When you’re planning for a big night out in the bubble, admittedly your venue options are limited. But for music fans, a new project from third-year students Sagar Sharma and Dominic Reynolds, VS Music, looks to add a breath of fresh air into your events calendar.
Originating from a love for Hip Hop music and socials revolving around their favourite playlists, the students grew a company from a tiny seed of an idea, to an increasingly popular and ever-growing following of up-and-coming DJs and music fans. I spoke to the pair about their vision for VS music, and how they hope to revolutionise the St Andrews’ events status quo.
“It basically came out of the idea that, us as fans of that kind of music in general were thinking that there are not too many events here”, Dominic said. “It was really born out of that need, from a consumers perspective. We just thought, why not set something up so that we can actually do these events for people and just put on great nights?”
Expanding on how a love for music became a joint business project, Sagar said, “We’ve both done ventures of our own – not necessarily music related – and were familiar with some of the processes involved. We had this idea that we thought other people would love, because we certainly would love it. So we decided to combine those skill sets and make it happen.”
VS Music have so far kept primarily to the Hip Hop genre, launching with a house party in semester one, followed by a Club 601 debut during Refreshers’ Week, and most recently an exciting collaboration with Sitara, with much more in the pipeline.
“A lot of people in town, and a lot of our friends, listen to the same sort of stuff – a variety of stuff, but generally Hip Hop. I mean, it’s the most consumed genre so it just made sense that a lot of people would want more events of that type,” Dominic said.
However, the pair are keen to be adaptable, and truly act as a facilitator of the types of music events most wanted by attendees. “We played 601 after Fuse was here, and we’re doing a collaboration this semester. It was a success, so far! That’s great because if people like it, we’re happy,” Sagar said.
“We did a lot of planning for the first event on South Street. It was basically just a house party to get the brand out there and provide some value to people straight away; it was just a free house party aimed at getting as many people through the door and having a cool night. That was the first thing we did and that was Hip Hop predominantly, quite American Hip Hop I’d say, R&B, club rap, that kind of stuff,” Dominic added.
“But then we’re not limiting ourselves to that because the underlying thing to everything is that we just want to fill demand in the town and give people a good night. So whether that’s within Hip Hop, or whether that’s in other genres, we’re quite flexible.”
The desire to please, and to use their new platform to fill the gap they recognised in the town’s event line-up, was clearly of great importance to the pair. One major factor touched on was their goal of keeping their events as affordable, and therefore accessible, as possible, while also giving the talented DJs they work with the credit they deserve. “We’ve got a lot of DJs coming in who are now interested to work with the brand. Different events and different genres which they are more suited to than us and know a lot more about so can provide a better night for people,” Dominic said.
“Any artist and DJ that have done events with us, we want to make sure that they are really happy and are compensated properly for their time. Which is why we still do need entry fees, to sustain it and get bigger and better events in the future. But any money that comes through the door, we just want to put it back into investing in the project and scaling it up. It’s a balancing act because on one hand you just want to give as much away as you can, give so much value, but then, on the other hand, you’ve got to respect the DJs and the value that they’re giving to people as well. Always at the forefront of our minds is keeping it accessible as much as we can.”
You can follow VS Music’s journey on Facebook (@VersusMusicOfficial) or Instagram (@vsmusic2019), as they endeavour to disrupt the norm, and think outside the box: “[We’re] just trying to do things a bit differently. Trying something at Mammacita, or a couple of other different venues that we’ve got lined up and will be releasing soon, is getting a bit creative with it and providing something a bit different.”