10 Questions with ... Dan Yocom
June 18, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
It all started with college radio at WMUH/Allentown, PA (Muhlenberg College), where I was the Music Director and an on-air host for 3.5 years. When I graduated college, I spent a few years with Fanatic Promotion in New York City, followed by a few more years with SPECTRE/Distiller Promo at various locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I joined Partisan Records and KFR in February of 2012.
1. What got you interested in the record business?
I'm not really sure how it happened! Sometime in college, while working as a Music Director, I became less and less interested in my degree in Biochemistry and more and more interested in the goings-on of the radio station. Interacting with other people involved in radio led me to abandon my parents' dream of me becoming a surgeon.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I primarily listened to the now defunct Y-100 (WPLY) out of Philadelphia. That was my steady stream of Alternative Rock hits. As a younger kid, my favorite radio memory is scanning the dial and beating my dad to naming the artist and song playing on all of the Classic Rock stations.
3. How did you end up at Partisan Records?
It was so natural that I can't believe it took this long! I've worked with the guys who started this label since, well, they started this label. Ian Wheeler is a friend of mine from the Fanatic days, and his business partner, Tim Putnam, quickly became a friend. While working at various indie promo companies, I have sent out each and every Partisan release that was serviced to radio stations.
4. What would surprise people most about the label?
We're all very full of surprises! We operate out of a 19th century horse stable. We also have a large branding iron in the shape of our logo. Also, recently, we launched a hip-hop label, Young One Records.
5. What artists at Partisan are you most excited about?
Just before Partisan started, I fell in LOVE with a little band called Deer Tick. They've gone on to put out a number of great records for the label, including a number of other John McCauley projects like Middle Brother and Diamond Rugs. Working on behalf of Heartless Bastards has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. They are truly the hardest working (with the skills to boot!) bands out there! The new Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside record coming out next year is going to blow some minds. I'd also be remiss to not mention what a privilege it is to represent the likes of Fela Kuti and The Lijadu Sisters via KFR.
6. What is the toughest part working at an indie label?
That's a tough question for a newbie like myself. My greatest challenge (and one of the things I love most about my transition) has been to restructure my days into talking about fewer bands with more people. I miss a lot of the labels and artists that I used to work with, but I love all of the incredibly talented bands I represent now.
7. 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?
Can I give everyone a few more hours in the day? I guess I wish people took more chances on newer bands with their programming, but I'm happy to report that I see this happening more and more. I would also give all of my bands helicopters so that they have enough time to visit radio stations in every market before their shows.
8. How does your label increase exposure of your artists outside of traditional radio promotion?
I like to think that we do anything within our power to work with our artists and actualize their artistic vision to its fullest. All of them get the full promotional push outside of radio, but things like helping our bands to work with charities they support is perhaps the most meaningful to me.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... Coffee -- seems pretty obvious. I don't know what I'd be able to accomplish without it!
10. If you were to leave the record business today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
I often make jokes about starting an asparagus farm in southern Illinois, but I doubt I'd go through with that. I think I might feel compelled to go to law school since all of my best friends seem to have done that.
Last non-industry job:
I worked at Intermedia Advertising Group, where I watched television and looked for product placements, then wrote trivia questions about them for RewardTV.com
First record ever purchased:
I distinctly recall my first CD, but that's too embarrassing to mention here. I had some New Kids on The Block cassettes that I know weren't hand-me-downs. I have some pretty funny stories about buying Queen Latifah's "UNITY" cassingle and hearing the unedited version of Radiohead's "Creep" for the first time right after I bought it. My mom also scratched up the B-side of my "Sweet Child O' Mine" 45.
REM on the Monster tour at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA.
Favorite band of all-time:
REM. And yes, in 2012, I'm okay with the breakup.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I spend a good amount of time cooking and watching movies with my lady friend. Our dog, Basil, is always right there as well. Now that summer is upon us, I'd like to get to the beach and read more.