In the run up to this year’s The Great Escape Nick Raphael from Capitol lambasted the state of a&r in a Music Week interview. His comments were referred to in a panel about the role and future of labels. Incidentally, the irony of having a packed auditorium for the panel on labels when labels are purportedly history was noted.
From a manager / artist position it’s easy to agree when a&r is shit: when they’re not signing your band or digging your record. Simple. They’re dismissing true talent (ours) in favour of signing shit (anyone else but us).
From the perspective of those scouting for talent I would say that everyone tries to find the most amazing artist that’s around to be signed. Judging by the kind of amazing that was on offer at TGE15, I would have to agree with Louis C K about how our language has evolved.
It’s not that amazing to hear someone sing passably a well written song, whilst looking like an urban lumberjack. I’m not amazed by it.
I got back to the ‘Farm and my brother played me this:
Now, that’s still amazing, 50 years after it happened! Great songwriting, great chops, surprises, attitude, unpredictability and musical invention.
TGE15 was enjoyable, once again. Little Brother Eli, Hana Piranha, Return To The Sun and Stillia played great sets. I got to play squash at one of the local clubs. What more does a guy need?