Achal Dhillon

Achal Dhillon


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Achal Dhillon

Title
I am Killing Moon. I like the new music.
Bio
Killing Moon began as a new music blog in 2011 and was founded by Achal Dhillon, formerly of Mercury Records, Columbia Records and Quest Management. In 2014, Killing Moon has since evolved into a record label, artist management company and concert promoter. It also acts as an A&R and marketing resource to Turn First Artists/Universal Music Group following a deal completed in 2012 between Achal Dhillon and Turn First's Sarah Stennett.

As a blog, Killing Moon is cited as the first to unveil music by artists such as Alt-J, Royal Blood, Foxes and beyond. Killing Moon has a direct readership/subscribership from record labels, publishers, artist managers, music lawyers, live agents and concert promoters both in the UK and internationally.

As an artist management company, Killing Moon oversees the careers of rising producers Draper and Rogue, as well as several artists namely Esse, Remi Miles, Washington Irving and Radio On.

Killing Moon Records has performed over 50 commercial releases in three years, including Carnival Kids, Worship, Bluebell, Fickle Friends, Racing Glaciers, Honours, John J Presley, Looks, Money For Rope, Jay Brown, Bluebell and many more. Via creation of imprints, it has also released records for Jack Garratt, VV Brown, Leon Else, Laurel and more. It is set to expand into a label group in 2015.

As a concert promoter, Killing Moon has the following live outlets:

- A monthly night as a joint venture with Mama Group at the Camden Barfly:http://mamacolive.com/thebarfly/

- A monthly night as a joint venture with Livenation at The Kings Head private members club in London called "The Kings Sessions": https://www.facebook.com/KingsSessions

- Takeovers of Club NME at Koko, a 1400-capacity venue in the heart of Camden London: http://www.koko.uk.com/

- Killing Moon also produces tour packages in conjunction with several major live promoter partners, including Livenation, Mama Group, Kilimanjiro, SJM, DHP, Transmission Music Group and AEG Live, alongside many independent live promoters.
Website
Expertise
a&r, artist management, live shows, record labels, emerging artists, music publishing, live events, music business, music journalism, music blogging, artist development
Interests
indie rock, indie pop, hardcore, edm, music, post-hardcore
Location
London, UK

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Recent Feedback

Paul Sayers submitted media.

Coalesce by North Division

Achal Dhillon

Generally sounds very promising. Admittedly at first I was anticipating a big margin for error in the genres that you've inserted below but almost straight away I'm getting elements of Husker Du's "Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely", who are one of the few bands that straddled this invisible line between hardcore, punk rock and shoegaze.

This has certainly got a lot of character and ambition; the instruments are tracked particularly well and there's a really cool lo-fi sound attached to the vocal. It's really easy to mess this up or get lazy with the production on tracks like these but the nail appears to have been hit on the head here. Did you guys produce this yourselves?

This would be great to catch live at a show. Please do keep me updated with any that you've got coming up.

Wild Miles submitted media.

Half Measures by THE CONNECTORS

Achal Dhillon

I bet you guys get the Lenny Kravitz comparisons a lot huh? Well I think you rock a lot harder than he. There's a bluesy rock'n'roll undertone throughout this which I seriously dig, and I have been known to be a sucker for two-piece guitar bands. The attitude in this kind of music given that you're inherently limited by where you can go on two instruments is key and pretty much conveyed by how you two look seriously fucking cool. Focusing on the song itself, the instruments have been tracked and mixed pretty proficiently (I've seen that you've gone into a studio of note in Brooklyn), but you should consider getting this over to a producer who can really flesh this out into the best track it can be - a good shout would be Tom Dalgety if you're leaning more towards the rock elements, but personally I think you should explore several different options to extrapolate this track in a few directions and see which one's the most interesting - the edgier you get, the more you should appeal to blog-world. I'll get this up on the site this week. 

Starar Official submitted media.

Time Under We by Starar

Achal Dhillon

Thanks for sending this over. Generally sounds very happy and a fine slice of pop-rock and there's absolutely a marketing for this particularly in North America. This could do well in terms of synchronisations so you should consider reaching out to a couple of companies such as Zync or GODIY. From a label ptive - or at least my own - the production is extremely safe and you'd need a bit more of an edge in order to stand out in the very competitive landscape. Have a think about the sort of sound you're going for - on one side, this sounds like Fleetwood Mac, and on the other The Fray - and perhaps reach out to producers of the same ilk. The track length is quit considerable so think about an edit as well. Best of luck with this.

