Imminence Records was founded on September 3rd, 2012 by Amanda Caixeta in Atlanta, GA. After two quick releases from Lament and Sirens the label took a six month hiatus until it’s next release, For the Broken’s Aurora. During the summer of 2013, ownership changed hands from Amanda Caixeta to the label’s A&R Rep/publicist Ryan Williford. Ryan, based just outside of Greenville, NC, then oversaw the release of Clap For Caroline’s newest EP before signing two new artists in the form of To Trust A Liar and Myself In Mirrors.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
I am Ryan Williford the owner of Imminence Records, the owner of Persistent Heart Media, and the owner/founder of Skyfall Management. September of this year will mark a decade in the industry and I have done almost everything including music journalism, local show booking/promoting, tour booking, and much more.
What drove you to choose your career path?
Back when I was starting my sophomore year of high school I just felt a drive to own my own label. Around this time I also started to write reviews of albums to show off the passion I had for the music I loved. Little did I know that that would lead me to my dream in less than a decade.
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
I became involved with publicity in the summer of 2011 after I had mentioned it off hand to Matt Shelton, the owner of Indianola Records. He reached out to me around July asking if I was still interested and that’s how Nathaniel Lay, who I had already known through doing freelance work for his site, and myself became publicists for Indianola Records. Turns out Nate had founded the publicity firm Persistent Heart Media. I joined PHM quickly after Indianola Records and by the spring of 2012 I was promoted to owner when Nate stepped away from the industry for one of his several but always short sabbaticals.
As far as Imminence Records is concerned, at the beginning of 2013 I stumbled across the label and noticed they didn’t have a publicist so I sent a pitch to them and we came to an agreement. Several months later, I was pitching a band I was managing at that time that the previous owner (Amanda) agreed to sign. Part of the deal was that I would become an A&R rep for the label. Several more months passed before she offered to sell me the label due to her about to begin college that fall. After negotiations, I purchased the label and the rest is history. My education was through the school of real life and all my experiences have led to where I am at today.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
My time is split pretty evenly between publicity and label duties. Most of my publicity time is writing press releases and pitching to outlets while my label time is more varied with band relations likely the majority of my time currently.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
That I record bands! I’m not even sure how that is a thing, so please stop making it a thing!
What are your average work hours?
I’m always available to my bands as long as I’m awake but I try to keep things on a Sunday through Thursday basis with my email communication between 9 AM ET to 5 PM ET. However the antiquated 9-5 Monday through Friday work schedule is rarely present in the music industry. When working with bands, especially touring bands, you need to be available at all times for anything that may come up.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
I can make this job easier? What is this sorcery?!?! All joking aside, getting a good staff behind you will make things a ton easier! If you can macromanage as opposed to micromanage that relieves a ton of stress and workload.
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
I’m not a “suit.” I’m laid back and I enjoy bantering back and forth while some in this profession tend to keep it short and to the point. I enjoy getting to know people at a personal level if I’m going to be communicating with them on a regular basis.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
The more you give me up front the better as I am an extremely busy person. If I can get your social media links, bio, tour history, and newest music placed in the first email, it saves me time having to hunt it all down. Also, DO NOT SEND UNSOLICITED ATTACHMENTS. Do everyone a flavor and use a cloud service or a link you already have to showcase your music.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
Unreasonable requests and the only way to deal with them is to explain that their request is unreasonable or to turn on the Rey Roldan in you.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
I would have to say finding new amazing bands and finding ways to work with your friends in bands. Somehow France’s The Prestige has turned into both! I discovered them via Jen of the now extinct The NewReview and became friends with one of the members, Alex. Just this month I announced that I had signed the band to Imminence Records to release their album, Amer, in April.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
It really depends on what part of the industry you enter and if you are self-employed or get hired by an established company.
How do you move up in your field?
Meet and befriend as many industry professionals that you are able to. Networking pays off as it’s really an industry about who you know.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
You need to be able to be dedicated and invest a lot of time into the industry as a whole. There will be late nights and long hours, but it will all be worth it in the end as hopefully this is a passion of yours that you want to continue with as your full time job.