The biz’s brightest new talents tell their stories… This week it's the turn of Matt Brinkworth, head of digital, Captured Tracks/Sinderlyn
What made you pursue a career in music?
At 14, after my father passed away and I lost my way a bit, my mother bought me a bass guitar and lessons in an effort to give me something to care about and work towards. Shout out to my mum and my bass teacher Jon Caulfield for turning my life around from failing in school to having a passion and direction. Luckily, there was a college in Cardiff that took on people who messed up their GCSEs, so from there I studied a BTEC in music tech. One of the lessons was music business and I got a taste for that, which led to studying music and entertainment industry management at the University Of Hertfordshire.
What were your first steps into the business?
I started out in the Cardiff DIY scene, playing bass in bands, ‘managing’ acts and putting on gigs. This was around the same time as, and involving, Davey Newington from Boy Azooga, so it’s great to see him doing well! During and after university I did internships with Hospital Records, Warner Music Group and Ministry Of Sound before landing my first real job as a music publicist. I didn’t really get paid by music until I was 22, but it felt like I’d been working since I was 17. I founded my label, Arrivals Records, which was short-lived but released 30 tracks from nine artists, including myself, and had a few nice mentions in the press. A crucial point was joining tech start-up JAAK, where I picked up a unique viewpoint of the industry and a range of skills from founders Vaughn McKenzie and Freddie Tibbles. I closed my label down afterwards, eventually joining Captured Tracks and Omnian Music Group.
What does it take to unearth the best new talent?
Indiscriminately listening to everything.
How important is versatility?
The industry is ever-evolving and everything is connected. Social media reach can build sales and streaming numbers that can lead tour bookings, which can determine press, TV and radio, or completely vice versa, in a big chain. Each of those competencies is changing at a fast pace. Knowing ‘the game’ from multiple angles is incredibly valuable and finding, or creating, a defined role that makes use of as many of your skills as possible seems obvious.
What are your favourite things about the indie sector?
We move faster and get to take more risks on the music we love.
What is your ultimate ambition?
To get my mother into the crowd of an episode of Later... With Jools Holland. If you can hook that up and are reading this, please holler.
MATT’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: Matthew Dear – Bunny’s Dream