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BOOKING AGENCY DIRECTOR
Y
DIRECTORY
EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW
Tim was a guy I was at first
intimidated by, but I learned how
to be a human being as well as an
agent from him. He has such an
immense code of ethics that he operates by. He really instilled that in
me. I feel like I really grew up in
the 3-1/2 years when he was my
boss.
Nick Storch
N
In what areas did you grow as
an agent while you were there?
International Creative Management
ick Storch says he had no choice when
it came to a career in the music industry.
He got hooked on music while in grammar school
and that interest as a fan became a
passion.
“I’ve never cared about anything
else in my life as much as I have
music,” Storch told Pollstar. “I tried
to play sports, I tried school and it
just didn’t work for me.
“I did fine in those [areas] but
music was the only thing that I found
myself actively participating in on a
daily basis, whether it was going to
shows, buying magazines, tapes or
CDs. I wanted to be a part of that.”
That passion has worked in his
favor.
In the last nine years, Storch has
worked with acts such as Coheed
and Cambria, Cannibal Corpse and
Five Finger Death Punch and his
current roster that includes Atreyu,
As I Lay Dying, Anberlin, Travie
McCoy, Gym Class Heroes, Baroness,
Frank Turner and Foxy Shazam.
The Lancaster, Pa., native got
his first chance to experience the
concert business while attending
La Salle University in Philadelphia.
He answered an ad seeking interns
for the 1,200-capacity Trocadero
Theatre and landed a position.
Storch’s internship at the
Trocadero led him to meet and add a
second internship with Eva AlexiouReo at Fata Booking Agency prior to
his college graduation in 2001. That’s
where his career as an agent began.
His next career move took him to
Face The Music Touring in New Jersey
working for Tim Borror in 2002. Under
Borror’s tutelage for more than three
years, he expanded his experience in
dealmaking and booking tours. Storch
was handling his own client roster
about a month after he started.
From there, Storch’s next opportunity was at The Agency Group, where
he spent four years building up his
expertise and client roster. He made
the move to ICM working for Marsha
Vlasic in the contemporary rock
division in December 2009, where
his fan’s passion for music continues
to be an asset.
But I had enough wherewithal
to ask good questions. They realized they could ask me questions
about shows they were looking at
booking. Then, when I was going
into my final semester, I asked Jon,
“What am I going to do? I don’t
even know where to begin.”
He introduced me to Eva at
Fata Booking Agency. I’ve been
an agent ever since.
Was an agent’s job what you
had in mind when you got into
this business?
It was a total whirlwind! All I’ve
ever known is that I love music.
Handling business, I love doing
it but I want to be a music fan first
and foremost. That’s what drives
me to wake up every morning.
So for that year, I was just so
excited to have a chance to be in
this business. If that didn’t happen,
I was screwed. There was nothing
else that was going to work for me.
No, I don’t think I ever knew.
Living in Philadelphia, there
wasn’t a booming music business
like you have in New York or L.A.,
so I didn’t even know where to
begin. I didn’t have family connections, I didn’t know anybody.
It was almost serendipitous that
I walked into a record store and
there were fliers there for interns. I
think I was the first one to respond.
How did the Trocadero internship influence your career
direction?
My first two years [of college]
were spent trying to figure my
life out. [When] I ended up getting
the internship at the Trocadero
Theatre with Jon Hampton, I hung
posters and cleaned things and did
general duties.
So how was that experience?
Where did your career go from
there?
I went to Face The Music Touring
after that. I started there late January of 2002.
How did the job with
Tim Borror come about?
Tim was the only other music
business person I knew in Philadelphia. We met and kind of hit
it off. I knew he was the next
person in my life that I would
learn a great deal from.
Everything. We worked in a room
the size of my office now or a little
bigger, so I’d hear Tim in the background telling me, “Put that person on hold.” Then he’d say, “Don’t
do that. This is what you’ve got to
do, this is what you’ve got to say.”
And I remember that I’d been
working for Tim for a couple of
days and, as he drove me home
one night, I heard him on the
phone with a manager. He took
responsibility for a mistake and
just said, “It was my fault.”
He taught me how to be an
honest agent.
Tim was also the first one to
show me the road map to develop
an artist. When we signed Coheed
and Cambria, I think everyone was
confused by them. He laid it out
very clearly what we needed to do
and I did everything he told me.
So you consider him one of
your mentors?
Absolutely. He looked out for me.
He put up with me when I didn’t
want to be an assistant anymore and
was fighting with him constantly.
He held me back until it was just the
right time to let me go on my own.
He pushed me like no one before.
What was the hardest thing
to learn about the job?
The hardest thing to learn is the
confidence to always do the right
thing and see the forest for the
trees with the decisions you need
to make.
I take my job very seriously and
it’s imperative to not let yourself
get so close to a situation that you
can’t pull back and make the right
call on the next move.
2010-2011 Edition
5
EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW
BOOKING AGENCY DIRECTOR
Y
DIRECTORY
I feel like what we did early on
helped expose them and got
more people to pay attention to
them.
