So what do you do in the midst of a global pandemic when you want to video your team? Well we asked our team to send us videos. With mixed results!
Born and bred North London. Sole owner of Key Production Group. Supported Spurs since the age of 7. Taped the Top 40 throughout my childhood and hung around friends in (very bad) bands. Studied Genetics at Leeds University where everyone was a Goth – me included. Whilst there I was Ents Sec (they had 2 – I booked the 450 and 800 capacity venue – focusing on Indie bands) – booking the likes of New Model Army, Billy Brag (£10 plus his train fare), Misty in Roots, Fad Gadget, George Melley and John Chiltern’s Feetwarmers and many others. After graduating I worked and travelled around Europe for 2 years. In 1988 I wrote my CV for the first (and last) time and landed a job at Rough Trade Distribution as a receptionist. I managed to work my way into the Production department by the fortuitous running away abroad without any warning of one of the members of staff. Here I worked my way up to Production Manager and left just before the bubble burst. I set up Key in the back office of Jungle Records with a telephone and typewriter and the rest, as they say is history. Just for fun (or maybe it was a mid-life crisis), after returning from a holiday to Nicaragua in Jan 2007, I decided to turn my hand to being a hotelier (not as a career move, more like a challenge). I bought an island in a lake and built a small sustainable hotel which opened in Jan 2010. www.jicarolodge.com
First Gig: The Specials in 1979.
Guilty Pleasure: Has to be a bit of Queen.
I started off on the record counter at Boots The Chemist when they still sold records all those years ago. After a brief spell of female distraction on the perfume counter, I pulled myself together and got a job with Rockin’ Horse Records – notable signing was Lisa Stansfield. As was and probably still is the way, money talks and the company was bought by Arista Records where I found myself booking studios for the Thompson Twins & Meatloaf. I eventually moved into radio and tv promotions working with artists such as Whitney Houston. All the time I was in a band gigging around London and the song writing bug got the better of me when I signed a publishing deal and took a couple of years out to become a superstar. Needless to say you have never heard of me and thus a call from a manufacturing company, The Producers, saved me from starvation and set me on my current career path. Moving to A to Z Music Services as a production planner, I eventually worked myself up to co-owner and MD which is when I first came in to contact with Key Production’s MD, Karen Emanuel and the rest they say is history!
First Gig: Pretenders at Lancaster University.
Guilty Pleasure: Taylor Swift!
I moved to Key in the Summer of 2013, after working as Financial Controller in an advertising agency for several years. I am now combining my Accountancy qualifications and experience with my love of music, having played in bands for years and having used Key Production as a Customer for cd pressing. When I’m not busy making sure the numbers add up I still play gigs in my spare time, usually in and around Camden.
First Gig: Siouxsie and The Banshees at The Royal Albert Hall (with Robert Smith of The Cure on guitar).
Guilty Pleasure: I’m a bit of a chocoholic.
When I moved to London from Edinburgh in my early 20s with some vague idea of working in the music industry, I didn’t really know where I would end up. With a degree in Production Engineering and an obsession with music, I suppose it really should have been obvious that I would end up in the manufacturing side of music. After an initial grounding in a couple of mastering studios, I moved on to a CD/Vinyl manufacturer called A2Z in the mid 90s where I learned the tricks of the trade and worked my way up to Head of Production. A2Z were then taken over by Key in 2002 and I’ve been here ever since. Music has always played a big part in my life. Over the years, I’ve played in bands, run a record label and now help to run a music festival (Deer Shed Festival)
First Gig: UB40 in 1982. My fourth gig was The Clash. I often pretend this was my first gig when asked.
Guilty Pleasure: I like country music but I don’t feel guilty about it.
After studying business at University, I left looking for a role where I could combine a career with my love of music. After holding various roles at Virgin/EMI I moved into production at Warners and went on to join Key, where I could really let my inner packaging geek loose. I get my greatest job satisfaction finding the perfect packaging solution for a project. I love nothing more than discovering great new music to add to my music collection and working with Key’s varied roster of clients is the best way I’ve found yet to uncover brilliant new artists!
First Gig: Inspiral Carpets / Credit To The Nation / Chumbawamba.
Guilty Pleasure: Del Amitri.
Hailing from North London, born into a Greek household, with 3 brothers, I grew up listening to my father’s large vinyl collection to drown the noise out at times! As a true North Londoner, I support Arsenal football club which was the opposite of the majority in my household who are Tottenham supporters and I like to think I backed the better team! I am a true people person and always look on the bright side of life, I love travelling and as a sun worshipper I frequently go back to visit Cyprus at every opportunity to top up on Vitamin D and my tan! I love music and what better way to combine the love of music with a career!
First Gig: New Kids on the Block in Brighton
Guilty Pleasure: Watching Eurovision….need I say anything more!
My teeth were firmly cut, IN THE EARLY 90’S, as Sales Director of Battersea based "Mayking Multimedia” a purveyor of home grown CD, CD-ROM and Vinyl. Having served time there I was given the role of Managing Director of Sonopress UK, a Bertelsmann company. At Sonpopress I worked extensively with the exploding UK games market and in the early days got into the packaging they built around each release. Seeing a decline in Audio CD sales I thought to apply a special packaging logic to the music market. I formed MODO with a partner and we became the go to people for Creative and special packaging in the ever expanding music boxset market. Following a merger with Key, Modo continues to thrive in it’s chosen market sector.
First Gig: Bauhaus.
Guilty Pleasure: Kung Fu.
I’m a displaced Northerner with musical leanings in that direction and have been working in and around disc and print production for over 15 years (most of those with Key Production). I started at Key as a production planner and so understand the processes involved with production and scheduling a job through to completion, as well as the technical aspects of both disc and print production. I work in more of a sales capacity now, so am involved with projects at their conception, including presenting and suggesting client/project specific ideas for packaging. I do like a nice bit of packaging and nothing pleases me more than seeing the end result of something I’ve worked on. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great labels and on some great releases and although I listen to a lot of music, I don’t get to go to as many gigs as I’d like/used to.
First Gig: New Order at Reading festival (I won’t say what year).
Guilty Pleasure: It has to be Frankie Valli... Does that make me sound really old?
Music obsessive growing up. After early, unsolicited exposure to my older brother’s 70’s rock collection, on my own terms I turned to the more maudlin end of pop (think The Smiths, Talk Talk, Tears For Fears). Around this time I also discovered that jazz didn’t have to involve straw boaters and clarinets and so got into the cool jazz & hard bop of the 50’s/60’s…then blues…then Acid Jazz…the Baggy scene, grunge, Britpop and Trip Hop. Chuck in classical music (mainly Russian) and you have a fairly mixed bag. I started working in the production department of a VHS (remember them?) duplicator and rose to be manager of the department of 11 people. My true love was music and so switched to work in Mayking Records, a leading UK CD & Vinyl manufacturer. This was Britpop time and I don’t think I slept for 5 years. After a stint in music exporters Beehive and Caroline where I first made the move into a sales role, I was back into music manufacture, still in sales, specialising in creative packaging and boxsets with Modo, now of course part of the Key Production Group. Now I am older (wiser?) I listen to a lot of folk and am also excited by the new young London/UK jazz scene. I’ve played guitar for as long as I can remember, in indie bands around London’s ‘toilet circuit’, then blues/soul bands and most recently playing acoustic folk fingerstyle and bottleneck slide.