Ben Edetti submitted media.

Venus by Juliet and The Raging Romeos

Achal Dhillon

This sounds like it would kick ass live! Some seriously big riffs and there is a whole world of attitude in the vocals here. Where you havea  chunky slice of punk rock like you do here, it's important to make sure that the whole live experience is embodied into most if not all aspects of the project, so I have two main points of critique in this vain. Firstly, you are going to develop your fan base by playing as many shows as possible. So in lieu of picking up a booking agent who can work you onto the best billings and tours in this way, try reaching out to as many promoters of the larger bands you want to support as possible and just floating this with them. Secondly, get a producer who can really make these tracks flourish - the tracking for these two songs is good enough for soliciting demos to other people, but the mixing could definitely use a punch especially to explore the guitar and rhythm sections further, as well as making the vocal sit on top of the music a bit more as it currently feels it sits within the track just a tad as things stand. Check out a band from Texas called Purple, and hopefully that should provide an idea of what I'm blathering on about. Otherwise, sounding really good. Please do keep in touch.

Ben Edetti submitted media.

Good Girl by Juliet and The Raging Romeos

Achal Dhillon

As far as garage-punk is concerned, this is likely one of the best produced new tracks I've heard for a while. Tracking instruments in the rock genres isn't easiest at the best of times, but you've successfully managed to absorb the live energy and put it into an articulate recording. Consider sending this to tastemaker blogs generally as well as some radio outlets such as 6Music, Radio 1, Amazing Radio and XFM as well as as many regional stations in Reading as possible. Would love to see this live so please do get in touch when you are starting to do shows!

submitted media.

Posers by The Shanklins

Achal Dhillon

Am liking this a lot - while I don't personally feel there is a lot by way of a brand-new sound that I've never encountered before, you can almost straight away hear the underlying classic rock influences and I'm reminded of latter-day Foo Fighters at several points, yet I almost want this to go into a bluesy rock direction like The Black Keys. The production of the track is pretty strong; however, somewhat ironically, I'm more inclined to see a live show from you guys off the basis of listening to this. While the composition is strong, I feel the problem you may encounter in the future may well be criticism for not standing out enough. For the immediate term I would suggest reaching out to gig promoters and agents to try and bag some decent support slots or start to gather a following live; and simultaneously, have a strong think about what sort of band you want to be and start getting more creative/ambitious with your writing. This sounds good, but I think you could be so much more.

Carl-Marcus Gidlöf submitted media.

Hideout by Martin Rubashov

Achal Dhillon

Really interesting track - thanks for sending this over. From the aesthetic I was expecting something more metal (not that I don't love metal) but was somewhat pleasantly surprised to hear this as it doesn't quite fit into the classic rock category for me either; as in there's more edge to the songwriting, which I'm really enjoying. Tracking, mixing and general production sounds pretty spot on, and the songwriting seems more in the vain of a Muse-take on heavy rock. I'm not sure this is something blogs would necessarily go for, but perhaps something more intended for conventional specialist music media like Kerrang or Rocksound. Then again, you may well want to preserve your uniqueness in this track as being synonymised with one of the aforementioned brands might lamp you into a category that will be difficult to get out of afterwards. Anyway, I'd be very interested to hear more about this, please do get in touch.

Jairo Munoz submitted media.

Hypoluxo (Demo) by Drowning at the Shore

Achal Dhillon

Really into this. The recording/tracking sounds pretty DIY, but of course you've qualified this as a demo. I love how you're blending hardcore with math-rock and those insane time signature changes - like Dillinger Escape Plan but mixed with stuff like Three Trapped Tigers and And So I Watch You From Afar. Also reminds me of early Thrice circa Identity Crisis era. Also, your singer has some serious pipes (screaming articulately isn't easy at all, believe me I've tried many times after a few too many beers) - tethering this in with a tight rhythm section must make for an insane live show (and I've just watched a few of your live clips). You should consider getting this over to a decent producer proficient in the genre before sending this out to labels, and I might have a few suggestions of people you could get in touch with; also with the live show you should connect with live agents and promoters who will be absolutely key in breaking this as the hardcore/rock genres are more or less totally dependent on touring as a marketing tool. Get in touch please!

