Lisa Lang

Sumit Bothra - Managing Nicely

by Music Tech Fest | MTF Podcast

Sumit Bothra is a music manager. He’s director of ATC Management, a board member of the UK Music Manager’s Forum and the manager of artists like PJ Harvey, Fink, Katie Melua, The Boxer Rebellion and more. 

Sumit’s road to music biz establishment was ‘non-traditional’. From a Hindi a-capella group, studying engineering with a plan to become a robotics expert to simply helping out a musician friend with no audience and taking their career to extraordinary heights, his road was a mix of opportunity, persistence and ingenuity. 





Dubber Hi, I’m Andrew Dubber. I’m the director of Music Tech Fest, and this is the MTF Podcast. We’re going to go old school today, traditional music business. Bands and managers. Records and sync licensing. Live concerts, remember them? And make or break deals with movers and shakers.

Sumit Bothra has two feet firmly in what you might call the establishment, but he’s leaning further forward and seeing more than most in his position. Sumit’s a manager. In fact, he’s got over 20 years as a music manager under his belt. He’s a director of ATC Management, he’s on the board of the UK’s Music Managers Forum, and he’s the manager of Katie Melua, Fink, PJ Harvey, The Boxer Rebellion, Red Rum Club, and Nathan Nicholson. He’s worked for Sony Music UK and Virgin Records America, he’s toured the world with famous artists, and he’s put music in Hollywood films. But he came up the hard way. Or, if not the hard way, at least his own way.

But more than anything, perhaps, Sumit’s a storyteller. There are other people who’ll give you equally good tales of artists struggling and then a twist of fate or some sheer bloody-mindedness kicked open a few doors, but Sumit’s is the one you’ll want to listen to.

I caught up with him for a long-overdue remote whiskey and a chat recently. This is Sumit Bothra. Enjoy.

Dubber Sumit Bothra, thanks so much for joining us for the MTF Podcast today.

Sumit   Absolutely my pleasure, man.

Dubber Should start by saying congratulations. New board member of the Music Managers Forum. That’s quite an honour.

Sumit   Oh, it’s such an honour. What a great bunch of people doing really essential work. And I’m absolutely thrilled to have been asked, and even more thrilled to have been voted onto the board, actually. So thank you, man. Thanks for saying that. It’s a beautiful thing.

Dubber What actually is it?

Sumit   So it is an organisation that represents the interests of artist managers in the UK. Quite a few hundred, of varying shapes and sizes, across a vast variety of genres and a vast variety of experiences, actually. And it provides quite a few functions to that collective of managers.

On the one hand, from an outward-facing point of view, it is a central place where one can interact with the music management community, which, of course, is the gateway to the artist community, for the most part, in the UK. But it’s also a very robust space for education. It is a knowledge base. It is a vast pool of experience. It is a comfort blanket. It is a lobbying group.

Why it’s slightly difficult to answer the question is because it is a living, breathing, evolving community of people. You have to remember that artist managers, and artists, of course, are constantly moving. It’s restless. It’s adaptable. It is the music industry equivalent of an amoeba. And in that sense, artist managers and the artists that we work with and partner with are unique in our industry because we don’t exist in one particular Petri dish. Fascinating place to be, and almost impossible to explain to most civilians.

Dubber Well, what’s really interesting about it for me is it seems like a really collaborative coming together of people who in other contexts might be seen to be in competition with each other. I don’t think there’s an equivalent of the Music Managers Forum in the States, for instance.

Sumit   You know what’s really interesting? About ten years ago when I joined the people that own the company that I work with now as a director, ATC Management, I was really taken aback. It was the first time I walked into an organisation of managers, and I was quite taken aback, truth be told, by how little those managers communicated with each other. It just wasn’t the done thing at all. There was just enough food to go around.

Managers, by their nature, they’re competitive human beings, so the idea to share information and knowledge and experience, even amongst your own, was relatively alien, and that’s only a decade ago. Let alone share information and resource and contacts, etc., with other managers who are competing for the same little inch of space that you’re competing for. Man, forget it. Didn’t happen because it just wasn’t the nature of the beast.

And, look, that’s okay, but I think there came a point where the amount of information becomes so overwhelming that, actually, to not collaborate and share would be at your detriment. And as survivors, you realise very quickly what is to your detriment and what is not. And so I think it starts to happen in stages.

You start communicating with people, firstly, within your own organisation. Then you start having a deeper dialogue within your own little silo within that organisation, and you start to erode historic, hierarchical structures between the manager, the day-to-day, the assistant, the this, the that, the that. And everyone starts to get to a level because knowledge is power and knowledge is everywhere, so to subscribe to this hierarchical principle in your normal working life all of a sudden doesn’t hold water because you require knowledge. And then that morphs again into managers understanding that there is a need to come together as one unit because you’re working within an environment that is evolving legally, financially, commercially, artistically.

And I don’t know why it’s happened in the UK. I don’t know. The UK is a very special place musically, obviously. It’s almost like the centre of the musical universe, in a way. Maybe just because of geography, maybe because of history, I don’t know, but it just is. So it makes sense for the industry in the UK to be leading the charge in that sense.

But now you have the MMF in the UK, which is this massive collection of managers of all shapes and sizes, which not only is sharing that valuable information and working together as one and affecting massive change in the industry on behalf of the artists and, of course, our audiences, but also having this huge impact on future generations of managers and the artists they represent to, I suppose, share with them the value of collaborative process. And, yes, that makes it a very unique space. But I think my own learning, the amount of, I don’t know, RAM that I’ve had to use in my brain over just the last few weeks in this particular environment has grown exponentially as a result. It’s phenomenal.

Dubber You’ve probably had to be fairly adaptable recently.

Sumit   Yeah. I’ve always been adaptable. Always. For as long as I can remember. I never really could fit into a shoebox. You know what I mean? I was never that guy. But I have had to alter my working practices and alter my thinking in as much as doing an awful lot more of it. So, for me, it’s not really about adapting my behaviour, it’s about altering my capacity.

Dubber I’ve got to say, when we first moved to Sweden nearly six years ago, one of the first things we did was to get three kittens. Now, there’s a reason I’m telling you this. Two girls, one boy. Polly, Jean, and Harvey. And so when I say that I’m a fan of PJ Harvey, I want to put that into context. And you are PJ Harvey’s manager, but also some other really cool people. Fink, Katie Melua, Nathan Nicholson, Boxer Rebellion. Now, it makes me think, I don’t know if I would be a good manager. Do you have to be a fan to be a manager? Or does that get in the way of being a manager?