First Gig: BB King at Hammersmith Odeon…or was it INXS at Guildford Civic Hall? Or maybe Marillion at Hammersmith. If only I could remember…
Guilty Pleasure: Cooking to Jazz FM; the occasional packet of Pork Scratchings; Twiglets. (Not necessarily all together.) A nice bottle of wine, preferably something expensive and French.
Being a huge music fan from a young age, it had always been my dream to work within music. After having various jobs with no significance, I very luckily got a break in the world of CD Manufacturing in the late 90’s where I just had the best time ever. I very quickly realised that I never wanted to do anything else, as busy as it gets sometimes, there is massive job satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish. I still find it amazing how quickly I turned into a packaging geek, but I think this makes me more involved and passionate with every project. I still go to gigs and club nights as much as I can, I don’t think I will ever grow out of it, just something special about surrounding myself with my friends, listening to music and dancing the night away.
First Gig: Although a tad embarrassing I went to every Junior Best Disco In Town at the Ally Pally where I saw the best in middle to late 80’s pop acts (I do see this as a positive and not a negative as this is where I got my love of live music from) now I just love anything with a heavy bass line.
Guilty Pleasure: Dancing around to music with my kids regardless to what music they are listening to, I think they love it just as much as me.
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” Nietzsche said, and I couldn't agree more. Music has always been my passion (but no, I'm not a musician) When I was a toddler my parents used to play The Beatles and Elvis on the turntable while dancing around the house, then in my teens I'd listen to grunge, Britpop and nu metal very loud in my room (no happy folks dancing in the house during those years). At the age of 15 I joined a fanzine in Buenos Aires, my hometown, and since then I've never stopped working as a music journalist for radio stations, magazines and blogs. I also worked as a playlist curator, video and audio editor and live music photographer. In 2012 I made my teenage dream come true by moving to London where I immersed in its music scene working on PR, marketing and management of artists as well as in the events and TV industries.
First Gig: The one I never confess: Ricky Martin in Buenos Aires, 1996 (He was very famous in Latin American way before 'Living La Vida Loca'!) - The one I always tell: Red Hot Chili Peppers also in BA, 1999.
Guilty Pleasure: I'd never admit this back then, but along Korn and Deftones I also used to like some pop songs by Britney and Christina Aguilera.
After growing up in the idyllic nature of south west Norway (with a 5 year stint in Canada) listening to the heavy metal sounds of the fjords, I decided to head down south to the UK to study. I did my undergrad at Leeds Arts University in Creative Advertising and not long after I decided it was time to venture even further south to do a Masters in Graphic Design on the beach at the University of Brighton. This is where I dabbled in just a couple of design and art techniques; a few include rug tufting, tapestry design, book design and binding, crochet, several printing techniques, film photography, videography, sculpting, oil-painting, portraiture, and zine making. Here I found that my design practice is rooted in community, conversation, and collaboration, and throughout I made several publications with friends and other creators including the title: “Is This Item Still Available? The Only Book on the Market on Facebook Marketplace”. Throughout my time at university I was also doing freelance design and working on zines, posters, and logos for my friends bands, all of this combined with a massive passion for music lead me here to Key Production, as their junior graphic designer.
First Gig: The Oslo show for Taylor Swift’s Speak Now world tour in 2011
Guilty Pleasure: The easy-listening tunes of Mort Garson’s 1976 release Mother Earth’s Plantasia.
I moved to Think Tank in 2018 having previously been a Production Manager on art and design books at Phaidon, worked on Star Wars, Disney and Lego licensing at Penguin, plus a surreal 18 month contract as Publishing Manager for Guinness World Records. One morning I arrived and bumped into David Hasselhoff and the worlds shortest woman chatting in the kitchen. Fun times. But not as fun as Key! Here I get to indulge my interest in all things design and manufacturing for Think Tank, whilst constantly hearing new music and seeing all the music manufacturing that comes in to Key.
First Gig: Loads of local bands at the Forum in Tunbridge Wells in the early 90’s. Probably Anti Nowhere League as they seemed to play there every week.. first ‘proper’ one I can remember is Carter USM. Sultans of Ping supporting.
Guilty Pleasure: I’m partial to a bit of country. Even a little country rock.
Way back in the olden days, I made my social life my job and started work at Key . Since then I’ve been pressing Bjork’s vinyl for One Little Indian , building box sets for Crammed Discs, creating CD’s for Jungle Records and keeping the likes of Cargo Distribution’s warehouse filled with albums from such luminaries as Wire to Brian Jonestown Massacre and the very brilliant Hyperdub Label. Through all these years I’ve helped musicians of all genres bring their creative ideas to reality and present it in packaging that has ranged from the bizarre to the magnificent and the music remains as important to me now as it was before I got my hands dirty with it all those years ago. All this and getting the chance to talk to your heroes, can’t be bad can it?!
First Gig: Abba, Sydney Showgrounds, 1977.
Guilty Pleasure: First 2 Marillion albums. Like punk never happened!
I was educated in Tokyo and Wales. After working for a number of London Student Unions: Polytechnic of Central London, UCL, Birbeck and East London Universities, I found work in the voluntary sector. Working for The Directory of Social Change (radical social think tank), I managed their extensive Publications Team as well as organising NGO training days in all 32 London Boroughs, and was part of the planning team which set up the inaugural CharityFair Event held annually at London’s Business Design Centre. Previously worked with Rough Trade Distribution, Music & Video Exchange, Blackout Records (New York) and Brilliant Merchandising, as well as stage work for the Blast First! label events. Tour driving, merchandising and technical crew throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. Founded Household Name Records in 1996 and learnt how to release CDs, Vinyl, packaging and merchandise on budget and on time from the ground up. As a promoter and booking agent I set up nearly 800 gigs & tours for artists throughout UK, Europe, and the US. Set up and built independent punk/rock shop All Ages Records in Camden Town in 2003, which is still one of the must-visit London destinations for punks from all over the world. As a customer I have used Key Production since 1995 to manufacture all my 100+ releases.
First Gig: The Woodentops / Weekend (ex-Young Marble Giants) at Cardiff University Great Hall.
Guilty Pleasure: Stuart Maconie’s FreakZone on 6 Music.
I first signed up to the music industry in Bristol around 30 years ago organising production and manufacture for Revolver and Vital (soon to become PIAS) Distribution but was lured down to London by the promise of some pretty ostentatious street paving. During the subsequent 25 years in pursuit of those elusive streets I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wide diversity of labels from Damaged Goods to Good Looking Records, from Hooj Choons to Chemikal Underground, from Atlantic Jaxx to Wichita and Matador and with artists from Arab Strap to LTJ Bukem and from The Divine Comedy to The Darkness. The freshness of the music we work with and the ever delicious new means of packaging it has sharpened rather than jaded my palate over the last 20 years so that my enthusiasm for the work is as strong as ever.
First Gig: Buzzcocks at Manchester Apollo (with my mum).
Guilty Pleasure: Bryan Adams and Mel C When You’re Gone.
