Nick Halkes (MD, Incentive Music Management Ltd, UK)

Nick Halkes has played an important and consistently dynamic role in the development of electronic music culture for close to thirty years. Perhaps most notably as the founder of both the XL Recordings and Positiva labels and for his unique role in the development of The Prodigy (he signed a young Liam Howlett to XL before the band had played their first live show and manages Liam to this day). Alongside his Prodigy duties Nick currently manages, amongst others, breaks legends Stanton Warriors, drum n bass dons Bad Company UK and newcomers One Bit, who have made waves recently with their debut Ministry of Sound single featuring Noah Cyrus.

Nick’s start was running a mobile disco during his school days and before he’d finished uni he had worked for WBLS in New York, been the UK rep for the Easy Street label, and manufactured and sold smiley t-shirts in Ibiza in the summer of 88.

On leaving uni Nick got a job in club/radio promotions and worked on releases from the likes of Massive Attack and The Beloved before snagging a job doing club promo for the Citybeat label. It was whilst in this role that he came up with the agenda and logo for XL Recordings and launched the label with a focus on burgeoning underground talent. The hits followed and with a host of gold and silver discs for his signings such as SL2.House of Pain and Liquid as well as a top ten pop hit as an artist to his credit his next move was to become a director of EMI, launching the Positiva label.

Positiva defined the mid to late 90s dance music explosion and became the UK’s number one dance label delivering smash after smash from the likes of Reel 2 Real, BBE, The Bucketheads and Alice Deejay. By the end of the decade, however, Nick was keen to return to the indie sector and launched Incentive in partnership with Ministry of Sound. Here he had hits with artists as diverse as Joey Negro, Matt Darey, Genius Cru and Cascada whilst simultaneously launching a publishing business. More recent years have seen Nick more focused on his management company, enjoying success with clients such as Caspa and DJ Fresh before settling on his current roster. Nick also currently runs and DJs at a monthly club night called Reach Up, lectures about the music industry and is launching a podcast series with Eddy Temple-Morris which he describes as ‘A desert island discs of electronic music trailblazers’

Twitter @nickhalkes

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