Sumit   That’s such a great question. You have three cats called Polly, Jean, and Harvey. Personally, that’s hilarious and awesome. And I will let her know that, and I’m sure she will get an absolute kick out of it, to be perfectly honest with you. Do you have to be a fan of the artists that you work with to be a great manager to those artists? No, you don’t.

Dubber Does it help?

Sumit   On one hand, it can help, on the other hand, it can hinder. Look, okay, let me explain what I mean. Well, firstly, the first artists I started to work with… So take Fink, for example. Fink and I built Fink’s career, so there was no Fink fan.

Dubber Right, I’m with you.

Sumit   There was no Fink fan. We learnt how to do it together. He learnt to sing songs, I learnt to put him in a room. He learnt to play in front of one or two people, I learnt to do this, he learnt to do that. It was so symbiotic, though, actually, it had nothing to do with fandom. He was just my very, very dear friend who I lived with, and we decided to go down this little journey together and see what would happen.

Of course, I loved hearing him sing, and I loved seeing him play guitar. But more importantly, I loved watching him overcome his fear and be part of that. And then I loved seeing him revel in what that would bring, and feel so proud and privileged to have been a part of that. Like you would with a child, in a way. And, of course, then you become a fan. The word ‘fan’ is a bit of a weird word. You become an admirer of the talents of that person. And you feel, if you are built like I am, duty-bound to enhance and celebrate the talent of that human being.

And, of course, if your relationship is as close as it is with Fin and I, as it is with everyone I work with, quite honestly, whether it’s Polly or Katie or Fin or Nathan, etc., that relationship becomes symbiotic. And so they then start to take just as much pride in your professional development and your talents as you do in theirs. So it’s not like you become fans of each other, you just start to admire and respect each other.

And not only that. When you then start to feel the impact that your work has on the world that you live in, at any level, whether it’s five people in a room, ten people in a room, 10,000 people at a festival stage, or 50,000 people, 100,000 people, and on and on it goes… And then when you get into streaming, you’re talking about tens of millions of people. You realise that “Wow. Well, together we have this power to be able to impact the world.” in a way that, of course, you hope makes it better.

Now, conversely, if I was a superfan of an artist who then came to me and said “I really want you to manage me.”, okay, now… There’s a part of me that in that process would feel like I would need to let go of that type of fandom, admiration, inspiration, whatever, however you want to deem it, because to be in that particular relationship with that human being, I cannot actually do what I’ve been asked to do. I’m rooted in a particular space in their creative being.

And so the manager in me is like “You must evolve. You have to evolve. You need to challenge yourself. You need to challenge your audience. You need to never bore yourself. Don’t repeat yourself. You’ve done that, do something else.”. That’s what keeps the world alive, and we continue to innovate because as artists…

There’s a difference, okay, between being a straight artist and an entertainer. I work with artists who entertain. I don’t work with just straight up entertainers who don’t have a responsibility to innovate as an artist might. If it’s not difficult, it’s not worth it.

So if I were a fan of an artist and I started managing that artist, and that artist was happy for us to be in that place, then, quite honestly, I think I would stifle the progress of that artist because I would continue to want that artist to return to what I, as a fan, wanted to hear. “Yeah, but as a fan, I don’t really like what you’re doing now. I liked what you just did, so give me more of what you just did.”, and now, am I actually adding value? I’m not so sure. Could they do that without me? Yeah, of course they could. They have already done it without me, so why the fuck am I here?

Dubber So, to ask the stupid question, what does a manager actually do?

Sumit   You know what? If you wanted a qualified answer to that question and a considered answer to that question, I would suggest you do a part two of this podcast and you interview the artists that I manage and ask them.

Dubber I would be very happy to do that. “What does Sumit actually do?”.

Sumit   It’s like asking a kid “Hey, what does a parent do?”. “They just complicate and ruin my life, that’s what a parent does. But I love them.”.

Dubber The way you did it, starting with somebody who was at point zero and going on that whole journey with them, is that a recommended way to go about becoming a manager? Or did you do it the hard way?

Sumit   There’s no easy or hard. It’s like “Is there an easy or hard way of living life?”. There’s just life. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard. For me, I didn’t set out to be a manager. I didn’t even set out to work in the record business, man.

I went to the University of Pennsylvania. I did a dual degree program. I was a very bright kid. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a robotics engineer. I wanted to go to MIT or Carnegie Mellon and study and build robots. And so in my teens, I would break things to understand how shit worked. That’s what I loved. That and writing and use of words. I always loved those things. And both my parents are doctors, which I knew I didn’t want to become a doctor because all they did was study all the time, and I was like “Dude, that sucks.”.

Dubber And almost no robots at all.

Sumit   And almost no robots. They were very analogue, my parents. My mom, consultant psychiatrist, my dad, neurosurgeon. They are old school practitioners of the trade. So, anyway, that definitely wasn’t for me. Not that it was out of bounds for me intellectually, just spiritually wasn’t for me.

So I ended up going to the University of Pennsylvania, and I got into the Wharton business school. I studied finance and strategic management and entrepreneurial management. I also did another degree on the side at the school of engineering, which was in strategic engineering and… Systems engineering, sorry, and logic and math. I was throwing a lot of parties, and I ended up working in the record business totally randomly. But I always loved music.

And the funny thing is, I didn’t realise until recently when I went back to India… I was in India for a wedding last November, and I saw a cousin of mine, and I hadn’t seen her in years. I think the last time I saw her she was six years old. A little kid. Six, seven, eight, whatever. And then this time I saw her, and, of course, she’s a grown-up.

Met her, and we were having this conversation and she was like “Oh my god. Dude. It’s so amazing to see you.”, blah, blah, blah, and I was like “Yeah, dude.”. She’s like “You’re working in music.”, I’m like “Yeah.”. And she goes “When I first met you, all you did was play me cassette tapes of music I’d never heard.”, and I’m like “Really?”. “Yeah. You played me Tracy Chapman. You played me…”. Dude, the cast of characters was hilarious because I don’t remember this stuff at all. I was like “Who did I play you?”, she was like “You played me Tracy Chapman, Richard Marx, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, Boyz II Men.”. This random mix of people. And I’m like “No way.”. She goes “Yeah, you were just music, music, music.”. So I suppose on some level it was always in me. And then when I started working in the record business and then I started managing, I fell into it.

