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Scott Chasserot

Quit your job, become a... record label manager

Written by
Michael Curle

Tom Davies, 37 European marketing director and project manager for Secretly Group record labels

How did you get into the music biz?

'I was playing in a band. I put out a couple of records and got to know people in the industry. Then I got a job working for Digital Hardcore Recordings, Atari Teenage Riot's label - this was the late '90s - doing their mail order. Then I got to know more people; it's really important to go to shows. I asked them for work, I was a pushy little bastard. And eventually I started doing management stuff for independent labels.'

What band were you in? Anyone good?

'I'm not going to tell you. It's such a shit band name. I'm not willing to say what it was. Plus I've got an ungooglable name - Tom Davies! There are thousands of us!'

Foiled! So, what is it that you do at Secretly Group?

'I've got two roles. One is project management: I look after the album campaigns for bands like Destroyer and The War On Drugs. I set release dates, commission videos, speak with publicists and distributors, handle the creative stuff. The other side is marketing: getting people excited about records by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ryley Walker, Viet Cong. Itís really awesome.'

Are bands ever a nightmare? Do you have any war stories?

'Not at Secretly. But prior to working for them, I handled a really big artist who refused to do press in Italy. I saw red and told them: "You're behaving like a complete cunt." After that, I wasn't allowed to speak them directly, and I was banned from their shows. I was persona non grata - and it was one of the biggest records I ever worked on. It was pretty funny!'

Doesn't that kind of thing put you off?

'Not really, it's secondary to the music, which is what I care about. And I get to work on the music day in, day out. I wouldnít change my job for the world. Not many people are getting rich in music these days, so you need to be there because you love it. It's a personal thing.'

Interview by Michael Curle

Or why not become a costume designer?

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