Can I Speak With Your Manager: Adam Elarnaouty (SLVYVLL)
The first edition of ‘Can I Speak With Your Manager’ is a special one. PureTone caught up with Adam Elarnaouty of the Slvyvll team to discuss his role within the company, along with a few other topics that offer some insight for up-and-coming artists and managers. Slvyvll has become the face of dubstep and works with some of the biggest names in the electronic scene. Their success comes from the dedication of team members like Adam, who is not only motivated to better himself but his artists’ careers as well.
From the outside, it looks like being an artist manager is all fun, but there is an enormous amount of responsibility and work that goes into being at the top of the festival circuit, planning tours, and doing one-off shows. Let’s get into it.
1) For anyone who is unfamiliar, introduce yourself and tell everyone what you do.
Hey! My name is Adam Elarnaouty, I’m an artist manager over at SLVYVLL. I manage Yakz and Somnium Sound, and I’m also the day-to-day manager for SVDDEN DEATH, AFK, Ray Volpe, and Spock.
2) As a crucial part of the Slvyvll team, what does a typical day look like for you? Are you at the office, networking, or traveling with your artists?
The ‘typical’ day is sitting in the office on the phone or sending emails, planning for releases, advancing shows, scheduling out travel, while also helping create visual content for the team on the side.
I do the occasional networking appearance, but if I’m going out it’s usually to support a friend, fellow artist we work closely with, or just to catch up. Usually plenty of people I have yet to meet at most of these which is convenient. As far as traveling with our artists, I go when I can, supporting major shows or if I just feel like getting out of town for a bit. But 90% of the time I’m at my desk in the office Monday thru Friday.
3) In an industry where your job requires 24/7 attention, how do you manage your work-life balance?
The most honest answer would be “what life?” haha. I’ve never really thought about it much to be honest. I think in any line of work you feel proud of, or strongly feel you belong in, it sort of becomes part of your life to the point where it’s second nature to always be working in some capacity. If I go too long without focusing on my artists or planning for the future, I get anxious and slightly stir-crazy.
Before I picked up my own artists and was just a day-to-day manager I used to create work for myself that may or may not have been necessary, which isn’t a bad thing by any means and I’m sure the team appreciated it, I just needed to be moving forward constantly or I felt like I was falling way behind. It has its merits, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a stress that can eat away at you if left unchecked for sure.
4) What advice do you give to up-and-coming artists / producers / DJs who want to make music their career?
I would say the cliche “networking is key” line holds true here, but it has to be executed correctly. It’s no secret that who you know is just as important as quality of music a lot of the time, even if most of us don’t want it to be true. So connecting with other artists and others in the music industry early on is crucial to getting your music heard, as well as opening doors to new opportunities that might not have been available otherwise. However, this doesn’t mean going out to every show or industry social gathering, and it definitely doesn’t mean you need backstage to shows. This is almost never the case, nor is it even a good place to talk business with people you just met. Nobody that has been on the phone or sending emails about music, etc. for the last 10-12 hours wants to keep doing so with somebody they don’t know. There’s always exceptions to every rule, I myself have done exactly this plenty of times, but it’s good to keep this in mind.
Just keep working on music, and put it out for people to hear. Submit your music to channels, artist promo emails, and other online outlets to help get your name out. Just be sure not to spam anyone, easiest way to never get your music heard. Don’t get down on yourself when your music is denied or passed on, or even if you don’t get an answer. Just keep at it. Work ethic speaks for itself, and people will take notice.
5) Was there a defining moment that made you realize that you want to be in the music industry full-time or has it always been a goal? How did you get into management?
I don’t think there was a time when I didn’t want to be in music one way or another. My dad taught me how to play the guitar when I was very young, bought me a drum set for my 9th birthday, continued upgrading my amps, guitars, keyboards, etc. throughout my entire childhood. He was a huge musical influence for me, pushing me to chase my dreams rather than find a stable 9-5. I was in emo bands in highschool, I DJ’d nightclubs as soon as I turned 18, took every opportunity that I could find to gain as much knowledge in different capacities.
I sort of fell into management to be honest. I had gone to school for audio engineering and music business for a while and eventually dropped out due to travel for tours and out of state plays as a DJ. My main focus was my solo producer project that was very much in its infancy, but I desperately wanted a job in the industry to supplement income while living with my parents, and I was tired of dead-end day jobs robbing me of creativity. My friend from Dallas, Klint Johnson, had recently picked up AFK and was starting his own management company, so I did anything I could to help out until I proved useful to the team. From there our team grew until we joined up with SLVYVLL, and things started moving much faster. Very grateful to have the chance to work with this team, Steven Pahel and Christina Boemio have helped me a lot over the years.
6) If someone were to come to see your artists perform live, what should they expect to see?
I like to think you get something different out of every artists’ live shows, and even something different from set to set. But whoever you decide to go see from our roster, you’re definitely in for a good time. From crazy mosh pits to happy feel-good music.
7) Who was the first artist you ever managed? Was it a Slvyvll artist or were you a manager before you joined their team? How did you get involved with Slvyvll?
Technically it would be Yakz and Somnium Sound as I picked them up on the same day. But I was involved with AFK, Ray Volpe, and Bare Noize as a management team with Klint before we joined SLVYVLL and was moved to a more official position as day-to-day.
Joining SLVYVLL was kind of a snowball effect going back to the networking and “who you know” thing I covered earlier. Klint was the tour manager for Getter around the same time I joined up with him on AFK. As Getter was on the SLVYVLL roster, his manager and owner of the company took notice and eventually talks started from casual conversation to serious formal inquiries. For me I can sum it up to just being in the right place at the right time.
8) Would you recommend newer artists try to submit to labels or remain indie?
There’s honestly no right answer here. Certain labels today do a great job of spotlighting talented but unknown artists and can help build an audience for their music. However, since we are very much inside the age of social media it has become a lot easier for artists to operate without labels, and if you already have the audience it might not be necessary, or smart, to give up half or more of your royalties for the same fan base to hear your music. Do your research and ask questions.
Listen: Somnium Sound – Waver
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9) If you don’t mind, can you share one of the lower times in your career when you felt like you wanted to give up? How did you pull yourself out of it and remain focused on your goals and passions?
Giving up was never an option. That’s not to say there weren’t low times, I’ve experienced plenty of those. I’ve also made many mistakes along the way, probably more than most. I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment to comment on, but there have been plenty of times where I felt like I was stagnating. Going back to your question on my work/life balance, I didn’t feel I was progressing fast enough, or at times, at all. These were very tough moments where I questioned pretty much everything in my life, and even though I never wanted to give up, I wasn’t sure of myself or what I was doing. Looking back it’s hard to understand for myself what kept me going. I guess for every step you take forward, the rush of excitement you get completely makes up for the 2 steps back you just took. There’s still a long journey ahead for me and I’m just getting started, so these are things I’m still thinking about daily.
10) Would you like to shout out any promising up-and-coming creatives that you think have the potential and work ethic to make it in the music industry? (Producers, DJs, designers, managers, photographers, etc.)
There are too many amazing people doing what they love, and doing it well, to really list here. And I’m hard-pressed to pick favorites here to be honest. I’m very supportive of so many people from so many teams, if they’re reading this I’m sure they know who they are. <3 haha
11) What does the rest of 2018 look like for you and Slvyvll? What are your plans and goals for 2019?
I can’t give away any specific plans for what we have in store for my team, or for SLVYVLL. But there’s sure to be plenty of announcements and cool things for 2018-2019 to look forward to. Stay tuned I guess. 😉
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