What is your official job title?
I work as a merchandiser in the music industry, I work freelance for bands, which means the bands hire me direct and I also work for merch companies as well. I’ve worked as a merchandise manager, where you’re helping out with design ideas and approval, but I’ve kept away from that this year.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently in the middle of a month off, but this year I have worked with bands like You Me At Six, The Eagles, Beady Eye, Roger Daltrey, Yellowcard, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Funeral for a Friend and a few others! This month has been the longest I’ve been home for a long time.
How did you become involved in the music industry?
I left college at 17 to play in a band which I did until 2005. Once my band broke up, I started working with bands I’d met from touring with my band. The first bands I worked for were Hidden In Plain View and Valencia.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about working in the music industry, particularly with touring?
I guess that depends on the person. The biggest misconception of me is that generally that I meet girls on tour, and sleep around and party all the time… This couldn’t be further from the truth. I take my job very seriously and that’s exactly what it is to me, a job. I never cross the line of people questioning why they hired me. It’s difficult holding down a relationship with someone who’d read ‘The Dirt’ by Motley Crue… They were the real part animals! I’m just a guy working a job.
What’s one thing you wish people would have warned you about the music industry before you became involved?
Be prepared to be away from the people you love for long periods of time. People get married and you miss the wedding, people have kids and you aren’t there for that and so on… It can sometimes be pretty painful when it’s someone close to you, but that’s what the job entails. I love what I do but it’s just like catch 22. No matter what you do in life, there’s always somewhere you’d rather be or something you’d rather be doing.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I couldn’t really tell you the best piece of advice but I’ve been lucky to have worked with great people in the industry like Rob Highcroft, Matt Geyer, Andre Simoes, Trevor Fair, Justin Smith, and the great people at Merch companies like Firebrand and Merch for Life. I’m blessed in the sense that whenever I need someone to talk to, I have a long list of great people who have always been there for me.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Watching a band grow. Kids In Glass Houses are the best example of this. I first met them when they were one of the opening bands for a band I was working for called Hit The Lights in early 2007 and pretty soon after that I worked for them as they started playing 500 capacity rooms and now they play to thousands of people a night. Watching good people share great gigs with so many people every night is amazing to me. It’s rewarding because they are some of the best people I know and they deserve every success in life.
What three things are essential for tour?
For me it’s my laptop, my passport and my pelican case. I’m always the guy losing toiletry bags, so it’s not essential because I always end up buying that stuff over and over again, maybe common sense would be essential too?
What has been your best experience in the music industry so far?
This is a difficult one… The best band I ever worked for on a personal level was Hit The Lights, we shared a lot of good times and they really took care of me when I was still pretty new to the world of touring. More recently, going on tour with Roger Daltrey was insane for me. One of the all-time greats and getting to watch him every night was an honor. I’d also say touring with Kids In Glass Houses and You Me At Six too, it’s just like being on tour with family with those sets of people.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
I don’t know if it’s a lesson, but being away from friends and family when bad things happen is a real eye opener. I was unfortunately at Pukkelpop the day that people died because of the storm and I’ve never wanted to be home more than I did that day. Another thing would be having loved ones get sick and not being able to be home to go and see them and try and do something to help. Touring in that situation makes you feel totally helpless but I’ve been lucky with the people I tour with, everyone tends to take care of each other and I think everyone has been in that situation on the road.
What artists are you currently listening to?
I listen to The Swellers most days, so I’m always bound to mention them. I listen to a lot of Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, Charlie Simpson, Days Away, Like Lions, Against Me!, Saves The Day, Over It, Midtown, Yellowcard, MxPx, Augustana, Spitalfield… I’m sorry that list got so big, but I listen to all those bands a lot, and I’d high recommend them all!
Was there ever an incident where you felt you or someone else was treated unfairly because of their gender?
I don’t think anyone is treated unfairly because of their gender or at least I haven’t seen it happen. I know a girl called Aileen and she’s worked for the same kind of bands as me and she’s always getting work because she’s awesome at her job. I think it might be more difficult for a girl to work for bands at times, but for the most part a good reputation will get you far. Sarah Burkitt is great at her job. Bryony Malins is great at hers too! There are plenty of girls doing great in the industry and those three are some of the best! As for guys, we all tend to shot the shit, but it’s never unfair, if you’re getting grief on tour, you probably deserve it to an extent. I get grief because I sleep a lot… Ha! I tend to make fun of the YMAS sound guy a lot, but he takes it all as banter, and he’s generally one of my best friends on tour. I’m just very quick witted… And he’s not.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have no idea where I see myself in 5 months, nevermind 5 years! Haha. In 5 years, I will be 32 years old. I’d like to think at that point I had a lady who could put up with me, and a dog as a best friend.
What advice would you give to those who are trying to break into the music industry but are unsure where/how to begin?
I get asked this a lot, and I could never really answer it, I kind of fell into the industry after my band broke up. Personally, I would say work hard in school, college and university. I didn’t and I’m sure on the outside looking in, I’m living the dream, but if I were ever to try and get a job outside of the industry… It probably wouldn’t be a good one!