And the thing in management, as with a lot of careers in entertainment, no one tells you… Okay, management may be separate to working in the record business where you have titles. So you started in the mailroom, you become an A&R scout or you become a publicist, then you’re a guy in promotions, then you’re director of promotions, then you’re head of the label. You have titles that tell you that you’re qualified to do that job. You don’t get a fucking degree in being the MD of Sony Music. You just get told “You’re now the MD.”, and you’re like “Okay, that’s my degree. That’s my title.”. In management, there’s no such thing.

So you get to this point, and I remember very specifically when it happened to me, where at some point in your little evolution trying to figure this out while you’re just hustling and you’re just enjoying what you’re doing, and you’re able to make enough money to keep the lights on and you can see that you’re impacting the world around you in some weird way, at some point you realise that you are a bona fide professional. And at that point, to go back to your question “Did you have the easy way or the hard way?”, the point that you realise you are a bona fide professional manager, it becomes absolutely irrelevant how you got there. All that matters is that you got there.

And then you meet other bona fide managers because now you’re a bona fide manager. Like “Oh, yeah. I’m a bona fide manager. I’ve got a little roster, I’ve got this, I’ve got that, I’m meeting other managers.”. And particularly when you meet real managers, real serious cats who’ve… They reel out who they look after and you’re like “Oh my god. These guys are the cats.”. Then, honestly, it doesn’t matter. You’re just blessed. You’re just blessed to be called a manager. A legit artist manager. And that’s just what you do, and you just happen to be really good at it. And you just hope that you continue to be really good at it, man.

Dubber Part of that would be “Who trusts you to be their manager?” must play a big role in that.

Sumit   Yeah, of course. Dude, look, in this game, trust and honour, actually, and dependability are so crucial. You can be a manager who might not be the most entrepreneurial spark in the box, but you’re dependable. You get a job done. Your spreadsheets are correct. Shit checks out. You know what I mean? You work above board. Your deals are good, solid. You’re a team player. Bread and butter kind of reliable cat. You can be just as brilliant a manager being that guy as you can be being that trailblazing, crazy, off the wall, entrepreneurial, “I don’t know how Microsoft Excel works, but I’ll make it rain.”, that kind of cat. And both can coexist in exactly the same space and both will respect the endeavour of each other, and that’s… It’s utterly unique.

And in the world of music management, artist management, honestly, man, it’s nothing like… When someone says to me “Oh, what do you do? Is it like a film agent or like a theatre agent or like a casting director or like a literary agent?”, not at all. They have an agent-client relationship, and that’s just the nature of the beast. And one does a job for the other. But as an artist manager, I have not once seen that rule apply in my field of work because you are so symbiotically connected to the person that you work with and alongside that you tend to know more about their lives sometimes than even they do. I can’t point to another profession like it. I really can’t.

Dubber It’s interesting because all of the best stories about music managers, and so the public perception of music managers, is that not all music managers are this trustworthy, dependable kind of character that you’re talking about. Is that common? Is it a thing of the past? Because you hear stories about artists just being absolutely ripped off, and it’s the managers that are the main characters in those stories.

Sumit   Look, sensationalism, it’s everywhere. Every nook and cranny of everything. So I could say to you “All right.”… And I have this argument with other people who think that all artists are drug addicts and alcoholics. And that’s why if you say that you work in music and you try and take an insurance policy out, you know what? You’re going to get charged four times more than everyone else.

Dubber And they’re not?

Sumit   In my experience. In fact, every artist I work with is teetotal, to be honest. Almost completely teetotal. Bar one, who I occasionally have a beer with. Absolutely not a drug addict, and extremely serious and professional about their work.

“Record labels. Well, record labels, they rip off their artists. They’re the devil. Universal, Warner, Sony, the major labels. That’s all we hear about, is how much they’ve just ripped off all of their artists forever.”. Not true, man. It’s not true. Yeah, okay, there’ve been some pretty poor deals that have happened in the past. That shit needs to be fixed, 100 percent. But the stories that rise to the top are the ones that are sensational, the ones that are fantastical, the ones that are like “Oh my god, did you hear this? Did you hear that?”.

Dubber And you doing your job well is not something that somebody would make a movie about, whereas somebody doing their job particularly badly and ripping off artists, there’s a plot there.

Sumit   Well, only if they’re maybe successful. One of the things I was told very early on, by one of my clients, actually, was “Look, man. Management, you know what? It’s a thankless task.”. Fink. He’s going to hate me for saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway. He’s my best mate, okay? One of my best mates. But he’s my best mate. He was my roommate when I moved to London. We roomed together. Didn’t really know each other. I was a totally alien kind of guy to him. Just come out of university in America. He’s born and bred in Cornwall, grew up in Bristol. Super cool guy, DJ on Ninja Tune, blah, blah, blah. And I’d popped out of a fraternity in Philadelphia, and very smart guy, and bounced into England, and all of a sudden I’m living with this guy, okay? Who I still manage to this day, 15 plus… Almost 20 years later. And we became friends, and we’re very, very different types of human being. I must have literally been an alien to him.

We put out a record, we sign to Ninja, da, da, da. And we get to this one record, and he writes a song, and he delivers a song in this big collection of songs that he’s like “Okay. These are the songs for the album. And, hey, have a listen to them before we send them to the label or etc. Before we master everything.”. And I listened to everything, and I called him up, and he’s like “Okay. So what’s going on the album?”. That was the conversation.

So he rolls through his list of tracks, and he’s missing this one song which I thought was the song on the record. It’s this track called ‘Looking Too Closely’. He’s like “Give me your list.”, and I’m like “Okay, here’s my list. It’s not too dissimilar to yours, but I’ve also added ‘Looking Too Closely’, and I’ve taken off this other track from your list. But that song has to be on this record.”. “No, no, no. No way, man.”. I’m like “What do you mean ‘no way’? It’s fucking fantastic. What are you talking about?”. “No, no, no. It’s not going on the record, man. It’s too commercial. It’s too this, it’s too that. Not happy with it.”, blah, blah, blah.

Dude, this became the biggest argument I had ever had. With one of my closest friends, a brother to me. And we fought like cats and dogs, and he got really upset with me. Really upset. And I got to the point where I’m like “We have worked so hard to get here, you and I. We have worked so hard for so many years. And we’ve duked it out, we’ve battled it out, and da, da, da. And here we are, and you’ve delivered this song which I think can literally single-handedly change the course of your life and improve the lives of millions of people, and you’re telling me it’s not going on the record? Actually, dude, you know what? Fuck you. I feel so strongly about it that if you don’t put it on the record, I quit. I will still love you, but honestly, I’m out, because this is bullshit.”. And it was a massive fight. I was in the office at the time. I was at ATC. Everyone around’s been looking at me. I’m not the kind of guy to scream down a phone, but I’m screaming at a phone. I was so angry. I was so upset.

