s a bit of an old fashioned title, but it sticks around, haha! Basically means you are involved in the creative part of the musical side in the career of an artist. This is also very diverse, some artist really need guidance in what way to go with their sound, others only need help with creative processes like finding the right vocals, setting up collabs, remixes etc.. Every day is a different chapter…you never know what’s going to happen. I guess that makes the job so much fun and addicting as well.”

2013 will be an important year for Armada Music, as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary. You’ve been part of the company for nearly its entire existence. What’s the biggest difference between Armada in its early years and Armada Music today?
Sander: ”Well, in essence nothing changed, we still work with the same drive, but the whole scene and industry changed drastically, so of course we’ve gone along with that. When I started at Armada, we were totally focussed on selling vinyl’s. Now we are focussing on streams, downloads. So the way music is consumed now is completely different than 10 years ago. With that, the way of promoting changed as well. Social media has become one of our most important instrument to promote.. social media didn’t even exist 10 years ago. So yes a lot has changed, but in the end we are in this because of the music, that didn’t change!”

Looking back upon 2012, what have been your highlights and biggest successes?
Sander: ”I’m very proud of Markus Schulz’ ‘Scream’ album, we worked on it for almost two years and then to finally see the reactions online and especially in the clubs and festivals on the music is something I look back on as a highlight of last year. In 2012 we also signed BT’s new album, which will be out later this year and I can’t wait to see how that one will be received. I personally think it’s an amazing album! Two singles for me that I want to highlight are ‘Omnia – The Fusion’ and ‘W&W – Lift Off!’. I couldn’t wait to share those with the world either and I think you understand why!”

In 2012, EDM exploded in the USA great opportunity for an A&R manager to sign new artists?
Sander: “It’s always a great time to sign new talent! When we spot new talent we want to work with them, guide them and have success together, despite of what’s happening in the market. I’m a firm believer that there is always space for talent and quality music. We are not eager to sign more artist now just because the market is doing well in the US. We have always been looking out for talent and always will!”

2013 is bursting with promises! What albums and compilations should we watch out for in 2013?
Sander: ”2013 will be the year of Armin’s new artist album.. I can’t give away too much about this yet, but I can tell you that we are excited! ;-) I also started working on setting up some really cool things for Markus’ new compilation, and W&W’s as well! Dash Berlin is working on brand new tracks and like mentioned before BT’s album, something to surely look out for! Just mentioning a few things here.. it’s definitely going to be another year full of music!”

What about new talents? Who should we keep an eye on?
Sander: ”This is the type of question where you forget people, so I rather not say anything ;)
But let’s give it a try: Mikkas, KhoMha, Andrew Rayel, Audien & Omnia!”

Speaking of which, what’s the best advice you can give to producers that want to have their tracks released on Armada Music?
Sander: ”It’s so standard, but try to create your own sound.. come up with something original, don’t copy. If you can create something in your productions to give it your own flavour / sound you’re in the way to success!”

Last but not least: what’s your personal resolution for 2013?
Sander: ”Just do it! :) ”

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