When I was growing up, music rang loud with the timeless melodies of Motown from Diana Ross and Gladys Knight to Stevie Wonder. I remember trying to cleverly record the Top 10 on the radio so I could cut the DJ’s comments out and create my own mix-tapes. To this day, I can still remember where Michael Jackson’s Thriller stopped and I had to turn the tape over to keep recording! Career-wise my love of planning and organising lead me into project management within the Security and Construction Industries. Through a serendipitous introduction from a friend, I landed in vinyl production project management and I haven’t looked back. I confess, I didn’t own a record player or listen to music on vinyl until then, but now I am hooked and love every aspect of production and planning within the music industry. It’s really satisfying to be able to produce a tangible product in such a virtual world. I have always had a love of travel, I spent just over a year in the Cayman Islands on a career break, soaking in the sun, kissing stingrays and working at a beach bar, from there I have added LA, Vegas, Jamaica, Thailand, Canada and of course half of Europe. My travel bucket list includes the Great Wall of China and India, “soon come” as they say in the Caribbean.
First Gig: Michael Jackson – History Tour – I was 10!
Guilty Pleasure: The Spice Girls.
I’m sure like many of us here at Key, I fell in love with music and more specifically vinyl at a young age, shifting through my parents record collection. Needless to say, they had pretty questionable taste (sorry Dad!) but I came out the other side with my love for the format intact and a thirst for more! I’ve been an avid gig goer ever since, and for the past 10 years or so have been involved in the local music scene in my hometown of Chelmsford in Essex. From putting on shows & festivals, to running pop up record stalls, and now running a DIY record label in my spare time. After 20 years of working as a tradesman, I finally decided to attempt to mix my passion with work and took the plunge into a complete career change, luckily Key took the bait and I’ve not looked back since! Moral of the story kids, believe in yourself, you can do it!
First Gig: It’s all a bit hazy but as V Festival used to be alright and in my hometown, it was most probably one of those around 98/99.
Guilty Pleasure: Teenage dirtbag.
Hailing from the home counties, I grew up curiously exploring my parents record collection (Cat Stevens, Fleetwood Mac and many more). In my youth there wasn’t much in the way of record shops or music venues at my disposal, with the exception of HMV, the great Compact Disc in Sevenoaks, and the hallowed Tunbridge Wells Forum (which used to be a public toilet). Lured by the prospect becoming cool and being part of the London scene (still working on that) I embarked on a career in music. Entering in to the industry working for Fire Records, in a diverse roll looking after production, distribution and much more! While I was at Fire I had the pleasure of working directly with the marvellous Modo team. I then ventured south of the river to work for [PIAS] on the digital side of things, after a few very happy years I felt urge to get back in to working on vinyl production, which I have found to be my true passion in this industry, which lead me to Key! I play in a couple of bands, dabbling in guitar and bass, and even have a fair pop at singing. I am also a keen artist / illustrator.
First Gig: Pull Tiger Tail with support from Fox Cubs at the Tunbridge Wells Forum.
Guilty Pleasure: Jethro Tull
After putting on DIY punk gigs, writing a fanzine and putting out a record that John Peel played in my teenage years, my first “proper job” in the music industry came in the mid 90s when, as part of my degree course in my final year, I did a placement working for Nottingham based extreme metal label Earache Records (although punk rock has always been my true passion), who then offered me a job as Production Manager as soon as I graduated. After two years with them I then relocated to London in 1996 and worked for Mayking Records as a Production Planner at their Battersea plant. When the decision was made to relocate their plant in 2000, I moved to Key Production, and was based at the Camden office for the following decade. In 2009 I became a consultant for Key, which meant I could spend a little more time concentrating on my own label, Boss Tuneage - which after that first play on John Peel in 1990 is still going strong with over 400 releases in the past 31 years!
First Gig: 26th November 1988 at The Indian Queen in Boston, Lincolnshire – Mega City Four, Snuff and Vehicle Derek – and it had an impact on the rest of my life. Of the eleven people who got up on the stage that night across those three bands who played in front of 17 year old me, I ended up releasing something by eight of them and even joined a band with two of them a decade and a half later!
Guilty Pleasure: The Barron Knights – still got my signed copy of “Live In Trouble” somewhere…
Born and raised in London, followed by a 7 year stint in Bristol has meant I’ve been brought up on a wide variety of music and its always been a big part of my life. I spent my school years playing bass guitar in a ‘’band’’, if you could even call us that, then in collage I started Djing and producing my own music. I now run a collective called Everybody Loves To Boogie, we put on nights across the capital and welcome everyone to come and let loose to music from all over the world. I joined Key in 2018 and have not looked back since, being an account manager has finally allowed me to fuse my day job with my love for music and obsession for vinyl!
First Gig: Kaiser Chiefs supported by The Cribs at the Astoria. Watching a drum kit get destroyed is everything you want from a first gig.
Guilty Pleasure: Japanese City Pop, all of it, from the funkiest to the cheesiest.
Like lots of other record nerds, my love for the format started when I was very young, consuming all the music my parents had. My folks worked second jobs at night clubs on the weekend and would bug DJs for any records they could spare to bring home for me, while at he same time, I would devour the sounds and artwork from every 12” and 7” that babysitters brought with them. Growing up I collected records, played in bands, toured all over, worked in record shops and for record dealers as well as getting work experience at Island Records. Upon leaving college, I went to work for the Riverman Group where I promoted hundreds of concerts in London at The Camden Underworld. I assisted on the management side of the company for Placebo and Roxy Music and found my way to booking European tours for underground bands from all over. Following my time there, I started Mammoth Booking Agency and continued to be an independent booking agent for over a decade, only working with bands I loved (and still do!). Looking for a new challenge I found work at The Carvery mastering house. For the next seven years I gained significant experience and knowledge working on the printing and pressing production of records as well as learning a lot about the mastering, lacquer cutting and restoration process. Arriving at Key Production, I found that geekiness for great quality pressing, print and custom packaging are high! I work with like-minded folks where my experience and passion for records are absorbed into the already impressive hive mind of knowledge, love and respect for the physical format of music. Hallelujah!
First Gig: Foo Fighters and Bivouac at Kings College
Guilty Pleasure: There is no such thing. You like what you like.
