If you’ve seen the new Spider-Man movie, you’ll know that every superhero needs their “guy in the chair”. While Peter Parker is out crawling walls and saving babies, his main man is back at mission control feeding him info, steering him away from danger and pointing him in the right direction. If you haven’t seen the new Spider-Man movie, this next person will be very disappointed in you. This week, we want to introduce you to our guy on the home front pulling all the threads together, the voice of reason giving the rest of us the head’s up while we’re out in the field saving your babies. Please say g’day to our General Manager, James Arnold-Garvey.
AOE Blog: So who the fuck are you?
I’m James, General Manager of Architects of Entertainment. You can call me Jimmy if you want to but few people do.
OK, Jimmy, what was the first festival you ever attended?
Big Day Out, 2000. It was the start of my last year of high school and I don’t think I had any real concept of what a music festival was at that point, let alone something as large as Big Day Out. Chilis, Nine Inch Nails, Chemical Brothers, Foos and Basement Jaxx were there. So were 20,000 other people. I think it blew my little mind a bit.
How did you get your start in the music industry?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag, really. I fancied myself a musician when I was younger, studied audio engineering and got into recording and mixing, crewed on a few smaller festivals, ended up in music media for a while, did a bit of PR and marketing. Just sort of kept one toe in the pool, all while doing various other jobs and learning new skills to keep me afloat. And now I’m here, thanks to the good graces of our glorious benefactors.
And what have you been doing with us since then?
More of a mixed bag! From finance and accounts, contracts, policy and HR, through to IT, admin and socials. I’ve got a bit of a hand in everything. I manage, generally.
What was the biggest lesson you learned on your first professional gig?
Be ready to do whatever you can, because you’ll have to do something you never thought you would.
What do you do better than anyone else?
You know when you ask someone to fix your computer but, before they’ve done anything, everything magically works all of a sudden and you feel like a bit of an idiot? I’m that guy.
What artist, dead or alive, would you most like to see live?
Hmm. Kate Bush, Tom Waits or Talking Heads. Until Keith Richards dies, and then I’ll probably wish I’d have seen him.
Who inspires you and why?
Our team inspires me. Is that too corny?
Well, it’s true. We have two incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and hardworking leaders at the helm. We have an event manager ready for whatever comes his way. We have great support and a depth of passion from administrations and accounts. Crew on the front line at all hours of the day. All in service of bringing the music to the people. Surrounded by that, it’s hard not to be inspired.
What about me, your ever-loving blog?
You’re alright, I guess. A little needy.
So what are some big things you’re hoping to achieve in the next, say, 5 years?
I want to see AoE grow and flourish. I want to learn more about what needs to be done here and do it. I want to produce more of our own shows. I want to establish our Melbourne office. I want us to be recognised as industry leaders. And I want it to happen in two years, not five. Personally, I want to see more live music and support new talent however I can.
A minute ago you finished bump out on the biggest festival you’ve ever put together. What is your refreshing beverage of choice?
A nice bourbon, neat, please.
And what’s next?
I’ll probably post this blog.
James is currently posting this blog. He’ll be working across all upcoming AoE shows, but you might not even see him.
Feature Image: Rebecca Houlden