For today’s interview, we decided to switch it up a bit. Instead of speaking with an Electronic artist we wanted to share another viewpoint of the industry. Will Runzel is the founder of Prodigy Artists, which he and his business partner co-created in 2014. Since then, they have added some massive names to the Prodigy team. Some of the highlights of their roster include NGHTMRE, SLANDER, JOYRYDE, Whipped Cream, Habstrakt, and more.
Alongside managing his hugely talented roster of artists, Will also writes articles for the site “Control Forever“. In his articles, he’s written about the era of Soundcloud Rap, Generation Z’s constantly questioned relationship with XXXtentaction, and Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter V”.
Will hustled his way to the top of the music industry. We had the pleasure of sitting down with him to see how he got to where he is today, traveling across the world with some of the biggest names in EDM.
H: You’re a self-proclaimed music nerd: What did you grow up listening too?
W: 2pac, Biggie, Big L, Steve Miller Band, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Atmosphere, TLC, Christina Aguilera, City High, Aesop Rock, Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Rage Against The Machine, James Brown, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, John Scoefield, Wes Montgomery, Florence and The Machine, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Lady Gaga, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steely Dan, Michael Mcdonald, Nas, Drake
H: Who are your favorite rappers right now?
W: Tee Grizzley, NBA YoungBoy, Kodak Black, XXXTentacion (R.I.P), Lil Baby, Juice WRLD, Jay Critch, Lil Mosey
H: What new bands do you listen to?
W: Rufus Du Sol, Gary Clark Jr, Bob Moses
H: You started an independent concert promotion company while you were at Indiana University. What sparked that? In college, you can join a club or get an internship, but what made you want to go out and do your own thing?
W: I promoted nightclubs when I studied abroad, started a weekly mash-up/EDM party on campus and my business partner Russ Markus asked me if I wanted to throw a concert with him. It was for Mike Posner.
H: Your adding names non-stop to the Prodigy roster—most recently Habstrakt and BLVK JVCK—what goes into that selection process?
W: The only criteria are to be kind and make good music.
H: Who is the funniest act that you manage? Any top stories from the road you could share?
W: Omnom is fucking HYSTERICAL 24/7. He starts these beefs with other DJs and I just lol.
H: Is it hard to draw the line between manager and friend? Do you ever have to put your foot down and make the unpopular decision?
W: That’s basically my role here at Prodigy hahaha. I am unfiltered most of the time.
H: We did a little IG stalking and saw that you’ve run not one, but two marathons. What did you listen to?
W: Some Brazilian Jazz into Magic Tapes (mixed by The Magician) and in all honesty JOYRYDE (pictured center below).
H: What can you tell us about Control Forever? How is writing a creative outlet for you?
W: Those guys are amazing, they’re building something absolutely special over there. I’ve always been a writer. Now, I only write stuff I am passionate about. A two thousand word essay will take me about two hours to write and an hour for someone else to edit. The research is the hard part, and I don’t have time for that so I only write about things I’m already well versed in. Of course, like with the Lil Wayne critique I dove deep and ended up researching a lot of shit to make it dope. But generally I blast em off quick and then watch people bubble – my writing is meant to be discussed. It’s fun 🙂
H: Obviously, NGHTMRE (pictured with you below) just tapped Lil Jon and Shaq on “Bang” and they rung in the New Year with a b2b at Decadance AZ. Any Shaq stories? Have you ever been starstruck around any big celebs? Maybe a childhood hero or crush?
W: I don’t get starstruck often… Andre 3000 I met at Coachella, took a pic with him, prob first ever. Met Shaq, his hands are enormous. I was starstruck more so just cuz he’s so fucking huge. I met Michael Jordan as a child, but I couldn’t imagine meeting him now I might pee myself. Mike Ditka or Nas would really do it for me. Since I work in EDM, I’ve become friends with Skrillex, Diplo, Tiesto, sports heroes, but Andre definitely had me like “Wait, hold on, I guess we need a picture”.
H: Any upcoming news from the Gud Vibrations label you can clue us in on? Any new releases coming soon?
W: The second Artist on the label is one of the hottest Bass acts in the world, You’ll see when we drop, soon….
H: Any words of wisdom for those trying to break into the business?
W: Be friendly, be organized and outwork your competition. That formula cannot fail!
H: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us Will, and of course for the words of wisdom! We really appreciate you and your work doesn’t go unnoticed, not by us nor Gud Vibrations & Prodigy Artists fans around the country.