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Guy Ornadel Interview: Down to Earth

Author: Clare Dickins
Monday, December 19, 2005
He may be one of the leading progressive trance DJs, but Guy Ornadel is much more content to help other spinners out through his management company.

Guy Ornadel may be best known for his floor-rocking DJ skills, but the Brit specialises in more than just progressive and trance. Go behind the scenes and Ornadel heads up one of the industry's leading management companies, Ornadel Management.

A businessman and manager first and DJ second, Ornadel's approach to the industry is fundamentally selfless. He's never made it into the studio to dabble in production, instead choosing to focus his energy into furthering the careers of a DJing roster that reads like a who's who of the hottest industry players; Eric Prydz, Gabriel & Dresden, Above & Beyond, Guy Gerber and Lisa Lashes are all among the many artists taken care of by Ornadel's management company.

Chat to Guy and he's clearly more concerned with the careers of Ornadel's artists than his own. Change the subject and his attention waves. Mention Guy Gerber's sublime Bedrock hit Stoppage Time and he gushes.

"I'm into getting really good people into the office and brainstorming - I don't think anyone can just do it on their own," he says of Ornadel Management. "Roman [Trystram] looks after Fergie, Lisa Lashes and BK, whilst Simon [Clarkson] looks after Eric Prydz, Above & Beyond, and the Shapeshifters, and I do Gabriel & Dresden and a bunch of others. It's going well; we all exchange ideas and try to put some structure and plans into place. Successful DJs are as much as of a business as groups like Coldplay and all the big established bands like that."

Having dealt with his fair share of narcissistic artists, Ornadel is over it. Thankfully prog trance darlings Gabriel & Dresden are model clients. "I now have a policy of not working with any more ego-maniac artists - now we only have nice people on the roster. Gabriel & Dresden are really talented and really nice guys. I feel lucky to work with people like that. They're rare types of people and I'd give my right arm to work with 15 artists like them."

When DJ mag announced its new rankings in the recent Top 100 Poll, a handful of Ornadel's artists had slipped down the ranks [in particular Lisa Lashes who fell twenty-six places to no.56]. Guy rejects the notion that such a result puts pressure on a management company. "I don't want to get into the poll too much, because as a magazine, I don't think they're big fans of the music anyway," he says.

"There are certain DJs in the top 50 that don't play internationally or play much at all, so you have to question how it's all put together. Lisa Lashes is a popular brand and gets an insane number of hits on her website. She's got a massive worldwide fanbase and whether they vote in the DJ mag poll or not, all we know is that for fifty-two weeks of the year she's travelling around the world doing sellout shows."

Ornadel also rejects the notion that Tiësto would be disappointed by his slip down the rankings. "Everyone knows how big Tiesto is. What does it matter to someone like him if he's number one or number two- I almost think that DJ polls shouldn't be in place; it's not really relevant. What's important is that there are lots of people having a good time."

"I think Paul van Dyk summed it up well when he said that 'everyone is the number one DJ in the world when they play'. 15 years ago, no one could have cared less about who was supposedly the biggest DJ in the world. It had nothing to do with anything! It was about playing music, partying and having a good time. It's absurd that it's turned into a poll!"

Guy Ornadel plays Summadayze at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Sunday 1st Jan (New Years Day)