Polydor's Ben Mortimer on how the Chaos label is building a home for dance music's new generation

Polydor's Ben Mortimer on how the Chaos label is building a home for dance music's new generation

Polydor has seen major chart success with the launch of its Chaos label for dance and electronic music.

In the new edition of Music Week, we speak to Polydor president Ben Mortimer along with co-general managers Silas Howison-Waughray and Paddy McLean about their vision for the imprint. 

Ben Mortimer described them as “exceptional executives who live and breathe the music and lifestyle”.  

In our interview, Silas Howison-Waughray and Paddy McLean reveal their strategy to build a strong connection with the dance music community across a multi-media landscape. The Chaos label has established its own digital channels to support artists, and has ambitious plans for livestreams, events and a podcast.

Chaos has hit the ground running with its debut release, Giving Me by Jazzy. The Irish DJ and vocalist’s single peaked at No.3 and has sales to date of 283,681, according to the Official Charts Company. It was No.78 in the biggest singles of the year at the mid-way point of 2023.

Jazzy was signed following her breakout success as a featured artist on Belters Only’s 2021 dance smash Make Me Feel Good (Polydor), which peaked at No.4 last year and has sales to date of 1,044,257.

Alongside streaming success with Belters Only, Jazzy built a community around her DJ mixes on SoundCloud. She was signed as a solo artist by senior A&R manager Jack Duckworth.

“I met up with her in Dublin during her first hit with Belters Only,” said Duckworth. “We talked about music for hours and ended it on her wanting to interpolate Azari & III’s Reckless (With Your Love). I knew right there and then that she needed to be a Chaos artist.”

In terms of the timing for Chaos, Mortimer suggested that the “market is right for it”. Polydor has launched the label amid a streaming boom for dance music, as well as a major recovery in live events post-Covid. 

Polydor has established Becky Hill and Jax Jones as dance music superstars in recent years. The label has also had success with Meduza, Shane Codd and Rain Radio.

Asked if Chaos can become a significant force within the company, Mortimer said: “I think it’s already happening. I always said we wouldn’t make a fuss about Chaos until we had something to shout about. Now our first release, Jazzy’s Giving Me, is a Top 3 single and No.1 in Ireland. Plus, we’ve released some culturally relevant music like Confidence Man’s collaboration with Daniel Avery, On & On.” 

Australian electronic act Confidence Man have signed to the label, along with Jazzy, Tom Santa, and UK dance duo Prospa.

Polydor also has a Top 10 dance hit with Good Love by Hannah Laing & RoRo, which is released via the WUGD JV with Jax Jones and manager Dan Stacey. The single has 153,275 sales to date, according to the Official Charts Company. It climbed one place to No.7 in the latest chart and was streamed more than 2.8 million times last week. 

“Hannah is incredible, and her track Good Love is flying,” said Mortimer. “Chaos is just the natural extension of all of this.”

Polydor is also making a Top 10 impact with its artists, including Olivia Rodrigo’s Vampire, which held at No.2 (97,245 sales to date).  

Meanwhile, Polydor-signed Clavish has collaborated with D-Block Europe on Pakistan, which moved 10-8 (46,295 sales to date).

See the new edition of Music Week for the full story on Polydor’s Chaos label.


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