I was recently introduced to Pamela through a coworker. I’d known of Omnian and Captured Tracks for some time so I was very much looking forward to hearing more about her to day to day and having her as a part of the blog. Pamela is the Head Project Manager at the Omnian Music Group (i.e. Captured Tracks and Sinderlyn Records). When she isn’t managing the label release schedules, overseeing album campaigns, or heading up the teams of Project Managers she is playing music, or “…I enjoy carving out time to reading and create pottery. I, of course, go to shows that are unrelated to work, which is a joy. I’d like to learn how to knit; we’ll see if I get to that next year.”
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I became involved in the music industry when I moved to New York City for college. In 2006, after turning 19, I interned for Chouette Promotions and Ba Da Bing Records, a busy time for both companies as Beirut’s ‘Gulag Orkestar’ was garnering acclaim. That same year, I also began working at longtime New York City cultural bastion, the record store Other Music, where I became a buyer, helping to curate the store’s taste while also being in charge of the store’s mail order and online customer service.
During that time, I also toured as a live member in the bands Blank Dogs and Widowspeak and became closely acquainted with the label, Captured Tracks. In 2014, after working as a Project Manager the label for about a year, I became Head Project Manager for the label and label group, Omnian Music Group. My responsibilities include overseeing other Project Managers with regards to assets collection, overseeing production during all stages on all releases, assisting in Retail and Digital Marketing and updating label Websites. I am also involved in A&R for new releases as well as reissues.
What is a day in the life like?
I wish I could say it was more glamorous, but it’s a lot of email – communication and organization is key. Speaking with our artists, managers, publicists, distributors and within our own team is at least 50% of the job. That communication does include listening to demos and talking about mixes, shaping album bios and artwork, which is my favorite part.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
This year, we released a couple of different versions of the Wild Nothing album, ‘Indigo’. We did a translucent blue and red, a marbled purpled and a marbled blue. But, the best part, was creating the jacket with the artist Aaron Lowell. It has a triangular printed transparency on the front that, when you removed the Eurosleeve inside, revealed the color printed on the inside of the jacket. It was a lot of fun to put together and, ironically, inspired by a version of The Doors L.A. Woman. I love being involved in creating the tactile versions of our music and making them objects you want to keep and treasure.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
The most important part – communication and organization. In relation to vinyl, it’s really important to make sure we are always meeting our deadlines with vinyl production – which rarely goes perfectly – as well as manufacturing the right amount so no fan feels left out. It’s not easy and it’s a lot more work than people realize.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Get involved in your local music scene. Go to shows, listen to people’s DJ sets on local station or an online station like New York’s The Lot Radio. Interact with it as much as you can. You’ll make connections and friends and that usually leads somewhere. As a label, we have ended up hiring a fair amount of our interns.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I am! I started buying records when I began working at Other Music in 2006 and never stopped. I liked the value it made me assign to what I was listening to and the way it forced me to listen more intently. And, since I was spending money and sometimes taking chances on records, I would always listen to them more than once; if I didn’t like it the first time, I would listen again as I spent part of my paycheck on it. Also, when you work at a record store, you get first dibs on a lot of the amazing used record collections that come in and it’s easy fall in love with various version of records. One day you have 10 records and you fast forward a few years later and you have 1000 and think, “Oh wow, how did I get here?”
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I love seeing labels create a special version of an LP just for independent record stores; it’s nice to be able to give indie shops something special that will, hopefully, get a few folks in the door and browsing the racks. Various colors are always cool – color in color, marbled wax, etc. – but the most rewarding part to me is the way it gets people to sit with the music.
Anything else you want to share?
Without picking any bands on Captured Tracks or Sinderlyn Records, I’m really enjoying all the indie music coming our way from Australia right now, bands like School Damage, Shifters, Parsnip, Amyl & the Sniffers, etc. There’s a label I love based in Chicago that releases great music called Trouble In Mind. I feel like I can always count on them.
Also, I’d just like to say working in music, at least in my world, is something you do because your passionate about music. You’re working with someone’s art and it’s a special, personal thing. To me, it’s important not to forget that.
Vinyl is a wonderful physical artifact of a musician’s art, a little world. It’s not the only format I listen to — all formats have merit — it’s just my favorite way to listen.