Stuart Roberts, manager of Aly & Fila and FSOE director, has spoken exclusively to Trance Project about the passing of ex-business partner, Dimitri de Wit, and reflects on their journey together.
Stuart Roberts was representing Aly & Fila and Sied van Riel in 2009 when he first joined forces with Dimitri de Wit at Twenty4Seven Management. Together, they managed Aly & Fila and produced mind-blowing events for Future Of Sound Of Egypt including the huge milestone shows for the radio show.
By 2016, Future Sound Of Egypt’s record label became independent. With Dimitri de Wit at the helm as CEO, the label continued to truly make its mark in the electronic music scene, becoming one of the world’s biggest labels in Trance music.
Dimitri de Wit died last week (August 6) after a short and heavy battle with cancer. Stuart Roberts caught up with us over the weekend, warmly remembering Dimitri de Wit the man, the Trance music fan and the ultimate mentor. Read the full interview below.
It’s been a sad few days for the Trance music industry with the passing of Dimitri de Wit, what’s going through your mind right now?
An array of emotions. Sadness and disbelief, but in his final days, he asked me to keep the good memories flowing, which I will forever, and boy did we have some amazing memories together as friends and as business partners.
How did you first get involved working with Dimitri de Wit?
It was 2009, myself and the two artists I represented at that time, Aly & Fila and Sied van Riel, moved agencies to the newly formed Twenty4Seven Management. The move was made through Sied van Riel, as he knew Dimi really well from back in the days when he warmed up for Tiësto a few times. Both being Dutch, Sied and Dimi kept in touch all the time and thats how he merge happened. The rest is history and was by far the best decision we’ve made in our career.
The only other time I had previously spoken to Dimitri, was when I emailed him regarding Aly & Fila. I was so nervous to send that email back in 2007. I mean, this was Dimitri de Wit, Tiësto’s management, and I was only a youngster in the industry back then and he was at the very top level, so I was intimidated. Even when I first met him in person, when we moved to Twenty4Seven Management, I was nervous, but we clicked right away as he was always there to help people and had a heart of gold!
You were business partners for a decade, what role did he play and what did it mean to you to have Dimitri by your side during the rise of FSOE and Aly & Fila?
He was co-manager for Aly & Fila from 2009 and was my partner for the Future Sound Of Egypt events. We did some amazing FSOE parties together, today actually makes five years since we did FSOE at Festival Hall in Melbourne, which was one of the my favourite events of all time!
Then in 2016, FSOE record label became independent and he was CEO. To have him by my side was perfect, always there to guide me every step of the way. You can’t forget that he had done it all, so he was the perfect mentor and he always had my back. We worked amazing together because I was more of the ‘good cop’, and he was the ‘bad cop’, and boy he had a bark, as I am sure many promoters know haha. If you stepped out of line, you knew about it, but he was fair at the same time!
What milestones were reached during your time working with him?
The growth of Aly & Fila, Future Sound Of Egypt and the FSOE events, whilst working together would have to be the biggest milestones! He truly believed in the brands just like I did.
Dimitri was also responsible for arranging our first ever FSOE stage at Tomorrowland, which was such a big moment for us. Dimitri had inroads everywhere, he knew everyone and helped me to build my own relationships with everyone within the industry. I am very proud to not only call him my friend, but also business partners for Aly & Fila and FSOE for so many years.
I will make sure we continue his legacy of what we were building together!
What was it about Dimitri de Wit that you think made him connect so well with artists and the entire industry?
His character! He was larger than life, always smiling, loving life and he was a king! But he knew when to be serious and when to push hard for what we needed in terms of growth. He rightly commanded the respect of others around him, he was Dimitri de Wit!
Can you share on of your most favourite memories with him whilst on tour?
There were so many memories that we would need to write a book.
One of the my favourite memories was at Mácháč Festivl in Czech Republic and i think it was back in 2008. It was held by a big lake and i was backstage with Aly & Fila, Ferry Corsten and Sied Van Riel, then all of a sudden i saw a big commotion between the promoters and staff because they saw Dimitri walking from a distance on the beach side. They were panicking because the highly regarded Dimitri was coming! That respect made me smile.
Another time was at EDC Las Vegas. Dimitri and i shared the same birthday (June 21) and Aly & Fila was playing at EDC on our birthday, so he flew over to Las Vegas to celebrate together, and Dimi truly loved Vegas!
What legacy do you think he’s left in the electronic music scene?
A massive legacy, and not only for Trance music but also dance music in general. He was instrumental in the careers of Aly & Fila, Tiësto and Ferry Corsten, amongst others. He helped and aided other agents and managers, to help them grow. He was always there to advise and help anyone.
He left his imprint and stamp on not only the music industry, but also on people as individuals and the world. I, as many others, will be forever grateful for everything he did for me and our brands. He was a true inspiration and most of all, a wonderful human being! Dimi we love you and we will miss you.
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