We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Lara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nick, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
It’s honestly difficult for me to attest our success to just a single factor… There are a myriad of variables that I think come together to articulate a great equation for success, especially in our industry. Nowadays, it seems as if almost everyone’s an artist/entertainer, producer, influencer, agent, manager, or self-proclaimed A&R so there’s no shortage of advice or “secret/proven tips for success” flying around the internet and your friends’ social media feeds. However, amongst all of the noise and from my own experience, one factor has cut through the noise without fail: people. A cliche I know, but I’ve never found anything to be so remarkably true, particularly while endeavoring to start a creative agency during trying times such as these. When backs are against the wall, one is able to see what he himself and those around him REALLY value. I was fortunate enough to figure this out pretty early on during my time running within the major label sector and managing artists independently. Anytime I witnessed a project fall apart, or dissonance persisted in a team, it was typically due to overall visions and expectations not being synchronized or miscommunication. This is why I really took the time to lay down the groundwork; to build a quality team of people that I respect and, most importantly, trust. During that process, I cemented what my mission would be and figured out how we would add genuine value to the music space as opposed to just senselessly “occupying real-estate” or chasing dollars. When core-values align and goals are shared, THAT’S when a quality product is yielded. Music, from the conception of a project, to the writing of a record, to the recording process, to the monetization and exploitation of all outlets related to the sound recording/composition, is no exception. We would not be where we were if it weren’t for our people, internally and externally, and the artists and producers that we so meticulously choose to work with. It’s that pivotal factor, coupled with capitalizing on the unique opportunities afforded by operating against the backdrop of this pandemic that have led to the success we’ve seen thus far.
What should our readers know about your business?
Music has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was classically trained in music theory, avidly taking piano lessons as a young boy and eventually taking on drums and percussion by grade school. Around this time too, I began dabbling in audio engineering, music production, and soon found a passion for Turntablism and Dj’ing. Before long I was competing in local competitions and acting as a touring DJ not only for my own artistry, but for other artists as well. This led me to attend Belmont University in Nashville, TN for performing percussion, which I hilariously dropped within the 2nd semester of my first year. The reason being the discovery of a new set of passions I encountered upon my arrival: Copyright Law, Entertainment Law and the world of Music Publishing. While at Belmont, I began to wield my newfound knowledge and competency for Copyright and Entertainment Law by giving advice, as I was able, to my friends and classmates pursuing careers as artists. Belmont University was instrumental to my own career trajectory in that many of my classmates and the years adjacent saw a good amount of success fairly early on. Today, many of them are extremely well known, signed by majors, or have even charted. From there, the marriage of the business side of things actually came to me quite naturally. After graduating from Belmont I was hired by Warner Music Group and helped launch their Nashville office focused on shared services, legal, and publishing functions. I was left in charge of Atlantic Records’ frontline Urban Publishing catalog and supported release clearances for the likes of Meek Mill, Cardi B, Nipsey Hussle, Mac Miller and many others. That being said, it was by no means easy and there were plenty of challenges that I came to face as pressed onward. Rarely do things ever go to plan. It’s what you do once you pick yourself up off of the ground and dust off the grime that really matters. “Fail your way upwards kid,” as my college mentor once told me. Soon enough, I found that Nashville simply didn’t have the infrastructure to support the endeavors I hoped to set in motion musically. This led to the leap of faith that was moving back to LA to begin forging my own path. Taking with me the foundation I laid down all of those years and building upon it here in LA, is what ignited the birth of Deviant Behaviour. And this is just my story. Every individual’s background that makes up our team is remarkable in their own right. Which brings me back to my first point: it’s all about the people you choose to align with. We are an independent creative music agency specializing in music production, artist management and all encompassing label services. We consist of not only “suits,” but creatives with perspective and the proficiency to curate every step of the creative process. The enthusiasm and eagerness to work with us comes from our proven tenacity, distinct creative vision, dedication, integrity, and hustle. Our mission is to curate bold and unique talent while providing our clients with all encompassing label services such as marketing initiatives, tour management, and creative consultation across projects. We want to operate on a different scale; revolutionizing what it means to be an independent music company and a proponent of culture. ”Deviant Behaviour”, as described by sociology and psychology, is an action or behavior that violates social norms, or a formally enacted rule. I believe that it’s when we begin to tread that line of uncomfortability, that we come to profound epiphanies or ideas. That is artistry achieved. In the early stages of conception, we decided to go with the european spelling of the term, mainly to embody the message of the name itself by choosing to put forward something that would illicit people to deem as incorrect or odd, but also because we hope to operate on an international level. Historically, people have always feared the unknown or passed judgement on what they don’t fully understand. Deviant Behaviour is the embodiment of these ideals, and aims to help people shed light on what they consider as the dark unknown. Our roster thus far includes rappers Kas and Drelli, neo soul and r&b artist Claire Maisto, alternative hip hop artist Paul Maxwell and many more. Our primary producers consist of Cig.Vicious, Haunted, Josh Crispin and the amazing Will Ventres. With partnerships and dealings with the likes of Warner Music, Sony, Kobalt, Pulse Music Group, 10k Projects, TikTok, Lyric House, and a recent deal with Soundcloud since our “soft launch” in March of this year, Deviant Behaviour doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’d probably start the day in my neighborhood, Melrose/Fairfax. Most mornings, I begin my day with an iced chai from Coffee Commissary on Fairfax. From there, we’d walk Melrose and maybe even hit the Melrose Trading Post. For lunch, I love to grab a sandwich from All About the Bread or a good ole fashion dog from Pink’s. For dinner, my personal favorite is this little spot called Carlitos Gardel’s – an Argentinian steakhouse with the best cuts and wine happy hour. I’d likely take them to Silver Lake as well as it’s one of my favorite places to explore. Of course we’d go on a hike and end it with a glass of wine at Hollywood Lake Park, a tucked away spot/dog park that overlooks great city views, the Hollywood sign on the left, and Hollywood Lake. To end the trip, we’d take the day in Huntington (old stomping grounds). There’s so many gems in LA, but these are just a few of my favorites.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This one’s easy. My shoutout would undoubtedly go to my business partner and co-founder of Deviant Behaviour, Alex Boyd. I’m not exaggerating when I say that he’s probably the lynchpin to our success. Funny enough, I’d bet he’d say the same about me if asked the same question, which furthers my point. Deviant Behaviour is just as much his as it is mine, and the vision is one that we share. When I spoke earlier about core values aligning, and really taking my time to build a team, I was in part alluding to Alex and I’s paths crossing because that’s when things really started to come to fruition. It’s an amazing thing when you start something with someone that is completely and utterly in sync with you. Right out the gate, Alex and I knew what needed to be done, how we were going to accomplish it, how our strengths and weaknesses could compliment each other, and how effective we could operate as a team.
Other: Drelli – https://www.instagram.com/drellli/ Kas – https://www.instagram.com/kasruleseverything/ Paul Maxwell – https://www.instagram.com/pmxwell/ Claire Maisto – https://www.instagram.com/claire.maisto/ Haunted – https://www.instagram.com/hauntveux/ Cig.Vicious – https://www.instagram.com/_cigvicious/