Rising Star is our monthly column in which we meet the industry’s brightest new talents. In the latest edition, Matthew Clarke, artist manager for KMGMT and director of Adventure Cat Records, talks us through his music business journey so far…
How did you first break into the industry?
“Through promoting shows in Manchester. I was only 15 and had no clue what I was doing, so I began by speaking to local bands and going to dozens of shows across the city. I had the opportunity to study mathematics at the London School Of Economics or sign to Concord Music Group as a musician. I chose to sign the record deal, despite my mum thinking I had lost the plot, and then toured internationally for a few years. I spent a lot of time in the van reading books on the music industry. The more I read, the more I found myself loving the business aspect much more than I enjoyed being a performer. I felt I suited artist management, so I found a band called Stand Atlantic, an incredible group from Australia. As I was 18-years-old and from the other side of the world, we decided to do a six-month trial period to see if it worked. Six years later I still manage them. A few years later, I joined KMGMT as an artist manager and director of Adventure Cat Records.”
What does it take to be a great manager?
“I would say an artist manager has to be calm, malleable and be willing to ask ‘dumb’ questions. You have to be calm when shit happens – because it does – and realise what you are and are not in control of. You also have to be aware of what is happening around you. If you’re not ahead of the curve, you’re behind it.”
Is there such a thing as a typical work day?
“Every day is completely different. At the label, I spend a lot of time working on marketing, contracts, data analysis, ad spends and pitching to partners. As a manager, I spend more time on merchandising, touring, logistics and strategy. I normally organise my day around the chaotic call schedule of Australia, the UK and US, but it tends to work out on most days!”
Name your proudest achievement so far...
“I will always have a soft spot for Stand Atlantic. To be a part of navigating an Australian band from zero to 200 million streams will always be incredibly meaningful. Having grown up reading Kerrang! and Rock Sound, to see them on the front cover of both was an amazing moment and made me so proud of them and our entire team. I’m also very proud of the progress we’ve made with Adventure Cat Records over the past few years. Michael Kaminsky [KMGMT founder] has been an incredible mentor to me and to have the opportunity to work alongside him on the label has been immensely rewarding. We recently signed IAmJakeHill and released a successful comeback album from The Summer Set, which included features from Against The Current and Travie McCoy.”
Where do you hope to take your career in the future?
“I am really excited by one of my newest signings King Mala, who has toured with Upsahl and had various viral moments on TikTok. On a personal level, the ultimate goal is to continue growing the community and empowering the insanely talented people I’m lucky enough to work with. Last year, I started coding and completed a course in data analytics at Imperial College London. I’d like to continue learning new skills and adding to what I can offer to artists.”