As we have seen in past interviews, there is no set-in-stone way to grow in the music industry. Everyone has unique experiences that are impossible to recreate step-by-step. Can we learn from one another? Absolutely. But I strongly believe that what worked well for one person, may not work for anyone else. I saw this belief reinforced when I interviewed Julia Johanek, a music industry Renaissance woman with an admirable work ethic.
Where did your work in the music industry start?
It began when I moved to Chicago and started going to school at Columbia. As soon as I began learning about how the industry works I became humbled by what I didn’t know and overwhelmed with an urgency to start working. You can take the best notes in class but most knowledge comes from hands-on experience. My first internship was at Reggie’s. I then had an internship with Lincoln Hall/Schubas (where I work now) and Bloodshot Records. I had a mentor in college, Alex White of White Mystery, who knew I was specifically interested in artist management. I really admire her work ethic and how she executes her creative ideas. I started an internship with her where she showed me what goes into putting out a record as a DIY band.
How did you get linked up with Uma Bloo and what were the first things you did when you became her manager?
I met Uma Bloo (Molly Madden is her real name) in Prague. The band didn’t exist yet but Uma Bloo was her burlesque name, so technically I did meet Uma the character/alter ego. We were studying abroad for 5 weeks in the summer and taking a class that studied Kafka and dream/surreal writing. Molly and I just got along and became attached at the hip. When we weren’t in class we’d write in cafes and read in parks and drink absinthe. When Molly started playing music back home in Chicago I went to see her show at Subterranean. Seeing her play felt so real to me. I went up to her and told her I wanted to be a part of it. In the beginning I made a list of goals, evaluated her social media, and helped put together shows. Since then, she’s added a band, we’ve moved in together, gone to SXSW, and made a music video
First Tour Manager experience with Cold Beaches coming up this week- what have you done to prepare?
I’m actually writing you from Richmond right now! Sophia Nadia from Cold Beaches lives in Chicago but Richmond is where her touring band lives. They are practicing while I am getting the van’s oil changed and tires checked. Before the tour I helped out with some of the booking emails, but most of it was booked when I took the job. Right now I’m working on getting the production advances from all the venues and putting the info in a spreadsheet. My role on the tour will be selling merch, handling the band’s pay out, driving, and anything else that comes my way. I’m happy my first time tour managing is with a friend’s band. Whenever I do anything Sophia’s like, “I love you. You’re incredible. You’re doing such a good job.” I adore her.
Your resume looks pretty extensive (Lincoln Hall/Schubas, Dynasty Podcast, Uma Bloo, Cold Beaches) and it seems you have worked in many places at once… What are your secrets to maintaining so many different areas of work?
It’s just knowing which job needs you/what works best in your life at the time. There are times when I’m working at Lincoln Hall/Schubas 4-5 days a week but there are times when I only work there once a week. I’m grateful they are such a supportive workplace. They were happy for me when I took the Cold Beaches tour and it wasn’t a problem to get my shifts covered. I am looking to do more with Uma Bloo once I get back because right now they are recording. However, at the end of the summer they took it easy so that job wasn’t as time consuming. My biggest piece of advice is to take breaks when you need them. It’s easy to beat yourself up if you aren’t constantly growing in your career and making money because that’s the standard American idea of success. I love being a workaholic but I also love taking off work to see the world.
Within all these areas, what are you most passionate about?
I love venue work and artist management. I didn’t talk about my work with Lincoln Hall/Schubas but I really enjoy doing artist hospitality. Being there day of show and seeing everything come together makes me feel alive. The tour with Cold Beaches just started but I can already tell I’m gonna love tour managing. I definitely see myself booking and managing a tour with Uma Bloo in the future. I’m most passionate about learning because I never want every day to feel the same.