Friday, December 5, 2014

The life of a metal music publicist: Dewar PR

The life of a metal music publicist: Dewar PR
Curtis Dewar is a metal music publicist whose job it is to get press coverage for bands. Curtis is always contacting publications about bands, and he’s on Facebook and Twitter a lot, too. His job is not as glamorous as being a rock star and sometimes people don’t understand what a publicist does. To explore the mysteriously secret life of that person that works to get reviews, interviews and more for metal bands, Metal Bulletin Zine sent Curtis some questions.
Hi, Curtis. How long have you been a publicist for metal music? How did you get started?
I've been a publicist for two and a half years. Basically, I started doing publicity by accident. I was writing for a few heavy metal sites and I ended up becoming friends with Rick Scythe (ex-Usurper). I did an interview with him about his new band Scythe and then started helping him to spread the word. Things just took off from there, to be honest.
I didn't start doing this full time until January of 2014, however. A job I was working at ended and instead of looking for full-time employment I decided I wanted to do something from home so I wouldn't be away from my kids while they were growing up. I decided to see if I could make this work and while sometimes it *can* be tough making ends meet, it is definitely worth it.
Do you play an instrument or have you ever been in a band?
Nope to both. I played the recorder when I was in third grade if that counts :)
How has 2014 been for you in terms of business? Do you have too many bands or would you like to have more?
I don't look at this as a business. This is my job, but this is something I actually enjoy doing, so it never feels like work. In terms of number of people I've worked with this past year, things have been fantastic.
Is this your full-time job? Does it pay the rent and all the bills?
Yes, this is my full-time job. Some months are better than others, but between myself and my wife, we are keeping the bills paid :) Again, choosing extreme metal as your chosen field to promote isn't exactly a lucrative field. You have to do this because you love the music.
Do you work with bands whose music you do not like? Will you be branching out into more popular forms of "metal" like hardcore?
I always like the bands I work with. If I did end up working with a more popular form of metal, it would have to be with a band I thought had potential.
Should your company branch out into all genres, like country and rap?
I don't like country or rap so I can't see myself branching out into those genres. I do like other genres however, so if there was something I liked and the band wanted to work with me, sure.
Are there some things that are unethical to you, that you would not do?
I never make any promises that I can't keep and I would never oversell my services.
Do you reject some bands? They want to work with your company and are ready to pay and everything, but you reject the band because it's not the style that your company does?
Yes, I have rejected some bands either due to the fact that I don't like their music or I don't agree with what they represent.
If I remember correctly, you also write for some publications and you get paid for it. Do you write any reviews that you are not paid for? How do those publications make money, if there is no money in the metal music business, like some people say?
I have written for pay and without pay. I have no idea on the financial state of any publications I write for.
Do you get offered money to review music that you do not like, and you review it anyway for the money?
Do you sell t-shirts and metal clothing? Is that a good industry to make money, for someone like you?
I can't answer this, as I've never done that.
What do you think are some common misconceptions that people have about you or your field? Do bands badmouth you if you do not get them lots of coverage?
The main misconception that I've run into is that bands think they can promote themselves and the fact is most can't. There are so many bands who don't know how to use social media or how to contact a publication. The ones that do, will be fine, but many bands think that spamming their YouTube video on someone's FB page is promoting themselves!
I've never had a band badmouth me that I'm aware of. Also, most publicity people I know of in metal are good people.
Do you have to advise young bands on how to do interviews? Some young bands seem surprised that they get asked "the same questions over and over again," but that is exactly what interviews are like, aren't they? What else are people supposed to ask, if not about the band?
Yes, I have had to advise some bands on how to do interviews, as many will just do one word "yes" or "no" answers to all of their questions. I think as they get used to doing them they sort of get the hang of it, you know?
Does your wife get frustrated because you are always working, tweeting, etc.? Of course! But that's the cost of doing this. You're always communicating with people.
Anything else on your mind?
Thanks for doing the interview and I appreciate all of the support you've given the bands I work with :)
Also, if anyone wants to work with me or has any questions please contact me on Twitter as @dewarpr or on Facebook:

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