After leaving school I hung around my local record shop, Studio One in Scarborough. Absorbing all the new releases and some classic albums, sharing first time hearings of Marrs ‘Pump Up The Volume’ as well as the obligatory ‘you have to hear this really loud’ Pink Floyds ‘Final Cut’ ‘ (especially Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert) with shop owner/music enthusiast and friend Nigel. My first real job in music was as assistant manager at Our Price in Scarborough, where one day after making a wall display made up of solely purple Warp records release was asked if I fancied moving to Sheffield to work in the famous Warp Shop. By then I had the bug. Every time I moved, I carted an ever increasing load of vinyl with me. Then it was on to London to work from Greyhound Records, importing techno and house from the US and Europe. Then another move this time to SRD, distributor to Southern Records. On U Sound, Moving Shadow, No U Turn and so many more and my personal favourites Cosmic Records/Basic Channel/Fat Cat and Tresor. This is where I first met Karen and the rest of the Key crew. Then on to Vital which became PIAS. Looking after some fantastic labels along the way, far too many to mention. Then before the carriage clock was presented to me, I decided to move back up North to Manchester and spend some time in Granada Studios with Mr Scruffs management company working with Scruff, Gabe Gurnsey and The Illicits. Which brings me nicely up to date and to my current role as planner at Key Production, a company that I’ve worked and gigged with over 20 years and finally now work with. It’s been a long time coming
First Gig: Thin Lizzy @ Scarborough Futurist
Guilty Pleasure: Oasis and Abba
I was dragged up in Lancashire; home of pies, grey skies and racing pigeons. Sadly, apart from The Four Pennies there wasn't much musical heritage to boast about, so in 2008 I moved to London to study music production. Since graduating, I've gained experience within record labels, recording studios and label services, so I have a good understanding of the record making process from start to finish. Despite growing up in the age of digital downloads and streaming, I'm a huge believer in the magic of physical products, and there's nothing more exciting than getting my favourite release in a well designed, well made package. I still remember being mesmerised by sleeve designs from The Designers Republic, or pouring over the secret booklet that came hidden under the CD tray of Radiohead's Kid A. It's this passion for packaging and products that drew me to Key Production, and I've been a slightly obsessive member of the team since the summer of 2013.
First Gig: Simply Red at the Manchester Evening News arena, aged 9. Apparently I knew every word to every song. Try not to judge - they put out some belters in the early years!
Guilty Pleasure: I'm partial to a bit of country, or big-band swing every now and again.
My love of music started through my Dad who was a big Johnny Cash fan. Moving from London to Poole to do a degree in Psychology was like being a kid in a candy store – having legendary music venues and great record shops practically on the doorstep! Moving into Rock Towers in Acton (2 houses of 8 flats inhabited by musicians and a great musical history) opened a door and I worked for 8 years at Small Japanese Soldier, a creative design agency - part of Clinic. I started with Marketing and became General Manager, working with lots of labels (Universal, EMI, Warners, Sony BMG, One Little Indian and HMV as well as the Games and Sports industry, Sony, EA Games, Nike, and UKTV. A desire to see the world sent me off on a 6-month tour where, in Sri Lanka, I helped heavy metal band Stigmata put on the first heavy metal concert there and helped on a documentary on the band for the Discovery channel. Next was Thailand, then Cambodia where I stayed for 6 years! Starting as an English teacher, then a Director of the school. I was a teacher by day and a singer in a Punk band by night. Singing with Shambolic 69, Stiff Little Punks, UK Sluts..... A move to Brighton on my return and with a dear friend already working at Key, I joined the Brighton team as a planner in December 2019. To work at Key, combines two of my passions. Sorting people and things out, and of course music. I'm also a part-time Pirate AKA Betty the Bosun!
First Gig: Depeche Mode - Black Celebration Tour - 1986 Bournemouth International Centre.
Guilty Pleasure: 80’s hair metal/sleaze/glam rock and country and western - bit of 80’s new Romantics. Old style hip-hop. Know all the words to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s song The Message.
Growing up in South Wales my love for music was born out of an (un)healthy mix of popstars and emo bands. I remember every Britney Spears music video feeling like an event and starting the weekends with Girls Aloud on Saturday morning telly. I became captivated by the sugary hooks, began to find community with fellow queer people and the power of women in pop culture. Pursuing this all-encompassing love led me to working in retail merchandising at Universal Music, producing artist merch for exciting campaigns from the likes of rock kings The Rolling Stones and Guns N Roses, to pop queens Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande. During the pandemic I made the move to the seaside where I’ve lucked out by landing at Key Brighton - I now get to marry my love of music and production in the world of vinyl and CD.
First Gig: Silverstein at Cardiff Uni.
Guilty Pleasure: Eurovision is fantastic and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.
Growing up I was interested in three things, music, books and football. As I’m tone deaf and have two left feet, but am vaguely literate I decided a career in book publishing was the best way forward. Despite initially aiming for an editorial role my love of all things print and design led me to a career spanning 20 years in the production side of publishing. When looking for a new challenge it was either a case of dusting off the Copa Mundials in the hope that Gareth Southgate would come calling, or looking to see if I could find a home in the music industry – I am delighted to have been able to find that home at Key Production and to work with other people who share my passion for music and making lovely things!
First Gig: Elastica at Leeds Met in (I think) 1995
Guilty Pleasure: Mash-ups, Radio 3 and Made in Chelsea
Unlike a lot of my very talented colleagues, I couldn’t play a note of music if my life depended on it. I do love the stuff though. Live, physical, streaming, it’s all good and I hardly go anywhere without a soundtrack in the background. I came to Breed Media from a background in Graphic Design, and started working here initially in a reprographics role. After spending the previous 13 years working for a publishing company in Sheffield, where I learned my trade designing for print, when an opportunity came along to combine my love for design with my passion for music, at Breed Media, I jumped at the chance. During my time here at Breed, things have changed a lot, and I now find myself working on the production side of things - still using my design experience wherever possible to help people get the best out of their physical products. When I’m not helping people making make records and CD’s, I can usually be found running. I do a lot of that.
First Gig: New Kids On The Block @ Sheffield Arena – circa 1989/1990 (age 10). My parents thought they were doing me a favour, secretly getting tickets to see the biggest band around at the time. Nice gesture but my street-cred never fully recovered.
Guilty Pleasure: I’ve had a lot of stick over the years for proclaiming, to anyone that will listen, that Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake is one of the greatest songs of all time. So that, I guess.
Born and bred in the Peak District via a few years in Scotland, I studied Media and Communications at Birmingham City University, specialising in the music industry and off the back of that, I ran a club night in the city for around year. I've now been living in Sheffield for the best part of 10 years and am proud to call it home. I love to travel and spent a year living out of a backpack across India, Asia and Australia before starting work at Breed. It was the only year since I was 16 which I hadn't attended a music festival and you can usually find me checking out bands across the city. A proud Sheffield United fan (for my sins) if I'm not spending my money on tickets to watch them, I am filling up my flat with vinyl. It took me a good while to find a job in music after my club night finished but have now been at Breed for just over a year and I am loving it!
First Gig: Stone Sour at Sheffield Corporation. I painted my fingernails black and wore a badge with the embarrassing phrase ''I love Corey Taylor'' on it.
Guilty Pleasure: Trashy reality TV and chick flicks.
Growing up in a musical family in the Peak District, I was exposed to everything from Miles Davies to Moby, and lovingly subjected my parents to regular renditions of whatever I was learning that week at my recorder, then flute and eventually saxophone lessons. I was always listening to music whether that was singing along to Mika in the car to my grandparent’s house or coming up with dance routines with my sister to the Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack. These recitals, singalongs and dance routines eventually ended in my earning a degree in music from the University of Sheffield, playing in any ensemble that would have me during my time there, and I fell in love with the city. I always had dreams of but never planned for working in the music industry, but one very lucky Facebook message landed me at the wonderful Key Production. I love being able to make someone’s dream a reality and create something they’re able to hold in their hands, knowing they put their heart and soul into making it.
