Big Music Meets: DJ and Event Guru; Adam Cotier

Let your passion drive you and keep you moving forward, knowing that success should be measured carefully.

From the estates of Camden Town to DJ’ing and running club nights all over Europe. It may seem like Adam has the typical rags to riches story, but rags to riches doesn’t quite do justice to the passion that took this international events guru to dazzling heights in music.

If you need a bit of motivation to pursue your dreams, say no more! Check out this incredible story:

Adam

Adam, great to meet you!

Nice to meet you!

You now have multiple club nights all around Europe. But starting off, you spent your days at school making event flyers and dreaming of becoming a DJ. Why did a career as a DJ stand out to you? 

Yeah, in computer lessons I used to spend the hour creating flyers for events. I’d have artists like Heartless crew and EZ be special guests – I’d then put my name down with theirs dreaming of one day playing alongside my heroes!

Come to think of it, I created the flyers not from a DJ’s perspective but more from an events management perspective. I used to think of the best DJ’s and MC’s (including myself!) and try and create the best event! Haha.

In terms of a career as a DJ; I grew up with my Dad playing a variety of music, whether it be Bob Marley or rebel Irish band’s- so I always had a wide scope and a keen ear for all types of music.

So, how did you get started with your DJ’ing career? 

When I was 13, I was introduced to a man that owned a pirate radio station called Raw FM and I immediately tried to persuade him to give me a trial (I had to pretend I was 18!).

It was a bit embarrassing because whilst I was trialing with them, my Nan called in for a shout out and everyone laughed at me!

Luckily enough though, he thought I was really good on the set so gave me residency!

Raw FM was quite a forward-thinking station because even before social media and user engagement, they used to have listeners call in for a shout out or to ask for a song- or even to spit a few bars if they were artists.

So they really taught me about staying engaged with the audience.

You achieved quite a lot before the age of 18 – played Camden Palace (now KOKO), Bagley’s, Resident DJ at Raw FM, you were even asked to play around Europe! How did that come about?  

Adam

Yeah ha! A friend of my Dad was a huge drum and bass DJ so I played one of his events in France. I was only 14 at the time but a woman was dancing literally all night to my music- she loved it so much! Turns out she owned a lot of clubs in Poland.

After speaking with her for a while, she felt that I could be the first UK Garage DJ to play in Poland, so she invited me over. It would have been a great opportunity, however; the coach connection was in Amsterdam!

We were young and it was our first time traveling alone so….needless to say, we didn’t make our connecting coach!

Haha oh no! That’s a lot of confidence for someone so young though! Did you not face any hurdles? 

Well, I ended up hanging with the wrong crowd and I got off music for about 4 or 5 years. I just got involved with bad stuff and didn’t put music first. It became more of a hobby or past-time.

But during that time, I met a lady called Emelye who created a safe hub for us to practice our music and pursue our passion. She allowed me to focus on something I really enjoyed and put my time into something good.

During that time, I decided to blag a job at an investment bank in the mailroom department. I left school at 14 and didn’t have many options. The aim was to climb my way up because I have always had an eye for numbers.

I quickly realised though that it wasn’t for me. That’s when I realised why all those years ago I wanted to be a musician – so I can work for myself and create my own platform.

Adam

So, you came back in the game and were in full swing, you birthed the club nights God Made Me Funky and the infamous M.D.M.A in Camden- that’s pretty entrepreneurial and goes way beyond just DJ’ing. How did you come up with these ideas?  

Well actually, it was at my friend’s party (where I was asked to DJ) that my entrepreneurial side was sparked. I came into the party and immediately wanted to re-do the flyers and change the location of the speakers and overall layout so that it can have a better feel. That is how ‘God Made Me Funky’ was created.

God Made Me Funky did really well in South London and then Camden. Why did you end it?

Yeah- we had a great year in South London before moving it to my hometown; Camden, I remember the feeling of walking around and people greeting me and thinking this was the best job on earth! That’s where I knew I had found my calling.

Sadly, the wrong crowd came along. A group of boys had a fight with the bouncers and an incident happened. The manager of the venue then said we had to close.

