I have recently wanted to expand my knowledge of the music business and interview bands, labels and promoters for their own opinion on how things have changed within the music business. One of the final pieces of the jigsaw was to look into band management and I got in touch with Rachael Harrison of Enso Music Management from a mutual friend, John Badger of Badgerfest. Rachael was only too happy to answer my questions and gave quite a personal interview on how things are for her company, what labels should do to get her attention and gave advice to those looking into band management.
I thank Rachael for spending the time to do this interview within her busy work schedule and I am sure you will all enjoy this enlightening interview.
Hello! My name’s Rachael Harrison, and I run Enso Music Management. I’m based down in beautiful Devon. You want to know a bit about myself? That’s the hardest thing to write about! I’ve always been involved in music in some shape or form for most of my life, most of my brothers have been in bands; my eldest is a professional international singer, from fronting bands to being part of the entertainment staff at a holiday park, then releasing my own covers CD which is now obsolete due to complaints of tinnitus from its listeners!
As most are aware I think, my son Elliott is the frontman of technical metal band Cambion, and guitarist in Codex Alimentarius. Elliott began gigging/touring at 14, so was needing some guidance and transportation.
This is really the start of Enso, as after a couple of years of touring with Elliott and co, I was getting approached by a fair few bands, asking if I could help them with gigs, guidance, etc. which I did, but then realised it was taking up a lot of my spare time, and debated whether I could actually do this full time as a business, to help more bands. Lots of self-doubt, which I still have! But this is a role I adore, and am very passionate about, so I’ll keep going, with the help of my colleagues and incredible bands.
For bands that are unaware of what Enso Music Management can do for them, what services could you provide up and coming bands as well as seasoned bands?
We tailor our services for each and every band on our roster to try and help them in the best way we can. Our approach to working with a new band of any level has and always will be the same: the bands come first. We try to keep things as simple and easy-going as possible and so break our services down into three main parts: management, booking and PR. Some bands want us to take on all parts whereas others just want one or two of those parts. Communication is key with all our bands, so we can build a mutual trust that allows the bands to focus on what really matters: the music!
Catering for different genres of music, does this bring its own headaches when it comes to promoting and marketing the gigs?
Well, I guess the main genre of Enso is rock and metal, (said in a low gruff voice, whilst raising the horns) so although there are bands on the roster with maybe a different style, it’s still all metal, I think too much emphasis goes into genres!
In answer to your question, it doesn’t bring us any headaches for promoting and marketing gigs. You must know your audience, I guess.
How much of your personal life is taken up with Enso?
Perhaps my husband should answer this one! I’m very dedicated and passionate about all the bands on the roster, and keen to enhance and build the company, so that takes a lot of my time. My husband says I’m a workaholic, and sleep with my phone in my hand! My answer to that is, the music industry doesn’t work on a 9-5 basis! Saying that though, it’s important to take a break and refresh, I make sure I get quality time for family and friends.
How many people do you have working with you and can that bring its own pressures as well?
The Enso team is a great one, and I couldn’t do what I do without them. There are currently six of us here at Enso, no pressures, we all work well together, each person is as important as the other to what we do. We have team members in USA and Switzerland.
If you were to give advice for someone expressing an interest in becoming involved in band management, what would it be?
Advice would be, as previously stated, this isn’t a 9-5 job, so be prepared for that! Be passionate in all you do, get to know the band you are considering working with. If you are in it for the money, you are in the wrong job! Know your market. Hang on for the ride of your life! Seeing your band get the tour/gig they’ve always wanted, watching them grow is the best job in the world!
What would you say is the proudest moment of your management career so far?
This is an easy one for me, there have been a few, but the biggest would be watching side stage as Cambion stepped on to the main stage at Bloodstock Festival, seeing the crowd, and Cambion’s faces. I’ve got goosebumps as I write this, just remembering that day.
Who were the first band that decided to work with you and how did that feel?
Again, I’ve mentioned before, but Elliott’s band was the initial first, then known as Hailing Star! Then Cryostorm from Exeter joined the ranks. Felt (and still does) amazing to do what I love!
What lessons have you learned along the way?
I’m still learning, and always will be! I guess it would be not to trust everyone! And re-read everything before signing anything!
What pressures are you under every day in band management?
I suppose most of the pressures are the wanting to get the very best for each band: Grab the best support slots, tours, worrying that I may have missed something, deadlines to keep, keeping a constant eye on any opportunities that arise. Coming up with new ideas,
What are your ambitions in 2018 and beyond?
To steadily grow, get the bands into Europe and further afield. I have a saying, “See it, believe it, do it”. Somebody else may have said that too, but I just did!
Do you envisage the team growing allowing for the roster of bands to expand and grow?
Enso has come a long way since the start and we don’t see it stopping here! We are always looking into new ways to expand the company with new team members coming on board for artist management, bookings and PR. We are always keen to take on new bands but it’s not just about the size of the roster. We like to make sure we can dedicate the time required to each band and taking on new team members allows us to “spread the load” more evenly and give the bands we have now a tighter focus. The roster will however undoubtedly grow as our team grows but never at the expense of our attention to each band.
I have to ask has there been a band that you were desperate to sign but who got away from you?
I guess the answer to this would be Meshuggah! In all seriousness, the answer is simply, not yet! But I’m sure there will be one or several!
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
If I were a DJ – that would be dangerous!
- Meshuggah – Koloss
- Toto – IV (Everyone will now be secretly singing “Africa”)
- Whitechapel – Mark of the Blade
- Genesis – Wind and Wuthering
- A compilation CD of all Enso bands
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
Keep supporting the underground bands, venues, promoters, festivals, webzines, magazines, etc! Be kind to each other, and drink tea (Motley Brew tea of course)!