The internet has become an oversaturated, overflowing pile of mass information. In order for a publication, or anything to stand out nowadays, it’s almost absolutely impossible. For Rockfeedback (RFB) to be able to stand the test of time in this age of technology and flourish, is a gift, a blessing, and an honor. Imagine how it must feel to be one of the first, longest-lasting independent music magazines on the web.
We can’t imagine, but lucky for us, Daniel Monsell can, and he took the time to sit down with Four Over Four, and talk with us a bit about what it’s like going from a magazine, to TV, to a music promoter, and everything in between.
Walk us through the steps of how you created and managed such a powerful media hub.
Well, it’s been quite journey so far. RFB was a music magazine first. It was one of the first online music magazines, and where you’d find some of the earliest interviews online from everyone from The Libertines to the Beastie Boys.
From there, RFB branched out into quite a few things. There was Rockfeedback TV, a music show on Channel 4 and MTV, which then went onto become Lovelive (now a music/brands/TV agency in the UK and US) and Transgressive Records (now a record and publishing label and managing company). Live promoting started quite early on, first as a monthly club night from the magazine (The Basement Club). From there we became a full scale live music promoter.
Everything grew organically but everyone seemed to really dig the monthly club night. It evolved from ‘Let’s do two shows a month’ to ‘I’m just going to put a few more shows on as these guys I love can’t make those dates work’ and finally ‘Oh look we’re doing 200 shows a year, and started 3 festivals and we’re only going to do more’.
What’s been great is that, as things have grown more than ever, we’re working with acts we love. We’re building very long-term relationships with acts and seeing how their careers develop.
RFB was born in 2000, now that RFB is technically a teenager, how did you raise your child to be so successful?
Like any child it has it’s tantrums sometimes. We do really feel like we’re just getting started though. The key for us has been keeping things really organic and never rushing anything. It’s important to work hard and build people’s trust in us as a brand, and build our trust in the people we work with.
The people involved have all focused on different aspects of the things we’ve done here and there, but over the last year or two we’ve all tried to really focus on RFB. It’s been exciting how it’s grown, and it’s very much at the center of all we do.
‘Basement Club’ night was the starting point for many popular acts like Regina Spektor, The Libertines, Bloc Party and many more. What is your process of finding new talent?
There’s nothing like seeing or hearing a new act and being blown away by it. I remember when Toby (Langley, my partner and founder of Rockfeedback.com) at the tender age of 15 came back from a festival in Australia and was raving about the best new act out there called Flume, and how we’ve got to be involved. Cut to last year and he’s an arena act that we promote.
Seeing something first hand and going on to work with, it is always the best. Otherwise, the internet has a wealth of talent out there and the network of labels, agents and managers we’ve worked with now for years always bring us a lot of excitement to our inboxes.
What keeps you motived?
Everything. How each day is a new and different challenge, how we’re taking it the path we want to, working with each person as close friends and our favorite artists, and how each year is bigger and better than the last. If you’re a music fan, being a promoter is one of the best ways to work with a lot of artists, be at shows, and be a fan. Knowing that’s your job is a nice motivation
What is your latest music discovery that you’re excited about?
So many all the time! I’m looking at some new stuff I checked out and talked about today. In terms of London acts, Dream Wife and Obongajar are really cool. Baloji is this great rapper from Belgium who is amazing live. I really like a Kiwi artist called Kane Strang as well.
What has been your favorite show so far?
Two years ago we launched By The Sea Festival in Dreamland, a theme park and an amazing venue in Margate, England. Foals, Hot Chip, Wolf Alice, Super Furry Animals, Bat For Lashes, Wild Beasts and more have all played it. Bringing a whole new event to a newly built venue space (last year we launched the huge Hall By the Sea venue) felt very special. Whilst not easy work, it felt like the start of an event I know I’d return to every year if I was a fan, a weird and wonderful lost weekend by the Sea.