Back in 1999, UK garage outfit Artful Dodger and a then-unknown singer by the name of Craig David joined forces to release “Re-Rewind”, a song that has gone on to become so memorable that everyone under the age of 45 will probably know every word (well, the chorus at least). Some things in life gain more appreciation as the surroundings in which they are later consumed, evolve. But at the same time, if things don’t evolve, it’s easy to get left behind. For example, Blockbuster was once the go-to video and game rental spot for many years, but now it’s £1 stores and coffee shops that occupy those same shop-fronts.

There’s a balance to be found in juggling old-school comforts with new-school technologies, and the job of an A&R somewhat fits this description. Identifying talent is still the aim but in an era where numbers can appear to override gut instinct, finding that sweet spot between the two is a skill that only becomes valuable with time. “Re-Rewind”, which hit No. 2 in the singles chart, was one of the first songs that Glyn Aikins signed some twenty years ago: he was DJing across the UK with rap radio legend Tim Westwood and saw the reaction the track got in every city. Riki Bleau’s first venture into the music business was with Channel U in 2002: they were looking for content, he brought them a bunch of videos from artists who couldn’t get played on MTV Base, and later joined the company as Head of Music & Programming.

With over 20 years worth of experience in the bag, and a list of signees that include Labrinth, Emeli Sandé, Naughty Boy and Krept & Konan, Glyn and Riki teamed up to launch Since ‘93 in June 2018, a sub-division of Sony Music and an ever-growing powerhouse within British music. Since ‘93 is currently the home of Fredo, Aitch and Loski, as well as other artists like Amun and Serine Karthage.

Complex went down to the Since ‘93 HQ in West London to speak with the music execs about their new stable—which bridges big-label experience with street-level understanding—and the lessons they have learnt along the way.