To many musicians in earlier eras, the idea of being “image-conscious” was mostly a matter of showing a brand new look in a glamorous video for TV. In this age, visual thinking means something different for artists to cut through the noise. As the global VP of the content of the beggar group, which owns or distributes Indy’s most iconic label in the world – 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL, and Young Turks – Gabe is involved in creating spear images that musicians use to connect with fans and stand across an array of platforms.
Whether they are working on campaigns and content for established work National, Kamasi Washington, Perfume genius And Car seat headrest Or helping new artists like Australian paper rappers Takay Maidja Develop their visual vocabulary, Spear and his team always want to make an impression. He has spoken to us about the path he has taken us here and the strategies artists can serve at any stage of their careers.
Spotify for Artists: Describe what you do and give a short story of how you got there.
Gabe Spierer: The group consists of five labels and each has their own A&R and creative infrastructure. As a shared asset-slash-umbrella entity, beggars provide different services to each label, depending on what they are looking for. Some labels have a more in-depth creative infrastructure for video, content and marketing, and others rely on shared companies. I work closely with most labels, creating music videos, session performances, documentaries, social media content – really, any moving scene under the sun.
My job is to see a campaign with input from a wide range of labels, artists and directors to assess our needs. Then, we figure out what we need to create our interior and what we need to look for outside the home to do it. Finally, I’m part of securing partnerships and funding for projects that can call for it, often in conjunction with our streaming and digital team.
I’ve always been a huge fan of labels – in fact, I did an intern at Matador when I was in high school, so working with labels in this area is something I’ve wanted to do since I was very young. When I started in 200, I was originally interviewed for a college radio role and part of that was managing video broadcasts – MTV, regional, things like that. Of course, YouTube was also coming into its own. I’m not sure if that’s part of their decision but they split the work and created a video-centric role that they gave me. I didn’t know much about it, but it was an unfortunate time.
Were you an artist fan of growing up, the story you heard, or an artist you crossed paths with that inspired you to build this profession as a profession?
I learned about independent music from the following path Nirvana: Who were they talking about, who were their peers, which I haven’t heard my age is 38, so many people my age have discovered independent music. From Nirvana Sonic youth, Or from Nirvana Superchunk And merge, learning about Sub Pop. Sidewalk There was another huge touchstone when they got big enough to come across my radar Rolling stone Customer Those breadcrumbs were a basic lesson for me.
What are you looking for in the artist you want to work with?
I’m not actually working on which artists to work with but I come to the conversation too early to understand what they are looking for on the visual side. Traditionally, visual creation begins when the music is done – which is not enough soon enough. As music comes along we need to think and create these things, so we try to have conversations about timelines, aesthetic desires, and where the artist’s head is.
Sometimes an artist’s team can come to us with a blank canvas – that’s fine, but the mark is more difficult to hit. Then there are artists who understand what they want and are open to help. This is the funniest thing.
How has your work been affected, or evolved, in light of the coronavirus epidemic?
The work of me and my colleagues has changed dramatically during the epidemic, we are each building a workflow infrastructure that has to keep pace with a workflow that has changed its specificity, but has not slowed down.
In terms of content, obviously, production has been slow / suspended individually but we’ve dealt more with animation solutions, remote performance capture on different platforms and even creating and directing remote music videos.
Personal reality has been modified for the foreseeable future, video content will play an additional role in promoting and marketing our artists and albums
What is the biggest tool for an artist in 2020?
The artist’s most important tool is the ability to use their voice directly to create their brand, vision or myth to connect with their audience. There are some artists who have to remind us to take advantage of social media platforms. Others teach Us What does it look like? There is no question that direct connection with the fans is the most important tool for them.
What is the best advice for you at the beginning of any artist?
Maintain an idea for everything that goes into making this work a success. It’s bigger than a great song or recording. You’re competing with an incredible equestrian of talent, so your presentation goes beyond music. You need to ask yourself How do you want your music to look?Ever this is much more important now than ever before, based on what we know how people use things. Must have a narrative and Visuals are a great way to run it. It would be a good idea to think about how those things interact, to make sure you have the answers to the questions outside of music, and to consider the whole language of a project or a work to be presented.
– Jason Anderson