I remember going through quite a deep depression because I put my heart and soul into the club night and a few local boys ruined it! It was so crushing. I learned to get back up quickly though so after a few weeks of feeling disappointed, I started proposing the club-night to other bars and clubs. I later made a success out of it.  

Straight after that success came your second brand, M.D.M.A  

That’s right- in terms of MDMA, it’s a very provocative name but it stands for ‘Mondays Don’t Matter Anyway’. It was a Sunday party and the idea behind it was to party on until late night Sunday with the notion that ‘Mondays Don’t Matter Anyway’. To be fair it still stands as one of the best parties I have been to and indeed been a part of!

To cut a long story short, I was faced with the same hurdle- local people came to the event, a group of young locals had caused some trouble they ruined it. That was always my biggest hurdle.

But luckily, I started to be engaged with as a DJ and was getting a lot of bookings so the natural progression was into a full-time DJ career.

Within all these brands, you still managed a good DJ career. What do you think are the key skills needed to become a successful DJ?  

Having the passion for the industry. That skill is still very important! You also need to be able to take the setbacks because there will be a few.

It’s not only about skills though, it was also the amazing opportunities people gave me. Professionals like Mark Radford and Ras Kwame had always supported me during my early days as a DJ and producer. They gave me guest shows on Rinse FM and CapitalXTRA respectively, I also must big up Supplier and Finn at Rinse for giving me a regular platform on the station.

Finally, I would ask what people deem to be ‘success’. Because for me success is doing what you love. It has never been about the money for me.

Did you always know you were going to make it, or did you have a Plan B per se?

A lot of people think I’m crazy but I didn’t have a plan B! There are so many paths into the industry that it’s a shame people have such a tunnel vision about making it.

I knew I was going to make it because I knew that there were different paths into the industry. Not everyone is going to be EZ, Wiley or Stormzy. If you can’t make it through the immediate path that you want, just know that you can make it through a different path!

Adam

What advice would you give budding DJ’s and club-night planners today who are trying to make that break into the industry?

I would advise that there are many paths and eventualities within the industry and falling at the first hurdle doesn’t mean failure, in fact, the more mistakes you make early on, the better equipped you’ll be when presented with life-changing opportunities. 

Let your passion drive you and keep you moving forward, knowing that success should be measured carefully. For me personally, there’s a huge amount of success in being able to earn a living from doing what you love, anything on top of that is a blessing!

That’s really inspiring advise. What can we expect from you in the future? 

Well, this summer I took some time out from DJ, only making a handful of selected appearances for Studio 338, We Are FSTVL, Paravana in the UK alongside an Ibiza residency at Eden for Audio Rehab.

I’ve just had my first release of the year on a summer sampler for my good friend Mark Radford’s label, Audio Rehab and plan to releases more in Q1 of 2018.

Your new brands Casa Loca and SHIFT continue to thrive and expand all the time!

Adam

Yeah, they do! My main focus this year has been all about something brand new, something that I believe will change the whole concept of ‘going clubbing’.

I’ve been an integral part of the opening of Manchester’s newest conceptual and forward-thinking nightclub called Impossible; a totally immersive and interactive club experience that will simply blow your mind.

Together with a great team of friends, we’ve created something rather unique and already, after just 5 weeks of being operational we’ve won an award for ‘The Best New Late Night Venue’ in the UK at the ALMR Awards 2017.

That is very exciting! Well done!

Thanks! I’m buzzing for what the future holds and just know it’s never straight sailing but that’s the excitement of it all, without the mystery and intrigue, including the struggles along the way, this journey simply wouldn’t be for me!

Well, Adam, it has been such a pleasure speaking with you- we look forward to hearing more of your success.

Thanks, guys!

Follow Adam Cotier and Casa Loca on Instagram and Facebook. For more inspiring stories, read TBMP’s meeting with rising stars, Duplex and stay up to date with all our news and tips here.

Finally, if you would like to make a break in the events industry- keep posted on our jobs board for great entry level jobs and internships.