10 Questions with ... Matt Pollack
May 26, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1987-'1990 Relativity Records, 1990-1997 ATCO to East West then merge with Elektra. 1997-2007 V2 Records. From 2007-present Monotone.
1. I remember when you were at ATCO Records back in the late-80s working AC/DC. How did you first become interested in the record business and what do you remember the most right now from your "AOR" days?
My indie punk days growing up in NY left me with a provocative reality that I was a shitty drummer. That and I could make more noise and derive far greater pleasure developing other musical careers than that of my own. My remembrance of the AOR days was not the greatest to be frank. My tastes for music far outweighed the conservatism of that rock format. Back then that was the only place to break music. And sadly at the slowest snail pace. The modern boom of Alternative radio had yet to take hold and these were pre-Internet days. So you were left a mental mess trying to utilize that as your only avenue to break new music.
2. After so many years on the label side, what led you to management?
My dream was to ultimately move into management. My uncle was my inspiration for that, Marty Thau. Marty discovered and managed the New York Dolls, Suicide, Blondie, Richard Hell, and the likes of many others who comprised New York's lower eastside & elite punk scene in the 70s. Marty was the first punk manager before there was even a term for the genre. That's what I wanted to be. It was simply a matter of timing and the one I might trust to allow me that opportunity. That opportunity came at the behest of V2 shuttering, and the one I trusted is a guy by the name of Ian Montone. Boss and one of my dearest friends. Eight years ago, making a move to management seemed by industry standards, a below lateral move, especially for anyone in an SVP role. However I kind of saw the writing on the wall in where things were moving. The labels now are smarter, more streamlined and better positioned to help lead the market. Back then, they were on the verge of implosion because the market had passed them by. I didn't want to be a passenger aboard a vessel iceberg bound. This was my opportunity.
3. What does everyone need to know about Monotone Inc.?
There is no other management company I feel that is as forward thinking and super serves its artist to the level we do. That and we have the coolest damn roster in show biz and the most real and talented team to get the job done. They are my extended family.
4. I know you're still active on the promotion side too for your artists. What is a typical day like for you at Monotone?
I kinda think of myself as the guy internally who fans the embers and can put out the fires. I go where I am needed and how I can benefit the team and artists based on experience and relationships. From liaison to the labels, to quelling anxieties or offering advice/support to an artist to finding heroes for our music. Bottom line, no one day is ever the same, and none typical.
5. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
There is still no greater pleasure then taking something from nothing and making it a part of people's consciousness and desire. To be part of something that inspires people once the job is done is a gift, as arduous as it may be to accomplish.
6. Tell us about your current projects and who else is part of the great artist roster at Monotone?
Currently enjoying Cold War kids biggest success to date (yes, you will be playing it). The brilliance of current acts such as Banks, Ratatat, upcoming Miike Snow (watch out), Jamie Foxx, Pete Yorn (my brother from another step mother), Destructo (creating a genre unto its own), the absolute indomitable Benjamin Booker, the ever cool and sexy Cathedrals, Baio (yes the guy from Vampire) and the likes of Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Foster, kills, James Murphy and many others. But just call me...I'll walk you through them all.
7. What do you love most about your job?
I love that I am lucky enough that the greatest contributions I have to my job are a result of 25 years of learning and being inspired by other gifted individuals. In other words, an opportunity to hopefully be constantly growing and paying it forward as a result of it.
...Jeez, Tony f*cking Robbins over here.
8. Where is your favorite radio market you like to visit and why?
I love every station in every market in every format the most! Kidding of course. That's a toughie. But would be lying if I didn't make mention of a few I am keenly fond of. KC (hey Laz), that Brit in Portland that looks like Gordon Ramsey, my peeps I have known & love for 20 freakin' years at the 'ROQ & Chicago. Maybe not a lot of surprises here but I still love traveling and visiting stations. It's something I will never stop doing until wheelchair driven and again diaper bound.
9. What would surprise people the most about you?
Probably that I am not always "on."
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______?
My beautiful girlfriend Talla, my goofy dog Maude, a call from Ron Poore, and sharing a laugh with Ian Montone.
What are your hobbies?
Reading and film
Last non-industry job?
First record ever purchased? Just purchased a Bosa Nova album on vinyl. Last couple of years obsessed with travel and culture in South America.
NY Dolls, when I was 8 years old with Marty.