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

'Skip The Day' by Digital Slumber Party

Achal Dhillon

Probably the best thing I've heard from you guys so far - and to put that in context, the stuff you've been sending me has been to such a high standard as it is, but here it really feels like you've hit your signature tune. BPM feels like its somewhere between deep house and ambient dubstep, and you've stepped up your production game to a new high. The visual accompaniment is pretty spot on as well, and I love how you've arrived at this spaced-out other-worldly aesthetic without falling into the trap of cheesiness. You should consider sending this to EDM labels like Monstercat or high-subscribership Youtube channels like Suicide Sheep. Also blogs like Earmilk and/or Thump might well want to get a hold of this. Please get in touch as I'd like to help out.

Bob Manning submitted media.

Megan by Cold, cold heart

Achal Dhillon

This is something rather special - I'm only at the introductory segment, but even now I can tell that this is just a beautiful song. I'm a big fan of the so-called instrumental genre, but traditionally on the heavier side of things; your Mogwai's, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Three Trapped Tigers. In terms of technical proficiency, musicianship and production, I'm absolutely lost for words and in the best possible way. Consider me a fan. Admittedly I'm at a loss as to how one would market this sort of music, but I would be pretty happy to find out. Please get in touch as I'd love to book you for one of our shows and/or include you in one of our compilation releases.

Carl-Marcus Gidlöf submitted media.

By The Waves by Baron Bane

Achal Dhillon

This is what I'd describe as "very bloggable", which is hilarious in itself as recently it has almost become regarded as a genre in its own right by a lot of UK based artist management companies - perhaps a sign of the times when it comes to planning on launching a brand new artist and developing it in an exposed way. Admittedly I was wondering where the song was headed in the opening 30 seconds and it was really the strong aesthetic here that kept me interested rather than the track itself - although the production at this stage was interesting in itself, and sounds as if you have a very competent mixing engineer here. It then starts to get way more interesting when the vocal/musical climax starts to kick in - generally its electronica-tinged indie pop, and super ambient at that. You should consider hitting up blogs like Line Of Best Fit, Crack In The Road and Gold Flake Paint who I think would be into this - it certainly shows a lot of promised and should heighten the expectation for your release. I'll try to get this up on the Killing Moon blog at some point this week. Great work!

submitted media.

Wait by Chess

Achal Dhillon

This has a very interesting twist of tempo when the "punch" of the track kicks in - I certainly was not expecting this at all!

The initial segment reminds me of something rather twee - say, Bjork's "It's So Quiet" or the more dramatic end of the performance-pop spectrum like Marina & The Diamonds - and in my mind while admittedly I'm not a huge fan of this kind of music personally, in this instance I don't think it really marries up with the rather sexed-up aethetic that Chess seems to be going for. Image-wise, this has got commercial pop music written all over it and I don't really believe an artist should derrogate away from this.

The thrust of the more up-tempo segment of the song seems to make much more sense to me; live-wise I can envisage a choreographed performance to run alongside all this. I'd say your primary aim is to route this through radio rather than blogs per se. The fact is the song is very pop and its not easy to detect an edginess that would necessarily render it "cool" enough to blog about; a much more viable route would be to market this to mainstream radio outlets such as Radio 1 and Capital in the UK. On that note, in terms of production, this could certainly do with a bit more polish - everything from the tracking of the electric guitar and the beats to the track sound very artificial which won't stack up against the multitude of pop artists - both signed to major labels and otherwise - that service this kind of music to mainstream radio outlets on a regular basis which have the advantage of being A&R'd and supplemented by a lot of different producer submissions.

For what it is, I think it's a strong pop track, but clearly it needs refining before it is released to the world at large.

Carl-Marcus Gidlöf submitted media.

Living by Adna

Achal Dhillon

I remember Adna very well; in fact I wrote about her back in May 2014: http://killing-moon.com/2014/05/26/track-of-the-day-adna-night/

Since then I've heard a lot of people from other bloggers and A&Rs to Killing Moon's distributors The Orchard talking about her - the stats below are indeed very impressive and a testamanet to how far a well-produced and beautifully constructed alt-pop song can go. The grassroots campaign around her artistry has been executed perfectly and I'm a fan of both her music and the way it is being presented to the world.

