Interview with Shannon Quiqqle, Director of Publicity at the Facedown Records family of labels (Facedown, Strike First, & Dreamt).
How long have you been doing publicity for Facedown Records?
I’ve been working for Facedown since the summer of 2005 when I started in the mailroom. I came into the publicity position in 2006.
What all does your job entail?
I field press requests for all of our bands as well as pitching my own requests out to magazines, radio stations, newspapers, and digital media.
I write bios for our bands, maintain our Facebook and Twitter profiles, and send press releases for new signings, record releases and other important label news.
What do you find the most enjoyable part of publicity?
I really enjoy the satisfaction of having a pitch accepted by a publication and seeing our bands in print. I also have nerd tendencies and really enjoy clerical work like filing and the finer points of publicity like proofreading bands’ interviews.
What is the most frustrating?
By far the most frustrating thing is seeing a really great album go unnoticed by the bigger publications. It can be really disheartening to see a band put so much work into something just to have magazines pass right over it.
Do you prefer working with print publication or web publications or is there really no difference in your opinion?
I’m still really old school when it comes to media. To me, having a band reviewed in a magazine like Rock Sound is superior to having the same review appear on a high profile metal blog. I guess print just makes it seem more legitimate. But I’ve definitely embraced the music blogs as well. Online media is the future as well as the present, and who knows how much longer glossy music magazines will be around?
How involved do you get with finding new talent or artist development?
I’m not very involved with A&R at all. The most I contribute is to pass along a band that hits my radar that I think would be a good fit for the label.
Is there anything about the publicity side of the music business that the normal fan/consumer does not know?
Sometimes I get the impression that people think publicist have a lot of power, that we can just muscle our way into all kinds of press for our bands. The truth is there are thousands of publicists out there trying to do the same things for their own bands and it’s not all that easy to get a magazine to write a review, or pick up an interview for the bands you represent. That’s why it’s so gratifying to see my bands in print.
Are you a fan of the metal/hardcore genres? Have they grown on you?
Honestly, not that much. I have a moderate background in hardcore, nothing too in depth, but I’m learning more about the genres all the time and I have a lot of respect for the members of our bands. They work really hard out on the road all the time, promoting their music and the label, and they’ve got really upstanding characters. I’m proud to work with our bands.
Facedown Families has a great reputation as being a family of artists, what do you think makes it that way?
Our bands have contributed in a huge way to our label being thought of as a family. Over the years our roster has included some very upstanding and ethical bands. Not just people with whom we love to do business, but people with whom we also love to spend time and hangout.
Jason and Virginia Dunn have hosted many bands at their home for days on end. They have also taken bands to the beach or to dinner just to spend time with them. Our label is a family and every band that we bring on board is an extension of that family. We are called to be joined together as brothers and sisters in Christ and to love and care for one another. Romans 12:5 says “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” That’s why when we announce a new signing we always welcome them “to the family.”
Do you utilize the same promotional strategy for each artist or do artists rather have their own unique needs for promotion?
I follow the same basic schedule for sending out promos for all our bands. Unless we have a band that is musically very different (My Epic, Abel, Thieves & Liars) I send promos for all albums to the same outlets and seek press from those outlets.
In working with other labels, it is pretty common to see labels outsource their publicity to outside firms. How do you feel about that approach?
I think it’s a great idea for some labels and we’ve even used outside publicity companies on one or two of our past releases. It’s a nice option to have if you’re a label that doesn’t have consecutive releases. For us, releasing as many albums as we do each year, in house publicity works best.
For someone that might want to get into the music business in promotion or artist development, what advice do you have for them?
Be meticulous with your communication. Writing skills, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, it all matters. If you can communicate in a way that’s intelligent and straightforward then you already have a leg up on your competition.
What are you currently listening to?
My Epic Yet, M83, Yeasayer Odd Blood, and I’m really getting into old jazz and blues records lately thanks to my husband.
With having a husband famous for tattoo artistry and awesome album artwork, do you have your fair share of tattoos from Dave?
He’s not very keen on tattooing me. I’ve asked a few times but he just doesn’t feel good about it. It’s not all that terrible because I don’t want tattoos badly enough to go anywhere else anyway. The fun thing is that I get to see pieces of Dave’s artwork that no one else ever gets to see, and I get to watch how his art develops as he works on album covers and merch designs. I’m always blown away by his talent and skill. I’m a very lucky woman.