AM Only

Interview with AM Only Founder Paul Morris

Paul Morris
AM Only is one of the biggest booking agencies in the dance and electronic music world. Founded by Paul Morris in 1996, the company currently represents more than 200 artists. It is credited with playing a pivotal role in the genre’s rapid growth in recent years.
Billboard recently sat down with Morris at AM Only’s Brooklyn office to discuss the company’s beginnings, its biggest accomplishments, and the challenges of booking dance and electronic acts. Specifically, Morris talked about success stories like Skrillex’s Full Flex Express Tour and Tiesto’s Las Vegas residency.
On his initial vision for AM Only and how it has changed: “Well, first and foremost, it was a job. But the idea at the time was to try and help make this scene, which was just starting to grow, a little more professional — it was really the Wild West. I always think it’s ‘people first, agents second,’ and even as we’ve grown I’ve been able to maintain that. After [Paradigm music chief Chip Hooper] and I meet somebody, we’ll look at each other and say ‘Do we think this is a good person?’ more than ‘What booking business does this person have?’ As the company gets bigger, we need to be more aware of maintaining our culture.”
On his most vivid memory of Skrillex: “I went to see him open for Deadmau5 at [New York’s] Roseland Ballroom right around the time he signed to AM Only — he was relatively unknown and absolutely tore the roof off the building. I also recall him working from a desk in our office for a few hours the following day.”
On his biggest branding successes: “On Skrillex’s Full Flex Express Tour, our branding department put together deals with Red Bull and Frank & Oak [menswear]. We worked with both companies to turn a bare cargo car into a recording studio on one end — the Red Bull activation — and an artist lounge on the opposite end — the Frank & Oak activation. His team wanted to make the train a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone on the tour, and our team was able to align with brands who could help make a lofty idea a reality.”
On making a mark on Vegas with Tiesto’s residency: “We got in there early, understood the landscape and put together some great deals. But the truth is that dance music has been in Las Vegas for a long time, even though there weren’t residencies like there are today. And Tiesto made a commitment to the market — he saw something potentially fantastic there. But 10 years ago, I never would have dreamed that his face would be on the side of the MGM Grand — and even though Tiesto always dreamed of having a Vegas residency, I’m not sure that he ever dreamed about seeing his face on the side of a building, either.”
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