If they haven't already propped this up as a One To Watch for 2015, I imagine larger music outlets like Line Of Best Fit, Clash, DIY, The 405 and others would absolutely lap this up. It's credible pop music with a strong aesthetic to marry it up with.

Given that we're about to release our third compilation (New Moons: Volume III) with former Radio 1 DJ Ally McCrae in January 2015 I'm almost annoyed that we didn't get round to including Adna. I would love to talk about including her for Volume IV, and also to help put on some shows for her in the UK - please do get in touch!

Carl-Marcus Gidlöf submitted media.

Ahai by Twiggy Frostbite

Achal Dhillon

Twiggy Frostbite is such an appropriate name for the artist - right off the bat, this track feels very wintery indeed!

Essentially, I absolutely love this. It's credible, progressive, creates a strong mental aesthetic, the production is excellent - generally within the opening seconds of the vocal kicking you can tell this is a song worth investing in. I've already gone ahead and started following you on socials. I'm surprised to learn that given the strength of the music - for example I'd put this on a par with the likes of The Staves, Stealing Sheep, Smoke Fairies, Casket Girls and of course The Deer Tracks - as well as the press support this has received to date that this hasn't become much bigger already in terms of UK industry focus. 

I would absolutely love to hear more. Please do get in touch.

submitted media.

All Eyes On Me by Heather Harvin

Achal Dhillon

Firstly, well done for all your past and present acheivements. It sounds like you've done a lot and worked hard to get to this point.

I really like the lyrics; you're more or less reeling off the thoughts that go through every new artist's mind when they're just getting started out. Musically, the track is okay. It feels like you're going for the same performance/delivery style as say Lady Gaga but you will need edgier/more advanced production to stack up against those kinds of acts. I'd consider pairing up with new producers for sessions and seeing what you come up with before unveiling any further music.

Try checking out some tastemaker blogs end-of-year lists that focus on new producers, or simply reaching out to artists/producers that you're a fan of to go in for something speculative. You'd be surprised at the amount of amazing new music that can be constructed over the internet, if you're concerned about hooking up with people around the world...

Elliott Sencan submitted media.

Find Me Out by Hollywood Principle

Achal Dhillon

This is excellent - I love how there's very little to focus on other than the music, and this is certainly a brilliant debut effort. It's really draws on strong musical production (I would be really interested to learn who produced this - if it was self-produced then you're absolutely onto something here). Vocals are very strong indeed - generally the music reminds me of London Grammar, Alpines and a lot of ethereally-tinged dance pop numbers that are frrequently thrown onto the online world but really aren't as good as this.

Please do get in touch as I'd love to hear more. Am following you on facebook.

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

File Not Found (new mix) by Digital Slumber Party

Achal Dhillon

Very much sounds like a demo. I really like the melody and the general crescendo/build-up in the track; like Draper this feels like it belongs in the gaming world for some reason!

The sample pack that you're using (I'm assuming its a sample pack anyway) sounds rather basic - there are ride cymbal taps that sound very synthetic and even in the electronic genre its important to get this sounding as polished yet authentic at the same time. Perhaps consider experimenting with a few other packs and concentrate more on the production of the track generally. There are so many bedroom producers now, even in dubstep of which the popularity has not altogether disappeared but is nevertheless decreasing, that you have to have some sort of unique ID stamp in your productions to really stand out. I need to be able to identify this track is you just from observing the unique production style.

The composition itself shows variance and build, but the moodiness and atmosphere in the track seems to diminish with the ongoing repetition of what is essentially the same section of the track. That's not to say it is a bad thing, but to qualify this into something more marketable in the EDM genres and perhaps incorporate vocals (whether a comprehensive topline or samples) you may want to mix it up here as well to accomodate a melodic vocal.

submitted media.

Rock From Afar by Record/Start

Achal Dhillon

This is AWESOME. Reminds me of Weezer straight away; it's got that lazy indie swagger about it that will appeal to the loser kids (right here bro) and this would be awesome to see live. You should get this over to BBC Introducing and Amazing radio asap - although having just written that I've just seen Charlie Ashcroft has already liked your Facebook because he is a lot better at finding awesome bands than me. Basically, I love everything about this. Consider it blogged on Killing Moon and I would absolute love to see you live - if you haven't got anything in the diary I will happily put you on a show. Please please please get in touch as I really want to find out more about what's happening with you.

