Interview: Richard Lathrop, Label Manager @ Big Night Records

5 min read
Sep 29, 2023 11:07:51 AM

Blog Interview Social Media Video - Richard Lathrop (1)We're excited to chat to Richard Lathrop, Label Manager at Big Night Records, as he shares insights from his journey in the music industry. From insightful personal anecdotes, to top tips and professional insights, his openness and passion make this a great read for aspiring artists and industry heads alike. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from one of the industry's seasoned professionals.

Interview with Richard Lathrop:

Question: What initially drew you to the music industry and working at a record label?

Richard: I started in the music industry at a beyond young age after seeing the music video for Skrillex’s ‘Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites’ on MTV. I immediately knew that this new type of music was it for me - it was truly love at first sight. That immediate passion snowballed through many parts of the music industry. From being a promoter, to working in event marketing, and now being across marketing, management, and on the record label side, I feel like my path has been non-linear but has given me a great perspective on the industry as a whole.

Question: If you didn't work in the music industry, what would you do instead?

Richard: Marketing, 100%! It is such a key part of my roles now, but even outside of that, I have always had so much fun in marketing roles. It provides a big challenge, but finding creative solutions to reach the right audience with the right medium is an incredibly rewarding experience.

Question: What's your ultimate guilty pleasure song?

Richard: Our Song by Taylor Swift. In the Dance Music space, though, it has to be the Audien remix of Bastille’s Pompeii.

Question: Can you share a memorable or defining moment in your career that had a significant impact on you?

Richard: Alongside Big Night Records, I also work with our artist management group, Big Night Talent. The moments that always have the most significant impact for me are seeing any of our artists perform their original songs in front of a large audience. Seeing how much a song can resonate and the look on our artist’s face is unparalleled. It’s such an incredible adrenaline rush every time.

Question: Who is an emerging artist you think people should be listening to?

Richard: We have two artists who have been releasing on Big Night Records that I think people need to check out. First up is Embers! Falling in the alternative/emo rap space, his music takes me right back to Vans Warped Tour in 2013, blending that nostalgia with fresh, clean production. Second is Jake Shore. If you aren’t already familiar with tracks like ‘HECTIC’, ‘Freak 2 The Core’, or ‘SOFTLY’, you have definitely heard them at a club or on a festival mainstage this year. Gathering support from FISHER, Diplo, and countless other dance music legends, it would be an understatement to say Jake Shore is a name to watch.

Question: Who is the best act you've seen live and why?

Richard: The best show I have ever attended was Skrillex, Fred again.., and Four Tet at Madison Square Garden earlier this year. I went with a GA ticket, and was right at the rail for the whole five hours. That set was so magical. From the moment when Skrillex surprised dropped ‘Don’t Get Too Close’, to that incredible ending that has gone on to become so iconic across all their sets, it’ll be hard to top that one.

Question: Is there a specific piece of advice you'd give yourself back when you first started in the industry?

Richard: Branch out as much as possible. It is so important to try different roles, and most importantly, let yourself fail in them. Understanding what needs to be done in each position, and the importance of them, will help you manage and grow an incredible team effectively.

Question: What's the best piece of advice you've ever received in your career?

Richard: Never do something the same way twice. There is always something you can improve on in everything. In this industry, things change incredibly fast. It is so important to always think about how and why you handle every aspect of a rollout, live show, or label pitch.

Question: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Richard: Teleportation. Imagine being able to be anywhere in an instant… I would never be late to anything again, and FOMO would be a thing of the past.

Question: What qualities do you look for in an artist when considering signing them to your label?

Richard: We look for artists who fall outside of the norms in their genre or scene. From unique arrangements to creative uses of production techniques, we always have an eye out for what is going to be big next, not just looking for copycats of whatever the current trendy sound is.

Question: What are the common mistakes artists make when approaching record labels?

Richard: Feeling discouraged after having one song, or one batch of songs, denied. Artists should never feel discouraged to send music again and again. Just keep a label’s feedback and current sound(s) in mind when sending. No A&R wants to see themselves BCC’d on an email with fifty other contacts. Cater your pitches every time, but do not be afraid to put your music in front of the same eyes again.

Question: How important is an artist's image and branding in today's music industry?

Richard: Your image and branding is everything today. With the prevalence of social media, it is beyond important to stand out. Your image as an artist should always be at the forefront of your mind. From style, to your voice on socials, to your stage presence - everything should be uniquely you and feel appealing to your target audience. Developing this kind of voice isn’t easy, and is hard to get right on your first try. Do not feel like your branding or image are ever set in stone. They should both be ever-evolving, alongside your music.

Question: How hard/easy is it to get signed these days?

Richard: It is both easier and harder than ever. Platforms like LabelRadar make it so easy to get your music heard by A&Rs, but also increase the quantity of demos they are receiving and listening to on a daily basis. It is super important to take time to learn platforms like LabelRadar and how to stand out within it, along with making sure your sound and brand will stand out to an A&R representative in seconds.

Question: How has joining LabelRadar impacted your (or your team's) day to day?

Richard: LabelRadar has been a game-changer for A&R operations at Big Night Records. The platform allows for us to hear more music on a daily basis than ever before. We are on the platform every day, sorting submissions and actively signing releases. I have found so many one-of-a-kind artists and songs on LabelRadar. If you’re reading this, send something our way - we’d love to hear it!

If you don’t already have a LabelRadar account, you can sign up here.