Anyway, it was on a record called ‘Hard Believer’, and he just got to a point where he was just like “Dude, you know what, man? Fine. Fuck you. Fine. Put it on the record, but it’s not my first single.”. “I don’t care if it’s not your first single. It could be your second single, whatever, but it’s going on the fucking record.”. Anyway, I got my way, and I really had to impress upon him that this wasn’t just his career, this was our career. We had built this house together, man. It’s the weirdest relationship. It’s more than being married. And he agreed “Okay, we’ll put it on.”.

Dude, we put that record on his album. To this day it’s the biggest track in his entire canon of works, which is full of beautiful songs, amazing songs, world-changing songs. But this one song cut through and changed everything. Changed his career. Elevated every tour we did, every show we did. His fanbase went from x tens of thousands to x hundreds of thousands to x millions of people. One track. Which, yes, he wrote. Yes, he and his boys recorded. And, yes, he was going to fucking kill. You know what I mean? And I don’t take credit, because it takes two to tango. He takes credit for letting me in and agreeing with me to make the decision to let that song come out. Against his better judgement, to be fair, and I totally respect that. But, nevertheless, it did, and it changed everything.

And that’s a micro example, man. A micro example. Back to your point of “Well, the reputation of managers is that they swindle their artists. That, basically, they do more harm than they do good.”. If you choose to sit with me and look for the countless examples of where managers have altered the course of history positively by helping to make the right decision and never taking a single ounce of fucking credit, it will completely obliterate that reputational stereotype. I could wipe the floor with it.

Dubber Here’s something else that you probably don’t get a lot of credit for, but it’s probably worth mentioning, I think. Tell me about Penn Masala.

Sumit   Wow, man. Penn Masala. Yeah, okay. What do you want to know?

Dubber Tell me the story.

Sumit   All right. So Penn Masala is actually an all-male Hindi a cappella group. When I was at the University of Pennsylvania, my freshman year, so this is 1995, I loved singing. I always loved singing, and I’d been in choirs in high school and all that kind of stuff, so I thought it would be great to join an a cappella group.

And in America, a cappella groups are a big deal. It’s like this amazing community of peeps. And some are all-male, some are co-ed, some are all-female, some are suit and tie kind of affairs, some are… You know what I mean? It’s just this whole thing. And at the University of Pennsylvania, there’s a particularly vibrant a cappella community.

And at the time, I think in high school, I decided to learn about R&B and singing, and I just started to have this real… I grew up listening to metal records. That was my thing. I listened to a lot of… Not even metal. Soft metal. Whatever. Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. I don’t know if you’d call that metal or not, but…

Dubber That’s metal.

Sumit   Is it metal?

Dubber That’s totally metal.

Sumit   Okay.

Dubber Of course it is. That’s classic metal.

Sumit   Okay, classic metal. Maybe compared to Lamb of God, not so much. But yes, sure. So I grew up in Saudi Arabia, when I lived in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, at the record shop called Seven Seven Seven. And the only music you could get that was English speaking, ironically in the world music section in Saudi Arabia was the English speaking stuff, and there were four or five cassettes, all pirated, and they were all metal bands. So I just bought Iron Maiden and Ozzy and Sabbath and blah, blah, blah, and so I grew up listening to these records. Loved them.

And as I got older and my voice broke and I started to have a little bit of a voice, and I used to love singing, I started getting into singing and R&B and that kind of vibe. And when I got to the University of Pennsylvania and I started seeing all these a cappella groups… And dude, these cats were the rock stars. They were. They were the coolest cats. They had such skill. I’d see an a cappella performance and it’d just blow my mind. I’m like “God, that’s so dope. These guys are amazing.”. So I auditioned. I’m like “I’m going to audition.”. And I got a sense of who the cool cats were, and there were three or four a cappella groups that were straight up just “These are cool cats.”. So I started to audition for them, and I didn’t get into any of them. Rejected, rejected, rejected. And then I thought “I’m just going to start my own, actually.”.

And as a kid, I’m in an Indian family, I used to sing Hindi songs. At dinner parties, what you used to do, the kids would sing Hindi songs or do stand-up or whatever. And so my sister and I, we used to sing Hindi songs. So I was like “Well, I’m going to set up my own a cappella group, and we’re going to sing Hindi songs. Hindi classics.”. And there was a lot of Indian cats at school, but also it was just unique and interesting. And plus, it meant I could be in an a cappella group, quite frankly.

So I was sitting in my physics class, and the guy sat next to me… I didn’t know anyone, by the way, at this university. I was just a random guy. And I sat next to this Indian guy and said “Hey, do you sing?”. And this guy, his name was Ankur, and he’s like “Yeah, kind of.”. “All right, great. I’m going to make an a cappella group, and we’re going to sing Hindi songs. Can you sing any Hindi songs?”, and he’s like “Yeah. Can you?”. I’m like “I can, actually. I know I don’t sound it, but I can. I can sing Hindi songs. I love Hindi songs.”. “Okay, great.”. I’m like “Do you know any friends that can sing Hindi songs?”. He’s like “Yeah. A couple of the guys that I’ve met, they’re from Delhi and Mumbai or whatever, they can sing.”. And so “Okay, great. Meet me at my dorm.”.

So I got this random crew of brown guys together, and we had our first ever rehearsal in my dorm room. It was awful. And I think I have an audio recording of it somewhere. But the idea was, it’s a bunch of dudes singing Bollywood songs a cappella. No one had ever done this before.

And so we started doing this, and then there was this only other brown guy in another a cappella group called Penn Six, which was the a cappella group. They were like The Fonz of a cappella groups. So I go and meet this guy, Ananda Sen. He was a Bengali guy. Great guy. He’s like “Yeah, I remember you, man. You got rejected.”. “Yes, I did. I got rejected. But I’ve brought this little crew of random Indian guys together. Brown guys, anyway. And we’re going to start singing Hindi songs a cappella, but I don’t know anything about music. I can sing a song, but I don’t know about notes or any of that shit, so I need an MD. But you know all about that stuff. Can you come and meet these guys and maybe help us? Because no one can actually sing, and I really need some help.”. “Yeah, all right. Cool.”.

