How to make it in the music industry: just go out there and do it! Always believe that anything is possible. What you believe you can achieve.
Being friendly can take you a long way too….
I spent 7 weeks in Holland and Ibiza this summer. Going to Ibiza, doing Cream at Amnesia, has introduced me to the sound of Chris Lake. You never know when you life is going to change… And it just has (pity I can’t get his new track Domino, that I heard play at Amnesia out of my car system)
Here is the interview with a major player in the music industry, Chris Lakes business partner, Sebastian Mysko!
Since I met Sebastian on email, he has been nothing but a ray of sunshine.
Herewith my interview:
Its great to meet someone as successful as you, that is ‘making it’ in the music scene. So here we go with a few questions about it all:
*Seb smiles… an ever so slight awkward blush takes colour in his cheeks*
Can you describe the company that you are currently with? What does the company do, and what do you do there? (I noticed you are one of the big shots). Is it by any chance your own company?
Hey! Yeh sure. Rising Digital is a UK based consultancy that specialises in social media and word of mouth marketing in the music industry. I run the team as managing director with my business partner Chris Lake [chris-lake.com]. Although the tools and methods we use may at times be complex, our aim has always been simple; we believe in ethical, transparent two-way communication. We’re not into heavy sales, dodgy media relations or push strategies. By working with artists, labels and management, we build online profiles with fun and relevant content… It’s ironic, that at a time when so much Internet corruption is happening, a solid organic approach is still the most sustainable way to go. Why have a million fans, if 99% are fake, won’t buy your albums and certainly don’t care what your blog says, when you could have 40,000 of which 60% will support your music, live tours etc etc… Anyway, rant over. We love what we do and my team is amazing! We’re very lucky to be where we are and do what we do. J
It would be great to find out how you ended up in this position right now. How long have you worked towards this goal?
I started in this area of communications back in 2006 working for a company called Wolfstar. [http://www.wolfstarconsultancy.com/] They had a lot of faith in my enthusiasm and pretty much fast tracked the hell out of me. One year later, my oldest pal in the world [Chris – mates since 4yrs old] got in touch, said he loved our methodology and two months later I was running his marketing, and helping the guys at his label Rising Music too. Music has however always been in my blood… I’ve been a crap bedroom DJ since I was 13, wasting money on vinyl and putting my poor Mum through bass-line hell. At the same time, marketing and business has always been in my life too. Both my Dad and Step-Dad have and continue to work in the Oil industry, so I’ve been brought up to understand that sometimes, you’ve just got to put in those harsh hours, catch that flight or whatever. So all in all, I’d say I’ve been working towards this all my life.. not bad for 28 I suppose…. Shit… I keep forgetting… I turned 29 last week. Gutted.
Would you say your success is based on luck, or sheer hard work?
100% both! Some go for fate, but I truly believe you can make your own luck. I was a shit uni-student and at school I only ever excelled in the classes that were taught by people I liked. So, being an oil-brat… hitting a different country/school every three-or-so years,… well lets just say my talents varied somewhat. The thing is, when I got my first real job, and saw that inch thick contract, I worked my ass off. It didn’t matter that I got paid £8k less than all my mates who’d gone into different sectors… this was my thing. Luckily, the hard work pays off, people notice your efforts, even if you’re getting it wrong. So, I’d say more than anything I’m just massively ambitious, but ambitious with a smile. I’ve never put other people down to further my own career – just good graft and happy days. You’ll always come across bullies and muppets in life, especially in business. Fuck ‘em man, it’s their loss and karma will no doubt catch up with them at some point! 😉
Did you ever imagine that you would be where you are today? Do you have any thoughts on us plebs wanting to get into a similar line of work? We are often told to rather study a business degree, or do accounts, myself was pushed into doing a science degree by my parents. It’s often true that you study one thing, and end up working another thing.
Ha! Funny that. I always remember a mate of mine in Norway saying, “imagine in ten years time, I’ll be doing this, she’ll be doing that blah blah blah… Seb’ll be working at MTV…” I think back to that with a massive smile.
Sorry to hear about your ‘rents and the science banter… you should have clearly gone into broadcast journalism 😉 I did a marketing degree, which was more like a 5 year piss up… but hey… I must have listened to something… and that’s UK universities for you.
