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Since graduating from the Music Production Degree back in 2006, Tom Burris has been forging a career in the music business. As is the fragmented state of the music industry, Tom has managed to gain experience from a variety of roles; including producing, live sound engineering and digital marketing. We caught up with Tom to see exactly what he’s up to at the moment…
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
I was at a loose end at 18, not knowing what to do once I finished my A-Levels. I had previous work experience at Stanbridge Studios, had recorded my Dad’s Blues band and was producing Hip-hop in my bedroom with my mates (Worda Mouth). I was not aware of ACM until it was mentioned by my uncle, so after enquiring and attending an open day I decided to apply for the Music Production Higher Diploma.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
The best part about studying at ACM was being surrounded by like-minded people, it really helped to motivate me. It was like a challenge to see who could bring in and showcase the best track or mix. Even now I’m in touch with and working with fellow ACM graduates.
Tell us about what you’ve been involved with since leaving ACM?
Since graduating ACM, under the alias Toe Jam, I produced Opus One of Arkane, the rapper from the cult film Kidulthood, which gave me my first airplay on Radio 1 & 1Xtra. To break away from my tedious retail job, I jumped ship to work as a Live Sound Engineer in Greece. After this turned horrifically sour, a learning curve non-the-less, I returned home and began freelancing in I.T. for the publishing company IPC Media (NME, Uncut) as a way to support my direction in music.
This coincided with an engineer and assistant role at Shameless Talent Management, clients included The Zimmers (Britain’s Got Talent Finalists), Herbie Flowers, Peter Andre and Shaggy. The business evolved into The Clear Image Company, crossing into video/visuals and tour production. In turn, this opened opportunities at festivals, working on pre-production visuals and the on-site build for Shangri-La, Glastonbury Festival and BoomTown Fair.
I secured my first permanent music job as Digital Marketing Manager at Rock Choir, then after taking some time out to travel, I started my current role as Digital Producer at ie:music. I’m responsible for artists’ online presence, managing social channels, web and working closely with artist managers during campaigns. The ie:music roster includes Robbie Williams, Passenger, Will Young, Ladyhawke and Lemar. My current focus is on Lemar’s album campaign and Will Young’s Love Revolution Tour.
I’m still making music in my own time. I recently remixed Uptown Funk sampling classic funk tracks, which has been played by BBC 6 Musics’ Craig Charles.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I aspire to continue in artist management and production, exploring new ventures and carrying on with my involvement in festivals. I have some exciting plans lined up both with ie:music and in music production.
How did your course prepare you for life in the music business world?
The course gave a broad insight into the mechanics of the music and entertainment industry. It assisted in my personal development of multi-platform skills, not just in audio production but also digital and web.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get in to industry?
I would advise those looking to get in to the industry not to expect to fall in to the ideal job instantly, it could take months or years. Be prepare to do your best work for free, even years down the line I often find myself doing favours for people. I would also advise to network as much as you can whilst at ACM, as your classmates are potentially the people you’ll be working with professionally.
ACM would like to thank Tom for taking the time out to speak with us. Keep up to date with everything he is up to via his Website, or follow his social media channels – Facebook // Twitter // LinkedIn.