A DAY IN THE LIFE OF... DANIEL BAKER
In this new feature series, we ask professional of the music industry what a day in their life looks like along with some insights on their job, the ups and downs and more.
In this issue we receive Daniel Baker, artist manager, A&R consultant and founder of East Harbour Management a company that specialises in digital marketing, PR and social media management & strategy for artists and record labels.
Your job description in your own words
I own and run east harbour management + digital specialising in working with electronic artists & DJ’s and record labels that release electronic music.
I started the company 5 years ago after moving on from a previous management company to set up on my own managing artist & DJ’s. Obviously over the last few years things have been very challenging in the industry and especially in management but I was approached by a label to see if I would be interested in running their digital marketing, PR & social media which I said yes to and this is where the digital aspect of east harbour came in which has grown over time alongside my management roster. This is all about building a community, making sure that the artists release gets maximum exposure and then sharing the support and success with an ever growing community and fan base for the artist themselves and the label.
My current management roster is Ammo Avenue, Ben Walsh, Nico Balducci, Ollie Bentley.
Currently I’m working with labels including Steve Lawlers VIVa MUSiC Label Group, Supernova’s Lapsus Music Group & Mendo’s Clarisse Records.
What a day in your life looks like (a brief daily journal)
I try to always start my day with some form of exercise to clear my head and put me in the right frame of mind for the day ahead.
Cup of coffee in hand, my first moment of work each day is to write my to do list and look at yesterdays list to see what I didn’t get too or what came up that needs to be dealt with. Lists always work best for me as working across various artists and labels, there is a lot of moving between conversations, phone calls, emails and head space for strategy and planning. I also have a lot of new music and mixes to listen to, feedback on and catch up on so I try and designate certain times of the day to these so I can give them my full attention and focus. Finding the right amount of time to focus helps so much. When I’ve got new releases, wether for the artists I manage or the labels I work with, I need to work on the campaign strategy and plan and pitch to the right people in the right way to try and ensure the most affective outcome for the music and the artist.
I’ll inevitably have a flurry of messages and emails as soon as I look at my phone and computer in the morning as I work with people all around the world on different time zones but I try to not dive head first in to these first thing until I’ve got my head around what the day ahead is looking like.
My style of working is to be as organised as possible and to ensure communication between everyone is the best and clearest it can be. I have a master document & folder for each artist, project and release I’m working on with all levels of detail of past, present & future plans and highlights. These are always the first thing I open in the morning and last thing I close at night as they are constantly being updated and added to. I make sure my artists and labels have access to these so at any moment they can log in and see what’s going on and what we have coming up.
On designated days of the week I have a video call with each of my artists. We use this as our most detailed weekly catch up where everything is discussed and planned.
We’re in constant communication on the phone and via WhatsApp in between but it’s so fluid things can often get missed or passed over as things are constantly changing so it’s important to have this time each week to talk through everything.
My email inbox is constantly filling up and my phone ringing and WhatsApp going off. There are so many methods of communicating now it can sometimes be hard to keep up especially as the stigma behind WhatsApp is that people expect a fast reply which is not always possible. I like to do as much work as possible over email so it’s all in one place and allows me more time for a considered reply rather than firing everything off as soon as it’s received.
It’s easy to just keep working non stop so knowing when to call it a day for that day is important. I’ll refer back to my list and then look to see if any key tasks or things I needed to prioritise haven’t been done yet, if they have I’ll add anything left over to tomorrows list. It’s very important to have your own time and time for life outside of music so knowing when to stop and relax for the day or the weekend is so important. At a certain point in the day, I always ask myself, can this wait until tomorrow? Or is this absolutely urgent?
No day is the same, everyday has its own challenges and moments of success.
Challenges and accomplishments
Everyday presents its own challenges, which often happens when you are working with lots of different people across so many different areas of the industry wether at labels, publishers, promoters, agencies or your planning a tour in a different country which also keeps things interesting. It’s very easy to get frustrated but experience has taught me that (almost) every challenge or issue has a work around, you’ve just got to find it. Also don’t be afraid to ask people for advice or help, on the whole people are very helpful and friendly as we all face the same or similar challenges at some point and it’s always good to help people out where possible.
