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With his hefty responsibilities in consideration, William Robillard Cole speaks with an unassuming confidence. The 23-year-old Cole has already reached considerable success as an executive at Los Angeles-based record label Huh What and Where (HW&W), as well as helming his own management company WRC Management — representing renowned artists such as KAYTRANADA and Stwo. Although he’s relatively young, the Nova Scotian displays a professional maturity that well-exceeds his age, while simultaneously, this youthfulness allows him to stay in touch with what’s current, scouring social media for any trending artists or songs. In our discourse, it is clear the entrepreneur is clear in his objectives and strategical maneuvers, knowing the reason behind one action and its various potential consequences. As Will prepares for this weekend’s OSHEAGA festival in Montreal, in which his signee and close friend Sango is playing, he speaks to us regarding the future of his artists, and his plans for HW&W and WRC Management. Read our conversation with this mogul in the making in its entirety below.
How are you?
Good. Enjoying the summer here in Canada. Getting ready for OSHEAGA this weekend.
Can you give us an update on HW&W’s current roster? Any new signings on the horizon?
Right now at the label I’m working on STWO’s new release, which were dropping the first single for within the next month or so…
We have Kay’s album coming up in Canada, and were still working some singles from the past few months. Goldlink’s “Sober Thoughts”, and the Freddie Gibbs one… “My Dope House”. Pomo’s got a new video out soon as well.
Expanding our roster isn’t something I would say is a priority at the moment, but there’s this one multi-talented artist from Toronto no one really knows yet that I’d like to sign. He’s got this album done, where he’s on this like Thom Yorke tip. It’s so nice.
How’s Kaytranada’s album coming along?
Great, it’s 99.9% done.
How was it working with a label like XL Recordings? Any lessons learned?
XL is great. Everything they touch they do a really excellent job with, and the A&R we work with there is awesome. They’ve just been letting Kay do his thing artistically. They’re not like other big labels where they want to suggest features, or get you in the studio to make a radio single. The owner said to me when Kay signed, “As long as the music is brilliant we’ll crush it”. I can’t wait to jump into the full campaign with them.
How do you plan to expand?
Expanding is something that usually isn’t on my mind. Just working on doing an excellent job with what we currently have on our plates.
What your wisest decision in this industry so far?
Hiring Chris Taylor to rep all my clients, and our label on the legal side. He’s involved with pretty much every great Canadian talent. Drake, Chromeo, K-Os, Nelly Furtato, A-Trak and more. He’s been a blessing for sure.
What would be the worst?
Nothing specific. However I’d say, never work with someone or a company that doesn’t get what you and your artists are trying to accomplish. Find people who understand the vision, or do it all yourself.
How do you keep your ears “to the streets?” How do you find new talent?
Just listening to everything that drops, and talking to artists on a regular basis. Always being on Twitter/Instagram and seeing what other people are doing/releasing.
You were working with Kitsune on a European tour earlier this month. How did this come about?
Yeah, Bahwee our President at the label has been working on that. We started out doing some Soho House parties with them that my homie Nate hooked up, and this will be our first full tour together. Super cool brand… mixing music with fashion is the wave.
Besides North America, what other music market you see the biggest potential?
All our guys do really well in Europe and Australia. Mad love for both markets. The fans there are ahead of the curve.