So he comes over, and he’s a bit of a rock star, and I’m like “Hey, look. I’ve got Ananda Sen here from Penn Six.”, and everyone’s like “Wow, amazing.”. So we train up, and we become an all-singing Hindi a cappella group. It still exists to this day. In fact, now Penn Masala is actually a huge part of the University of Pennsylvania’s cultural fabric. They’ve sung at the White House. They sang in front of Obama. They were in the Pitch Perfect film. This is now a known known. It’s a very famous a cappella group.

So I built this thing, and then quite a difficult thing happened for me in Penn Masala, which is why when you asked me, it’s a bit of a raw… It’s a little bit of an open wound, actually, for me. And, actually, it has also informed a lot of my life, because what ended up happening, a little bit into the process, one of the guys in the a cappella group is like “There’s a guy I know, and he wants to join Penn Masala, so can we bring him into Penn Masala?”. Like “I don’t know. I guess.”. We didn’t have any major rules.

So this guy comes over, and he starts singing. He’s okay. He’s not really a singer, but he’s… “Yeah, okay. He can be in.”. And then he says “I’ve spoken to my friend who lives in my dorm who works for the university newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. She’s a writer. And I’ve spoken to her about doing an article on Penn Masala to put us in the university newspaper.”. And now we’re all like “Dude, that’s fucking amazing. We’re now going to exist. We’re literally going to be in the paper. This is big shit.”. This is pre-internet, so it’s like the newspaper’s everything. He says “Yeah. So, anyway, I’ve had a conversation with her and it’s on. So next Monday/Tuesday, keep your eyes peeled. But we’re going to fucking exist, baby.”. I’m like “Man, that’s so amazing.”.

The newspaper comes out, and I get the newspaper. And I’m so proud at this point. I’m really proud because I’ve brought this random rabble… Fucking random crew together of cats. And I open the paper and it’s front page, because it’s the birth of a new a cappella group at the University of Pennsylvania. Dude, this is a big deal. This doesn’t happen. No one makes a new a cappella group. And it basically says something along the lines of “University of Pennsylvania freshman founds and creates brand new all-male Hindi a cappella group with other founding members Sumit Bothra, this person, that person, da, da, da.”. And I’m like “Dude, what? Are you kidding me?”.

You know what, man? I was actually really upset because I put so much spirit and energy into birthing this thing out of nothing. Literally talking to people in my class and bringing the ingredients together, birthed this brand new thing. And, actually, it was stolen from me in that very moment. It was stolen from me.

So by this point, we’re now doing big Indian mela shows, we’re doing this, we’re going to New Jersey, we’re playing at other people’s colleges. We’re now a known known, okay? A year later. And we became really good. Really good, really interesting. And I was basically the beatboxer and one of the soloists and blah, blah, blah, and it was actually an amazing, beautiful thing to create something out of thin air like that.

And about a year in or so, I tried to get everyone together to rehearse for a show. It was a really big opportunity, and by this point I’m managing Penn Masala. It was a support slot for Apache Indian, who was doing a show in Philadelphia.

Dubber Wow, amazing.

Sumit   Which at the time was like “Oh my god, Apache Indian’s coming to Philadelphia.”. And the promoter of this club called us and said “We’ve got Apache Indian coming from England. This is a really big deal. And we need a support, and you guys are dope, and you’re going to support Apache Indian.”. I’m like “Amazing.”. Okay, super whacky, but “Great, dude. Why not?”.

So I’m like “Guys!” I’m sending this note out to everyone, and we’ve got to get together. We’ve got to rehearse. We’ve got to bring it together.”, and no one gave a shit, and no one shows up for the rehearsal. No one gives a shit. Like “Yeah, yeah, whatever. We’ll be fine.”. So I’m like “You know what? I quit. This apathy, this lack of professionalism, this is total bullshit. And it’s been stolen from me anyway. Whatever, man. I’m out.”.

Now, I’m very proud of it, obviously. I am very proud of it, and I know in my heart of hearts, I know, and all the people that were with me at the beginning know that we created it. We created it together, but, okay, it was my brainchild. I think on Penn Masala’s Wikipedia, it, bizarrely… In Wikipedia, I think I join four years after, which is really hilarious. And I’ve never really fixed the history. I probably should write to the university and fix it and correct it. I probably should. But I have that newspaper article upstairs somewhere. I found it recently when I cleaned out my garage.

What you say is profound by asking me that question. I’m very proud of it, but it has definitely instilled something in me that I have taken with me throughout my professional career, which I not only apply to myself, but I apply to every single human being that enters my professional ecosystem, which is “Credit where credit’s due.”. And every single person that contributes to what we do and the art that we make and the song that we sing and the stage that we put it on, every single person that is part and parcel of that expression of humanity is 100 percent credited and respected for what they bring to the table. And I will never have it any other way. That is their input and that is their legacy, and it needs to be recognised that, historically, it’s that important to me.

And I suppose that whole thing that happened with Penn Masala many, many years later in my life ultimately had a very profound effect with the way I operate as a manager, to not be ashamed to take credit for the work that you do. It’s not about stroking your ego, it’s about recognising your impact on history. And why shouldn’t you?

Dubber Sure. Yeah, of course. Okay, so here’s a story I’m hoping only has positive associations for you. Best film ever, ‘Going the Distance’. Drew Barrymore. Tell me about that.

Sumit   ‘Going the Distance’ was so fascinating. So I’m managing The Boxer Rebellion. Bunch of random cats. Great guys making great music, but essentially lost at sea, these dudes. Lost at sea. They’re signed by Alan McGee. Big deal. Creation Records, all that shit. Everyone can google Alan McGee and look him up. So this band gets signed by Alan McGee. Alan McGee’s new label Poptones implodes, and they all get dropped.

It’s really important to understand, just as a sidebar, the impact that has on the psyche of a human being. You just imagine, you’re 19/20 years old. You play the bass, or you play the drums, or you play guitar, or you sing a song, and you’re that kid in your family. That kid. And that kid, one day, tells everyone in their ecosystem “I’ve just been signed to a record deal in London by the same guy that signed Oasis. And I’m signed to his label Poptones, which is part of Mercury, which is part of Universal, the biggest record company in the world. And me and my little rabble-rousing three other cats in this band are signed to this record…”. Dude, that is a big deal.

