Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is Matthew Clarke, KMGMT.
How long have you worked in management?
I would say officially around 5/6 years. However, I started out booking UK tours and events in Manchester at around 14/15 years old and acted manager for a lot of artists back then too… just not sure I knew it at the time!
Who do you manage now?
I manage an artist called Stand Atlantic and head up the label division @KMGMT called Adventure Cat, which is a label ran by our managers here. Our company consists of management for film composers, writers, producers, mixers and artists and the label is our opportunity to support developing acts with short, artist-friendly deals. Most of our label artists do not have management so we naturally play an involved role.
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
I signed a US record deal as an artist myself when I was quite young and always knew my heart was in leading and helping others. Especially nowadays, I view the music industry as a playground to be creative strategically and so I was really looking for an artist that would challenge me and force me to do things non-conventionally. When I first found Stand Atlantic, they were a local artist from Sydney, Australia who everybody seemed to have given up on. I didn’t know anything about Australia, but I fell in love with Bonnie, Jonno, Potter and Miki and had a mutual vision that inspired me to learn in the deep end.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
A good day for me is when I see an idea turn into a reality. An ambitious release getting a good review, an obscure support tour connecting with new fans, a creative TikTok going super viral are all good days for me because I love the process of seeing growth and the artist connection being fully realised. A bad day for me is probably seeing things in the music industry happening to me, my artist or my colleagues that I feel takes us a step back as an industry. Anything unethical or self-serving for me really grinds my gears.
What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
I am particularly proud of the last album cycle for Stand Atlantic. The COVID pandemic hit right between our lead single and album release which I feared would leave the rollout disjointed. I am really proud of our entire teams’ quick reactions in re-strategising the album campaign as we focused on a more intimate, personal release with the fans, knowing we could no longer promote extensively to the wider public as effectively. As a globally touring rock artist who is used to doing 200+ shows a year, I think COVID crippled most similar artists release success. The album charted on US Billboard Current Albums 100, ARIA Charts and numerous #1-#3 Rock/Metal Album Charts worldwide with 0 touring. During the cycle, the band enjoyed a #1 Most Played song on Australian National Radio, were the print front cover stars of Rock Sound Magazine in the UK and were added to over 50+ editorial playlists across DSPs (including several covers). The band recently crossed 100,000,000 streams worldwide on DSPs, with that album being the most successful so far.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2021?
I think there are fairly obvious challenges we are going to face regarding COVID and BREXIT. However, COVID has really exacerbated managers reluctance to trust data as being tangible and I see this as a really worrying issue for managers in 2021. Especially for genres that rely on touring, data has become even more difficult to relate to meaningful progress and I feel keeping managers on-board with using data as a reliable informer is going to be even more difficult than before.
What music are you listening to?
Top 3 this week: VALLEY, Frank Sinatra and The Hotelier.