Media Match: Interview

FEATURED: Darren Haynes, Marketing Director

In our continuing FEATURED series, we talk to some of our subscribers about their career in music, how they got their break, what projects they’re working on now and what advice they would give to those looking to make steps forward.

This week we’re featuring Darren Haynes, an experienced digital and traditional marketing and communications expert with over 10 years experience in the music industry.

1) What inspired you to want to work in the music industry?

I loved music from a very early age. Music was always played in our house. Top of the Pops was an appointment for weekly TV viewing. Listening to the Top 40 on BBC Radio 1, while simultaneously pressing play and record, was the norm. My Mum would listen to local radio or she’d enjoy her cassette tapes of love songs from the 50s and 60s. She was a big fan of the Everly Brothers and Elvis.

By my teenage years, music became my everything and my escape. My best mate and I would go to gigs in small smoky venues; we’d scour record stores to find rarities or limited edition releases and build our collections; we’d devour music magazines (everything from Smash Hits, NME and Melody Maker to Mojo and Q) and we’d study the lyrics and sleeve notes to find out who was involved in making these musical masterpieces.

My drive to work in the music industry was, I suppose, a combination of all of these factors and the fact that music simply touched my soul.

2) How did you go about getting your foot in the door?

I just kept knocking on the door. I knocked on the door by photographing gigs in Portsmouth during my uni days; I knocked on doors in Hamburg, Germany offering my services as an intern during my gap year; I sent multiple CVs and kept the Post Office in business long before email became the modus operandi for job applications.

While working as an event marketing manager at the Business Design Centre, I was in the right place at the right time and became part of the team to launch London Music Week. As a result of this event and merciless networking, I got to meet all the big boys of the erstwhile music industry and my career path took me to the Official Charts Company, PRS for Music, AIR Studios, Strongroom Studios, BASCA and beyond.

3) What album and artist(s) had the most impact on you?

I don’t remember the first album that I ever bought, but the first album I stole was ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac. I spent many years assuaging my guilt by buying multiple versions and formats of the same album from the same retail chain. No wonder it’s one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.

Consequently, Stevie Nicks (one of the three main songwriters in the band) became my idol, alongside Kate Bush and Elvis.

4) Career highlight so far?

I’ve been fortunate to have worked in or around music my entire career and it has rewarded me with plenty of stories – some of them I can clearly recall and some are a little hazy; perhaps even embellished.

Outside of professional achievements, the highlight of my career has been to work with the amazingly creative people who have made music for us mere mortals to enjoy – and I don’t just mean the famous musicians or performers but also songwriters, studio engineers and the other unsung heroes working behind the scenes.

5) Best bit of advice for those looking to break into the industry and what to expect?

My three pieces of sage wisdom are:

(1) be nice to people on the way up because people can be shits when you’re on your way down; (2) don’t take yourself too seriously or believe your own bullshit; (3) enjoy yourself while it lasts because it can be over all too quickly and you may find yourself having to retrain as a psychotherapist.

6) What projects are you working on at the moment?

At the moment, I’m working on a project called Hey Music. It’s essentially a global platform that helps artists to take control of their creativity. It comprises almost 60 components, apps and widgets, a few of which have already received a soft launch.

Hey Ants is a file transfer service that makes light work of sending large files between collaborators; the files could be anything from PDFs, to photos, videos and music stems.

Hey Mag is a free-to-read digital magazine that features music industry news and articles.

Next on the agenda is a media player which will act as a handy promo tool for artists and their managers, followed by ioS and Android apps called Hey Merch and Hey Ticketing. No prizes for guessing what they’ll do!