Nathan Loughran submitted media.

Achal Dhillon

First off, you get props for the track title itself and the tongue in cheek nature of the track. One of my favourite songs of all time is a track by a punk band called The Vandals about a very similarly subject matter.

The musical composition itself is a pretty basic acoustic guitar chord progression and piano melody, which seems pretty self-explanatory because I think you're trying to draw as much attention to the lyrics as possible, and it works very well in this respect.

Obviously the subject matter is hilarious - making local gig venue references like The Bull & Gate (I know, I miss it too) suggests to me that you're a flagging acoustic singer songwriter trying to hustle on the London toilet circuit. We've all been there; and in the best possible way, its nice to hear a track that you can imagine in your minds eye and a lot of new artists in London can relate to. An anthem for a very specific layer of people indeed.

The big criticism is that 99% of the world doesn't know or necessarily care about this rather underglorified reality of the music business that the lyrics pertain to here - and lyrics in acoustically-governed tracks are they key to drawing in listeners in given the relatively simple nature of the music, coupled with the need for a truly outstanding vocal. You need your audience to be able to relate to what you're saying in the message of the song, which can be about heartbreak, loss, happiness, bittersweetness etc. Really think about just how many people in the world who aren't struggling musicians can relate to being a struggling musician. And whether they get the references that you're making if they're not a struggling musician from London. 

Its very entertaining for what it is, and I imagine it would go down a storm at an open mic or student night, but in contrast it doesn't feel like a very "serious" song and therefore it is difficult to take it seriously.

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

Achal Dhillon

Intro is very deep and atmospheric - really creates a very menacing digital landscape and the listener is left anticipating a huge climax.

Vocal reminds me of something along the lines of Nero's "Me & You". I really like the moodiness of the track and the production is very strong, although I feel it could improve with some elaboration around the principal drops (there are three from what I can tell). 

The BPM and general laid-back approach to the music makes it seem like chillstep - in terms of getting this furthered online I think you could do something more interesting with the musical melody, more along the instrumentation that you've got kicking in around the 2 min 37 sec mark.

A lot of the "primary" UK tastemaker blogs - Line Of Best Fit, The 405 etc - would probably refrain from posting about this as the track isn't edgy enough to deem it "bloggable". However personally I don't believe in amending the music you're making just to suit the tastemakers, and there are indeed plenty more of them out there than just the ones I'm talking about here. Instead to market this sort of stuff I'd consider sending this out to people like Earmilk, Thump and other sites more elaborately associated with contemporary EDM; you'll almost certainly want to have a strong visual accompaniment to go along with that.

Otherwise, given the strong atmospheric nature of the track you should absolutely send this along to some sync agencies and/or production libraries - I can definitely hear this appearing on an TV advert or computer game soundtrack....

Generally, a very good track that I enjoyed listening to. It's just that given the broad nature of the electronic music market, you need to have something a lot more unique to stand out from the ocean of solo producer-artists that are out there at the moment. Label-wise, perhaps consider sending this out to Monstercat or Ultra. I've given you guys a like on Facebook as I'd like to keep tabs on how you're getting on.

Lance Coleman submitted media.

Nobie Black Society by We People

Achal Dhillon

Hip hop that makes a statement on social inadequecies always resonates pretty well with me - while it's a genre I don't know tons about I think the clip is really well shot. Perhaps a little too reliant on the sample at the beginning and lyrically I think it could be extrapolated further into a bigger track. But I do like this.

Taylor Locke submitted media.

Achal Dhillon

Really like the track - it's fun, upbeat, bouncy feel-good guitar music - but I like the video even more! The concept is hilarious and certainly enhances the track, but am wondering whether the video overshadows the music in this context? Either way would be great to see this live.

Fluence Team submitted media.

For the Creative Community by The Fluence Team

Achal Dhillon

Pretty rad concept. I've had an awful time manging demo submissions and this not only helps put it into a streamlined way for me, but I'm also coming across stuff I probably wouldn't discover. Pleasure to be involved.