I’ve met Mr. Andy Inglis while he was on tour with Mr. William Doyle aka East India Youth. Mr. Inglis is a band manager but I’ve figured it out: he’s a professional one-man-show Management team, PR Agency, Booking Agency & friend. That type of music industry folks that are urban legends. Nobody these days has the panache and sincerity for doing everything and dedicating their personal life to an artist's or musician’s success. I knew I had to interview this man, a rare (I thought dead) species of gentlemen.
Good day Sir! These are some of the questions on my mind.
IM: Where were you born Mr. Inglis and how’s your hometown to you?
AI: Grangemouth, Central Scotland. The oil is sent down from the North Sea to Grangemouth, and it’s refined at the Ineos Refinery; one of the largest in Europe. It’s an industrial town, 25 miles between Edinburgh and Glasgow. My family are all from Edinburgh and moved to Grangemouth just before I was born. I grew up with the best (and worst) of both cities. I don't live there any more - I’ve lived on the road now for almost four years - but still go back to visit family often. It’s not a very nice place. Scotland’s done a good job at selling itself to the world as a land of whisky and mountains, and while there’s plenty of that, there’s also plenty of poverty and heroin. My town has plenty of both, though there are a couple of nice parts.
IM: What was the first concert you’ve attended and why did it stick with you?
AI: REM, on the ‘Green’ album tour, probably around 1986 at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Or it might have been Simple Minds at Ibrox Stadium, home to Rangers Football Club. I guess I could look it up on the internet, but sometimes it’s okay to not be sure about things. I went with my sister (three years older than me) and her friends in a minibus. I remember Michael Stipe bashing a metal chair with a metal bar at one point. Okay… I’ve just looked it up on the internet. R.E.M. was 1989. Simple Minds was 1986, so that was the first. I remember I was wearing a pair of black trousers and a bright yellow shirt that was at least three sizes too big for me.
IM: What is your worst fear in life?
AI: Stasis. I haven’t spent more than seven days in one place in almost four years. I have to keep moving. If I stay still I feel anxious. I’m not sure why this, although I’ve always loved traveling. Other than that, my greatest fear is the death of my father. I’m going to get the call one day. I’m not sure why I don’t fear my mother’s death; I’m really close to both of them.
IM: How do you view the system of the music industry evolved? How were things ten and twenty years ago? From your perspective and experiences of course.
AI: It’s obvious to say but you can split the music industry into ‘pre-internet’ and ‘internet’ eras, though you can do that with pretty much every industry. I’d say everything about it has evolved, except it’s still sexist, racist, staffed by idiots, artists still don’t get paid properly, and there’s still a lot of terrible music around. Plus record label staff still do that thing where they insist on buying lunch if they take you out, then use the company credit card. I usually don’t let them. I’m a 43 year old man. I can buy my own lunch!
M: Can you describe us how travelling around the world as a manager and networker is?
AI: It’s normal to me now. I gave up having a place to live in 2012. I don’t feel nostalgic about anything; I’m happy in the moment, or looking ahead to what’s next. Aside from the traveling though, my living arrangements aren’t much different to anyone else’s; we all go to a building each night to sleep, with heat, light and a bed. I just go to a different building each night. As I said earlier, I can’t stay in one place too long, or I feel anxious and trapped, even in my favourite cities. I’m writing this from a tiny village in the southern Spanish mountains where I’m spending ten days, and if it wasn’t for an East India Youth show in Madrid on Friday night that I took a train to, I’d be going out of my mind. The very practical and positive aspect of traveling with my artist is that I get to meet all our international label and promotional partners, so I can build a closer relationship with them than those manager who never travel. Hopefully this means my artist gets a better service!
IM: Tell us a few things about your lectures?
AI: A friend of mine asked me to write the live module for a Music Business Management degree course at Westminster, London. I’d never lectured before, and I’d never been to university, so the whole thing was very new to me. I have a ‘severe, covert stammer’ which means I find something in every sentence difficult to say, and I’ve spent my life hiding it, so it was a big challenge for me. I enjoy it a lot now, particularly what I can learn from the people I lecture for. Even though some are young with less experience than me, they still have experience that I can draw from. They carry less ‘baggage’ than me and can see things from different perspectives.
IM: What is the best and the worst experience as a club owner/ venue administrator and event organiser?
AI: The worst experience was deciding to close our venue – The Luminaire – in 2012, telling our staff, and making twenty people – including ourselves – redundant. The best… ah that’s not so easy. I’ve been doing this for 26 years. I like to think the best experiences are still ahead of me. That said, winning London Venue of The Year and UK Venue of The Year in less than two years was pretty good.
IM: Who were the artists you’ve worked with, how and why?
AI: I’ve worked with many, but only ever those whose music I’ve loved and who I like as people. I can’t get out of bed in the morning to work with people who’re assholes, just for the money. Right now I'm concentrating on one artist – East India Youth – though he’s taking 2016 off to write the third album so I’m more or less unemployed next year!
IM: What’s the next step for you in your career?
AI: I’m not sure. As I said, next year is open for me, so I’ll lecture in the first couple of months, then see which opportunities present themselves. I’d like to tour manage a band for a few months. Although it’s fun touring with Will (East India Youth) and George (our Sound Engineer) I miss the hassle that working with a bigger band and crew can bring. I miss fixing problems. I’ve also got an idea for a book I’m developing which would involve spending a couple of months in the U.S.
IM: What is your view of the music industry in the UK? Is it different than other European countries?
AI: Sure. Every country has its own way of working. The UK has a long history of producing music which becomes globally successful, so it’s a pretty arrogant place, and difficult for bands to break into if, if they’re not from the US, Canada or Sweden. I’m over-simplifying to make a point, but it’s mostly true. Because Adele, and Ed Sheeran and One Direction do well overseas, there’s the idea that everything is going fine, but of course it’s not so easy if you’re a small business, whether that’s a venue, band or promoter. It’s a very competitive, very crowded market here.
IM: Have you got a few useful things you’ve learned that you want to share with us? Entrepreneurs and musicians as well.
AI: Don’t be a dick. You don’t need to shout at people to get them do what you need them to do. Don’t work for money. It’ll make you unhappy. Stay calm at airports. They suck, they will always suck. There’s nothing you can do about it. All you need to do in this business is be better than the next guy, and the next guy doesn’t really know what he’s doing.
IM: What albums have you been listening to lately?
AI: Julia Holter, Empress Of, Jenny Hval. Sasha Siem. The four best albums of 2015 were written by women.
IM: What’s the last concert you’ve payed for?
AI: Julia Holter. I think it might be the last time I go to see a band play in a venue. I don't like the environment much any more. I’d rather listen on headphones.
IM: Does politics mix with music in your opinion?
AI: Sure, it can. Anything can mix with music, so long as it’s done well. I think some artists are scared to speak out about politics, in case it alienates their audience. I understand it, but it’s a shame.
IM: What do you think about James Bond’s suits?
AI: They fit him nicely. I’m not the biggest fan of Daniel Craig as Bond but he looks good in a suit. They’re by Tom Ford, by the way. If you’re interested, have a look at thesuitsofjamesbond.com.
Cheers and have a nice day!