What was your strategy?
NICK GETS SOME FACE TIME WITH IMMORTAL when the band makes a stop
Playing everywhere, but I think
that model has changed. I don’t
think you can tour a band 300
days a year and have the same return now.
But at that time, once people
saw them, they were blown away.
They played anywhere from Lancaster, Pa., to Savannah, Ga., to
New York City. There was no limit
to where they would go and the
band was willing to do what it
took.
at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mar. 30.
Who were some of your first
clients?
Atreyu, and Coheed and Cambria.
You’ve worked with quite a few
metal acts. Were you into that
genre before you worked at
Face The Music?
I wasn’t a metal person growing
up. When I went to work for Tim,
I didn’t like a lot of those bands.
But I’ve come to love those bands
through the relations with the artists and discovering the music.
But I’ve always wanted to represent everything. I could get up tomorrow and listen to Bob Dylan,
two hours later feel I need to listen
to some Cannibal Corpse and
thereafter make calls on Anberlin.
That’s been my goal from the beginning because I didn’t want to get
pinned down as one type of agent.
What was the first tour you
booked on your own?
The first tour I booked for Tim
was Cannibal Corpse and Pissing
Razors. Tim sat right next to me
and heard me make every phone
call and chuckled quietly. That was
the first tour I ever booked in real
clubs.
How did it feel to handle all the
details yourself?
6
2010-2011 Edition
At first, it was intimidating because I didn’t want to let him
down.
Tim is the kind of guy who
once he believes in you, he doesn’t
stop. I just wanted to do a perfect
job.
And you’ve got to get comfortable saying big numbers. The
first time you say $10,000, you
[think], “Wow. That’s a lot of
money.” Now, you say a million
or whatever but that was scary
at first.
Did preconceived notions about
metal bands at the time create
any touring obstacles?
Oh, there were promoters that
didn’t want to work with us back
then who we now work with
regularly. But back then, they
didn’t care about the business
that Tim and I created. We fought
really hard [for those bands]
before some of this music was
cool.
What was the first band that
you helped to build a career?
The band that really put me
on the map, if you will, is Coheed
and Cambria. I was their first
agent. We worked together for
quite some time and I was there
before there was a manager.
That strategy is still relevant
now, isn’t it?
It is, but there wasn’t the volume
of bands back then. The first
few tours weren’t necessarily
musically appropriate but Tim
and I felt we had something very
special. It didn’t matter who they
played to, people were going to
get it.
The first band was Bloodlet,
which was infinitely heavier than
[Coheed and Cambria] but we
made it work. They also supported
Shai Hulud.
We just kept them working.
That was the secret to our success
with them.
This was also pre-YouTube
… when a band could really go
and work. That’s how people
were exposed to the band. Now,
I feel like your first show may
be up to 1,000 people because
people are losing their minds
over your one song on MySpace
or whatever place they’re finding
the music.
So how did your job at The
Agency Group come about?
The job at TAG came up because
Face The Music had, for all intents
and purposes, come to an end.
I reached out to Ken Fermaglich
for a meeting and we just talked.
Tim helped to connect us as well,
but I knew that Tim and I had a
great chemistry on so many levels
and it wasn’t time to part ways yet.
How did working at TAG boost
your experience as an agent?
Working at TAG felt like the next
evolutionary step for me. It opened
my own eyes to the next level.
I relocated to New York and
was around infinitely more managers, promoters, labels, etc., and
opportunities. I gained knowledge
working with people like Steve
Martin, Ken Fermaglich, Steve
Kaul and Andy Somers, who each
have their own unique styles.
It was great to be able to borrow
ideas from each of them. I’m extreme-ly grateful that Ken took
that meeting with me and gave me
a chance because at the time I was
still just a young guy fighting to
get on the radar.
What prompted you to leave
TAG to work for Marsha Vlasic
at ICM?
I felt like it was time to make a
change. I had four amazing years
there. I met my wife through The
Agency Group and Tim Borror
remains one of my best friends.
[But] there are few people who
rival Marsha’s experience and her
insight is great. She believes in
all of the things that I believe in.
The first day I started with her
in New York, she said, in front of
our small department, that we’re
here because we love music and we
want that to be one of our calling
cards.
That, and the fact that she’s
represented some of these folks
for decades, spoke volumes to me.
Do you think shows like “American Idol” have any influence on
artist development?
This [format] has been going on
for decades. Bands didn’t do their
own songs, they performed other
people’s so this is just an updated
version of that.
But people are responding to it,
so now the process is being shown.
It’s not really something that interests me.
If I love something – whether
it’s a soul singer, hip-hip artist or
country singer – I’ll go after it.
They don’t have to come find us,
we can find them now.
Do you think Internet outlets
are a better resource to break
an act?
I think playing live is still a unique experience that’s critical to a
band’s growth and needs to be a
magical experience.
