There’s nothing we love more than catching up with our alumni. Well guess what… catching up with Joe Warden was no different! Joe’s had a plethora of different experiences within the music industry since graduating from ACM, and is now developing business opportunities with the Zeitgeist Agency as well as building a strong platform for the London base of D’n’B project BP2. Here’s what we chatted about…
Tell us about what you’ve been/currently involved with since leaving ACM?
After I graduated ACM I moved to London, and after heading up bar management at The Barfly in Camden, I moved into working within the Charity Sector as a street fundraiser for the best part of a year, I then landed a job for a Content Marketing Company called Axonn Media as one of their Primary Sales Executives after signing up the Sales Director to a Charity on the street. Fundraising totally prepared me for the sales world and even though I didn’t realise it at the time, it massively set me up for a career in music! I learnt so many valuable networking and sales skills as well as learning how to deal with rejection. I never lost site of my music and continued to play guitar and produce music in my spare time, although working in London soaked up most of my time as it does for many people.
My big break came when I was approached by LoveLive, the largest music media and production company in the UK, headed up by Tim Dellow and Toby L of Transgressive Records (label behind Bloc Party, Foals and 2 Door Cinema Club). Because of my strong background in Sales, but also my Degree at ACM listed on my LinkedIn Profile, I was asked in for an interview, meeting first with the Sales Director Natasha Blunt, to whom I owe a lot, then my second interview meeting with Tim Dellow and we clicked on the first meeting. I secretly told him my favorite band was Slipknot, not the best first thing to say to the head of an Indie label but my passion for music and personality clearly shone through, and having a degree in music I was hired as their Sales and Marketing Executive. This entailed selling branded music content and music campaigns to some of the largest brands in the world. I worked on some amazing projects with my Commercial Manager Nick Adams, such as Kasabian at HMV and the Live-stream of Imagine Dragons at the House of Vans. During my time at LoveLive I built up a huge contact network of brands and labels, connecting with many people. Tim and Toby are fantastic guys to work for and I really looked up to them considering how much success they have had, and I have to give a special thanks to Nick Adams as a mentor and supporter of me through the toughest times, he always pushed me to strive for more.
I was then brought on board by Festival Baby, the number one hub for all things music festivals online, as their Account Manager. Tasked with growing the site commercially and giving my creative steer on the direction of the site, I opened many doors for Festival Baby and it’s parent company Square Up Media to music agencies, PR companies, media agencies and a whole host of my previous brand contacts. I helped to secure interviews with Rae Morris and Futuristic Polar Bears during my time there as well.
After that ran its course, I joined The Zeitgeist Agency and am currently their Business Development and PR Coordinator which is now opening doors to a whole new side of the music industry within PR which is fantastic for me, whilst also expanding the companies network of brands. We work with the likes of Reading & Leeds Festival, Kendal Calling and LeeFest. I met Jamie and Paul the Directors through my previous music roles, and had been pestering Aimi Lewis-Mattock who is Head of Festivals for her to let me know when a role became available. A Press Officer role finally came up but they decided to create the Business Development PR hybrid role for me, to test the waters as they had never had a Business development side of Zeitgeist before, and I can’t wait to see what comes of this. Jamie and Paul are fantastic guys to work for and I’m looking forward to a great future with them.
Apart from my career jobs, my passion lies within Drum and Bass. I am actively involved in the Drum and Bass scene in London, and my network consists of UKF, Hospital Records, Ram Records, Heavy Signal, Shogun Audio and more. I have recently launched the UK edition of BP2, the largest Drum and Bass promotions company from New York City. A staple in NYC DNB, BP² has teamed up with some of the US industries biggest event promoters including Webster Hall’s Girls & Boys, Stuck On Earth, Groove Therapy and Original Brooklyn. They have brought some of the biggest Drum and Bass DJ’s to the US shores including Spor, Goldie, Lenzman, Wilkinson, Chrissy Chris, Rene Le Vice, S.P.Y, Danny Byrd, Fred V & Graffix and Andy C. I met these guys at a Wilkinson Show in NYC a couple of years ago and since then have become their direct link to the UK scene helping them to gain a voice here in the UK. The director Will Luterzo was at my wedding in November last year, I married a girl I met at the Wilkinson show and this story has been such a strong point of my relationship with them all! They feel truly blessed that a Drum and Bass head from London came to their show and met the love of his life. Corny but true.
Tell us about BP2.
The BP2 London crew consist of some young but influential people within the scene and we are excited to announce that we are launching our first night in November, to coincide with the 4th anniversary show in NYC. I can’t say too much more at this stage, but the whole aim of this project has been to give a voice to the NYC Drum and Bass scene which is one of the most passionate scenes I have ever been lucky enough to witness and to promote Drum and Bass across the world. We are currently in the process of building the UK hub within these social channels.
How did your course prepare you for life in the music business world?
I think just being surrounded by music really gave me a push. I was in a band with Camilla Kerslake who’s gone on to do some great things, and recently I managed to catch Linda Harrison AKA Elle Exxe at her awesome London show a week ago. It’s so great to see so many of my peers doing so well since leaving ACM. I am a true networker and love meeting new people and connecting others within the music industry. I have always considered myself the middle man, I love making links, introducing people to others and have used this to my advantage within the industry. I knew I might never be a professional musician however to say I am a music industry professional is amazing, and I feel truly blessed to be a part of it. I am now friends with and work alongside some of the most influential people in the modern music industry.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I will be with Zeitgeist for the foreseeable future working on a whole host of Festivals in the UK and Europe. The doors in America are open to me now I’ve married an American, so there could be potential for me to start up Zeitgeist in the US which would be fantastic. I will be continuing with the BP2 project, we are set for an exciting next couple of years, so we shall see how that goes. One thing is for certain, I will be working in music for the rest of my life. Come back in a year and see where I’m at!
Do you have any advice for those looking to get in to industry?
It’s not easy, and I have been very lucky in how I have managed to get into the industry. Sometimes i can’t believe it! But remember, it’s a small world, far smaller than you think. Stay positive, be prepared to be knocked back, but always brush it off, something will land in front of you eventually. You have to be confident in approaching people, making people aware of you and what you do, always following up with people you meet by emailing them, face booking, tweeting, whatever you have to do for them to remember your name. I might not be actually playing music, but to be surrounded by it all day and being paid for it is everything to me.
ACM would like to thank Joe for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us. Best of luck for the future!
Connect with Joe via his LinkedIn profile to keep up to date with everything he’s up to, and to make sure you network with him and his ever growing database of industry contacts.