What does an A&R guy do?
In a nutshell, find and develop an Artist. It's the foundation of a record
How did you get involved in
doing A&R ?
When I was an intern at Columbia Records in the Promotion Department I
realized the importance of good A&R. Without A&R, there is nothing
to market, publicize or promote. At the time, bands like Shift and Texas
Is The Reason were making waves. I thought both bands could benefit from
being on a major label.
Everyone thinks that working
in the industry is really easy and just listening to demos all day, tell
us about an average day for you.
You're right, it's not that easy! Besides listening to demos, it's a bit
more than that. It's constant communication between myself and the artist
and the artist's manager. If a band is in the studio, I will check in
with the producer and mixer. Some number crunching. I have to make sure
a project stays within the budget. Going to the clubs to check out new
bands. Making sure everyone at the label remains excited about an artist
I am working with. I gotta wave the flag and get people excited. Basically,
act as a liaison between the artist and the label. I'm always busy. There
is always something to do.
What are some of your favorite
bands right now (major and indie)?
Hatebreed. I am so proud of Jamey and the boys. They worked really hard
to get to this point. I think kids are gonna flip when they hear it. I'm
also obsessed with a certain unsigned band right now. I'm trying to sign
them so I think I'll keep my shut and not jinx myself. Oh yeah, the Mars
Volta demos are awesome. And I like that new Unwritten Law single too.
What would you say to someone
that wanted to get a job at a label, is there any short cuts to get your
There aren't that many short cuts. My advice, get an internship and treat
it like it was a paying job and your life depended on it. Ask a lot questions.
If you don't ask you'll never learn. I see too many interns just mope
around and learn nothing.
Have you ever passed on any
bands that have now made it?
Creed. I got the indie album while I was at EMI Music Publishing. Many
people passed on them. I'm just man enough to admit it.
How do you go about hearing
new bands and music?
I read a lot of mainstream music magazines, and zines. I'm always buying
and listening to new music. Many times, managers and attorney's will send
me music. I am also obsessed with Pop Culture. Pop Culture and Pop Music
go hand in hand. I want to know what the kids are wearing, what they are
doing, where they hang out. I love going to the mall just to see what
rock band t-shirt the kids are sporting.
Do you recommend bands sending
demos to major labels?
it seems like so much stuff goes there and may never get listened toI
will always accept demos. The next Kurt Cobain is out there, so you never
know. Demos should be no more than 4 songs. I just don't have the time
to sit through a 45 minute 12 song demo.
What do you think the next trend
in music will be?
Well, now that bands like The Strokes and Jimmy Eat World are being accepted
and selling some records, hopefully this will lead to more soulful and
less "rappy" rock music. I don't know what to call it. I'll
let the press come up with a catch phrase.
Any last comments or shout outs?
Jay, you're a good man. And pick up Hatebreed, in-stores on March 26th!