Updated 4/10/2018: added a quote from Nathan about the way Future Classic uses Dropbox Paper. No other text was changed.
Last week, we traveled to Los Angeles to celebrate the opening of the Future Classic x Dropbox Studio, a collaborative space where artists can gather and share ideas, give presentations, and create exclusive live content.
Founded in Sydney in 2004, Future Classic is an indie label and creative company known as the home to influential artists such as Flume, Ta-Ku, Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), G Flip, and Flight Facilities. Their team uses Dropbox Business as a unified home for their content to help artists, crews, and employees keep collaborating even when they’re touring around the world.
We chatted with Founder/CEO, Nathan McLay to learn more about the vision for the Future Classic x Dropbox Studio and plans for the months ahead.
What inspired the idea of building this “creative incubator”?
Nathan: Future Classic is new to LA and we’re inspired by the city as a global hub for artists. We wanted to create an ecosystem that nurtures the creative process and facilitates culture and communication. That’s in part to do with the setting—the space itself (recording studios and creative offices); but also a proactive program of inviting people to share their experiences—with our team and more widely online—and collaborate.
What will you be able to do in the new space that wasn’t possible until now?
Being in LA is opening us up to numerous new people to work with—from here or passing through—and for the first time we have recording studios in the same building to stay close to the creative process and interact more fluidly. We’re all learning a lot and feeling inspired.
What can attendees expect to experience at your events and workshops?
We’ve started by internally asking what things as artist managers do we want to investigate in more depth and who are the people we’d ideally like to talk to about these things. We’ve a session on Building An Engaging Live Show with Tobias Rylander and Martin Phillips; VR, AR, Ticketing & Fan Engagement with Marcie Jastrow from the Technicolour Experience Centre.
Then on the other end of the spectrum Artist Finance in 2018 that explores the ways creative financing is evolving. There’s seven or eight pencilled so far. We’ve always embraced guests coming through and speaking to our team and this is a simple expansion on that—we’ll share highlights online and people will also able to register interest in attending.
Why is collaboration important in your line of work?
Artists work with songwriters, producers, mix engineers, mastering engineers to create the music, and that is just the starting point. From there, they work with photographers, graphic designers, choreographers, directors, stylists, production designers, etc., to realize artwork, press images and live shows. There’s just so many cogs in the process, all of which differ with every project and personality. Learning to sensitively and productively co-exist while still, as managers, ensuring momentum towards a milestone is central to what we do. We’re continuously striving to be great partners and collaborators!
Where have you seen collaboration or co-creation happen in a really unexpected way?
Our creative director Jay Ryves introduced Flume to Jonathan Zawada quite early in the writing process for Skin. Their relationship started with a focus on cover art ideas, then expanded into show design, merchandise and later very self directed art collaborations that, while complementary, largely existed outside of the album campaign. Jonathan sent Harley some animations of these fantastical Zawada-weapons and Harley responded by creating the sounds these machines would make and it eventually turned into an exhibition together.
What’s the hardest part about collaborating, and how do you overcome that?
Role definition can be amorphous in creative businesses which brings benefits and also challenges. It’s a work in progress but we find having central touch points—team meetings, shared documents, etc.—to be helpful.
Did you use Dropbox for the planning and design of your new space?
We did! We used Dropbox Paper to plan out the timeline, build and talks series. It’s still an active document. We’ve been using Dropbox Paper as a way to consolidate our creative briefs, marketing plans, brainstorm sessions and most of our internal collaboration. Many of our artists also use it—Ta-ku in particular across his photography, music and video projects.
In the months ahead, Future Classic will be using the new studio as a venue for collaborative events where established and emerging artists can educate, co-create, and combine their creative energy. We’ll be reporting about those events here to show you how it all comes together. Stay tuned!