The Cadence is an artist service and public relations firm out of Portland, Oregon specializing in the indie, heavy, and pop music scene.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
I started off as editor for Hopecore.com Magazine, an online publication stemming from Hopecore Radio. A few months into that project, I started to freelance write for several publications including Substream Magazine and AMP. After working so closely with publicists for a year or so and managing some local acts in Portland and Boise, I decided I wanted to switch to the publicity side of the industry. I’ve been doing a form of The Cadence Inc ever since!
What drove you to choose your career path?
I can remember as far back as third grade being so fascinated by music, listening to stuff like Green Day and The Bloodhound Gang, completely unaware of how grown-up the music was I was singing along to but also spending hours pouring over CD booklets and lyrics. As a teenager I was into stuff like Linkin Park and Korn until a cool older girl gave me Stay What You Are (Saves the Day) and The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most (Dashboard Confessional). Those two albums changed my life. If I thought I was obsessed with bands like Green Day, these two guys were like a hammer to the head. I’ve been fortunate enough to tell both Chris and Chris that their music and artistry got me where I am today.
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
I was in college, becoming more and more disillusioned with education when I talked with former Tooth N’ Nail A&R Chad Johnson. I knew he had his degree and had gone where I dreamed of going in music. I asked him hypothetically if he had to choose between hiring someone who had spent even a little time on the road living the band life versus a kid who had earned his degree in college, who would he choose? Without hesitation he said “Experience. Every time”. That was enough for me. I knew I’d rather be doing than learning, so I got my only band at the time on a tour through a clothing line I had been chatting with and we hit the road in 2008. Those next few years on tour taught me more than any amount of time I could spend in a classroom.
I obtained my freelance writing jobs by building a solid portfolio through my time at my own publication, Hopecore. I had the contacts already established and publicists and labels knew my name. Letting a potential publication employer know that you will need very little supervision and guidance is a huge plus. As far as The Cadence Inc, I knew a lot of bands who had great music but were having a tough time getting press to pay attention. Again, I had the contacts already so I just shifted my focus to pushing bands rather than covering them.
I can’t emphasize enough how much you just need to start things yourself. Want to write for a magazine? Start a blog. Want to manage a band? Find a local who needs some extra help. There is so many ways you can learn the business, just do it yourself.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
That’s tough to say. I spend a great deal of time adding new press outlets to my outreach list and really focusing on connecting with those individuals. Nobody just wants to constantly get impersonal mass emails. Something that I believe makes The Cadence Inc different is that we want to get personal. Since I came from a background of building and running online publications and print magazines, I know the work that goes into creating them. We have a section on our site where we feature different media outlets and entrepreneurs in the industry. These people do not get enough credit and the quality ones are often drowned out by the sea of people just starting a blog and abandoning it after they don’t secure their favorite band after a week. I’d like to say I spend a lot of my time championing these outlets but all of that is fruitless without properly building your bands’ marketing and brands.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
That I can get you tickets to everything and that “backstage” is fun! Haha!
What are your average work hours?
I’ve always been terrible about setting hours for this job, though that would be the healthy thing to do. Honestly, you can work 24 hours a day if you don’t set some hours. There is always something you could be doing or improving.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
Being generous and friendly. The music business can be pretty cutthroat but you’ll never regret being a good person. I’ve been taken advantage of once or twice but those people usually don’t last long. Word gets around very quickly so keep that in mind, your personal image reflects your business and EVERYONE talks to EVERYONE.
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
I think beyond really wanting to connect with the individuals running these sites and magazines, I think I provide more than a standard PR firm. That’s why the name was changed to “Inc”. I didn’t want to have a label on what I was doing really. I was once told that I needed to stay in my lane and that if I was doing one thing in the industry, that I couldn’t also do another. That’s complete crap. Not speaking of conflicts of interests of course but more so staying in the box that’s already been built before you. I just want The Cadence Inc to be seen as a jack of all trades, connecting their clients with what they need, regardless of our “roles”. I worked for another publicity firm previously and I hated having to tell a client no just because it didn’t fall under “PR”. I might not have all the answers but you can be sure that I won’t quit until I’ve connected you to a resource that does.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
Just connect with me over any social networks or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Be sure to provide us with all your links and easy access to your music, whether that be a YouTube link to a new video or Soundcloud. Include some career highlights and/or a one sheet.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
It may not be the worst part of the job but one difficulty is managing the expectations of your clients. Just because we secured you a half pager in a national publication does not mean your sales are going to skyrocket. These things take time and you can’t take a day off. I always go by the idea that if I see a band’s name more than twice, I figure I’m missing out and I better check them out right away. Keeping your clients happy but also keeping them realistic can be a tricky line to walk.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
I love getting to guide younger and up and coming bands. I like being able to take tasks off their busy plate and relieve their stress when it comes to press, marketing, promotion etc. It’s great to actually see a band grow and be provided with more and more opportunities to get their music in the spotlight.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
It really depends on a lot of factors. A simple answer would be “not a lot”. I tend to work with a client on an affordable budget depending on how long they’d like to work with me and the materials they have coming out. I do my best to make it work and beneficial for both parties.
How do you move up in your field?
Since I’m striving to stay out of any box, I suppose the sky is the limit. For now it’s building up a solid roster and securing relationships with more and more outlets.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
Just start doing it! Start with a local band, ask what their needs and goals are and put together a game plan for how to get them there. It’s a baby step process but you’ll pick up lots of little tips and tricks along the way. Keep your contacts and be polite to everyone. Talk to bands at shows. I can’t tell you how many contacts were made this way, just by chatting up a member then connecting on social media later. Network! Network! Network! Do not burn bridges and definitely keep up with people. Be generous and respectful of everyone’s time and good things will come. Stay up on current events in your music scene and be supportive of smaller acts. Lastly, start today!