Charlie Wedd AND Ed Byass are Eton Messy, the powerhouse duo behind the YouTube channel that redefined the art of online music curation in the 21st century.
Now reaching over 400,000 subscribers, their ubiquitous YouTube outlet pushes a carefully calibrated flavour of house and garage that blends contemporary production with a nostalgic outlook and a distinctive visual aesthetic. Punctuated by soulful samples and sparkling synthesizers, the Eton Messy sound operates in the fertile space between club-focused energy and serene headphone listening.
Building on the success of their channel, the trio have founded their own label, Eton Messy Records, kicked off a successful event series, and firmly established themselves on the global DJ circuit, bringing their tastefully curated selections to clubs and festivals across the globe. As part of our DJ Spotlight series, we caught up with the brains behind one of the UK’s premiere electronic music brands to hear about the history of the channel and their plans for 2019.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this a thousand times, but I’d love to know – how did Eton Messy get started in the first place? What inspired you to set up the channel?
Eton Messy started with the 3 of us (Charlie, Ed & Adam) at University in Bristol, where we were running events, DJing under different names. When Adam set up a Youtube channel for friends to listen to new music, we didn’t think too much of it but as it gained momentum we all got on board and just went with it!
At 400k subscribers, I’m sure you’re inundated with releases being sent for consideration. Has your curation process changed as the channel’s grown in popularity?
Yeah we get a fair amount either from Promo companies or talent sending to our submissions email, or even us going out and hunting for new music and talent. The process has stayed pretty similar really with all of us on the lookout and us all agreeing the whether or not the track should be uploaded – usually a majority vote!
I guess it’s the sound which has changed and we’ve had to move with that.
What has Eton Messy been up to in 2018? Any highlights from the year so far?
We’ve been really focused on the label over the last year which has been great as that’s always been the goal of ours to get to that point. We’ve had some great coverage on the label front but in between that still doing gigs has been great with the highlight of going to New Dehli, India a couple of weeks ago – that was amazing!
Tell us about the record label. When did Eton Messy Records get started? How do you go about finding new talent, and what guides your choices for the label?
That’s testing the memory, 2014?! But the focus has really been on it since early 2016. We get a lot of new music sent to us but also just going on solid A&R hunts and trying to listen to as much as we can when possible. It’s really satisfying to help up and coming talent!
Balancing your careers as curators, DJs, promoters and label heads must be difficult. How do you find a balance between your varied roles in the music industry?
We were spinning a lot of plates for a few years but we realised we’re going to have to have roles within it, so one of us taking the lead on certain areas and keeping the others up to date. We love having a lot on and balancing everything!
You’ve both been DJing for several years now. Do you feel that your approach to DJing has changed in that time?
In some ways yes, we still love playing and get the buzz from it and I don’t think that will change. The biggest thing has been doing more international gigs as your going to different countries and cultures and seeing what tracks and styles work is really interesting.
What can fans expect from an Eton Messy DJ set – does your approach to selection as DJs differ to the sound that you curate for your YouTube channel?
Weirdly we were only talking about this whilst playing in India!
It’s been quite interesting seeing our approach change – when we first started, the DJ sets were very similar to what we upload to the channel, but as time has gone on and the music has progressed that has added much more variance to our DJ sets. We’ll always try and bring the party but that now comes in very different ways, which we really enjoy.
You are both tuned in to fresh sounds from the U.K. and the wider world. Any up-and-coming producers that should be on our radar?
There’s so much talent out there but for us, Makree is one to watch for sure who we have released with already. We have more in line for 2019.
Eton Messy regular Ros T is always bringing the party – keen to see what he comes up with next year!
What are your plans for 2019 – anything big on the horizon?
Talks are ongoing – nowadays we tend to be a bit less planned so we can do projects and ideas as and when we want, which keeps it much more open and interesting.
Finally – could you give us two tracks that have caught your ear recently, something classic, and something new?
Let’s go with two new, instant classics! Our latest release is Carter – Tell The World:
This one is doing the rounds massively at the moment: Adelphi Music Factory – Javelin:
Eton Messy can be booked for DJ sets through MN2S. Check out our DJ Roster for more incredible names from the world of dance music.