Mike Kaminsky Interview
Well, we're going we're going to have mike kaminski on on and mike is one of the very unique young intra preneurs in the business he he'll tell you a little bit how he came out here but I was this is that moment in time and you look at those really dark moments in your time and I had this dark moment going immortal entertainment when I had merged the companies and I just didn't like the way things were going I thought this mountain I was up in the peak guess he's at the peak and business sometimes we're working with all these people you'd heard about and I realize sometimes that that wasn't a good space for me and I like that I'll slide back down the mountain but there was a kid that showed up to be my intern and he wanted to be come work for kevin line and he figured out where immortal entertainment was and he came and supplied for internship. No one told him that he was coming for a summer internship that I would be gone all summer on my kaminsky and he was a young guy and he loved m...
usic and I think that maybe he had a little idea for record label in print we had one working out of his garage he was managing a bank called fear before the march of flames hey just he's one of the smartest intra preneurs I think out there right now he's also dynamic within the music space he's don't talk about them let him tell him but he manages people like a three or three and uh dia frampton he's managing it she was like the number one track in australia right now he's got he just he takes his artists but he's looking at it as an all encompassing method now of management that manager that was just going to sign that big giant deal and take commissions off the merge deal off the publishing deal off the record deal they're not really around a whole lot anymore there's still some hanging on in different ways it's the young man manager are you ready? Come on, mike. Yeah, right here. How are you, kevin? You're all the nice stuff I was telling about you, did I? Thank you. Yeah. So this is my commits key where's your cats they'll be here in a minute. All right? Mike is a huge fan of cat, but I was just telling you, mike, about some of the people you work with and how you and how you have taken that you know, management philosophy that you know it's a full circle pie being a manager now you can't just sign giant deals and publishing deals so let's just talk about a little bit I told about showing up to intern at a mortal and to kind of meet me and work with me but they're not knowing I was going to go on all summer yeah, so I think right then you what you tell him about that big and I think right there was also sometimes you learn very early on not what you want to do in life and you had to move the guy so mike tell what year you started in the business yeah, so I started about twelve years ago I think I graduated in two thousand and two from college and I loved I love music but the only thing that I felt like I knew how to do it I was working and like video and this was before anything was even digital and so at my school I would go toe like your concert every single day but at school I out of grams and I got a bunch of video equipment and started the television station at our school and this was back when like napster was the way you would find music on guy would like reach out to bands and say, hey, I have this grant I want to shoot a video for you I think you're really good I know no one's heard of you yet, but you know you can come sleep on my floor and let's figure out something to dio what were some of those bands mike well the first grand I ever reached out to you was this band that um I was playing a shock at my school they were called taking back sunday and they came and they slept on the couch for you know two days and we shot a video and then we went and they played to sixty five kids that night andi what I sort of discovered was that you know what maybe my strength was more in like discovering talent and helping to share a vision with them and for them and I sort of segue waiting management not even really specked intend up there all right so you come out you know, out of school you start this internship and I just remember you were also had a label like by then write your started put out records or have an idea for label almost got absorbed into that I actually work for this company and I told him not to do it yes no I did you know early on I said if I'm gonna work in the industry I want to learn as much as possible and I took a job for a few months at a magazine and I learned a lot about press and publicity but I wasn't able teo you know get all these other jobs and I wanted to deal him so I said you know what screw it I'm going to do it myself I'm going to figure it out and there is this band out of texas that I was just in love with and I said it's a crime that no one signed you so I'm just going to do it myself and um it was me doing the distribution and having to call record stores myself saying, hey, I got this band uh would you take in thirty records and everyone going no absolutely not like having to figure out ok well what's the strategy to get someone to take in like three records into their store and having to book their first towards myself and, you know, having so like go in and make a record and not knowing what it was like to go to a mixer to a mastery in studio and figuring out how all that works and then what it eventually led me teo you know, my internship I felt like, ok, you know what? I had done some of this stuff before I had a little bit of knowledge and I just started to make connections and then ultimately, you know, meet you. I think there was some familiarity at least with you know, how things work or what the lingo wass or you know who was like else in my spear that was doing something similar to myself that maybe I could call up for a favor? Yes, I look at it, we're going you know, kind of fast forward because I know we're talking about managers of this day, and I think one of the biggest things I see with you, mike, you you have strategies for your artists? Yeah, thank note that here's, what I got to remind myself every single day, I feel like they're the biggest thing that differentiates, you