And so every birthday you go to, every wedding you go to, every family gathering you go to, every funeral you go to, you are the man. You’re winning for everyone. You’re that guy. So these guys, individually, each of them went through being that guy. And they were that guy for a couple of years, and they made their debut album called ‘Exits’, which an amazing album. Lost classic. And Poptones released the album, and right after releasing the album, the whole label, for whatever reason, imploded. This is before my time looking after them, okay? Implodes, and it’s game over. Now these guys are going back to those weddings, those funerals, those family gatherings, and they’re not that guy anymore. They’re a failed hero. This is a disaster.

So, okay, here’s an interesting story. When I met the guys, I remember asking them “Tell me about some of your highs.”. So they told me about some of their highs. “Tell me about some of your lows.”. So Nathan Nicholson, who I still manage to this day, and The Boxer Rebellion I still manage to this day, says to me “Ugh. You know what one of my lows was? When Adam and I…”, the bass player, “We ended up, after we got dropped, going back to work in OFFICE. In the shoe shop.”, because that’s where they worked before. “All right, cool. So what’s up?”. “I remember getting some shoes for some guy. He wanted some brogues in a size nine. So I went and got the brogues in a size nine, and I’m kneeling down, and I’m fitting these brogues on this guy’s feet. And I’m looking up at him, and I’m like ‘Do these fit okay, sir?’, and the guy’s like ‘Do I know you?’. ‘No, I don’t think you know me. But do these shoes fit okay?’. ‘No, I know you. I recognise your voice. I totally know you. Are you the lead singer of The Boxer Rebellion?’. ‘Yeah. I am, yeah. I am the lead singer of The Boxer Rebellion.’. And his girlfriend’s like [gasp] ‘We just saw you on the weekend at your show at Dingwalls. We’re huge fans.’. ‘Oh, dude. Hey, that’s really cool, man. That’s great. Cool. So how are the shoes?’”.

So Todd, the guitarist, is like “Yeah. I remember walking down Camden after all that shit had happened. And I’m walking down the street in Camden high street, and some guy shouts over the street ‘Hey, weren’t you in The Boxer Rebellion?’. ‘Still am, bro. Still am.’.”. I was like “Fuck me.”. This is real shit, dude. This is what goes down.

So, anyway, we start working together, and I’m like “Forget the dog and pony show bullshit. We’re not going to go talk to A&R people, sign to a label, blah, blah, blah. Whatever, man. You guys are great. Let’s find some fans, let’s put it out guerrilla-style. We’ve got nothing to lose.”. I had nothing to lose at that point. I’d had a total meltdown with an artist that I’d worked with prior, so I had nothing. I was broke. Totally broke, borrowing money off my parents. The guys were just totally… This is a total mess. And we were just like “We’re just going to fight for everything, and we can feel fine about it because the music is awesome.”.

So, anyway, I had spent a lot of time in and out of L.A. with prior clients, meeting music supervisors and stuff. So going back to ‘Going the Distance’. And my friend Erin Scully, who at the time, and actually still is, the head of music for New Line Cinema, calls me one day and says “There’s a script that’s just been green-lit at New Line called ‘Going the Distance’.”. I’m like “Okay, shitty title, but what’s the vibe?”. “Anyway, it’s about this couple, and the guy works in a record company, and he finds a band and blah, blah, blah. But it’s a Drew Barrymore film, and we need a closing credits song. So maybe, I thought, this could be great for The Boxer Rebellion because you were looking for some shit, and maybe you could talk to them about a closing credits song.”. “Dude, Erin, I fucking love you. You’re the best. It’s a Drew Barrymore film. This is going to literally change our lives, no question. Send me a brief, it’s on. In fact, I’m going to get to the studio now, and you’re going to get on a phone call with the guys, one-on-one, mano-a-mano, and tell them what you need, and tomorrow you’re going to have a song in your inbox.”. She’s like “Dude, you are a legend of the game.”. “Sweet, done.”.

So I run over. Meanwhile, by the way, by this point, The Boxer Rebellion are on iTunes front page. They’re the first ever band to get a global Single of the Week. They are a known known, but they’re still totally broke. Anyway, so I run to them, into the rehearsals, going “Guys, guys, guys. My friend Erin’s got this movie. She’s amazing. It’s Drew Barrymore. They need an end credits song. I’ve got to get you on the phone with her. She’s going to tell you what she needs. We’re going to turn it around. It’s going to be dope.”, blah, blah, blah.

So they have a chat with Erin. She’s like “It’s so good to meet you. Here’s the brief, here’s what we need. We’re closing the circle romantically, but we’re not closing the circle romantically. It’s like ‘We’re all in love, but we’re not in love.’. It’s basically a big fat romantical grey area, so can you deliver a song that feels like that?”. They’re like “Yeah, great.”. So they do. So they deliver two songs, and they’re both awesome.

And Erin calls me two days later and says “Dude. I’ve sent this to the director and the music team and the screenwriter and blah, blah, blah, and they’re liking the vibe.”. And I’m like “Hey, Erin, dude. Can you send me the script?”, because I realised at this point, I’ve been so caught up in this whole rigmarole, I have no idea whether this film sucks or not. So now that I know we could potentially get the song, I’m like “Oh, hold on a minute. If the film sucks, I might not actually want to give you the song, so send me the script.”. “Of course.”.

And that night I get the script, and I read the script, and I’m like “Oh, wow, this is… Okay, this is interesting.”. It’s this guy, Justin Long plays the guy in the end, and he works at this record company, and he’s totally debased by the culture of this label because he really champions this band that no one’s ever heard of and no one gives a shit. And he falls in love with this woman, Drew Barrymore, over the sounds of this band that no one hears and blah, blah, blah.

So I’m like “Well, Erin, I have an idea. Rather than this band be this faceless band where he just opens her drawer and there’s some CD and no one knows who the fucking band are, why don’t we make The Boxer Rebellion be the band? And then it’s like art imitating life because this is exactly what’s happening right now in their lives. They’re total outcasts, we’re not signing to anyone, but, yet, people who love music are enamoured by these guys. And it’s a beautiful thing. So when he opens that drawer and you see the CD, rather than it be just some CD-R with no name on it, why don’t we make it The Boxer Rebellion’s ‘Union’ album which we have independently released?”. She was like “Dude, that’s a really interesting idea.”. I’m like “Yeah, because, look, then your whole film is super current. You’re now cool as shit. You’re so on top of your game, you don’t even know how on top of your game you are. But if you open that drawer and it’s not just some CD-R with a sharpie scribbled on it, but it’s The Boxer Rebellion’s ‘Union’ album, dude, honestly, you are cooler than cool.”. So she’s like “Man, I’m going to take this to the team.”.