First Gig: The Kooks at the O2 Ritz in Manchester
Guilty Pleasure: The Very Best of Cold Feet Soundtrack CD
After misguided pre-teen cassette purchases of Shakespeare’s Sister, Bryan Adams and U2, my musical tastes improved and broadened dramatically with the discovery of my parents’ record collection in around 1992. I love jazz, old R&B and rock, but enjoy pretty much any music except manufactured pop, rubbish dance and opera. My career started back in 2004 at Soundmasters Mastering where my love of music (especially vinyl) blossomed, and I am now really lucky to be able to do what I love as part of such a knowledgeable and professional team, helping people turn their music into a lovely tangible product.
First Gig: Bon Jovi, Keep The Faith tour, Wembley Arena 1992.
Guilty Pleasure: The occasional well-crafted pop song that I listen to with a mixture of appreciation and self-loathing. eg: Kelly Clarkson ‘Since U Been Gone’.
I used to come to London every month to see gigs and take pictures of bands so the only economical thing to do was to move here, which I did from my native France almost two decades ago. I started my ‘music career’ at Creation Records where I was a Regional Radio Plugger and then branched out as a webmaster and designer for the record shop Intoxica where I learned all about the vinyl collectors’ quirks! End of the 90’s I found my true calling in manufacturing when I started at V2 Music and then Mute where I worked on some pretty packaging and cool artists’ releases! After a few years bossing around men in suits in the City, I got a call from Key Production to join their team to look after PIAS’s manufacturing and I haven’t looked back since!
First Gig: Duran Duran at Bercy (Paris) mid 80’s.
Guilty Pleasure: K-Pop.
It was French that got me places. Living in Brussels in my early twenties, I secured my first job at independent label Play it Again Sam Belgium – fluent in French and a music lover to boot – right place right time. On to pastures new and I landed at Silvertone (no I didn’t witness the infamous paint splattering scene but did spy the handwritten lyrics to “Fools Gold” in a filing cabinet ). This was followed by a couple of short stints at London Records and Parlophone in Marketing until I finally found my long term home at Polydor A&R. As A&R co-ordinator I was busy with all things recording - budgets, producers, studios , musicians – you name it I co-ordinated it. A stint as a teacher (French of course) was ditched as soon as I got the call from Key to join the team. I LOVE being right back in it with Key. There’s no better place when you’re still as enthusiastic about new music as ever and find time to help run an independent musical festival in your spare time.
First Gig: Howard Jones – Southampton Guildhall “Hello Southampton. I’m home!” swiftly followed by The Cure in 1983. No need to guess which one I usually name drop.
Guilty Pleasure: All things Jacques Brel especially “Le plat pays” – an homage to the flat lands of a certain small country in northern Europe – my second home.
Coming from a traditional northern household, my decision to move to ‘that London’ wasn’t met with initial enthusiasm. Despite the many warnings, I left my hometown of Wakefield for the big city in 2010, and haven’t looked back since. I got my first job in the music industry over at One Little Indian Records, working in the stockroom ordering, packing and posting out records all day – despite the humble role, going from a suit and tie office job to working with vinyl was literally a dream come true! This interest in the physical production side of the industry then led me to my next role, at former music manufacturing company Clear Sound & Vision. It was here where I gained my experience in the music manufacturing process, specifically all things vinyl (and even CDs too…), managing releases for a wide range of major and independent artists. I made the move over to Key in 2018, joining the team in the PIAS Production office, working on releases for labels exclusively on the PIAS roster. LinkedIn stuff aside, I’m an avid record collector, DJ and vintage enthusiast, who spends probably a little too much on rare 7”s… Lover of progressive rock, psychedelia and garage punk, to cosmic jazz, funk and dub. All decades considered, but 50s/60s/70s stuff preferred – music was just so much better back then!!
First Gig: Eagles at Sheffield Arena, 2001 (with my dad).
Guilty Pleasure: Disco music, all night long.
Born in Wrexham, North Wales, I pitched up in the East Midlands at the age of 12, where I spent my teenage years holed up in my bedroom listening to John Peel and poring over Smash Hits and the NME, supplemented by occasional trips to the now defunct The Left-Legged Pineapple record shop in Loughborough. A massive fan of The Smiths I left for Manchester University only to have them split up before I actually got there. Sadly nothing else of interest happened in Manchester in the ensuing years. After university I got a job in IT, made the move to London just in time for Britpop, and in 1995 I started my own record label Fortuna POP!, which I ran for over twenty years. At the same time I continued to work in IT as a project manager for a variety of government clients. In 2017 I finished the label, quit the day job, and moved to Tokyo where I lived for two years before returning into the welcoming bosom of Key Production.
First Gig: The Stupids at The Hop & Grape, Manchester University. It would have been Ted Chippington at The Pink Greyhound in Loughborough a year earlier but my friends and I bottled it and went to see the Biggles movie instead.
Guilty Pleasure: If two years of karaoke in Japan taught me anything it was that yacht rock is not to be mocked. Don’t mock the yacht! Also, is there anything better than getting into a taxi after a night out to find that the cabbie has Magic FM on the radio? Bliss!
Though born in the UK, I moved to South Africa at age 7, where I went to school and university. The first thing I then did was join the Uni radio station as a DJ, from there I got into running and DJing at indie/alternative club nights in Durban, South Africa, slightly to the detriment of my university studies. (I did graduate, honest!) Moved to the bright lights of London in 1996, and immediately immersed myself in the incredible London music scene like a kid in a candy shop. Living in Camden, I was able to experience what I had previously only read about in the pages of NME and Melody Maker. With Reading festival approaching, and money fast running out, I took a job working at the same Battersea CD pressing plant as Tim, Aston and Mike, initially in the factory, but within a year or so, I was promoted to production planner. That factory moved out of London, so I joined another CD pressing plant in 2002 as customer service manager for the audio market. In 2005 Tim invited me to join the Modo team, which gave me the opportunity to work directly with some great indie labels and artists. They say never meet your heroes, but I have been lucky enough to work closely with a number of my favourite artists from the 80s and 90s, and they proved that saying wrong! My teenage inner self is still in awe, and I am proud of making some beautiful deluxe editions and helping them turn their artistic visions into finished albums, With Modo joining the Key group in 2017, I can see my sense of wonder with what I do, and the love of my job carrying on for many years.
First Gig: The Cure in Paris, December 95.
Guilty Pleasure: Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and other Sci Fi and Fantasy but I am not guilty about it.
Born & bred Bristolian, I’ve been chucking my money at my favourite indie labels since the mid-late 2000’s during early Grime & Dubstep raves. I’m a big city-break fan & travel enthusiast, so whenever I can tie in seeing my favourite acts in different cities and countries I haven’t visited before I take advantage! I joined Key late 2021, following my inevitable move to London, I’ve been scheduling your favourite releases ever since. It’s amazing to work around all things you love.
First Gig: Jimmy Cliff with my parents, but first gig by choice was Kendrick Lamar @ Bristol O2 for the ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ tour.
Guilty Pleasure: Not sure if it’s guilty as anything you enjoy should be enjoyed with full enthusiasm but ANYTHING Guinness brand related.