know, a good manager from a great manager if I'm looking at this is an artist is someone who is reactive or proactive, and I have to wake up every day and say, I got to be proactive. Andi, I think it's very easy to fall into, you know, this mindset where there you're a band or you're working in the industry of saying, okay, you know what? I got all these e mails today I'm going to respond how these e mails and stay on top of all of that and then it's a very different mentalities say, ok, you know what? I'm going to turn off my e mails for an hour for the day, and I'm going to come up with ten great ideas that no one's ever done before, and maybe I can only do one of them, but what is so good about this band? And every band has strengths and weaknesses, you know, whether they want to admit it or not and you have to look and say, ok, you know what? This man is not that great at this, but they're really, really, really good at this, and so you can't just plug him into the hey, you know what? Go on, you know, do it tweet and then post the video on youtube and then, you know, do this the x, y and z, but you have to really think about every day I'm like, ok, this family is so good at this one thing, how do we take that and turn it into something that hopefully no one else would really bottom before? And that is that's a really hard time and I want to do mike is take two case studies of your artists right now to that I don't, you know, me and mike was fun, we have mike mean, might have the same office baby working like a place like this run all everything out with less than this room, but half of this room and you know, but one thing I do, lou, listen, I'm on the phone a lot still listen to mike and he's got to artists and just tell the strategy of management for three o three a band who had, you know, a band who was at a major live because although three o three had a couple big songs but it blows me away what's going on with all the other things that mike strategizes with them to have this amaze in career going on yeah, I'll talk real briefly about the history I saw these guys almost everyone I've signed I've signed from a very, very early points and I saw a video on youtube and it wasn't anything they had even posted or was promoting it was a fan video of just kids losing their mind at this show and I was like their second or third so ever and it was you could just tell it was so fun everyone in that room is having the best time and I called everyone I knew going like, have you seen this man if you seen this being the top three or three and I was like, yeah, we don't get it that kind of work outside of that area code and I said, I love this I just every time I see this video have this huge smile on my face and I called him up and I said I wanted me to you I want get on plane let's just hang and, you know, early on the strategy was just like, you know it, you're just making fun music that's just you know really use at the time this was like myspace have just started let's just start leaking tracks onto myspace let's just do like frat shows and will do you know we'll play a hip hop show and we'll do a metal show well do you know all these different shows which led to them you know, like in the first year they got asked to open for about for snoop dog and for some forty one and for like this metal festival and the thing even though it's all these different genres the thing that transcended was anyone who saw them had a really good time and the early strategy was just like ignore radio ignore you know all the major label stuff let's go out and just proved everyone that your strength is your live show um you know star can like battle rap better than anyone I know and they would go out and they do these clubs and every show was sold out there turning kids away and that turned into you you know, the next time they toward it was twice as many kids in every market and finally, you know, radio took notice of the band because they were compelled to take notice it wasn't anyone even really going to radio saying please play my song please my play my son it was radio going oh you just played a show and there's two thousand kids there, we don't know who you are getting more often, ignore that that sometimes that backing right, they can't ignore that when the fans are dictating, they don't want to play with three o three, but they had to play it. Yes, they did. And that's when we said, ok, now we're going to develop a strategy, and at the time we went toe one station in denver and they were spinning the song we said, hey can be used you as like, you know, can we take all your data points and bring this tow one more station and show how well it's doing? And we went toe one more station and that took a month, and then the next month we went toe one more station and so that it was succeeding there, it took eleven and a half months on that first song, but that song ended up going at number one worldwide and, you know, just like kind of fast forward through a bunch of stuff, I think that's when most people discovered them, uh, they put out a couple more albums, and now we're saying, ok, well, what next in this process? And we've laid out a strategy for them, they're now songwriters and producers, so, you know, they had the last marine five single, they wrote for ariana grande a they just did blues traveler single there like scoring for video games were able to say ok what are you really, really great out and it's you know it's identifying an audience and then hopefully excel in at it so even if it's not for their own project we can say ok, you know what? You really get maybe the core audience of this video game if you're going to work on the music for this they're great at getting inside the head of the audience and then making a great music track for them so that's three or three which you know it's interesting they're working those guys they shot are working all the time doing this and I think they'll be they'll still go play some live shows here and there but they're gonna have fun they're not dependent on that touring being on the road all the time and because they had radio success creating that next song and then the list that's touch on dia frampton because I think