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Meet the crew: Astral People

Three Sydney chaps are giving the city’s electronic underground a good, hard shove into the spotlight

Photograph: Daniel Boud

For a lot of people, club culture is about being exposed to music that they don’t already have in their iTunes library. Don’t get us wrong, we like shaking it to golden oldies at and getting cheesy to ’90s hits, but sometimes we just want to kick it to some fresh stuff. Enter Astral People, an artist management and events brand that pushes off-kilter electronica on tour and into Sydney.

What started as a couple of club events back in 2011 to showcase artists like Collarbones and Jonti, who the boys (Tom Huggett, Lee Danilewitz and Vichara Edirisinghe) To were already managing at the time has quickly gained a landslide of momentum. 

“The brand is getting stronger and we are starting to see that people really trust us,” says Huggett. “We just toured an act called Knxwledge, who isn’t too big at the moment, and we ended up selling out Goodgod. He said it was the biggest show that he’s ever done, and he’s from LA.” 

“Another guy came up to us after one of our shows and said, ‘I had no idea who this act is, but I came because I saw the Astral logo was on the flyer’,” adds Edirisinghe. “For us, peoples’ trust in the brand is the most rewarding thing." 

The beat-bent boys have more upcoming international tours, artist showcases and club events than they can reasonably manage. And with street press and online music sites pushing headlines declaring Sydney’s live music scene to be a “tough climate” [Mess + Noise, Mar 2012] and in a “state of emergency” [Tone Deaf, Mar 2012], this run-off-their-feet roster is impressive indeed. 

Yes, Astral People’s success is owing to their talent for finding the next big thing in electronic music, but it’s also because the boys have kept the ticketing to their events on par with their humble beginnings billing a small artist showcase for a tenner at the now-closed Tone nightclub. 

“It’s the large-scale events that are really suffering,” says Danilewitz. “We’re still going out a lot,” adds Edirisinghe. “And we really think honestly about what we would want to pay for each gig.” 

“We saw a gap in the market,” says Danilewitz. "Sydney wasn’t really developing an underground electronic scene, and we had a bunch of electronic artists on our management rosters, so we wanted to give them a home. And that led us to touring similar international acts.” 

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