10 Questions with ... Steven Nathan
January 21, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1998 - CMJ
- 1999 - 2011 / In De Goot Ent - McGathy Promotions
- 2011 - 2013 / Forward Thinking Media
- 2013 - Present / Imagen Records
1. What made you want to get into the music business? Early mentors? First job?
I'm not sure I ever really wanted to be in the "music business." It seemed the "business" was always sort of that thing taking place behind the scenes of my favorite artists, songs and albums. It was those sounds and visuals that were calling me right from the start, inspiring me to think for myself and encouraged me with grand illusions of a world that lacked the depression of Sunday nights and school work.
My first job is probably really hard to pin down exactly. When I was about 10 years old, I put on a KISS concert in my backyard. I promoted the show like crazy, putting up posters, even spread a few rumors. We charged admission, set up a small stage with some plywood and lights from my dad's workshop. I was Gene Simmons, of course, with a tennis racquet bass guitar. The big obstacle, in my mind, was always getting the explosives for it to be a true KISS concert, so I grabbed the garden hose and sprayed down the eight people that actually paid to come. As everyone was scrambling to get away I remember thinking ... this is rock n roll, Vince Neil would be proud.
2. Can you give us a brief history of your record promotion background before you landed your current gig with Imagen Records?
Promoting records has always been in my blood. When I'm passionate about something, everyone knows it. But when it comes to my relationship with radio ... that probably started with promoting my own band to College radio early on. It quickly became a business as other bands hired me to start working for them, as well. I then found myself working at CMJ (College Music Journal) and from there took the leap to commercial radio promotion
3. I understand you worked with Bill McGathy and In De Goot. How long did you work for them and how was that experience helpful in molding you for your current gig?
I worked with Bill McGathy for 12 years. When you add up those hours and realize I spent way more time in that office working closely with them than I did in all the classrooms I attended from kindergarden through college combined ... it's impossible not to see how deeply the experience molded me. Bill is an incredibly smart and insightful person that truly loves music. I was a part of an extremely important and pivotal era for the company. The work ethic, standards, forward-thinking mindset, lessons learned and the projects I was a part of are priceless and certainly enrich everything I'm a part of.
4. What is your title and responsibilities with Imagen Records and how long have you been in this position?
I was recently brought in to oversee the radio promotion for Imagen Records. The label has been growing rather quickly and have signed some amazing bands. Bob Winegard, who started Imagen Records, is a truly determined visionary who has pulled together an extremely talented team and I'm excited that I get to be a part of this. We are going to do absolutely amazing things together!
5. Let's talk about one of your current artists on Imagen Records, 3 Years Hollow and the single "Hungry." What can you share with us about this project?
3 Years Hollow has actually discovered the secret of true enlightenment ... it is buried in "Hungry" and unlocked upon repeated spins ... I'm not kidding, try it. "Hungry" is actually one of many really strong single contenders we had to choose from from their forthcoming album 'The Cracks.' The album was produced by Clint Lowery (Sevendust) and has all of the absolute right elements to turn 3 Years Hollow into a Rock radio staple. Most importantly it's one of this year's first GREAT rock records.
Some people might be familiar with the band after their self released single, "Remember," had an impressive run at radio last year even hitting #1 on SiriusXM Octane. This all combined with such a depth of great writing and performing helped lead them to Imagen Records, and I am very lucky that this is the first project I get to dive in on!
6. Can you tell us what other bands (new or established) and projects your label has in store for Rock radio in the future?
Well, Morgan Rose from Sevendust is our head of A&R, so you know we will be bringing Rock radio a lot of exciting music to play! We are completely dedicated to breaking 3 Years Hollow right now, but coming down the line we have the long-awaited new album from Framing Hanley, New Medicine's absolute ruthless and infectious new album, a brand new single from Candlelight Red as well as some new bands we can't wait to share like Separations.
7. Let's talk about the Active Rock format as a whole. What's your take on the music at the format and why do you see such a division between the Active Rock and Alternative formats today?
For some time, the Alternative Rock format felt like the indecisive cousin of Active Rock ... it seemed to be chasing something or finding itself many stations reporting Alternative were really pure Active Rock. Over the last year or so, Alternative seems to have finally found a sound it could define as it's own for now and that sound just happens to "rock" less. Either way, it's a really exciting time for new music. Personally, as a music lover I enjoy variety and try to steer clear of any absolutes. A great song is a great song.
8. As a promotion person, what are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of the Rock formats' growth and constant daily changes?
The #1 tool is communication. Talking with other industry people is important. Second, I like to keep an eye on the trade publications. Keeping up with the current news is crucial.
9. How much do you use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to help promote your artists on Imagen Records?
The label is extremely proactive on social media with all of its artists. I happen to personally be addicted to technology and new media, when at In De Goot I helped launch their whole "new media" department. I've run my own multi-media marketing company post In De Goot. I am always trying out creative, new ways of spreading music and with connecting fans.
10. What are your three favorite artists and songs from 2013 and why?
Butch Walker - "I've Been Waiting For This." I Love Butch! Butch Walker is one of the most under appreciated song writers and performers of our time.
Queens Of The Stone Age - "I Sat By The Ocean." Love the darker and more consistent feel of this album.
American Authors - "Best Day Of My Life" / These are friends of mine and it has been great watching things come together for them!
What do you like to do for fun and relaxation when you're NOT in Record Promotion mode?
I never stop working! I always seem to have a project that I'm working on and I've come to the conclusion that that is just how I relax. When i'm not promoting records I am writing, recording and touring with my own band Man On Earth. My most recent hobby is filming and editing music videos, photographing bands and organizing a yearly festival of unsigned NYC bands. Often find myself spending hours learning everything i can about Physics and Astronomy.
What is the best live band you saw last year NOT on your label?
I saw Prince at Mohegan sun... he is simply the greatest performer that has ever lived.