If you’re at all tapped into the world of DJs, live music, and shows, you’ve probably heard of SKAM ARTIST. Serving as the ultimate hub for DJs and artists all around the world, the company has established and proven themselves over and over as the go-to highly sought-after DJ, radio programming, and music artist booking agency.
This year marked the inaugural SKAM Summer Music Summit, taking place over two days at the famed DREAM Hollywood hotel in Los Angeles, boasting a two day celebration on August 22nd and 23rd with 1,500 DJs, top radio programmers and music executives. For those unable to attend, don’t worry: they could catch the festivities via the 24-hour Twitch Stream live from the hotel’s penthouse, “Guest House” lounge.
Insert founder and CEO Sujit Kundu, who goes all out every single year for his birthday. This year proved to be the biggest to date, renting out AVRA Beverly Hills for dinner before heading to The Highlight Room at DREAM for a carnival-theme evening of fun, laughter, and good company, complete with a ball pit, pop-up video arcade, glow in the dark see-saws and more. Celebrity guests included Tiffany Haddish, Too $hort, Sean Kingston, Mario, Preme, Moxie Raia, Blac Chyna, Lil Jon, amongst others.
Flaunt caught up with Sujit via phone, who was still recovering days after the festivities from throwing such an extravagant music conference. Read below as we discuss what it means to throw this event following a pandemic, the highlights, the power in community, how he met Lil Jon, and more!
I was there when Lil Jon forced shots on you when you entered The Highlight Room.
Ha, he killed me. I did not plan to drink for my birthday and he ruined it! He wanted me to celebrate!
Do you normally drink?
In moderation, but it was such a big undertaking that I had planned not to until the second night. Because the summit was a lot of planning, coordinating, and a lot of moving parts. Needed my head on straight. I am not a big drinker.
You do it big every year, how did it feel to take over the DREAM Hotel for two days, with a 24-hour livestream. Like it’s a lot going on.
It was really hard, to be honest with you. Covid played a huge factor. One, you don’t want anybody to contract it, or it be spread at your event. You don’t want to be the person that causes someone to get sick. Two, a lot of staff and employees of the various venues are more restricted with what they can do, teams are limited right now. Employees, people have staffing issues, then there’s guests that don’t want to travel or perhaps did not want to come and be at risk, despite venues and restaurants being open. Perhaps they have grandparents who they want to see. If they do that, then they have to quarantine. You have other people that say “let’s go!” You have both ends of the spectrum, but it’s a challenge. What did you think?
I thought it was great, it’s amazing you can get so many people in one room. Obviously you’ve been doing this for a long time now, but how does it feel to have this many people show up for you?
When I was thinking about doing this back in January, I was watching the trends with the vaccine. By August, it felt like we were going to be pretty good. My thought process was: let’s bring everybody together that hasn’t seen each other in so long, which I think happened. People said “hey, I haven’t seen you in a long time. It’s good to see you.” Going into the fourth quarter, it allowed everyone to have a good night together.
What was your highlight from the two-day extravaganza?
Obviously the people. Seeing everyone come together, dress up, the people are what makes the Summit. It was a big runion. The production was pretty cool too, everyone did a great job bringing the vision to life.
How did you first meet Lil Jon? How has your guys’ friendship evolved over the years?
Well I’m his booking agent. He actually hit me up on MySpace back in the day—yes, MySpace. [laughs] It was great having him perform. He’s been on our roster a long time, and I consider him family. We try to showcase different talents at each of the different events. Sunday night, we did an all-girls DJ lineup. Monday night, we showcased DJ Crooked from Vegas who’s been on the roster for a while, and Four Color Zack who I signed during the pandemic. We had the 24-hour stream going, and I really wanted to use the summit to raise awareness and expose the DJs that I represent.
How important is SKAM Artist for DJs all-around, as a whole?
I think it depends where you’re at in your career. The farther along you get, it’s definitely an asset. At the beginning, you have to do the heavy lifting on your own.
What artists are you most excited for right now?
I don’t have one. I love all my clients. There isn’t one.
Growing up as a kid in Fullerton, did you think you’d be here today?
No. No shot. Nope. Doing music or doing parties? No chance. Doctor or lawyer.
How does it feel?
It feels good. Last year was and it continues to be a challenging time. Our industry’s getting hit pretty hard so there’s less stable work right now. [laughs] Because we’re the ones that get closed first. It’s always nightclubs or concerts to go first, entertainment isn’t considered essential. It’s not like being a doctor, I’d be in demand. But maybe it’d be a little scary to be a doctor right now, to be dealing with all those times when the emergency rooms are full, and handling Covid patients. Maybe they’re both stressful in different ways.
What’re you most excited for next?
Sleep. Just kidding. Look, I’m hoping we can turn a corner on this pandemic. Whatever the new world is, we can get to that because there were so many people that were not up for coming. That’s their choice and we respect it. I was trying to do something for our culture, so it’s hard. It was hard. To be honest with you, I locked myself up for a week the week before. Because I didn’t want to get Covid. I didn’t lock myself up, but I definitely cut out the gym, eating out, and any social scenarios. I didn’t want people around. I kept very few people around me in the office. Imagine if I caught Covid right before my event? I wanted to be extra careful.
How was it renting out AVRA Beverly Hills? I know you go there often, but having so many of your friends, family, and loved ones in one room. How was that whole experience?
It’s a beautiful restaurant. The food’s amazing. Tao Group has been a great partner with me since I started my business so I’m happy to do it with friends.
Follow Sujit and Skam Artist on social media at @skamartist on Instagram and Twitch. www.skamartist.com