Prior to interviewing Jake Willcock, manager and member of alternative rock band All Ears Avow, I had seen a few of their performances and taken my band, Indigo Haze, to support one of their gigs in Swindon. With nearly ( www.facebook.com/allearsavowband ) 4,000 Facebook likes and an upcoming northern UK tour, they have worked their way up towards success by making use of taking a supporting role, following bigger bands on their tours. Their journey is an example of how making the most of every opportunity, and gaining as many contacts as possible through playing a variety of venues can be instrumental to a rising band’s career.
During the interview, I learnt that Jake takes a democratic approach to management, most likely because of his involvement in the band itself as lead guitarist. This management style has allowed him to make decisions on business deals, whilst maintaining a strong relationship with the other members, adding that communication between all involved is the key to keeping conflicts at a minimum. However, he also states that sometimes the decision needs to be singular to stop the issue of having ‘too many cooks’ complicating proceedings.
In making final decisions about which opportunities to settle on, Jake spoke heavily about taking calculated risks, for example, on their impending tour he noted that they will make a loss on performing, however they have printed more merchandise and are going to heavily promote that to make up the difference. All Ears Avow have made their logos and t-shirt designs to match popular high street brands’ to make them more desirable, which seems to be commonplace in the music industry at the moment, with artists like (purposetourmerch.com) Justin Bieber teaming up with Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo to create his popular line.
One of the most important points of the interview taught me to put growth of the artist first, Jake demonstrates this in the way that All Ears Avow do not take any money for themselves personally, but instead reinvest into the band to buy new equipment, fund promotion and source qualified producers. This consistency of funds allows for the artist to keep evolving during the periods of time when they are not on tour. However, it was made clear that getting paid gigs is difficult, but that resilience, persistence and contracts are key to getting the best deal for your artist. Contracts should be signed, however small the gig or deal, often just for principle to make sure the other party is serious and cannot pull out at the last minute.
Throughout the entirety of our chat, Jake could not stress how simply being nice to people can get you a long way in the music business. Constructive criticism should always be welcome, especially for a small band, as this is key for artist development. If you, as management or band member, are grateful to people and display effort, they will most likely ask you to come and play again, or even recommend you to their contacts.