Steinmetal of Metal Temple talked to Axel Wiesenauer, owner and CEO of Rock’N’Growl Promotion & Management regarding his past, the business and more. Usually in Metal Temple, like most magazines, we interview musicians, rather than people of the business behind the music, however, these people, which some of them are shadows, have quite an opinion about the music, its culture and in a way its policy.
Hello Axel, greetings. It is an honor to have you for this interview for Metal Temple. How have you been doing?
Doing just fine these days. Lot of new products on my table and promoting the bands: TEN, METAL MACHINE, CHAINFIST, NUBIAN ROSE, DONNIE VIE, IN FAITH, HOUSTON, SYKSCRAPER, MOXY, EXORCISM, ANTI-CLONE and some more.
Before I sink my teeth into your business, please share a few details about yourself so the readers will have some idea who are you.
With my 40+ years I have been one way or another always involved in the licensing, promotion since 1994 and lately with managing bands. Over the years I had many jobs and titles until 2009 when I took the step and found ROCK’N’GROWL Promotion.
You have been knee deep in the worlds of Metal and Rock for over 25 years. Looking back through the years with an eye to the future, what do you make of it? Has the world gone mad, slowly drifting into chaos or there is actually a process that is laying down hope and continuation?
The World has completely gone mad. Yes, you can say that. Still we make the best of it and select only the best that we want to work with. It makes no sense to waste time and lose money in this fast paced World. It seems we have lots of artists, acts and music out there and my job is to select the few good ones that are worth my time.
When you started getting into promotion, and later to management, which aspects in that vast world made your interest and fascinated you to the point of actually getting yourself into it?
One thing is the promotion and consulting which is a paid job for me and makes my living possible. The management part is clearly my passion and only a handful are in my roster. I want to give them the feel of exclusivity and therefore hand-picked all of them.
Now we have Rock’N’Growl. What can you tell about your business enterprise? How was it founded? On the basis of what ideals or ideas have based its existence?
Indeed there is always first the idea and I want to give todays artists a platform and representation with the music industry.
Regarding its activities, what can you tell about Rock N’ Growl’s dealings? About its career development opportunities and such?
We are always out to push the push the artist into the spotlight. The tools we use are social media, newsletters and mainly word to mouth. If an artist is after record deal I can try realizing that license. Then some artists need to find booking agents, tours and so on. Also day to day care sometimes an artist might just need a good friend and an ear that listens. Musicians are very complex and delicate individuals while the music industry and its corporate officers are business men. I am acting as the link between them.
When taking on a new act for management, what is your vision of spicing it up, making it noticeable and even should I say famous?
The strategies for career development may vary greatly. Some acts are already established and need very little guidance. Other would have to be built from scratch. I believe fame comes from the hard work form the individual artist. It is what they are doing with their music and not so much the advertising. The listener and fans care more about the actual product than the pictures and some texts below. Not that this wouldn’t be important otherwise I wouldn’t be doing exactly that. I am just trying to be humble here and take credit for the musician’s talent and art.
In your opinion, is there a right way for a band to succeed in such a vast world of music, especially such demanding environments of Rock and Metal, or it is mainly a matter of chance and luck?
There is a right which lot of bands would rather avoid doing by making short cuts. Building up a band to the next level was never easy and hard work for the whole team. If for one reason you have only one foul egg in the band that delays thing or is not a team player then the whole project is in jeopardy. Sure luck has somewhat to do with the whole process. Still my job is to position the band or artist in lucky spot and hope they open their arms and hands.
Can you shed some light on various plans for the future of Rock N’ Growl? Are you looking for an expansion of activities?
Like with any firm we are growing and expanding. The latest being DREAM RECORD’s (FURYON, METAL MACHINE, BLACK RAVEN, NEVER DIE AGAIN) which is our label sort of speak and with it we can push out more releases than we ever dreamed off. I am sure many new ideas will follow over time.
Here is something general, it has been known that the music industry, as of others related, have been attempting to deal with illegal downloading without too much success. What do you think of the current situation? Is this type of internet downloading actually helps newcomer bands to get their word out or just let them float out there because true promotion is something different?
Whether it is illegal or legal downloads. It’s pure promotion for the band. I know this sounds bad and the company or the label is looking big time money. But that’s the World we’ve created now we have to live with its problems and cope. We will find new ways to fund bands and their releases I am sure of that. The question is whether the record labels can survive this financial metal meltdown. You see musicians will always be musicians. Rich or poor it doesn’t matter as it never did. They will write new music and are hard to stop. Why should they? On the other handle have the top ranking A&R’s, producers, engineers, distributors that are used to make top dollars. They are the ones not meeting budgets, income and eventually lose their job and company. We need to go back and rethink what went wrong only then we can set new standards.
Axel I wish to thank you for this interview. I wish you all the best with Rock N’ Growl and may business will be fruitful. Any last words for the readers?
Thank you very much for this great interview and the interesting questions. Big thanks to all fans, musicians, partners and friends out there! Stay Rock’N’Growl.
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