She calls me a few days later and says “Sumit, can you get on a call with me and the legal team at New Line and the scriptwriters? Because they’ve listened to The Boxers, and Justin Long, who’s playing our lead, turns out he’s a fan of the band because he discovered them on iTunes, so he’s freaking out about this idea. This is amazing.”. “Dude, of course. Get me on a conference call. Let’s do this.”. This was around about the time where I became a bona fide manager, by the way. So I’m like “Oh, absolutely. Let me schedule it with my assistant.”.

So, anyway, I get on this call, and there’s a whole bunch of people on this call. Like “Hey, Sumit. It’s really good to meet you. So we’ve been listening to The Boxer Rebellion, and the ‘Union’ album, it’s a great record, but how do we make this work?”. And I’m like “Look, I have a really clear idea. Basically, your faceless band, we’re going to personalise, we’re going to humanise that band, and we’re going to make them The Boxer Rebellion. So not only are you going to have the CD in the drawer, we’re going to go to a show, we’re going to have them perform. I’ll make them available. They’re very busy guys, but don’t worry, I’ll talk to them. We’ll make it work. I need visas. We’re going to get them on a plane, and we’re going to get them over. We’re going to shoot the thing, and The Boxer Rebellion are going to be in your movie, and I will make that happen for you.”. And they’re like “Holy shit.”. “The next best thing would be Radiohead. It’s that big a deal. Get me on a separate call with the scriptwriters, and let’s find a way to quickly write this band into the script of your movie.”. “Okay, no problem. Done.”.

And I start writing the band into the script of this film. So now when it’s like ‘faceless band’, it’s all replaced by The Boxer Rebellion. So not only do they go to a Boxer Rebellion gig, they talk about The Boxer Rebellion, they buy the album at the merch store in the gig of The Boxer Rebellion, he looks at the website of The Boxer Rebellion. When he’s trying to get back with Drew Barrymore once they’ve split up, he sends her tickets to a show of The Boxer Rebellion because that’s their special band. And then The Boxer Rebellion do the closing show, which is where they re-meet at the end of the film, without giving spoilers away, and then we close the film with the closing credits song called ‘If You Run’.

Dubber Right. That’s a hell of a sync.

Sumit   Dude, it was remarkable. And everything falls into place, and the band get written into and perform in the film ‘Going the Distance’ starring Justin Long, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Drew Barrymore, and Christina Applegate.

Dubber Wow, okay. That’s a story.

Sumit   Unfortunately they changed the ending and made it super shitty, so the film totally flopped.

Dubber Oh no. There had to be one dark cloud in there, didn’t there?

Sumit   Man, it was absolutely remarkable. Dude, you know what? After a point like that, it doesn’t matter what happens next because you’ve had such a fantastical, amazing experience that money just absolutely couldn’t buy, and you can dine off of that story for the rest of time. And you know what? That’s totally fine for a life.

Dubber Sure. All right, one more film. ‘A Dog Called Money’.

Sumit   Seamus Murphy’s film. Well, Seamus is a… Man, he’s an amazing guy. And I wish I knew him better, actually, than I do. But I know him, obviously, through Polly, through PJ Harvey. And she introduced me to Seamus because Seamus had worked very closely with her on the ‘Let England Shake’ album. And that was on the back of her going to an exhibition of his work and meeting him on the back of that exhibition, and then them deciding to work together on ‘Let England Shake’. And Seamus directed all of the music videos for that album.

And subsequently, Seamus and Polly worked very closely together on the creation of ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ album, which was born out of, obviously, all of Polly’s brilliance and journeys that she had taken with Seamus to Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Washington D.C. Seamus had filmed those journeys and filmed the recording of ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’, which in and of itself was a very fascinating thing because, look, before you talk about ‘A Dog Called Money’, let’s talk about some of the elements within ‘A Dog Called Money’. And one element in particular, which is the recording sessions that are filmed in that movie at Somerset House.

We decided to treat the creation of this album like an art exhibition, and people buy tickets to this exhibition as though they were going to the Tate or the Hayward or anywhere else. And you buy a ticket to the exhibition, and you go in, and you experience art. And in doing so, it reminds you of the amount that goes into what you consume, and, therefore, how valuable it is. Coupled with that, the fact that Polly loves to record in interesting spaces. It was not enough to just go into a recording studio and just make a record. It was like the space very much informs the process.

So we started to explore this idea, which ultimately led to us creating, and in particular spearheaded by Flood, to build a recording studio in this wing at Somerset House. One-way glass, with monitors on the outside, where if you’re inside you can’t see what’s happening outside. And people could buy a ticket and come and experience 45 minutes of viewing the creation of the album and leave. And we did four sessions a day, just like an art exhibition. It was an art exhibition. It was a living, breathing art exhibition. That was an experience that Seamus Murphy captured, alongside all of the other wonderful things that he captured, which ultimately became ‘A Dog Called Money’, the film.

I really take my hat off to Seamus because his challenge, of course, was to create a movie essentially without a prescribed narrative. Wasn’t a prescribed journey. So Seamus’s challenge, of course, was to take all of that information, and I don’t know how he did it, and he created ‘A Dog Called Money’, which is such an amazing, interesting experience to watch because it’s not a film about PJ Harvey, it’s not a film about the making of an album. For me, it’s a film within a film because it’s also about so much that’s happening in our geopolitical landscape, and it tackles the history and the present and the future around this central artistic expression. You’re transported into spaces that you would never go to otherwise.

His depictions of Kosovo, his capturing of Afghanistan, are not what you think you’re going to see when you think about these places. They are completely humanised in a way that traditional media does not do. Seamus’s gift is his ability to be able to do that and to take you there with him. And you don’t need to really question anything over and above that. This is not supposed to be an intellectual exercise. It’s just “Breathe in, and breathe out, and breathe in, and breathe out.”. It’s an amazing thing.

Dubber There really seems like there’s a thread here. Contribution, creativity, and opportunity, and particularly the meaning that you derive from the intersection of those things, and especially when it comes to connecting people together. It’s what makes what you do what you do. And it brings me back to what you were saying really early on about your… You originally wanted to do robots, you wanted to do engineering, and you might get your chance because it looks like AI is going to have an impact in this. Is that going to change this idea of contribution, creativity, opportunity, human connection? Is this becoming a data industry?