Growing up behind the iron curtain my earliest music-related memory is my dad turning up the volume of a Gene Vincent tape after mom claimed I was listening to too much music. Later in my teenage years, I found myself on a meadow with friends, booze and a wooden cassette player blasting the MC5 – a life-changing experience. And quite the blueprint for my music obsession: from Rockabilly to Punk to Noise to Avantgarde. And back again. All the time. During my university years in Leipzig in the early 1990s, it really kicked off for me with booking underground shows, publishing music fanzines and becoming a full-time music journalist and a PR manager at EFA Distribution until they went bust in 2003. I started my own label Exile On Mainstream and Southern Records Germany as a sister company for the now legendary Southern Records UK, focussing on distribution, label management, PR and tour booking, occasionally joining the travels with my own band, screaming and kaputt-ing mic stands. In 2013 Southern Records closed and I joined Optimal Media – one of the biggest pressing plants on the planet, working as a senior manager in sales, customer service and quality assurance – redefining and strengthening my love and passion for vinyl. After almost 10 years there I left to join KEY. My free time is all about mountains – climbing them up in summer, and skiing them down in winter.
First Gig: Die Skeptiker (German punk act) in 1987.
Guilty Pleasure: none. I don’t feel guilty about anything. I really do love Abba.
Hailing from the Essex Coast my Music Industry career started at the Performing Rights Society in the West End where I looked after overseas mechanical royalties for the likes of Dead Kennedys to Lennon&McCartney. I became involved with a dance label, CT, and soon learnt the nuances of vinyl production which led to me setting up a Vinyl Brokerage which grew substantially through the nineties and evolved into Disc Solutions. DS became part of the Key Production Group in 2019 giving all the artists and labels I work with a connection to the superb services and knowledge that Key provides. I’ve been a season ticket holder for several decades at Stamford Bridge and restore/modify classic Japanese sports cars in my spare time.
First Gig: Prince, Wembley arena
Guilty Pleasure: 70’s disco
25 years diverse Project Management experience gained both client and supplier side. 20 years client side with RCA & EMI Music in varying fields of Production, Manufacturing, Commercial and Trade Marketing specialising in all aspects of production, print and packaging with a touch of licensing and compiling. Still serving the world of Music and Multimedia, I moved supplier side into Account Management for St Ives Direct further enhancing and developing my understanding of printing, finishing, engineering and manufacture of bespoke packaging. Working supplier side was probably one of the biggest learning curves in my life giving me greater appreciation and understanding on what a good supplier goes through to deliver that product. From client to supplier and now here in the creative middle ground with a greater understanding and ability to deliver all your packaging needs.
First Gig: More an array of PA’s was ‘85 or ‘86 Radio London Soul Night Out at Hammersmith Palais.
Guilty Pleasure: New Edition – Candy Girl.
I started my first job in the print industry at the age of 14. Working during the school holidays my duties were basic, but I was fascinated with the production process and eager to learn more. After A Levels I spent an educational gap year with Park Communications before starting my Art and Design Foundation. This was 9 months of creative, immersive heaven! Experimenting with every process and medium, I decided on a degree in graphic design, illustration, and printmaking. After graduation and a few amazing years travelling I found myself back in UK. Penniless and in need of a ‘proper’ job, I approached the local print company, St Ives. 20 years on I’ve worked as supplier, client, creative and sales; collaborating on PoS campaigns, Luxury Packaging, Fine Art print, Music, Film and Games projects. It’s given me a unique appreciation of all processes, often challenges but always satisfaction, of producing something really special. After 5 years with Sony DADC I was fortunate enough to join the Key Group and a few old friends. I love being part of the creative process, bringing an idea to life……and the smell of a printing press in action!
First Gig: Prince and Glastonbury, same year – all purple rain and wellies!
Guilty Pleasure: Has to be Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand / The Bee Gees. Dancing and singing along with my mum growing up was pure pleasure…….. and we got nothing to be guilty of!
I've been working for 36 years in the design, photographic and reprographic world with experience in all sectors of the print-packaging, advertising and display industry, and I'm still not dead.
First Gig: Jimi Hendrix - Isle of White festival. I was one, my parents were on a caravan holiday and took a wrong turn. Many years later, in 1983, it was Rush at Wembley Arena.
Guilty Pleasure: The list is a long and unashamed one but I guess it will have to be Rush, bring on the air guitars.
I have worked in Reprographics and Print for over 19 years and in a Mac Support role for 17 plus years. I started out working in a Reprographics house doing magazine publications, corporate and advertising print. From this I gained a lot of experience in digital manipulation of images. Since working in music manufacturing I have gained plenty of experience with Vinyl, CD and DVD packing of all types, and of course cassettes and VHS tapes when they were in use.
First Gig: UB40, which my sister took me to when I was about 9 or 10.
Guilty Pleasure: I would not say I have any guilty pleasures, if you like something why is it a guilty pleasure?
My working life in music began in the mid 80s while I was at art college, when I took a Saturday job at an HMV shop to fund my indie-punk record & gig addiction. These years also heralded the start my life-long obsession of playing in & doing artwork for bands. In the early 90s I began an 8 year sales stint at a large music export company, during this time I took a music course and started a very small (4 releases) record label. At the end of the 1990s I took a new media course which resulted in working as print & web designer for a record label. I stayed there for a while until I happily found myself in the art department of Key Production. I'm still in bands and tour as much as holiday time allows, still go to gigs, still buy records, and still get excited when a good tune or some nice artwork comes my way.
First Gig: An unknown punk band at school, the second was David Bowie's Serious Moonlight Tour.
Guilty Pleasure: I have no guilty pleasures, I am shameless. On the office stereo I will put on 60s French pop followed by underground anarcho-punk. My favourite Key pressings include Fabienne Delsol's Between You and Me, Aidan Moffat & Bill Well's Everything's Getting Older, Thurston Moore's Trees Outside the Academy, Holly Golightly's You Can't Buy a Gun when You're Crying, The Restarts Actively Seeking Work.
My background in the print and design industry is quite varied. Starting out as an Editorial Production Controller for a specialist b2b publishing company, then moving into typesetting and artworking, pre-press, photography and book binding. This was intersected with time outside the industry working at a major accountancy firm and a multinational pharmaceutical company. My musical taste is quite diverse thanks in part to my parents. This included listening to Motown music , Queen, Elton John, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, Santana, E.L.O, The Who, Genesis and Michael Jackson to name just a few. Now, I listen to music from many genres from rock and rockabilly, to jazz , blues and swing, electronic and house music, 80's, film and game soundtracks.
First Gig: King Diamond at The Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 2003.
Guilty Pleasure: Gustav Holst; Mars, The Bringer of War, from the Planets suite. One of the most epic sounding pieces of classical music ever written. Influential in John William's score for Star Wars and Hans Zimmer's Gladiator.
Growing up as a music obsessed teenager in Corby in the 90s, I realised London was going to be the place I had to escape to. As a devoted reader of Select, Kerrang and The NME, I knew from the start I wanted to work in music magazines, a suitable career choice 20 years ago. I’ve been an Artworker since landing my first job straight out of University as a Junior Designer at Record Collector Magazine, back in the year 2000. There I learnt most of my typesetting skills making articles about bands like Gay Dad look fancy. I joined A2Z in 2001 and subsequently moved to Key Production in Camden where I thought I’d won the lottery, working in the goth paradise that I’d visited every weekend when I was at University. I’d spend most lunch hours in The Eagle or following Noel Fielding around Sainsbury’s, and most evenings at gigs. I departed Key in 2003 to work in advertising at The Guardian, and made the move out of London to Hove in 2007. I had a long stint as a Studio Manager in charity marketing before the call of Key lured me to return in 2019, back in music where I belong. I’ve been told by many people that music is the only thing I talk about, although that’s probably more likely to be cats these days.