You can get a sense of what
[a live show] might be like [from
the Internet] but you don’t know
what the room smells like, feels
like. I think people still crave that
but there’s just a lot more bands.
Seeing an act from a fan’s point
of view is still what can sell you.
Yes. You can hear a song and think
the song is great, but what if the
band is lacking certain qualities?
The live show will expose everything you have to work with. Are
the members competent players?
Do they look like stars?
But the Internet has certainly
stepped up the pace of how
quickly an act can break.
The Internet is driving it more
than ever and reaction time is
instantaneous.
Fans know more about things
than ever before. They are connected, paying attention to detail
and moving on quickly if they
don’t like what an act is doing.
This is nothing new but if
done right, an artist can seriously
take control of their future. That
is amazing and empowering.
EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW
Courtesy Pollstar
BOOKING AGENCY DIRECTOR
Y
DIRECTORY
What other changes have come
about in how you do your job?
The sheer volume of channels and
avenues to develop, break or expose an artist. From YouTube,
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Vevo
and blogs, there are so many ways
for people to discover music. It
keeps us on our toes and on the
right path for each artist.
What has remained constant?
Ultimately, people still respond to
music that speaks to them,
whether it’s just a hook, whether
[an act is] attractive and has a
good voice, or they’re a metal band
and the guys are proficient players.
There’s always going to be those
things.
IT’S RELAXATION TIME for ArtistArena’s Mark Weiss, Hunt Enterprises’ John
Hunt, Nick, and Trevanna Enterprises’ Carl Freed during Pollstar’s 2005 Concert
Industry Awards after-party at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.
Have the changes affected your
strategy for building an act’s
career?
Of course, you want to make good
decisions on who the team is that’s
around the band but, for me, I still
try to make sure I love the band.
I think that’s the crux of it.
It changes slightly but it’s, “Do I
love this music? Can I go out every
day and be a cheerleader and fight
for opportunities for them?” Do I
get a “vision” for them or do I just
think it’s cool? If it’s a vision like a
road map, then I know where to
go.
So combining your fan’s
viewpoint with the business
side equals success?
Honestly … that’s really the truth
for me. If I love the music, I’ll
figure the rest of it out. I’ll think
about the radio aspect, where
they’re going to play and who
they’re going to play with maybe
after I’ve signed the band.
If I’m excited about it, I’ll fight
to the death but if I’m only thinking business, I might have a problem.
MELISSA AUF DER MAUR HAS SOME FUN with Nick when he stops by for her
performance at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto during NXNE 2009.
Are there any areas that you’re
looking closer at now when
building an artist’s career?
I try to consider where an artist
can be in five years as opposed
to six months, [as well as] how
an act can grow and in what areas
they can develop into over time.
My goal as an agent has always
been to work with as wide a variety as possible but also with longterm career artists.
Is it more of a challenge now
to set ticket prices that are
considered reasonable?
Absolutely. People have a lot
more options. I think we as
business people sometimes need
to be reminded that people have
lives.
I was talking to a promoter
recently and we were discussing
how the fans have become smarter about what’s going on. They
know about the service fee issue,
so they’ll wait until the last
minute.
We have to be more ticket-price
sensitive because a lot of these artists are over-touring – they’re in
the marketplace too often.
If you know you aren’t going
to see an artist for at least another year, you’ll pay double the
price, you won’t care. It’s not
about the price, it’s about the
experience.
2010-2011 Edition
7
EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW
BOOKING AGENCY DIRECTOR
Y
DIRECTORY
THE BADGE SAYS IT ALL: Nick and Atreyu spread chaos to the masses.
But if there’s going to be someone else playing five days later and
you don’t have the money, you’ll
make a choice.
8
2010-2011 Edition
Do you think the variety
of ticket-buying options
that’s available now is a
plus?
That’s a tough one. I think it
depends on the relationship the
artist has cultivated, or is trying
to cultivate, with the fans. It’s up
to the artist to make that experience matter. And it’s contingent
on the type of music they’re
playing and how they set the
experience up.
What works for one isn’t going
to work for all. It’s really up to the
artist to know their fan base. Just
look at Pearl Jam and Slipknot.
They treat their fans really well
and care about them.
What is it that makes being
an agent the best job for you?
What do you enjoy the most
about being an agent?
And you never stop learning
on this job, do you?
I get the most enjoyment in developing artists from zero. One of the
best moments is seeing an act’s
early shows, then seeing them
open a show at MSG. There are
some success stories that I have
been a part of that I am very
proud of.
Never. If you let yourself rest,
you’re making a mistake. You’ve
got to keep pushing yourself
in this ever-evolving business
to increase your knowledge
and awareness. It keeps me
on my toes for sure.
As an agent, I can represent
more artists than a manager can.
I have the ability to have a bit
larger of a roster, which allows
me diversity.
I can spend one day meeting with Kevin Lyman about
Warped Tour and the next minute be speaking to Paul Tollett
about Coachella. I really enjoy
that.
I like that my life is a mixture
of opportunity.
|Tina Amendola|