Every band wants a manager with the Midas touch, but good ones are few and far between
If you were to canvass new bands about who they need to help them out, a majority would indicate they’re after a manager. Dreamers might seek a record label, pragmatic acts would request a booking agent or a decent van driver and the greedy opt for all of the above. But for most acts, the person they want to say yes to is a manager. Rock and pop lore have it that every band needs its Colonel Tom Parker or Brian Epstein or Malcolm McLaren, the manager with the Midas touch who will ensure controversy, glamour and success. Rock and pop reality, though, means every band really wants to hand over the hard, unsexy, off- stage work and drudgery to someone else at the first available opportunity. The problem is that there are very few good managers around and most are choosy about the kind of acts they’ll work with. They can afford to be picky because they know there’s a lot of hard work required to turn raw, promising talent into a best- selling act – and that their reputations depend on a high success rate. Right now, there’s a very successful manager with time on his hands for a new act. Scott Maclachan is best known for managing Lorde. This relationship began when he saw a video of the then 12- year- old in a school talent contest in 2008. They worked together for years long before Royals came along and turned the singer into a international superstar. It now appears that Maclachan and Lorde have parted company. While no reason has been given for the split, we’ll no doubt hear more about it in due course. The fact that Lorde’s success has been worth an estimated $ 2 million to Maclachan to date may sweeten the pill a little for the manager, but it also shows the scale of future lost income for him and his company. Maclachan probably has many acts beating a path to his Saiko Management door at the moment, yet it’s worth remembering that he’s the one who found Lorde before she realised she even needed a manager. He saw something in that early video that no one else did and provided the time and space for her to develop. A good manager has many talents, but the knack to spot something before everyone else is key. Emeli Sandé’s first manager Adrian Sykes saw something in the teenage singer and was prepared to wait until she finished school and university to pursue that potential. Other managers may have rushed things and told Sandé that she had only one chance at stardom, but the long- term view turned out best for the singer. It’s one of the things bands should remember when managers come their way. For another, it’s an employer- employee relationship and it’s the bands who call the shots. Just because someone is offering you a management contract and also wants you to sign away your recording and publishing rights doesn’t mean you have to go with them. There are many fish, as well as sharks, in the sea.
YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS Milk & Bone Little Mourning ( Bonsound)
Dashing debut album from one of our SXSW 2015 faves. Montreal duo Laurence Lafond- Beaulne and Camille Poliquin’s Little Mourning is full of lush, soft- focus, minimalist electronic attractions and atmospheric, hooky dream- pop.
It’s always surprising that the Ballykeeffe amphitheatre in Co Kilkenny is not used for more shows during the summer. It’s great then to see the Hollow Sounds happening listed for the outdoor auditorium on July 4th with live sets from Jape, Slow Skies, I Have A Tribe, Sails and others. The night before, there’s a screening of The Goonies. More information from facebook. com/ homebeat
Rock and pop lore have it that every band needs its Colonel Tom Parker or Brian Epstein or Malcolm McLaren