Responsible for some of the best parties in London, DLT began as a brunch event. Having recently announced an incredible line-up for the DLT Experience, taking place this Summer in Malta. Since the first event in 2016, they’ve hosted over 35 successful sold-out events, with nearly 35,000 tickets sold, in addition to working with brands such as Soho House, Live Nation and more! The independent black-owned business, was included in UK Black Business Weeks’ Top 25 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2021. Founded by Michael, Anthony and Bosun, we spoke to Anthony Iban about the journey so far…
You’ve revealed Wizkid and Shenseea are confirmed to perform at the DLT experience this Summer in Malta – any other names you can drop?
We are working on our phase two right now so we can’t say exactly who will be on the line-up. However, we have some very exciting names in the mix so stay tuned…
You also hosted events in Ghana in January, which countries will you be pulling up in this year?
Malta! We are hoping to go back to Nigeria and do it big. America is somewhere that we have been dying to go to too, as that’s where we were inspired to make the brand.
This is obviously a major achievement, what’s the next move for you now?
Our primary focus is on DLT:Malta right now as we really want to get this event right. As it’s a first for us we want to make sure we hit the ball out of the park before we think about future plans.
How did you adapt the brand throughout lockdown when the prime aspect of your business was events?
We had a long, hard look at ourselves and had to find out what DLT represented outside of the events and we realised we’re not just a party. So we started making content and doing things that focused on different aspects of the brand, which saw us put more attention on our social media presence creating brunch-inspired reels, create playlists of what we were listening to, have a show on NoSignal and more!
As individuals, what experiences did you have with events prior to DLT?
None! We threw house parties in university but that was it. There was one time it was MK’s (DLT co-founder) birthday and we threw a BBQ and we had people dancing in the rain. We thought it was pretty cool, but we never thought that it would translate into this.
Is there one event that stood out above all others?
I don’t want to speak for the team but for me, it was probably the first one in Ghana. The energy of the event was euphoric and the fact we were in a completely new country was amazing to experience! The way it was received was mind-blowing and gave us food for thought when it came to expanding the event outside of the UK.
Many people say your parties are the best in London, what are the special ingredients that make DLT stand out?
I think we put ourselves in the audience’s shoes. I wouldn’t throw an event that I wouldn’t personally attend. We try to make sure we listen to the people we meet at our events and find out what they liked or didn’t like about it. We’re all music fans first, so we really take our time to make sure the DJs are all in sync and the day is programmed well.
You recently launched your Apple Music playlists, how did you adapt your brand into the format of a playlist?
Similarly to how we adapted the brand during lockdown. We started making playlists more regularly, of what we liked or listened to during the pandemic and it just became a thing from there. Because we are such big music fans at our core, the partnership with Apple made sense and allows us to put a spotlight on established and new artists coming up! It’s also a great way for people to get a taste of the sounds they may hear at one of our events.
You started with brunches, what made day parties the best fit when establishing your event brand?
From our experience in America, Brunch and Day Parties go hand in hand. You go out early with your mates, drink all that alcohol [and] you can’t just go home! You need to have a party to keep the energy and the vibes up! So we decided to keep the formula that we enjoyed so much in America.
What is the best thing about DLT from a founder’s perspective?
I think it’s a place people can genuinely have fun! We really wanted to build a place where people can come as they are and just enjoy themselves. There have been times I think to myself, “Man! I wish I wasn’t working this is fun!”
You were included in UK Black Business Weeks’ Top 25 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2021. How have you expanded on your presence in the world of business?
This was a surprise to us! We were flattered to be included and it was dope that people recognised the work we’re doing with DLT as a business. I think within the events world, we’re always focused on getting the events right! If we continue getting them right, our presence in the business world will get bigger right!? We want to be the guys who just get everything right.
As founders you’ve built DLT whilst holding down full-time jobs within the music and finance industries. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as entrepreneurs?
The biggest challenge is that there hasn’t been a blueprint for this in the UK. We can’t go back, looking at the history of this space and be like, “Well this brand did this so let’s follow their model” or “We can avoid this because of what we have seen happen before…” We are literally just trying things and making it work.
You launched in 2016, did you see the brand reaching these heights or was it more of a hobby to begin with?
It was definitely a hobby! We just saw a gap in the market and wanted to fill it. We didn’t expect it to have grown to these heights but we are all super thankful that it has and continues to surpass even our own expectations. We are surprised by the response on each stage we reach. I couldn’t sleep after Wizkid said yes to doing the event!
Tell us about Soundproof live and the purpose of these events?
Soundproof is a passion project for us. We linked up with our people over at Flight Club who are responsible for various R&B hits and we wanted to really shine a light on the R&B scene in the UK. There have been various events and platforms for other genres but R&B is often overlooked, so we wanted to build an event and platform to highlight this.
You’ve worked with brands like Soho House, Live Nation and more, who are you keen to link with in 2022?
We’re really excited about the playlists with Apple Music and we’ll hopefully get to do some cool stuff with some brands from around the globe! We don’t want to give too much away yet, so definitely watch this space…
Find out more about DLT:MALTA