‘My Business Is Based On Collaboration’: Q’s With Brian Reynolds, Founder Of 432 Presents

Doune The Rabbit Hole
432 Presents
– Doune The Rabbit Hole
A family friendly and independent music & arts festival located amidst the glorious ancient oak trees of the Cardross Estate in Port of Menteith, Scotland. 432 books the lineup.

A new promoter just opened in the UK: 432 Presents, operating out of Glasgow, Scotland. Pollstar caught up with company founder Brian Reynolds to talk about his career, and what it means to go independent as a promoter in 2019.
It was Anthrax at the Barrowland Ballroom on Nov. 7, 1993, that got Reynolds hooked on live music. He was 13 at the time, and in the years that followed,  playing guitar in various bands led  him to focus on supporting and managing the more talented musicians surrounding him.
He started out with bands such as Lapsus Linguae, Torqmada and Julia Thirteen, and went on to promoting DIY shows and club nights with the likes of Oxes, Max Tundra, Monsoon Bassoon, Ex Girl, The Oedipus and more.
He then started doing posters for the now extinct Barfly in Glasgow and was made booker after a few days on the job. “I think I booked five gigs on my first day, just local bands. About four months later I became the venues main booker and became regional booking manager two or three years later,” he remembers.
Brian Reynolds
– Brian Reynolds
His uplifting spirit could be felt even over the phone

Reynolds was working with artists like Maximo ParkArctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Snow Patrol, Travis, Biffy Clyro, Soulwax, 2manydjs while developing club brands and increasing attendances dramatically across the board  so when he was made redundant a few years later, he was “really upset, because I felt I had been kicking ass.’

He took a job the The Arches, Glasgow’s biggest nightclub at the time, where he remained for four and a half years. “There I developed some really strong production skills and worked with some iconic artists and some wonderful people in a crazy multi arts veue,  but I was getting too old for clubbing culture, and I just didn’t want to be awake at 3 a.m., looking at David Guetta on a Thursday morning,” he recalls. 
It was then that Reynolds contemplated becoming a promoter, although he was a bit scared: “I didn’t think there was space for me. And because I had been working in venues for so long, I thought the logical step for me to make was to start a venue’
He quit his job at The Arches, based on a handshake deal with a landlord, who promised him a building to open a venue in, but screwed him over. “I was plunged into crisis. All of my money had gone to honor the contracts of the bookings I had already made. 
“So, I woke up one day, I had no venue and virtually no cash, and had to start at the very beginning and book very conservatively,” Reynolds explained.
He joined Synergy Concerts in 2012, the concert, club, and event promoter founded by Grainne Braithwaite-Vedamanikam. “Grainne was promoting some super-cool shows. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Shellac, Silver Mt Zion, Joanna Newsom, you know. Really cool stuff. That was a very good foundation for me to begin from,” he said.
Over the years, Reynolds booked Mac DeMarco, Angel Olsen, Flying Lotus, Sparks, Nils Frahm, and more. Even while working under the Synergy Concerts banner, he was operating like an independent business, hiring and directing his own team, and launching his own projects, such as The Hug and Pint, a vegan bar, eatery & music venue, or the National Whisky Festival, and recently acquiring the Blue Arrow Jazz Club.
“Grainne and I wanted to work together, but we couldn’t make an agreement on how we would split the business. Neither of us really wanted to go 50/50, so we basically just ran two different operations under the name of Synergy Concerts,” Reynolds said.
Now, after six years, Braithwaite-Vedamanikam and Reynolds decided to part amicably and realize their own respective vision. For Reynolds that vision is 432 Presents, and he brought his entire team with him.
It includes Joe Rattray, senior booker, and “ one of the best bass players in Scotland,” according to Reynolds. Colin Campbell is in charge of venues, operations, bars, catering and special projects, Simon Ward from the Glaswegian band Errors heads up marketing. Samatha Lindsay (head of production), Alex Sharples (booker at The Blue Arrow Jazz Club), Stacey Walton (coordinator of the National Whisky Festival), Ryan Drever (press officer and local artist bookings), Reynold’s PA Vanessa Linden, David Weaver (ticketing and marketing) and Chris McGarry (venue production/special projects) complete the core team.
432 Presents retains ownership of The Hug and Pint, as well as the Blue Arrow Jazz Club, and will continue to promote The National Whisky Festival Of Scotland, now in its third year.
“My focus is always to invest in quality, and whenever I think to myself, ‘okay, I don’t like this band so much, but maybe I can make some money’, that’s when I lose the most money,” he explained, adding that he still gets a huge buzz from that first show, when it becomes apparent that a band is going to go on to do great things. 
“Sometimes you just know it’s going to happen. Look at an act like Mitski at the moment. When she came through The Hug and Pint for the first time we though, ‘she is going to be a superstar’,” he said.
The Hug and Pint
432 Presents
– The Hug and Pint
A vegan bar, eatery & music venue in Glasgow’s west end, owned and operated by 432.

When it comes to his philosophy, Reynolds takes inspiration from Patti Smith. “Her mantra was always to take responsibility for your own actions. She talks about that a lot in her books,” he said, adding that it was what he loved most about running an independent business: knowing that he was responsible for the outcome.
“The focus for me is the sustainability of the organization, the happiness of my workforce and the artists we work with,” he explained. And while a lot of the secret to running a successful independent promotion business in 2019 has to do with cutting costs effectively, he doesn’t try to save money on everything.
In December, for instance, 17 staff, flew to Tenerife, Spain, just as the 2018 concert season was pretty much over. “We hired a massive house, and just had a big party. I think it makes us stronger, because it develops the culture.”
For the rest of this month the team at 432 is kept busy promoting dozens of shows for the program of Glasgow’s annual winter festival Celtic Connections. Later in the year, it will resume booking for popular Scottish summer festival ​Doune The Rabbit Hole, will put together a packed programme during Edinburgh’s festival,  as well as The Spree Festival ​in Paisley.
When questioned whether Reynolds could see himself launching his own festival in the future he replied: “My business is based on collaboration, I don’t need to own everything. On a personal level, I have everything I need in the world, but yes i’ll probably launch some.”
The Blue Arrow Jazz Club
432 Presents
– The Blue Arrow Jazz Club
A basement Jazz venue in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland, operated by 432.