IQ's prestigious list of ten future industry leaders returns for 2019, with nominations welcomed before Friday 26 July
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Continuing a series of interviews with IQ's New Bosses, Matt Pickering-Copley is an agent at Primary Talent in London
By Anna Grace on 09 Oct 2019
The New Bosses 2019 – the biggest-ever edition of IQ‘s yearly roundup of future live industry leaders, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 85 last month revealing the twelve promising agents, promoters, bookers and execs that make up this year’s list.
To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2019’s New Bosses, to discover their greatest inspirations and proudest achievements, pinpoint the reasons for their success and obtain advice for those hoping to be a future New Boss. Snippets of the interviews can be found in the latest IQ Magazine, with all interviews being reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.
New Boss number seven is Matt Pickering-Copley (28), a booking agent at Primary Talent. Cape Town-born Pickering-Copley started booking bands from his bedroom before moving to London aged 19.
After interning at [London music venue] the Old Blue Last, he became a full-time member of the events team for the Old Blue Last, Vice and Birthdays. One day he got a call from Primary asking if he’d like to work with the late Dave Chumbley, and the rest, as they say, is history. (Read the previous interview with The O2 Arena’s Marc Saunders here.)
What are you busy with right now?
I’m thankful to be able to work on a broad spectrum of artists, most of which are starting out new album campaigns/touring cycles. So I’m busy booking shows into theatres, arenas, clubs and even punk squats. One of my favourite things about my job is that every artist has different wants and needs – I pride myself on being able to cater to all of them.
Did you always want to work in the music business?
Yes. As a teen I was obsessed with the DIY sub-cultures in (seemingly, at the time, very exotic places) Chicago, New York and even London. I knew I wanted to be involved somehow, but didn’t know how. Most of my peers were not interested in going to shows, so putting shows on was not an option.
I became friendly with a set of bands that felt the same way and I started booking tours for them throughout Europe when I was still in sixth form. When I was 19 I moved up to London and starting interning at the Old Blue Last which was headed up by Ross Allmark and Russ Tannen at the time. They taught me so much about the way things worked from a promoter perspective and how to deal with real music industry people. It also opened up a whole new musical world to me and I could finally see how things operated outside of my immediate bubble.
“One of my favourite things about my job is that every artist has different wants and needs – I pride myself on being able to cater to all of them”
I eventually became a full-time member of the team and they let me promote shows with some of my favourite artists. I also ended up getting involved in some of the infamous Vice events. The Old Blue Last had a great reputation and we had a lot of fun convincing massive acts to do underplays in the venue. I think Kylie Minogue played there the week I left.
What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
The best shows are the ones that mean the most to the artists, when everyone teams together to pull off something special. Rufus Wainwright at the Royal Albert Hall on Easter Sunday this year was a very special show. A couple of years ago, Lana Del Rey played a last-minute show at Brixton academy in the summer, it was her first show in the UK in many years. We once had Show Me The Body play in Gillet Square in Dalston, mimicking the guerrilla shows they do in NYC.
How has your role changed since you started out?
It hasn’t changed much, I’m still booking shows and working with people I like.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt at Primary?
To never be afraid to ask for help or advice. No-one benefits when someone thinks they know it all.
“Dave Chumbley really taught me everything I know about being a booking agent”
What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
What do you do for fun?
Obviously I love going to gigs and listening to music. I love cooking, getting out of London and (I think?) running.
Do you have an industry mentor?
Dave Chumbley really taught me everything I know about being a booking agent. I’m sure most people that knew him would agree that he had a unique approach to the music industry and life in general. It was inspiring and terrifying in equal measures.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Be patient and try not be a tosser.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully still doing this.
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