First Gig: Adam and the Ants at Birmingham Odeon in January 1982 with my dad. I was four years old and I used to get up early and watch the Prince Charming video, taped from Top of the Pops over and over again. Apparently I was going to marry Adam Ant if I had my way. The only bit of the gig I remember is my dad telling me to ‘stand up, he’s taken his top off’, and standing on the cinema seat to have a look. My mum insists she’s kept the T-shirt I was bought, but after 39 years in the loft I don’t think it’ll fit me.
Guilty Pleasure: 80s Hair metal bands. I’m not ashamed to say I’m in love with the strongest look in music history.
I grew up in Cleethorpes, buying my 7” singles from Woolworths and WH Smiths, and reading Smash Hits and later the NME. I knew at some point I would need to move away from my little seaside town to find my tribe and hopefully a job in design too. So in the very late 80s I decided to leave my job working in a shop selling cameras, to go back to art college to learn graphic design. Two years at Lincoln Art College followed by two more at Bolton doing my HND, I then made the move to Manchester in the early 90’s where I discovered the work of Neville Brody, David Carson, and Raygun magazine as well as the work of Vaughn Oliver and the beautiful 4AD album artwork which really sparked my love of graphic design and typography. In June 1996 I finally made the move to London to try to find a job. Luckily for me I moved into a shared house with some people who introduced me to Karen (our CEO) and even luckier, their designer was about to leave Key so Karen took a chance on me and I became the in house design/artwork person. I stayed for 14 years before leaving to try other things. After 10 years away, In 2021 I was lucky enough to join Key again and I couldn’t be happier to be back and working with all the lovely people here. I made the move back north earlier this year too so now work from our Sheffield office as part of the reprographics team.
First Gig: Erasure at Sheffield City Hall
Guilty Pleasure: Love The Carpenters. Brings back memories of listening to them in the back of my dad’s Citroen DS back in the 1970s.
I have a massive love for music as it was a big part of my childhood being one of my dad’s passions. It was a big part of connecting with those close to me through family gatherings, car trips, and listening parties after school to hear the new High School Musical movie soundtrack. I also have a love for print after dedicating the majority of my studies experimenting and learning more about the format. From school doing my GCSEs, to doing my degree and personal projects, it's always been an interest of mine. A few years after graduating, I found myself in a role that perfectly mixes my love for both music and print as an Artworker in the Reprographics department at Key.
First Gig: X factor Live Tour 2011
Guilty Pleasure: True Crime documentaries.
Born and raised in North-West London, I have been crunching numbers for a career since completing my A-levels. Prior to joining Key Production, I worked in an accountancy firm for 8 years which is where I became a qualified accountant. Crunching numbers and listening to music are two of my favourite passions, so the opportunity to work for Key Production in the finance department was a no-brainer. I have been listening to a variety of music genres from a young age including Hip-Hop, R&B, Rap, Grime, and Garage. Outside the workplace, I enjoy watching sport, mainly football supporting Manchester United and attending social events with friends and family.
First Gig: Kid Ink at O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire
Guilty Pleasure: Lionel Richie
As well as counting beans for a living, I played drums on the London pub circuit with rhythm & blues band "The Runner Brothers" for over 20 years. These days I swap the sticks for trainers and spend most of my free time outside of work and family life, running about all over London in training for various international marathons and other long distance races. My favourite bands are Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Ojos de Brujo. Musical guilty pleasures: Elvis Presley.
First Gig: Genesis at Wembley Stadium in the early eighties, when Eric Clapton came on for a guest appearance encore. I knew then that my musical path was ROCK (not pop)!
Guilty Pleasure: Star Wars Merch collecting.
Starting at RTM in 1992 my working life began, I then moved over to Vital Distribution doing export sales in the dance dept, from there I then joined Sarm Management doing the Bookings/Contracts, it was here where I started to move into an accounts role, with doing credit control for the engineers/producers, with this I wanted to do more accounts work, so when the opportunity came up at Key Production to do Sales Ledger / Credit control and with knowing Karen and Key Production for years I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back since, some 22 years ago!
First Gig: A band called Caravan @ The Forum, which was then called the Town & Country Club.
Guilty Pleasure: Dance Music and Clubs.
My first accounts based job was in 2007, working for a Construction company. Accounting wasn’t a career path I necessarily chose, I kind of just stumbled upon it. So the opportunity to join Key in 2012 and combine my love of music with work was the perfect combination. My music taste is quite varied - I have my favourite bands like everyone does but that aside, I listen to all sorts of stuff. Not only is Key a great place to work, full of lovely people but it is also the reason I’ve come to love Music Photography. The first gig I ever photographed was thanks to Key and I haven’t looked back since. Having the opportunity to photograph some of my favourite bands is ACE! Who knows, perhaps one day Key will be manufacturing a Gatefold Sleeve which has on it a photograph that I’ve taken!
First Gig: Green Day at Milton Keynes Bowl in 2005, I think.
Guilty Pleasure: Songs from Disney Movies, Taylor Swift and a whole bunch more. I don’t feel guilty about any of it.
Accounts was nothing planned as I’m more the creative hands on type, so it was something I literally fell into and have since been within the finance sector for over 10years. Having initially started as an office junior assistant for a kitchen and lighting company which then progressed into an accounts payable clerk role. My journey took off from there where I gained all my experience through the opportunities I have had by being a part of some great businesses. I am very much into fashion and all my previous positions besides my first job have been in accounts within the fashion retail industry. I joined Key in 2017 and so far, it’s been great slightly different to the fashion stuff but most definitely a good place to be.
First Gig: Jodeci with my mum and older cousin.
Guilty Pleasure: Mc Donald’s (trying to do better lol).
Born in North London, my first musical influences were my parent’s Irish records; The Clancy Brothers, Val Doonican, and my big brothers playing Donna Summer, X-Ray Specs, David Bowie and Joy Division. A Saturday job on the record counter at Woolworths and a gap year at Our Price Records gave me a taste for working around music. I loved Two Tone which resonated with me culturally and politically. Then The Smiths. I would always seek out new sounds; Cajun, folk, indie, grunge, Americana. I love culture: music, film, books, art, design and telly. After studying English and Media In Nottingham and then Film Studies in London, I was fortunate enough to meet similar record and gig enthusiasts at Key Production in 1996 and to be around Camden Town in the Nineties and Noughties. After a 10 year stint working in primary education, the revolving doors at Key have recently brought me back into the fold. It’s great to be involved in a company that takes pride in making beautifully packaged vinyl and cds.
First Gig: The Beat and The Belle Stars at The Rainbow Theatre 1981.
Guilty Pleasure: Duets! Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers, Barbra Streisand & Andy Gibb, Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, Nick Cave & Kylie.
