Q’s With Hometown Talent Agency Founder Guillaume Brevers: ‘You Don’t Need To Lean On A Big Organization’
Pollstar interviewed Guillaume Brevers, who recently launched a new booking agency called Hometown Talent Agency. Brevers has been running his own agency from 2011 until 2018 and worked for London-based ATC Live in the past year and half.
We asked him about going independent in an age of business consolidation and an unprecedented government-enforced lockdown that has hit this industry hard.
Pollstar: What made you want to go independent?
Guillaume Brevers: I’ve actually been running my own agency for multiple years, before joining ATC Live back in 2018. I started booking bands internationally when I was 17, learning absolutely everything on my own from A to Z. I enjoyed it a lot so I just kept booking my favourite artists over Europe, but also Asia and Australia while starting my university master at the same time.
I still believe this was the best way to learn my work as an agent, as I got to learn from my mistakes in the early days and gained a lot of experience.
I’ve also always had a very independent spirit and I wanted to propose something that is very unique and different for the artists I represent, without depending on anyone else’s decisions. Something that would represent who I am and my values. Why making things complicated when they can be so easy and go straight to the point.
It’s quite the move in a day and age that is characterized by unprecedented business consolidation. I’m assuming you don’t see a problem there? In other words: how do you succeed independently?
Exactly, I see this business consolidation not as a threat, but as an opportunity. Indeed, that allows me to differentiate my agency from the others and to propose something that is unique and different.
Being independent also makes it easier to adapt and bounce back faster when changes happen. I have in my roster artists who have been working with me since day one.
As an agent, if you’re ready to work hard, if you believe in what you do and have that sensibility that will help discovering the artists of tomorrow, then you’ll put all the chances on your side to be successful. We also do a job that requests a lot of emailing and phone calls and that can be done from anywhere. We’re not performing brain surgery. If you’re good as an agent, you don’t need to lean on a big organization.
Of course, a bigger and better roster will help convince managements to join, but that is no guarantee that the agent or agency will fulfil the artists expectations.
At the end of the day, it’s important to have an agent who understands, feels the project and has a strong vision of what he’ll be able to bring to the table, so he can help the artist to reach its objectives whatever they are. An agent is here to create opportunities for the artists he represents and put all his focus on them.
I’m sure you were ready to hit the ground running when this crisis hit. What’s your stance at the moment, and how are you preparing for life after this virus?
I had to move over 150 shows in the past couple of weeks. First I moved all these to the fall, but decided, in consultation with the artists and their managements, to move a big part of these shows to Q1 and Q2 of 2021. I’m also busy discussing with festivals the best way to move forward for the summer 2021 as I had many acts who were supposed to perform this summer.
But this is a process that takes time. We need to remain patient and leave everyone that is being badly impacted by this crisis the time they need to get back on track. We need to respect that.
Since a couple of days, now that most of the shows got rescheduled, I personally have some more free time to focus on and listen to new music. It’s also a good way to remain proactive, so when things hopefully get back to “normal,” the agents will be effective immediately and ready to provide to their clients the service they deserve.
In an industry where everything moves super fast, I also take advantage of this free time to think about new ways to reinvent myself as an agent, think about how this industry could evolve in adequacy with the challenges we’re facing in today’s society.
What will be the most important factors to build this business back up in the coming months?
Without people attending the shows, the live industry is nothing. So if people are allowed to attend concerts of their favorite artists again, the top priority will be to make sure that each venue can guarantee their safety. No one can tell how long it’ll take though, as we’re dependent on so many factors linked to the virus. Most of these factors keep changing everyday.
As an agent, it will be crucial to take into account the financial and organizational status of the artists, promoters, etc. on a case by case basis and then establish a plan and strategy that speaks to everyone involved. It will surely be necessary to show understanding and compromise.
When I launched my agency, I also decided to invest myself more and more in green touring and try to inform the artists I represent and my collaborators on this issue. I am aware that this is not an easy task, but we must not neglect the issues linked to global warming, especially since I think that the situation we are in today is intimately linked to it.
Any artists/projects you’d like to highlight?
Princess Nokia is also doing very well, with a magnificent double album release Everything is Beautiful/Everything Sucks. Aside of being a multi-talented artist, she has a beautiful personality and is so inspirational. I’m very much looking forward to see her perform her new material at the European festivals next year.
Pi’erre Bourne is also doing very well, with a recent run of sold out European dates and a new project due to be released in the coming months. Pi’erre is the definition of a visionary artist and I’m happy to be part of his team and help him reach his live touring goals.
I also recently signed Norwegian artists Red Moon and Hedda Mae, who are both outstanding artists. Their future is bright.