Published in The Music Network
We talk to Scott Horscroft, VP of A&R Labels EMI Music Australasia and Director of Archangelsky Music and BJB Studios, about his new role at EMI, the local talents that’s caught his ear and his highs – and lows – of 2010.
Hi Scott, how are you settling in at EMI?
It’s been an amazing month. My kick-off at EMI was basically ARIA week which turned out to be filled with fantastic things for EMI and my production team, such as Birds Of Toyko winning Rock Album Of The Year and Angus and Julia Stone winning basically everything else. It was a great time to be inducted into the family vibe of EMI; I’m surrounded by industry experts and music maths mentors from multiple areas of the record industry. I’ve always had a dream of working with acts from the developmental stage all the way through to the big top. I guess I’m now one step closer.
The curtains are closing on the year pretty soon. When we’re glancing at the history books some time from now, what will the ‘2010’ entry look like for the Australian music biz?
We’ve seen some great Australian talent coming on this year and really taking on the international market in a big way. New bloods like Flight Facilities, Boy and Bear, Miami Horror and Gold Fields are really exciting prospects for 2011. Domestically, it’s great to see interesting projects like Little Red and Washington really staying in the charts. We’ve also seen some really interesting hip hop and dance, which has formed a nice platform to really launch some more great acts and records in the year ahead.
Any new albums you’re working on that we should keep an ear out for?
Production-wise, I’ve been working on the new Leader Cheetah record for the past three weeks and it’s sounding amazing. We’re finishing that record by the year-out and we’ve just completed a great new track by The Delta Riggs. In the new year I have Matt Gow and The Dead Leaves, Sugar Army and a few others projects. In EMI-world, we’re super-excited about Faker’s new record, Papa vs Pretty, King Cannons and 360 dropping early in the year.
What have been your 2010 highlights?
The year has been absolutely massive, starting with a trip to Sweden with the Birds Of Tokyo entourage to continue making their self-titled album. This was an absolute highlight in my career and for six weeks we laboured in Gothenburg and Air Studios in London. I flew straight from Sweden with terrible post-record exhaustion to meet Sam Pearton – my partner in production – who informed me we had to jump on another flight to start Little Red pre-production. Another highlight has been seeing Empire of the Sun take on the world in a massive way. We Are The People has peaked at No. 1 in Germany this week! Also seeing the digital market continue to become stronger and continue to be a major player in transforming the music industry.
And the lows?
Seeing fantastic groups continue to struggle financially and have to work second jobs to facilitate their art. Illegal downloading of music is still having a terrible impact on the whole industry and we’re still not doing enough as a musical culture to battle this. I hope to see the industry’s involvement in finding a solution to this problem becoming a priority.
Looking ahead, who should we be keeping an eye out for in the year to come?
The next The Sleepy Jackson album, Papa vs Pretty, Stonefields, Stephanie Cherote, The upcoming Presets record, Leader Cheetah, Silverchair, Gold Fields, Sophie Brous, Delta Riggs, King Cannons, Blue Juice and 360. It is a diverse, exciting time for Australian music.
And what are the big changes you predict for the year ahead in the music biz?
I see the music industry moving back in time with record companies becoming full music service business and becoming more involved in facilitating careers than just being involved in the record-making process.
Will the four majors become three by this time next year?
EMI Music is stronger than ever. Let’s just say that I hope Paul Harris and Mike Taylor don’t end up in the same office.