In Video For their 1997 single “Thick sugar, ”Hoboken, NJ indie-rock protagonist I have it Their indifferent, unimaginable attitude towards achieving pop stardom is seen to be annoyed by the bigbig of a music-industry. The scene is clearly meant for laughter-played by players in the classic HBO sketch-comedy series Mr. The showUt But when you see three people in the boardroom uncomfortably, there’s good reason to believe they’re not acting.
Since the formation of the first band in 1984, the couple of guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubli have decided to nurture the dream pop of Yo La Tango, the glittering sound, and the clarity of genre-fluid experimentation. Mainstream spotlight. (After a spinning door procession of bus players, James McNew became their third permanent member in 1992 প্রায় signed to the band at about the same time Matador Records, Their home to this day.) And while they have become a reputable indie organization that can make theatrical titles and celebrate major festivals around the world, Yo La Tango has spent most of its nearly four decades of existence as self-managed entities – working at their level. Rarity within the group.
We wanted to know more about how the band balanced the tasks of making music and crunching numbers. When we joined Kaplan, he was still recovering from the Yo La Tango Hanukka concert series, which took over the Bawari Ballroom in New York in December 2011 for eight more insane nights of celebrity cameos, all-star jams and cover-heavy settlers. The (semi-) annual event presents the kind of logistical challenges that keep most band management teams busy preparing for months. But as the history of Yo La Tango has shown, when you are willing to spend a little extra time doing admirable humming, acknowledge a little chaos in your life, and free yourself from any rock-star aspirations, you can achieve a lot.
Here, Kaplan explains why Yo La Tango’s goals and skills lend themselves well to self-management.
Spotify for Artists: Was the decision to leave without a manager rooted in personal DIY philosophy, or did it just happen?
Ira Kaplan: The next one. We’ve had managers for many years, though not for long. We weren’t adamant against it and in fact, some great things happened to us because of the people we managed. But in the end, I guess we felt like we were out of control. [laughs] The last time our manager was in our matador’s tenure.
There is this common belief that artists should spend their time creating art and deal with other people’s paperwork. Why is it understandable for a band like Yo La Tango to handle so many things on its own?
Well, for a long time, there was not much to handle! It didn’t take us that long. I always thought it was fun before the band managers giggled. Not only did it seem like an essential piece, it felt like a kind of hubris that we didn’t have. [Managing] It’s not the part we like the most, but it becomes valuable – there are some useful things we now know that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Of course, we have an attorney and an accountant, but Georgia is a pretty good amateur accountant, and I’ve read a lot of contracts, too. We can’t just throw that thing in other people’s laps, so we do some of it and then bring in people who know what they’re doing. And we achieve success by relying on a lot of people who take jobs on and off their job descriptions. Everyone at Matador Records and our crew-tour manager Joe Plio, front house engineer Mark Luke, monitor engineer Dutch Worthington and guitar tech Kevin Mika. And first and foremost is Susan Despress, who never goes beyond the details of her work, because what she does is indescribable in everyday advice and conversations with us.
Clearly, the industry has changed dramatically since the 90s. What kind of management tasks are taking up more of your time these days?
Things that probably bothered us about not having a manager – and I’m comfortable with that! So I don’t think a huge amount has changed. For example, licensed music for various movies and TV shows is a big part of the revenue – but it’s not that a large part of the day is spent on those things.
Do you think you established yourself before everything changed on the Internet, you have the luxury of not having a manager – when you were a band starting today, you thought differently?
I think it’s just in our personality that we don’t like to be told what to do. One of the things that happened when we were managers was that the phone would ring and we would look at each other and say, “You Answer! ”We just didn’t want to deal with it at that moment. And then we realized there wasn’t a better way to feel it and maybe we should do something about it!
I imagine your Hanukkah concert series is a huge organizational initiative. How does something like this come together when you’re a self-directed band? Is it just a matter of sending an email?
In a certain sense, it has taken our whole lives. We’re still making things happen over the years. When we first started doing it in 2001, we tried to announce the lineups in advance, but we stopped for a few reasons: We thought it would be more exciting if it wasn’t announced, but it also freed us from being let go of what was happening. In the last few years, the lineup has been changing Time Hanukka – People are being added, sometimes people are being dropped. A couple of years ago, that movie The post Was coming out, and we saw Bob Odenkirk It was coming to town for preaching, so we were like, “Please come!” And then at the last second, he showed up and read something from his book. Last year, the person who helped us contacted and said during Hanukkah Preservation is a jazz band Were in town and do we want to do something with them? There is an issue when our brain is overflowing, and so our friend apologized for telling us because it gave us so much more to think about. But then it’s like, “How dare you say that? Let’s find a way to do it.”
So reading this for any young, aspiring artist who is thinking, “Do I need a manager?” – What did you say?
When you started asking that question, I was really scared of it, because I really hate the idea of giving advice. But I feel very comfortable having the word “need” in any question, because everyone has very few things and everyone has different things that they want. One thing that is self-directed for us is that we don’t aspire to be a pop star. We’re satisfied with the way we’re going, and we don’t have to try to improve things. I think there are some things that a manager can help us with, but there are some things we don’t want. If you want to be a pop star, I guess you need a manager – but I’m still not sure if that’s true of the internet and everything. I think people can sometimes follow their instincts more than they believe and don’t worry about what others are saying to them … including me.
– Stuart Berman