Accomplishments for me don’t always have to be moments of success. I think there is as an accomplishment in every experience, they don’t always have to be the biggest moment but as long as I’ve felt like I’ve learned from it, I look at it as achieving something positive.
But career wise, I work with some incredibly talented artists and brilliant people in the industry as well as releasing music on some absolutely fantastic record labels.
Every record we release is an achievement, every show is a step to achieving the next great thing that’s coming our way but also finding time to enjoy each moment as it happens.
Setting goals is such an important approach but the goal is not always what needs to be achieved right there and then. We might need to make 5-10-20 moves before reaching that goal in order to get there. It’s all part of the journey and helping the artist to continuously develop.
I always say to my artists that every release has its own measure of success. We might land that key top tier label, pick up support from DJ’s that haven’t played our music yet, national radio plays, streaming,charting or press. Each piece of support is an important step to the growth of the artist so we see them all as great achievements so it’s important that we build on the momentum of each moment and keep pushing forward. Building and keeping momentum is such a fundamental approach.
It’s always great to see the biggest names in electronic music playing your artists music in front of thousands of people whether you are in the crowd or you see it being shared out across the internet and social media. It’s a great feeling for sure. The national radio plays, in particular Radio 1 for me, always holds a really special moment having grown up listening to the station and it influencing my sound and passion for music in particular the dance specialist shows.
But then you have those live moments, watching your artists playing in front of crowds going crazy. That’s a buzz that’s particularly hard to beat as it’s such a huge part of what it’s all about.
My artists have all had a great year this year putting in place incredibly important building blocks setting ourselves up for a big year ahead across releasing music on great labels and playing lots of great shows including Ammo Avenue playing Claptones Masquerade Ball alongside Claptone, Dombresky, Piero Pirupa & Hector Couto and has just been announced to play Resistance alongside Camelphat, Solardo and whole host of the biggest names in electronic music.
Closing out this year, Ammo Avenue has a new track dropping in December which is feeling like it has the potential to be a real moment. The track has been slowly seeded out to a few people over the summer and has been incredibly well received picking up continuous support from some of the biggest names around and is growing in a really unforced way building towards its release. It feels like it’s building like a white label on vinyl record used too where djs are playing it months before anyone even knows what the record is and lots of people trying to find out who is behind the record and what it’s called which is a really exciting moment to be part of. We often don’t have the luxury to enjoy records building over time with the amount of music that’s released these days.
It’s a very busy end to the year for all my artists and labels I work with and we’re already planning well into 2023. it’s great to see there are no signs of slowing down, only growing ambitions in front of everyone for a very exciting time ahead.
Highlights (pros of the job)
I get to work with lots of great people on a daily basis and to also be part of peoples journey within the music industry and life. It’s great to be back travelling again with work with lots more travelling to come and shows to be at.
I absolutely love electronic music so working with it, with people who make it and who are equally as passionate about it as I am on a daily basis is a great feeling that’s hard to beat.
Lowlights (cons of the job)
Working so closely with people, when you’re putting your heart, soul and everything you’ve got to give into it in this industry, it has a habit of every so often trying to really knock the wind out of you. But it’s all a journey. HUGE moments can instantly be followed by lows or bad news followed by great news. Part of me loves the buzz as those moments of success and greatness always outlive the low or challenging moments. Now I understand that this happens, I’ve learnt to manage it, take a deep breath and move forward.
Words of wisdom for people considering a job in your fields
Always enjoy it, keep the passion alive for your love of music by constantly immersing yourself in it. Work with people you truly believe in for the right reasons. Relationships are key.
Take every opportunity you can, know when to say yes & no. Treat everyone with respect, be kind and a good person and always try to help others on their journey.
People can often be tricky so there is no need for you to be the difficult person, be the kind one.
(Image Credits: website / Facebook / East Harbour Management)