Arts & Culture

The Big Jewcy: Seth Kallen, Music Manager

Seth Kallen should teach a course for people who love music and want to work in the industry, because at 23, the guy is already a seasoned veteran who has done everything from played shows in dive bars, to his … Read More

By / June 17, 2010

Seth Kallen should teach a course for people who love music and want to work in the industry, because at 23, the guy is already a seasoned veteran who has done everything from played shows in dive bars, to his latest gig, working for the venerable managment company, MCT.

We thought it would be a good idea to ask him how he does it. 

How did you get into managing bands?

For years I was focused on my own music, releasing a couple of albums and touring around the East Coast a fair amount.  I went down to DC in 2005 to play a show at GW University, and saw Jukebox the Ghost play in some sort of student center.  At the time they were called The Sunday Mail, and there was literally NOBODY at the show.  I was completely blown away by their performance, and we kept in touch. A couple of years later, I invited Jukebox up to NYC to record a track for them with my friend DL Tashjian (producer/rocker, extraordinaire with the best hair in Brooklyn) After the session, I got Jukebox drunk at some bar on Avenue A , professed my love to them, and told them I wanted to help them out. First I started booking their shows, one thing led to another, and I became a manager.

 

Whats a typical day in the life of a guy who helps manage the careers of bands like Jukebox the Ghost and Rufus Wainwright like? 

Lots of organization, phone calls, e-mails, and the occasional icing of the dudes from Bowery Presents. Being a manager is a 24/7 job.  Sometimes you’re sorting out record deals, going on tour with Ben Folds, And sometimes you just need to make sure Rufus Wainwright is prepared for his interviews with the press .

 

You’re a musician yourself, does your full time job make it hard to pursue your own career?  It sure does.  Managing other bands sucks up a ton of time and energy. You have to be pretty dedicated to your bands, and know that your schedule can change at any second as soon as something goes wrong or a new opportunity comes up.  Therefore, its pretty tough to pursue my own musical endeavors, but I wouldn’t say its made me completely neglect playing music.  I still write, record, and play shows (mostly in New York) when I can.  For me, I don’t see my own music as a "career" really; it’s more something thats a lot of fun, and I’ll never ever give it up.  If anything, working in the music business has helped me find smarter ways to get my music into people’s hands and onto their iPods. I really love what I do though, and am thrilled to be behind the scenes.  Working with a band like Jukebox the Ghost has been an amazing experience; watching them go from bringing 6 friends out to a show in the basement of the old Knitting Factory to completely overselling out the Bowery Ballroom (this past Memorial Day Weekend) is mind boggling.