‘The Music Industry Was Lacking A Villain. I Gave Them One’: Qs With Threatin

– Threatin
Came up with an elaborate scheme to become famous

Jered Eames, better known by his stage name Threatin, made headlines late last year when he created a number of fake businesses, as well as a non-existent online following, in order to convince venue operators in the UK that he was embarking on a European tour that would pack every venue it visited. 

He naturally ended up playing to mostly empty rooms, which turned out to bring him more publicity than he could have expected from any sold-out tour. Pollstar asked Threatin all about his elaborate stunt.
What sparked the idea to fake a career?
It was a carefully planned publicity stunt. The idea was not to fake a career. The idea was to manufacture a controversy to capture the public’s attention. Threatin is a character I created and perform as. The music is real. But, the concept was to manufacture the destruction of this character. In doing so, Threatin would become an infamous persona.
The music industry was lacking a villain character. So, I gave them one. In the politically correct culture we currently live in; it seems new artists are afraid to be controversial. I have always been willing to do anything for my art. Now, the world is talking about it.
What were your next steps? Can you take us through the preparation, planning and execution of the plan?
To begin, I created an online empire of businesses; a booking agency, publicist, record label, and multiple news publications. I created websites for each of these businesses, designed their logos, and wrote backstories for each of them.
I then used these entities to build a backstory for Threatin and began booking an international tour. This required planning out the tour route, contacting venues, putting together a technical rider, and booking vehicle rentals, backline gear, hotels, and flights.
Then, I began to compile an email list of news outlets, music bloggers, and media contacts. I collected between two and three thousand email contacts. The idea was to arrive and perform in empty rooms while simultaneously sending out news tips to the media exposing the backstory and how the tour had been booked. The concept was to create a controversy. Controversy is what gets media coverage. Thus, putting myself and my music in the spotlight. 
What was the hardest part to fake?
Nothing like this had ever been pulled off before. The entire process was a complex endeavor. I was meticulous in the planning process, so everything went as expected. 
Who acted as your booker? What went through your head while on the phone when selling an act that didn’t exist?
I acted as the booking agent using one of the businesses I fabricated called StageRight Bookings. The music of Threatin exists. I used the music videos for “Living is Dying” and “Identity” to sell the act. When I would speak on the phone you could say I was an actor playing a role. When I was booking the shows, I was not Threatin, I was a representative of StageRight Bookings. 
Why did you want to pull this off? And did you achieve the intended result?
In the music business, it is not enough to simply be a great songwriter anymore. You must capture the public’s imagination. So, that’s what I did. 
The music industry is lost and shelled off to new artists and new ways of thinking. I set out to do something thought-provoking that could propel my career. You could call it a publicity stunt, performance art, or just effective marketing.
I manufactured a controversy, provided the media a villain character to target, and exemplified how easy it is to become a media sensation overnight.
You did know that no-one would show up to the gigs, didn’t you? Or were you hoping deep down that the fake followers would generate sufficient buzz to fill the venues after all?
The intention was always to perform to empty rooms. This was a necessary part of the publicity stunt. It was part of creating the controversy. 
If I had merely promoted the shows in advance with the intent of selling out every venue; the maximum exposure would have only reached in the thousands. Using this method, it reached millions.
Why did the tour end prematurely?
The timing of the session members leaving was the cause of the cancelation. My intent was to perform acoustically without them. But, it off-set the timing of the tour route. 
When you return on tour, will any of your band members that were part of the hoax be on board, or have you lost them over this? 
Threatin is a solo artist, not a band. The session live members were hired solely for the purposes of this tour. There was never any intention of them touring in the future.  

Playing to an empty room
Lewis Barlow / The Rebellion
– Playing to an empty room
Scene from Threatin’s Nov. 7 gig at The Rebellion in Manchester, England

Are you pursuing a real live career now?
Threatin is real, the music is real, and I will continue to perform live. The publicity stunt served as a springboard to put my music career in the spotlight. Now, the world knows the name Threatin and my album “Breaking the World” is selling in massive quantities. I have had many offers to perform again. Everything from full tours to major festival appearances.   
What are your plans going forward?
My next album is already written. I will enter the studio this year and will begin touring again in the fall. The first tour date has already been announced for the 1st of November in London at the Underworld – on one year to the day, this performance will take place at the venue where it all began.  
Additionally, I have had offers for everything imaginable in the entertainment business; major motion pictures, reality TV shows, documentaries, book deals, music collaborations.
Right now, it is about managing my time effectively, sorting out the best opportunities, and determining who I want to work with on these ventures. I can promise you this; you will continue to see Threatin on screens across the world.
Are you going to work with an actual promoter and agent for the real tour?
Yes, this will be announced at a later date.