Joshua Karchmer Interview
September 21, 2009
I fired some questions over to former Juliana Theory manager Joshua Karchmer. This is what Josh had to share.
"The 6 or 7 years we worked together were some of the best times of my life."
I met the band in 2000. At the time, I worked for a label in New York called Artemis Records and I initially approached the band about trying to sign them to the label. We developed a relationship over time. Ultimately, I couldn't get my company to pull the trigger on a deal with T&N to get the band. But I believed in them and knew that I could help them accomplish the things they wanted to in the business. We eventually decided to work together, and I took over as their manager. I managed the band out of my office at Artemis for several months, then left to run my management full time once we signed to Epic.
I ran the band’s businesses: touring, recording, merchandising, etc. I was very close with the guys personally, and possibly a de facto '6th member'. A good manager acts as a CEO of the band’s businesses and promotes the artist’s agenda with all partners: labels, agents, concert promoters, press, etc. Gave them advice and helped guide their career and lives. I think some of the guys considered me to be like an older, shorter brother.
I got involved with the band right after Emotion Is Dead came out, and part of my agenda was to move the band on to a bigger label. We had offers from several major labels, and happened to choose Epic. When those offers came, I negotiated the band’s release from T&N. For a while it was uncomfortable between us and T&N. I had some grievances about how the band was being paid and naturally T&N wasn’t happy about the band moving on after they had invested time and money into the band and working to build them to the point they were at the time. Eventually everyone got over the bad feelings. T&N are a great indie label – I have a lot of respect for what they do.
Of course. The biggest fan.
Working with TJT was a great ride. The 6 or 7 years we worked together were some of the best times of my life. Those guys were like family to me and I’m thankful to have been able to experience so many of things we did together.
Yes, that was an imprint deal I did with the band and Abacus.
The business has changed in the last 10 years. You can't count on recorded music as a primary revenue stream or on the labels to act as banks like we used to. Managers and artists have to maximize their touring, merchandising and licensing streams, and not rely on labels. I shut down my management business a few years ago – to survive you need to continue developing a steady stream of artists that can make good money on the road. And hope that one or 2 really break through and can headline bigger venues.
I've been a big Stern fan for 15 years. I listen when I’m in the car, and still sometimes listen to Sirius online while I’m in the office. I still love the show, I just don’t have as much time for it these days.
Yeah, my new company LEVEL4 that I co-own with Darren Doane is doing great. We're producing everything from documentary films (Van Morrison: To Be Born Again, and Collision with Christopher Hitchens), to commercials for Toyota, JBL and Hurley, to lots of big music videos (Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, Shinedown, Buckcherry, Zac Brown Band). Right now we’re finishing off a concert film for Jason Mraz that will be released in November.
Our new documentary COLLISION is being released October 27. It’ll screen in NYC and LA and be available on DVD exclusively through Amazon. It’s a debate film between one of the most well-known atheists in the world (Christopher Hitchens) and an evangelical theologian (Doug Wilson). They argue the topic "Is Christianity Good For The World?". It's a very interesting film. We’re producing and distributing it ourselves. www.collisionmovie.com
I've licensed "Leave Like A Ghost" for a short film I produced for Toyota and also have used some of Brett's Belasana tracks on things. There's a new Vesta album that sounds awesome that I'll probably be placing in some projects down the line as well.
UFC, without question. I've become a huge fan of mixed martial arts in the last 5 years or so. It's my favourite sport.
I love living in LA (I moved here in 2002), but miss quite a few things about NYC.
They are both masterpieces, but if I had to choose, I'd say Goodfellas.
Take a look at some of Josh's current projects at the level4.tv website.