The Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Jo Gardner!
How long have you worked in Management?
I’ve worked in Management since 2019, and previously spent almost ten years as a senior PR manager for electronic producers and artists.
Who do you manage now?
I manage Pendulum, Knife Party, and we’ve just recently started working with a brand-new act called The Riot.
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
I started working with Pendulum in a PR role many years ago. Then, in 2019, I moved over to join their old management company, where I worked for about 18 months before they decided to part ways. I chose to stay with the band, and after a little while, Rob Swire (Pendulum/ Knife Party) and I decided to start our own artist management company, Unholy. He’s super inspiring to work with. His skills across music production, A&R and other creative aspects, combined with my knowledge of press, marketing, and strategic planning make for a powerful partnership.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day is when I get to do something fun and creative, like planning for the year ahead or listening to new music from my artists. I also love the live side of my job, so any chance I can get to plan or attend live events is a good day for me. A bad day is just a boring day when I’m stuck inside doing emails!
What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
So far, I’ve got to choose Pendulum at Alexandra Palace this March. I’ve always wanted to get the guys back to playing the massive shows they rightfully deserve, and this one really nailed it. With an act that’s been around as long as they have, you don’t get to claim a lot of “firsts”. But it’s definitely the first time they’ve had production on that scale, the first time playing as much new music, and so much more; it truly goes to show that there are always ways to make things bigger and better.
For a new, independent management company with three people, it felt like such a massive achievement for our small team.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2023?
There’s never been a more difficult time to try and break an act into the industry. The rapid growth of social media has given many artists a platform to express their creativity; however, it also means the market has become oversaturated with an impossible amount of content to consume.
We’re seeing catalogue tracks revived via platforms like TikTok and ~100k new tracks released on Spotify per week, meaning the consumer has an almost unlimited source of music to explore. Managers in 2023 have their work cut out, trying to push their signal through all the noise.
What music are you currently listening to?
I listen to a varied mixture of artists; I grew up listening to heavy stuff, and I’ll always drift back to bands such as Funeral For A Friend, Falling In Reverse, Caskets, and We Came As Romans. However, working in electronic music for almost a decade means I’ve always got an ear to the ground in that scene and others. I love Icarus, Yotto, Cristoph and anything that lives on Anjunadeep or Pryda. I’m also a massive fan of what Afterlife are releasing at the moment.