Six Questions With... Melissa McKinlay of Defected Records

Six Questions With... Melissa McKinlay of Defected Records

Welcome to the latest edition of Six Questions With..., a weekly short and sharp interview with a live music figure. Email if you would like to take part or recommend someone for inclusion. 

This week's Q&A is with Melissa McKinlay, head of events at Defected Records. Defected Croatia 2017 festival is at The Garden Resort, Tisno, Croatia, from August 10-15. The Glitterbox Opening Party is at Hi Ibiza on Friday, June 9 and will run every Friday until September 29 (excluding August 4). Defected Ibiza at Eden, San Antonio, runs until October 1.

What was your first job in music?

After obtaining my degree in Music with Technology at Kingston University I landed a two week placement at ie:music, working for Robbie Williams’ management across his Knebworth concert, which gave me my first taste for events. My first paid job in music was as a Licensing Assistant for Sanctuary Records Group.  Whilst I was there I went to Ibiza on holiday, fell in love with its club scene and made the move into the DJ world both as a manager and agent.

How long have you been in your current role?

Having run my own consultancy business for seven years the opportunity arose to work in the events team at Defected. I have been head of events at Defected now for four years where I am responsible for the label’s live business, delivering the Defected and now Glitterbox tours and events worldwide, including two Ibiza seasons and our very own Croatia festival which we launched last year. As an avid house music and Defected fan and with a love for Ibiza spanning many years, this has been an incredible journey for me.

What is your favourite thing about working in the live music industry?

Of course, the music and being immersed in music. To experience people enjoying it as well as working with some truly creative and brilliant people who share the same passion. It’s a very special culture.

What is the one thing you would like to change about the business?

ARTIST BILLING! I wish it were more of a collaborative process but it’s a constant struggle! Particularly from a festival promoter perspective, it is frustrating when you are trying to put on a great show and deliver logistics whilst keeping everybody happy (and spending a lot of money doing so) to then be forced into battle over what order artists appear in, what time they are playing and who they play with. The other thing is Withholding Tax (yes I know that’s two but equally frustrating). Everyone should pay taxes but it needs to be a less convoluted system.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

Launching Glitterbox and seeing it grow. From 500 people at the first show at Booom! Ibiza in 2014, to over 3,500 people in year three at Space (a lot of hard work, sweat, tears, faith and love later). Also delivering our first ever festival, Defected Croatia, in 2016 and delivering year two this summer off the back of its success.

What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?

There are so many it’s impossible to say. Up there would definitely be The End closing party in 2009…it was pretty monumental. Then there was our Glitterbox closing party at Space last year – Glitterbox is a special party as it captures the original spirit of Ibiza and indeed of House Music. It offers total freedom and draws on all communities. It’s all about the music, the love and people uniting on the dance floor. Plus 2016 was Space’s last year and with THAT terrace being a regular feature throughout my life the party was extra special and close to my heart. That said, I didn’t make it to our Croatia festival last year as I had just had my baby daughter. Watching from the side-lines was extremely difficult but the feedback we received was incredible! I shall be there this year and have no doubt it will be my new “best”.

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