What sort of opportunities exist in the music industry? Is it really a solid lifelong career that any person can consider?
Sure, I think so, especially as it is developing so much now. There will always be the guru’s at EMI and Sony, who are cherry picked and I think that’s fair enough. For the rest of us who maybe didn’t take education so seriously, it’s a MASSIVE case of who you know. However, once you’re in you MUST prove yourself. If you don’t think or realise there are a million people who would do anything for that position, probably at half the salary, you’re seriously deluded.
Now, I noticed that your company has such an All Star Cast of the most happening performers that the dance music scene has to offer. Gosh, I would love to know how this all happened and how long it took to get there.
Again… it’s about who you know and working hard. Chris’ manager intro’d me to his agent at the time, who also happened to represent the Swedes and Steve Angello. She saw what we did for Chris, and asked if we would be interested in doing something similar for her artists. She was our biggest advocate, and along with Chris’ management at Three Six Zero and the amazing Mr Loney at ie: music, we began to grow a fantastic roster.
Are there any special achievements you have achieved that you would like to share?
To have set up a Swedish House Mafia Facebook page that has the figures it now has and work an 18 month campaign was pretty special. But then so is the Gorillaz project we’re still helping with now. It’s all amazing. It really is. Rising Lite, our sister agency for up and coming artists is my current guilty pleasure; artists like DFA [http://www.facebook.com/DigitalFarmAnimals] and Louisa Bass [http://www.facebook.com/LouisaBassOfficial]… it’s just so much fun starting from scratch!
So, you must be a fundi on the dance scene right now. Where do you see the dance scene going from here on an international level? The European scene seems to dominate the markets right now. Do you believe that places such as South America, Japan, or even South Africa will have an impact in the near future?
You’re kidding right?! South America and Japan both have a huge dance scene going on! The far eastern kids love their techno, Hawtin etc, and those lucky enough to live in places like Brazil and Argentina… well… don’t try and feed them any big breakdowns or euphoric peaks – those guys want a groove… a simple bass-line and then just watch them go for it… amazing! Re: South Africa, you guys seem to get plenty of good stuff down there. We’re always getting sent cool promo’s from aspiring producers… the guys in the office are all about DJ Mujava… [http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dj-Mujava] and my mates are loving the Die Antwoord banter – all about mixing it up I reckon. At the same time, it’s the US that’s really interesting. When you see Pharrell and Usher working with the Swedes, and people like Beyonce loving the European house sounds… you know dance music is back in the mainstream! It’s not that I’m massively into the commercial scene personally, [I’m a HUGE Wolf + Lamb fan], but it puts a smile on my face you know?
What is your hit prediction for the winter season?
I’d like to see Duck Sauce keep going… although I just got sent the new Chris Lake & Marco Lys track… excuse my French, but fuck me that’s gonna go off in Miami ‘11! I also expect to see more from some of the older guys, Carl Cox, Emerson, Sasha etc. On the new front, keep your eyes on AN21 and the aforementioned – Digital Farm Animals! His latest track even got a bit of attention from Mr Mau5… or rather his cat… [http://soundcloud.com/digitalfarmanimals/digital-farm-animals-everybody-wants-to-be-a-cat]
What is your most desired event that you would like to attend in the next year (ok, and of course, we will exclude the holiday to South Africa I am bringing you to).
On a business front I’d say IMS and ADE. On a materialistic note I’d say WMC… but really, all the team here are looking forward to a small festival called Beatheader… fields, close to home, good beer. [http://www.beatherder.co.uk/] Nice. We’re all about the unpretentious thing around here. I’m not into sitting down and name dropping for three hours in a VIP area…
In your own words, where do you feel the South African dance scene is going, and how does it fit into the international market?
South Africa may have it’s own dance scene, it’s own big nights and smaller intimate sessions, but one thing is for sure: The sounds of South Africa have and always will be used in production for the rest of time. African rhythms in deep house, rolling drum grooves, tribal singing… amazing stuff. Really… hypnotic at times…
Thank you so much for sharing the love.
…right back at you! Thanks for listening and I hope people get something useful from this 😉