Sumit   Man, your questions, dude. Your questions. So AI is a really interesting thing. But, okay, let’s just simplify this. Let’s just say a robot is able to create music. Not only is it able to create music, it’s able to create perfect music based on learning. So this robot can absorb billions of bytes of information and billions, if there even are billions, of compositions and millions of nodes of your personal interest points. Your taste. And the robot says to you “Hey, man. You know what? You’re feeling a little bit like this, and I’m going to play you something to complement how you’re feeling or to alleviate how you’re feeling or to compound how you’re feeling. You don’t have to tell me which one of those options you want because I already know which one you want based on your physiology, based on your measurements, based on your body temperature, based on your expressions, based on your perspiration, etc. I’m reading you better than you could ever have read yourself, and I know exactly what you want.”.

It’s just like when you meet the person you love and they just know exactly what you want, and they give it to you and you’re like “God, I love you, man.”. It’s the same shit. And we know that that happens because it happens. Of course. It happens to all of us. It happens to all of us all the time, but you don’t necessarily expect a non-living, biologically, entity to do that for you or to you. Yet. But we will. We will experience it, and we will become used to it, and we will demand it. And, actually, we will demand it to such a degree that if you don’t perfect it, you’ll be out, and someone else will be in.

So now this robot is making music for you, and it’s perfect. Every time. When that robot isn’t doing what Alexa is currently doing, which is drawing upon a pre-existing library of copyrights and art created by human hand, but that robot instead is creating, based on that knowledge pool, its own perfect antidote to your poison, the question then arises “Who owns the antidote? And is it even replicable?”. Because it might not be. We have to assume that it might not be at all replicable because there’s so many ones and zeros at play here that it’s just not going to be repeated because it’s that perfect for you. Like, literally, your fingerprint. All right?

So does the person that invented the computer own it? Does the computer itself own it? Does the person that informed the computer own it? Where does ownership lie? And while our creative economy is built around value that is based around ownership of copyright, this becomes a massive conundrum because it usurps the entire creative economy.

So what do you do? Do you try and figure that out? Do you try and place value in this accelerated microeconomy of creation? Or do you choose to place value in something, or somewhere, else? And, for me, I would place value in somewhere else. I wouldn’t place value on the creation at this point because the creation is rapid, spontaneous, almost disposable. There are so many billions, trillions, quadrillions of permutations of this particular antidote that to try and own any one of them makes you as insignificant as a star in the Milky Way. Let’s not bury ourselves in that technicality. Let’s accept that that is a star in the Milky Way. So let’s now look at how we define the Milky Way.

Dubber Is what you’re saying “Given this condition of perfect creation of music that is absolutely customised and personalised, does it now even need to be owned?”.

Sumit   There’s a difference between being owned and being monetised. Ownership doesn’t necessarily come with a commercial aspect to it.

Dubber It sounds like what you’re saying is “Given AI, we actually have to re-address the fundamentals of how this all works.”.

Sumit   What you can do is own the environment in which an experience occurs. It’s like saying “If Guinness makes Guinness, and people love to buy Guinness and drink Guinness, so Guinness makes all the money, then the bar in which that Guinness is served can make nothing because one could enjoy that Guinness outside of the bar. Why should the bar make any money? If there’s one bar and all it does, like the Toucan in Soho in London, and all it serves is Guinness, which you can literally walk down the street to any newsagent, to any little alcohol shop and buy Guinness…”. But you’re not going into the Toucan because it’s the only place you can get a Guinness, you’re going into the Toucan because it’s the Toucan.

Dubber And that’s where you want to have a Guinness.

Sumit   And that’s where you want to have a Guinness. So I just think we have to separate ourselves in that sense. And the thing is, in music, and I can only speak about music because that’s the context that I live in in this conversation, the environment in which the music is experienced, for now, has only been either through recorded music or you’re experiencing them in a live venue and you’re hearing the music live through a PA system. We haven’t really gotten into the idea of commercialising the space within which one experiences music outside of those two realms. But when music becomes so fluid that it’s changing in every iteration depending on which space you’re in, then the space becomes king because the music that I listen to and experience is completely fluid and completely adaptable and bathes me all day long when I choose to engage.

Dubber And where are you going to be in this equation? Are you selling Guinness? Or are you the Toucan?

Sumit   Oh, I’ll be in the hot tub, bro.

Dubber Answered like a real music manager.

Sumit   I will 100 percent be in the hot tub in a panic room in my castle.

Dubber Brilliant. Sumit, it’s been an absolute pleasure. And you’ve taken me on a real journey, so thank you so much for that.

Sumit   Pleasure, man.

Dubber Cheers.

Sumit   Cool.

Dubber That’s Sumit Bothra, and that’s the MTF Podcast. He’s not @SumitBothra on Twitter, that’s someone else entirely. Try @ATCmanagement. I’m Dubber, and I’m @dubber on Twitter, so that’s nice and easy. MTF Labs is @mtflabs and www.mtflabs.net on the web.

In fact, right now I’m in Stockholm on my way to Portugal for MTF Labs Aveiro. For our first labs since having to completely rethink how we manage in a COVID world, our theme is ‘Another Green World’. We’re focussing on issues of renewal, clean energy, experimental sonic concepts addressing neuroplasticity, entrainment, eco acoustics, and the Aquatocene.

We’re bringing together 45 brilliant MTFers from 25 different countries to run a week-long innovation lab, complete with all manner of social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and, in fact, complete oceanic immersion, as well as remote collaboration in a hybrid event that also has satellites in Mexico City, Trondheim, and Porto.

We’re going to be joined by Paul D Miller, aka DJ Spooky, with his sonifying Antarctica project, Alex Murray-Leslie from Chicks on Speed, Ben Dawson from MelodyVR, the proud new owners of Napster, vocal AI artist Reeps100, large scale generative visual artist Synthestruct, aquatic biology sound artist Robertina Šebjanič, and many more brilliant artists and creators.

It’s an experiment, it’s incredibly ambitious, and we’re going to be connecting the dots live from Monday, 12th of October. It’s not public, but we’re going to send out a password link to members of the community. So if you’re interested and you want to experience this event, or even maybe take part in future MTF Labs events like this, go to www.mtflabs.net/register to register. In the meantime, stay safe, wear a mask, and listen to some great records. Talk soon. Cheers.

Sumit   All right. Edit this thing and make it sound good.

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