“Looking back over my shoulder” as Mike and Mechanics used to sing, I realise that I am now exactly where I want to be and the impossible is possible! Once in a lifetime, you find yourself standing at a crossroads. You have already chosen the road but still you are too scared to take the first step as nobody knows where will this road lead you (The God may know but He will never tell you!). To keep long story short: I think that I am very lucky to work at Key Production at the beginning of my career in finance, coming from completely different world of pedagogy and linguistics with more than 12 years experience in my pocket. When I started, I was asked how do I find working at Key and my answer was, “It’s too good to be true”. If you ask me the same question today, my answer will not be the same – “it’s STILL too good to be true!”
First Gig: It was me, dancing and singing old Russians songs, using the skipping rope as a microphone. When I was a student at university, I had a chance to listen to the French Legend – Patricia Kaas. It took me more than 6 months to save my scholarship money and buy a ticket. But it’s definitely something to remember!
Guilty Pleasure: My first and only love – Vivaldi (Vivat!)
I couldn’t wait to get a new toy when I was a kid - another thing to take apart to see how it worked. Sadly it took me a long time to figure out how to put them back together again. On my first day at school the teacher said I would be an architect as I was so good at building sandcastles. Who would have thought that 20 years later I’d be using these wonderful skills?! It was my degree in Product Design at the University of Brighton that ignited my passion in all forms of design. It opened the door to an internship at a local company called Modo. I loved the job so much that I returned after graduating. Shortly afterwards, we joined with the Key Group and that opened up many more opportunities and interesting projects to work on. My other passion is photography, not only from an artistic or creative perspective, but to help me document how I see culture, trends and the built world. I greatly admire Saul Leiter who was famous for using colour film as a medium to capture 1950s New York. For me it is about documenting change, trying to understand how the world works and how cultures differ between places. My dream is that one day in the future people will look at my photos, in the same way that I look at Saul Lieter’s photos from over half a century ago. Recent visits to Hong Kong and China really opened my eyes to the World. I’m planning a trip to New York and Tokyo. Photography inspires my design work - I’m always drawing inspiration from what is around me.
First Gig: Blondie at the Brighton Centre in 2003.
Guilty Pleasure: Carry On films.
Remember the days at Mayking back in the 90s? Can’t say I do, my journey started in the spring of 2015. To set the scene: It all began on a rainy afternoon at the University of Brighton. After a spell of missed lectures I attended a careers seminar, mostly out of guilt. Complacent in the notion that roof tiling, medical and McDonalds design placements weren’t for me, I was set to take a, lets say, ‘early lunch’. Being well versed in prematurely leaving a pointless seminar, I was sure my best bet was to discreetly pack away my bits and pieces whilst the handsome bloke at the front unpacked his. It was the perfect ‘crime’. Ready to initiate the final phase of the plan, I had one last scan of soon to be ‘crime scene’, it was then I caught a glimpse of a much-coveted Stone Roses box set. Being wholeheartedly betrothed to my Discog’s Want List, I decided to stay. It was during the course of the short presentation that followed that I came to realise I could combine my burning passion for design, music and vinyl in one perfect job. Without sounding too dramatic (perhaps a little late for that), that presentation swept me up and changed my life. I knew I had to work in the music industry! Fortunately, I was offered an internship with Modo, which later developed into a full time position with Key/Modo …Years later, I’m still loving my job more than a seagull working at Harry Ramsden’s. Moral of the story, start a Discogs Want List, follow your heart and don’t skip seminars.
First Gig: First ‘conventional’ gig: The Cribs at O2 Academy Oxford.
Guilty Pleasure: If I’m completely honest, in company I often find myself covertly skipping the 60’s Country tracks that persistently crop up on shuffle. “They just won’t understand” I tell myself.
Growing up in Reading, I was raised on a diet of yearly Reading Festivals, gigging round the town with my band and great transport links, the latter of which caused me to spend much of my time going in and out of London. Once I’d done A-levels, I shunned University in favour of continuing with my band and got a few jobs, eventually getting a job in IT at a school. I spent 2 years learning everything I could about servers and computers and general IT support, while spending most of my downtime travelling between Reading and Paddington, before coming up with the extremely-thought-out-and-meticulously-budgeted plan I called “Moving to London without a job”. This plan was thwarted by the timely request to come in for an interview at Key less than a month before my moving date. It’s been great to join the team and company and I look forward to growing within the confines of such a stimulating environment!
First Gig: I’m assured it was Tony Di Bart when I was 2, but the earliest I remember was probably Lighthouse Family…I was a victim of circumstance. You can hear Reading Festival from my house so I’m settling on Nirvana when I was 3 months old…
Guilty Pleasure: I didn’t think I had many, but a collection of vinyl I’ve put on in the office and had taken off would be Debussy, Huey Lewis and the News and once even a Devo album.
I joined Key in September 2020 having spent the previous years of my working life immersed in the fashion industry and travelling all over the world. Nowadays I’m very happy to stay in one place and since music has always been such an essential part of my life, finding myself surrounded by records and music obsessives makes me very happy. Seeing the finished records of some of my favourite artists arrive through the doors is always exciting. Outside of work it’s gigs, festivals and (hopefully) passing my love of music on to my 4yr old son who I’m glad to say has impeccable taste so far! Oh and of course I wouldn’t be a true vegan if I failed to mention that.
First Gig: Placebo at Brixton Academy 2000
Guilty Pleasure: I’m often made to justify my super fandom of Kanye so I guess it’s (reluctantly) that.
My number one passion is music: I attend a lot of gigs and festivals. I’m an avid collector of vinyl – not only do I love the warmer sound it gives, I also like how the design and format creates a collectable, treasured item for music-lovers like myself. Back in the day I worked for a few dance labels, with a spot of DJing in my spare time. I returned to the printing industry, progressing to artworking and design. I have 11 years of experience in the creative industries, where I liaised with clients, suppliers and printers to manage projects, from clients' briefs through to worldwide delivery. So, combined with my love of music and my knowledge of print, this is the perfect job for me.
First Gig: It was either Public Enemy in 1988 or the Pet Shop Boys around the same year with my parents, I can’t remember which came first.
Guilty Pleasure: I have quite a few! But if I had to choose one it would have to be John Farnham “You’re The Voice” which, incidentally, goes down very well at the Bugged Out All-dayer which happens every New Year’s Day. But at Christmas time that will change to “Stay Another Day” by Walthamstow’s finest: East 17.
Born and raised in Wiltshire, I spent most of my childhood playing either football, rugby, or cricket. By my early to mid-teens, I had started to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to play for Manchester United. It was around this time that my older brethren’s musical influences started filtering through to me and I was quickly captivated by electronic music and DJ culture. After collecting records and DJ’ing for a few years, I went on to study music production and DJ’ing at the ACM in Guildford. My passion for music, specifically vinyl, got me my first official job in music at Sounds of The Universe/Soul Jazz records in Soho where I expanded my knowledge on a massive range of musical genres and era’s. This naturally led me into an A&R, label, and artist management role with 22a Records where I am lucky to have worked with some of the U.K., Europe and worlds most talented jazz musicians and electronic producers. Since fleeing London for Brighton in 2020 I have started working on new label project, D.O.T Records, and continue to DJ and collect records, as well as working as a freelance Ecologist.
First Gig: Gomez at Southampton Guildhall in 1998
Guilty Pleasure: Reality TV shows