10 Questions with ... Beatrix Danko
February 2, 2016
1. What was your first music industry job, and who were your early mentors?
Little did I know when I answered an ad in the newspaper for a temporary three-month nanny position that I would begin an adventure into sex, drugs and rock n roll ... (okay, not so much sex and drugs but rock n roll). Some of my mentors include Jeffrey Naumann and Kim Langbecker. I met both when I worked as an assistant at one of Steve Walker's endeavors, Contraband Music Group. Then there is Heather Luke. She is just an awesome person all the way around. Knows the right time to call and talk me off the ledge. I want to be her when I grow up! I met George Cappellini Sr. and was introduced to old school meets the new reality of promotion. I learn from him every day and enjoy our partnership. And let's not forget Steve Walker (I would never hear the end of it), but seriously without sounding sappy, I really would not be where I am in the business. If it wasn't for Steve giving me the opportunity, trusting me and pushing me (sometimes to the point I just want to punch him in the face).
2. Can you give us a brief history of your background beyond the music biz?
I grew up in a small town in Hungary. Loved music ever since I can remember. Watching MTV, going to shows with my friends and thinking how amazing it would be to participate in and create something that brings people together. Fast forward to now and let's just say be careful what you wish for!
3. Give us the brief history of RadioContraband and how you got involved working with Steve Walker?
After getting that three-month nanny position for Steve and Carolyn, they realized how cool I was and three months became 10+ years. When Steve started Contraband Music Group with Kim Langbecker, they brought me on as an assistant. I worked my way up from there and when I heard about the RadioContraband idea I would not leave Steve alone until he let me be part of it! And here we are!
4. Now let's talk about the RadioContraband Convention next week in Las Vegas. What are some of the highlights of the daily panels?
I know we say this every year, but we have some amazing stuff in store for you all ... starting both days off with some cool acoustic performances by Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and Andrew Watt. Steve Black will moderate a panel on "The Lost Art Of The Interview" and Republic Records will take over a panel with some of their artists on Thursday. We'll finish the first day with one of our attendee's favorite panels, the "Rate the Wine, Rate the Music" hosted by the Cappellinis, with wines from Zachys Wine & Liquor. On Friday we'll get the chance to talk about the State Of Active Rock with Ken Anthony and some great panelists, have a group discussion led by Roxy Myzal, taste some beer with Chino and Warner Bros, and finish the afternoon with a Sixx:A.M. listening party! Need I say more?
5. You also have some pretty cool music showcases set for the Hard Rock each night. Who are some of the Rock artists that are performing next week?
We kick off the showcases at the Hard Rock Café on Thursday with From Ashes To New, Stitched Up Heart, First Decree, followed by another female-fronted band, Romantic Rebel, and Killswitch Engage as our headliner for the evening. Friday we are in Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel with Sunflower Dead, Wayland, self-taught guitar virtuoso David Brazil, Bridge To Grace. Headlining that night is Thousand Foot Krutch.
6. Let's talk about the "community" of Rock radio stations and labels. I asked this question to Steve Walker last year. What makes this format seem like such a big family?
It's a community with one great thing in common ... PASSION for rock music!
7. Speaking of the Rock radio community, give us the scoop on next week's RadioContraband Rock radio awards?
This is our fifth year for the awards and it never gets old to see the growth and participation in the nomination and voting process! We are lucky to have Lou Brutus back as our host, so you know it will be an entertaining hour-and-a-half! We'll close out the awards with a 20-minute performance by Houston rock band, Hounds Of Jezebel.
8. Now, let's talk about the Rock format as a whole, particularly Active Rock. What's your take on the music and artists at the format today?
Active Rock seems to be still searching for it's identity but that seems to be the case across the board with all radio formats. I do believe that we have a better sense of where we need to go and we are doing it through open dialogue, nurturing new artists and making commitments to grow our format.
9. Give me three new Rock artists you think will break big at the format in 2016, and why?
Wow, only three ... LOVE Mixi and Stitched Up Heart, what a big power voice and presence from a rock chick! Another one of my favorites is From Ashes To New. I first saw them at Rock On The Range and I can't wait to see more! Last but not least, Red Sun Rising - I think their accomplishments in 2015 speak louder than words!
10. Finally, if someone reading this is on the fence about attending this year's RadioContraband Convention in Las Vegas, what would you say to convince them to join the party?
Well, I could spend hours and hours talking about the Convention, but the best way to convince someone is to just let them watch social media explode around our event. It's amazing to watch how excited everyone gets leading up to and following the Convention and Awards.