the things that mike has done this shows like the manager that has to get up and I like when you say you're you're not reactive you're proactive and I think with dia tell the idea was in our meghan dia was a band that played on warped tour the two sister and they did did moderate success they little success out there and then deal went on tio come in second on the voice and then mike has really taken her career and they pick up from there after she won the voice mike what you started to do so we have been asked to do this new show that no one had ever heard of in an end up being the voice I think I think it was see them to we wouldn't have even done it but at the time it was like look this is such a great opportunity to promote yourself we have to do this there were pros and cons that came with and obviously there's a lot of publicity on the con I think for someone my idea is the fact that um she is I feel like a very credible artists and sometimes when you d'oh you know a reality show people don't recognize that you know what there's a lot of innate talent she is a songwriter how do we like let people know that and what we had to do is we sat down and we went through as she was making her album and we started to release music we said ok, well where is this really connecting? And we were we were going through like all of our tweets every facebook response like we had to do this all manually there's a lot of tools that automated now but we were kind of surprised to discover that there was a very big fan base in southeast asia india is half korean so we you know we kind of started there and we would just look up the radio stations in thailand and it would be four in the morning and me and dea and amanda at my company was literally the three of us would start to tweet at every radio station we could find in thailand and say, hey, we have this song you know, what do you think? And they would write back to me like oh my god we loved meghan dia we love this song let's start playing this song and just the three of us without a label without any of the other stuff going on we went like I think eight countries and the song became a number one song throughout southeast asia now in thailand she have six number one songs just from us personally contacting the stations and saying, you know hey, give this a listen here's what's going on people really reacting to it and then we booked our own tour like dna throughout southeast asia right there mike booking your own tour you had an agent book at the first some of the first things but then mike this is where I think it's really cool or mike went in and saw a different way to do this in asia so talk about this less so I was very impressed with how you get this oh, thank you. So it started with our media support so it was kind of backwards in in america you know, dia had a very solid touring base but over in southeast asia she had never been there before and actually a lot of american action never been there before. There's not really a network you can just plug into very easily. So when we started to get some media support we started to go the stations and say, ok, we come out like we're going to fly out just to come meet you and go on air your station and you know, like, come on erin and build our fan base that way but while we're there, can you either sponsor a show or connect us with someone who's like done events for you and the first time we went it was almost like, you know, a promo run where she go every morning she going like three radio stations in the city and then at night she would do a show and all of the radio stations for that whole week would talk about the show and then people would come out here and then we won again twelve months later and again we just, you know, have a great of all of our contacts that we met and now she's got a bigger career, you know she can land in asia and there's like paparazzi at the airport and there is a line of media requests you know waiting for her and then she comes here and you know she's over here she's more of a songwriter so she's started to develop he has um you know lindsey sterling single that she helped write and she has it's a method single she helped write and like a bunch of like d j tracks but overseas she's like a very prominent performer and that's I mean, that was literally three people in a room up at four in the morning every morning due to the time difference emailing tweeting facebook in like anyone we could get a hold of who seemed to enjoy the music you're online through the questions and mike said it was super cool guy out there if you ever run across he's more than willing to talk you and mentor you and he has a cheese a grilled cheese shop that's fantastic in silver lake what they hear what their workers are related put a plug in my soul yeah, me and dave shapiro who I think I may have said something opened a group of cheese restaurant here called haywood grilled cheese esos by haywood grilled cheese just find mike behind the counter flipping cheese and ask him some music advice way got a question here mike says somebody something myka managing my first band I'm afraid of stepping into too many roles and not being able to handle the weight what would you say is the best strategy for juggling these responsibilities should you outsource to delegate a lot of the work or keep the heavy workload and one of the things that you think are most important that you keep on your own plate um that was a great question I think it does speak to the job of a manager tell me I feel like management is a full time job and it's sort of if you look at it as a company you're the ceo of a brand and you do have to oversee you know on any given day we dio rice and seen photo shoots a and r hiring the crew pay the payroll of the taxes um you know and everything world ride to taurean and you got oversee it when you're first starting out all of that stuff is still important but there's usually a couple of things that a band is really, really, really really get at and in my experience if it's if you're going to go out and say ok what is the best thing this band is get out we know what they have alive so that no one can compare maybe you know the recorded britain is