10 Questions with ... Scott Perlewitz
March 22, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started out going to college for Medicine, ended up with a mohawk and a Fine Art degree in Wisconsin. Got into the music business while getting Master's Degree from USC (Annenberg School of Communication). Worked in music video promotion, concert promotion, television, and artist development before getting roped into radio promotion.
1. How did you become interested in the record business?
I've always loved music for as long as I could remember. Growing up in Wisconsin it was extremely limited, but I accumulated a substantial record collection that continued to grow throughout college. I never seriously considered a career in music until I was in LA. Before that it was just something I thought you had to be born into or something.
2. What stands out the most from your first job?
My first job was video music promotion for a company called Vis-Ability. It was during the whole MTV birth and explosion. To be in LA at that time and in the midst of so many different types of music was awesome. Of course it's all perspective, but I really was at the right place at the right time. The company was brand new and an offshoot of a company who did a lot of retail promotion and their biggest client was WBR, so we had a great deal of access to some incredible artists. In fact I still have an original still from that a-ha video, hand drawn and sitting in a box somewhere.
3. What do you like best about working at Sub Pop?
What don't I like. I feel so lucky to be here. It's such an incredible place with an amazing history that continues to thrive amidst a lot of challenges elsewhere. The folks who work here are some of the best I've ever had the pleasure of working with, it's really more like a huge, insane extended family than an office. I actually look forward to coming to work every day and that's not smoke. I give a great deal of credit to Jonathan for setting an example for everyone and the fact that he's here all the time is just an incredible thing. On top of all that I'm getting to know a whole other level of radio folks I've previously only read about. That's been quite a revelation as well.
4. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
Since I utterly lack any musical skills it's as close as I'll ever get to actually participating in a sort of creative process as it relates to music.
5. What may surprise people the most to learn about Sub Pop?
I think maybe our growing interest in world music through Next Ambiance. We have several artists like Aurelio and Bessekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba and I think that it's just wonderful. I think it's probably the last frontier of indie music. The internet has allowed the world to get smaller and I am optimistic that music a great way to start to understand and relate to different cultures. Besides, they're really amazing artists and just because they may not speak English doesn't mean they can't create great, emotional music your can relate to. That and maybe Wine Fridays here. Those are pretty special too.
6. What is the toughest part of your job?
The toughest part is being taken seriously with some of our music. I think there's a perception that our music is somehow not fit for mainstream airplay. There seems to be a major league/minor league mentality among some programmers that's not true for listeners. I realize there are limitations to being at a smaller label, but having some of the best music out there isn't one of them and when I hear some of the music that does get played, well, let's just say I can sleep at night knowing I work here.
7. Where is your favorite market you like to visit and why?
Anyone who knows me knows the answer. It's Portland. Hands down and no joke. The dream is alive in Portland. I would live there and almost did, but living and working here in Seattle is just where I need to be right now. I do want to retire in Portland. Preferably when I'm 30 or something. Drinking coffee and putting birds on stuff.
8. What would surprise people the most about you?
It's usually that I have a Master's Degree. Lately, I've been freaking people out with my milky complexion and youthful countenance, especially when someone cards me, which still happens from time to time. That's great for my huge and ponderous ego.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______ ?
Coffee. Black coffee. I cannot survive without it.
10. What is your biggest challenge moving from San Francisco to Seattle?
Convincing people it was my choice and that so far I love it more than SF. I will always love SF and everything that happened there, but you know when it's time to change scenery and it was my time. I'm not a fan of sunny weather or heat, so apparently I've hit the jackpot. I grew up in Wisconsin, so this weather is actually perfect for me.
What are your hobbies?
My motorcycle, my dogs, art and yard work when I can get to it.
Last non-industry job?
Eight years in a bakery. I'm a damn good baker.
First record ever purchased?
Sly And The Family Stone "Family Affair"
Johnny Cash And The Carter Family in 1968. I still remember it clearly and when I met him I told him about it. He seemed genuinely touched.
Favorite band of all-time?
Hands down the Clash. You cannot top "Sandinista" in my book. It's everything I love about music on three discs. I love every song on it and still listen to it all the time. Second would be Radiohead, since they're still making amazing, challenging music that I just love.