What do DJs do when they’re not producing songs or playing at huge festivals? Well, if you’re world’s highest-paid DJ Calvin Harris
, you’re putting some of that $46 million into managing your own record label. In 2010, Harris decided to create his own vanity label and named it “Fly Eye Records” after his signature fly-eye sunglasses that he handcrafted himself. (There’s a whole other story behind that and it involves a lot
of Swarovski crystals).
DJs With Their Own Vanity Labels
These days, it’s not uncommon for DJs to found their own labels while still working under the major label they’re signed under. Some other DJs who founded their own vanity labels include Deadmau5
with “mau5trap”, Boys Noize
with “Boysnoize Records” and the well known “Armada Music” was co-founded by Armin van Buuren
himself. Although vanity labels have been scrutinized for being nothing more than ego boosts for entitled pop stars, their original purpose was for successful recording artists to scout other artists that they admire without the contract restrictions of a major label. When Harris established Fly Eye Records he made his intentions very clear by stating, "My goal for Fly Eye Records is to release the most exciting club music I can get my hands on. There will be absolutely no shite." And absolutely no shite has there been.
Fly Eye Records Artists
The label launched itself into success from the very beginning with their first single “Gecko
” by Mr Blink which received a lot of attention and support from well established DJs like Wolfgang Gartner
, Benny Benassi
and Markus Schulz
. Since its triumphant kick-start, Fly Eye Records has released a series of catchy hits that even the radio couldn’t ruin. The various innovators of Fly Eye Records includes Michael Woods, Bassjackers, GTA, Hard Rock Sofa, Thomas Gold, Nicky Romero as well as the man who discovered Harris, Tommie Sunshine - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Fly Eye Records has been a silent contender in the EDM game over the past few years. Although the label has yet to become a household name, it has already released notable crowd favorites such as Dillon Francis’ “Bootleg Fireworks (Burning Up)
”, Firebeatz’s “YEAHHHH
” and “Iced Out
” by BURNS along with many of Harris’ own singles.
To get a true grasp of what exactly makes up Fly Eye Records material, I’d suggest listening to Firebeatz’s 2013 Beyond Wonderand set. Not only does the Dutch duo stay loyal to the label by playing their co-workers tracks but they successfully blend in bangers with tech house, Deorro with Andrew Bayer, Jacob Plant with Eric Prydz, and a whole lot of Calvin Harris in between.
From Producing to Managing
Harris himself has come a long way from being a budding musician who once hosted a YouTube show called “JAM TV
” where he invited celebrities to come over to his place and try to open packets of jam (a strange alternative to Deadmau5’s coffee run) to attracting the second largest crowd in Coachella history at this year’s Coachella. Now Harris without a doubt has become a successful DJ but will his label management prove fruitful as well? Could one of these names be the next superstar DJ in the making? I’ll let you decide! Here are Fly Eye Records’ latest releases, “Throne” by Sandro Silva
and “Switch” by dBerrie and Zen Freeman.