10 Questions with ... Nick Attaway
August 22, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started at MCA Records in 1996 doing College promo and then moved up to do Triple A/Rock. In 2000, I joined Arista to do Triple A and West Coast Rock and Alternative, and then moved to Charleston, SC to be Arista's Carolina regional and Triple A director. I then joined Red Light & ATO in Charlottesville, VA in 2004 as their head of promo. From there I went to Music Allies in '06 as VP of Artist Development. Currently, I still live in Charlottesville and head up promo for Vagrant Records.
1. What got you interested in the record business?
Radio in Philly back in 1991 was pretty horrible as Mike Morrison had not yet created WXPN as a Triple A station. I was a bartender in a music club and I was able to see legends of all genres and baby bands that blew up to be huge. Seeing bands from the start of their career and then blow up made me want to be part of that process.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
WMMR, hands down. That station was there with me for all of my formative years. I even lost my virginity listening to that station ... and then I got to be an intern and work there.
3. How did your new gig at Vagrant come about?
Friends in radio and records recommended me and the label called me up. Vagrant has always been a label I had tremendous respect for and they have a great roster, so I was pretty psyched that they reached out to me.
4. What may surprise people the most about Vagrant Records?
I don't think there are any surprises. The quality of their acts and the long-term commitment to them is what sets us apart, and I believe the industry and music fans get that. People know that if it's on Vagrant, its quality music.
5. What new bands on the label are you most excited about?
It has been great to be working with City and Colour, which has truly been a great artist development story. I am really psyched for the upcoming Reptar record, which is a really fun band out of Athens that we just signed.
6. What is the toughest part of your job?
The same as every promo person; having great records with less room on the radio to play them. That and programmers today are more overextended and burdened than ever before, so they don't have as much time to spend listening to music.
7. What is best part about your job?
Working from home in Virginia, having a great team to work with, and promoting truly gifted and unique artists.
8. Things are changing rapidly in our business. Were it up to you, what would you change in our "system" to give your bands a better shot?
Reverse the Telecommunications Act so that radio wouldn't be beholden to Wall Street and the massive overhead that burdens them, which has ultimately reduced the talent pool and calcified programming.
9. What has been your biggest career highlight?
There have been so many great memories, but my biggest highlight is always the one about to happen. That's what keeps me motivated on a daily basis.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ....
....music and coffee!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Swimming in the lake with my kids, going out on a date with my wife and enjoying good food and wine.
Last non-industry job:
Bartender, but that was at a rock club, so non-industry I was a liquor marketing rep for Dewar's, Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort. I basically got paid $20 an hour to go to bars and buy people drinks.
First record ever purchased:
"Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack -- I was seven and my older brothers mocked me and taught me that "disco sucks"
"Beatlemania" the week after John Lennon was shot. The Beatles were everything for me and that show was a grieving process for everyone there
Favorite band of all-time:
Beatles/Grateful Dead/Pink Floyd ... can't pick just one