like good but the live shows what blows everyone away okay then make it your goal to say I need a sound five hundred tickets and put all your energy into everything, pointing tio selling tickets if they're super charismatic and very personable and, you know, just great with people than maybe your goal is ok. We want to be doing a weekly youtube post that interact with fans, and our goal is to start getting to ten thousand place, whatever it is, you don't have to do everything all at once, all the time as your priority, like it's your job to sort of identify the strong characteristics of that band and then everything else should support that main goal. Um but I think the hardest part is really starting out and saying, ok, what is this being great at? Because no ban is just great at everything all the time. All right, uh, one more from memory here. How do you find a good manager? What should we as artists be looking for in someone doing your role? Um, when I was starting out, I mean, I was an intern like I was nothing, nobody I hadn't know history and I met this band here before the march of flames and fell in love with them and approached them and said, hey, I just want to get involved, what can ideo and they took me on because I was so excited and so passionate about their bands and the most important thing for a band is is that team and when you have a band you know even like three o three who you know has radio in the support and worldwide not upset but even a small band that team grows teo I mean a small team I feel like it's thirty people when you include you know, the agent, the lawyer, the label the publicist and include all those people in your crew and a big teams one hundred people and as you would start to assemble that team and that team may take years and years to put together I always just look for a passion and I would much rather go with someone who comes to the band and approaches us it was just like I love this band I want to work so hard for them and please include me then just some like big time guy who's going to put their name on it on do you maybe you're like at the bottom of their list so if you're working really hard is a band it's great to do outreach but I think the best guy or gal is the person who comes to you just saying I have a vision and I'm excited and I have ideas and I want to be involved wait one more online unless you get something go ahead there or if anyone here in the room I love to give you guys the opportunity ok, fantastic, we'll ask this last one online here on then we'll let you go, mike, thank you. We've got remain a groupie who says he might have done much for a few bands in europe, but I'd really rather be looking at management and tour management. How do you see just going about that and taking that first step? But that doesn't include asking the bands you do merch for her, since they already have a tour manager or manager? Um, if here's here's my overall believe if you're going to do something and you're going to say, ok, this is the role I'm doing be the best you can possibly be at it and go far above and beyond, and people will recognize you when it's time to find the next step, people will just think of you and I have so many people that I've hired because they were the best guitar tech and they went above and beyond and their attitude wasn't like, oh, I'm the guitar tech, so I'm just going to do the guitars we know what? When we needed to restock, they were the guy run into the van and helping to bring in stuff, and early in the morning, when the tending to be set up, they were up there setting up the tent. And when the tour manager needed a hand, you know, getting hotels done at night, they would always jump in and offered to help or to help route some nothing, and you would just think of them away, oh, this person wants to succeed, and so when we had a spot of bill, they were the very first person we called I'd rather call someone within our team that outside of it and it's, not it's, not wrong to express that you want to not just sell merchandise. If you're doing a good job, you could plant the seed with the tour manager and say, look, maybe you might hear about another band that needs someone you can't do or the management company you can go to him and say, if there's ever a role or something that opens up, I'm hoping to move on to the next level. Is there anything I should be doing to get ready for that? Or am I doing a good job now? Yeah, and some of the best things in music is fake it till you make it, and if you act like a certain way, people will perceive you a certain way and maybe it's a very quick side tangent, you know, the first time I ever I went to this the same shock I start taking back sunday and I saw this metal bands of very shortly thereafter, and they loaded in a fog machine and they have flags, and they had, like, huge strobe lights, and they have all of this stuff, and it was literally a shock of, like, sixty people, and it was a bench seven fold. Well, that's what I said, the same story wouldn't that played golf with me the other day. I knew you were going to be big because you're the only guys that showed up with smoke machines on the warp tour to smoke machines that this is you saw right after the break. But they were like this band. You just knew they had smoke machines and it's blowing all the smoke blowing in all the texts under their tents that anyone tell you to get. But I told madigan did you've got to remember, like, I just knew that you they were there. They they had a show that they wanted to put on. You just knew that band was so that's. Great. We matched up. There have been seven fold this week on stories with that. Yeah, but I mean it's the same thing. If you, if you cross over to, I think roles within the industry, if you burn about something and you act like people perceive you to fit that role. People will start to think of you as that person. And I think that's the air that you need to give up and that's, how you get the work tourist. I guess we're talking to say who might be on about mixing up there on a people are involved in, and they want to go to it, you know that. Fake it till you make it confidence in cockiness, that all goes into one basket.