Matt Orlove and his company, Orlove Entertainment, seek to unify artists worldwide through their Under the Covers video series.
From the heart of West Hollywood, Matt Orlove and his company, ORLOVE Entertainment, have thrown renowned parties that offer up unique experiences for attendees including Wicked Paradise, Panic in L.A, and Daft Brunch. But with shows on pause due to the pandemic, they pivoted from live events to the digital realm and focused on taking their audience to places around the world with Under The Covers.
Hosted on YouTube, Under The Covers showcases emerging artists from Africa, Australia, Europe, and more on an intimate stage that allows their talents to shine brightly. Each episode sees a different musician take a standout track and cover in their own unique way, furthering the message that even during the darkest times music can unite us all.
Throughout the series, artists have covered tunes from major names including Kaytranada, Caribou, Thom Yorke, and more, and their most recent comes from Zepha who put his spin on Disclosure, slowthai, and Aminé’s “My High.” Looking to gain some extra insight into the Under The Covers series we sat down with Matt Orlove to dive into the concept and his future plans, so read on for the full conversation!
Watch Disclosure, slowthai, & Aminé – My High – Cover by Zepha on YouTube:
Hi Matt, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. We’ve really enjoyed your new video series Under The Covers, but before we dive into that, let’s dig into your own history in the scene. Looking back, what made you inspired to get involved in the music industry?
My background is in sales and marketing. I worked for many years in television ad sales here in Los Angeles but decided to make a career change around the time when advertising dollars were shifting towards the Internet. I moved to New York City and was hired by the largest holiday event production company in the U.S., executing over 500 events between Halloween and New Year’s Eve each year. While we mostly booked open format DJs, we always threw one massive NYE party featuring mainstream acts like deadmau5 and Armin Van Buuren. It was here that I discovered my passion for throwing events.
I met my wife in NYC, and soon after we got married in 2013, we made the decision to move back to L.A. to start our family and the business. I’ve always been obsessed with music, so it was very clear that it would be my company’s main focus. Although I knew exactly how to market and execute events, I didn’t have relationships within the agency and artist management world, so booking the type of acts we desired most was challenging.
It took me a year to finally book my first show. Our ORLOVE launch party was at the end of 2014 with Penguin Prison and SNBRN at a packed-out Sound Nightclub. That same night, RAC was playing the Fonda Theatre to promote his “Strangers” LP. Because Penguin Prison appeared on that album, I believe his team agreed to do our show in order for him to also make a surprise guest appearance at the Fonda earlier in the night. As it turned out, Goldroom, JPatt from The Knocks, and Karl Kling were also at the RAC show. Because of their relationship with Penguin Prison, they all came to Sound afterwards to play an unannounced back to back DJ set at our party.
It honestly could not have gone any better for our launch. By then, we already had our second, third, and fourth shows already booked, so it was a quick rise from there. From day one till now, my passion and inspiration all stems from my love of music and the desire to always spread positivity.
That’s awesome! Sound has always been a home away from home. Over the past decade, you’ve cultivated parties such as Wicked Paradise, Panic in LA, Dream Boat, Daft Brunch, and more in the heart of West Hollywood. Can you share a memory from a past show that sticks out as special to you at one of these events?
It’s hard to pinpoint one in particular, but we do an annual party with Giorgio’s, which is an exclusive, A-List disco club in West Hollywood. In 2018, their team came to us to produce their first-ever ticketed live show, which became Giorgio Moroder’s Birthday Celebration at The Globe Theatre, featuring Giorgio, Roy Ayers, Aeroplane, and Yacht. The general idea behind Giorgio’s Live is to mix legendary acts with newer ones in an effort to diversify the crowd.
We do the same for our hip-hop party, Panic in L.A, which has featured lineups with DJ Premier, Raekwon, Sango, Craze, Mix Master Mike, and Pomo to name a few. Nothing beats being in a room where all feel welcomed regardless of age, sex, cultural background, orientation, etc. It sets such an amazing, positive vibe.
Creating diversity through music and people participating as a whole is a beautiful vision to have. Although those shows couldn’t go on last year, you pivoted to create the Under The Covers video series. How did the idea come about?
I had been wanting to create original content for a few years, but because the events side of the business was growing so fast, I wasn’t able to direct focus on conceptualizing an idea that I felt compelled to pursue.
When COVID hit last March, we were forced to cancel and/or postpone all of our scheduled events for the year. The general concept of Under The Covers came to me while watching the YouTube channels of incredible, but relatively unknown musicians. Since they were already creating their own engaging videos, I felt confident we could increase their visibility through our strong distribution platforms, marketing, and PR.
Cover songs are not a new concept, but I love the idea of artists covering current, cutting edge music from acts like Kaytranada, Disclosure, Thom Yorke, Freddie Gibbs, and Tom Misch. By our one-year anniversary in April, we will have premiered over 50 videos, with artists from 25 countries, 6 continents, with over 5 million views across all platforms.
What is the process for curating the artists for the series? Do you look for a specific match to the original artist’s sound or someone completely different genre-wise?
Once we agree on a collaboration, the next step is exploring song options. In order to get a sense of the artist’s general vibe, I make a conscious effort to dig in and listen to their music. When sending over potential songs to cover, I’m not necessarily trying to stick to any specific genre, but rather options that complement their playing style best.
I put a lot of time and energy into it because I want the artist(s) to also relate to the songs. I take great pride in the fact that everyone we’ve worked with so far has been extremely receptive to this process, sometimes even taking on music unbeknownst to them
For example, we discovered a singer-songwriter from The Philippines, Peej. When we presented Karen O & Danger Mouse’s “Turn The Light” as an option, it was a song he had never listened to. He decided to roll with it, and ended up sending us back a hauntingly beautiful, acoustic version that Karen O saw and shared across all her socials.
I admire all the selections that you can make for the artists, but looking back on the series so far, what are your favorite showcases from the artists, indoor shoots, or outdoor/backyard for the series?
Thank you! We’ve only had a handful of episodes shot outdoors. Especially because we’re working with talent across the globe, the exterior videos have a special quality to me. In a way, they introduce a small window to a world some viewers may be unfamiliar with.
We recently released an episode with Tina Brown Africa from Ghana, who covered dvsn’s “So What.” She shot the video in the backyard of her home, beneath the West African skyline. I’m particularly fond of this episode because even though Tina is on the opposite side of the world, she shares our vision. Once we started communicating, it became clear to me how honored she was to even be considered.
Her community got behind the project as well, playing her version on the radio and in clubs. She ended up even getting some great press from African media outlets.
It’s beautiful that you’re giving the artists a way to translate work that they put out for others to understand. If you could describe the video series in three adjectives, how would you describe it?
Global, Positive, Passionate.
With the new year in full swing, can you share some of your goals for the series? Do you plan to have artists do any streaming live performances in the future?
In an effort to amplify the platform, we’re starting to feature more collaborations with established artists. Youngr, for example, recently gave us a gem; Caribou’s “Never Come Back.” We’re extremely excited about some of the special guests we have coming on over the next few months.
We’re also launching a video podcast in March, On Top of The Covers, hosted by our Brand Director, Matt Gottesman. It’s a weekly series that features some of the world’s most creative visionaries, entrepreneurs, and artists. Each episode will delve into their inspirational stories as they contribute to the culture of music.
While we are not planning to live stream at this very moment, nothing is off the table. I do see us eventually merging Under the Covers with the events side of the business to present live performance showcases.
Thank you so much for your time Matt! We are excited to see the project grow and introduce and support more music for a broad audience worldwide!
Take care, Ashley!