July 26, 2022

Kishi Bashi and the Empathy of Music — 1/4

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Episode Highlights

Think about the last time a marketer lost your interest. They may have felt very strongly about the topic, but their enthusiasm only annoyed you. Could it be that the subject lacked relevance? In this series, we will follow the journey of a musician who won the hearts of fans by observing and considering the stories of others. Can the same experiences that shaped a career in indie rock, give us clues to improve our own ABM communications and B2B marketing practices?

Topics Discussed

  • Introducing Kishi Bashi [01:23]
  • Kishi Bashi on the importance of empathy [03:30]
  • Kishi Bashi’s introduction to music [05:10]
  • Kishi Bashi’s first band, Jupiter One [07:21]
  • Kishi Bashi joins Of Montreal [08:01]
  • Kishi Bashi on classical vs modern music [09:39]
  • Kishi Bashi tours with Regina Spektor [11:17]
  • Kishi Bashi challenged to be a solo artist [12:50]
  • Introducing Kishi Bashi’s manager, Tom Sarig [15:00]
  • Tom Sarig on the difference between A&R and management [19:18]
  • Tom Sarig on identifying artists to represent [23:54]
  • Tom Sarig on the role of story-telling as a musician [25:48]
  • Tom Sarig on how empathy drives relevant music business decisions [26:58]
  • Next episode preview [30:43]

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[00:00:00] Hiromi: Think about the last time someone lost your interest. They may have felt very strongly about the topic, but their enthusiasm only annoyed you. Could it be that the subject lacked relevance? In this series, we'll follow the journey of a musician who won the hearts of fans by observing and considering the stories of others.

[00:00:21] In the same experiences that shaped a career in Indie Rock, give us clues to improve our own communications in marketing practices. This is a podcast about B to B marketing and the account based mindset. This is Reach.

[00:00:41] Well, thanks so much for joining me today. My name's Hiromi. And, you know, our goal for Reach is to consider the perspectives of high achievers outside the world of marketing, that gleam principles that we can apply to our practice. And so, we've had the privilege of learning from some extra ordinary athletes and explorers, but from the beginning we've been wanting to include the perspective of a musician.

[00:01:04] This series is being brought to you with a special collaboration from Ikigai Stories, that's I-K-I-G-A-I, and they graciously allowed us to use some of their audio for this story. If you like inspiring stories that highlight the journey toward purpose, be sure to visit I-K-I-G-A-Ilab.co.

[00:01:23] So about 10 years ago, I was scrolling through album art, looking for design inspiration, I guess. And I- I came across one album cover with a drawing of a young girl and a tiger, and it really grabbed me. So I looked up the artist, and I wasn't expecting too much, to be honest, but I found him on YouTube and I was blown away. This guy was alone on a small stage, he was dressed like some kind of forest prince, but he was looping his violin through a pedal to create the most amazing layered orchestral sounds. The melodies were earnest but hooky, like a danceable Andrew Bird.

[00:02:03] So my wife Robbie and I started going out to see him when we could, and his live set was every bit as amazing. It was so clear that this guy had some real talent. But the crowds were small back then, the venues were intimate, so we could just chat with him after, and, and keep in touch a little bit.

[00:02:21] Well, fast forward 10 years and Kishi Bashi is getting the attention that he really deserves. He's got a few albums under his belt, all of them amazing, by the way. He's releasing a movie this year. So we gave him a call to see if he'd share some of the things he's learned over the past several years. And, uh, so, K, it's been a long time.

[00:02:46] Kaoru Ishibashi: [laughs]. Oh, yeah.

[00:02:46] Hiromi: It's nice to see you

[00:02:47] again.

[00:02:47] Kaoru Ishibashi: Hiromi. Yeah, good to see you again. Yeah.

[00:02:49] Hiromi: Yeah, so maybe you could introduce yourself, and tell us, you know, how this all started?

[00:02:57] Kaoru Ishibashi: Sure. Um, I'm Kishi Bashi, also known as Kaoru Ishibashi. Uh, I am a singer songwriter. I play violin. And I'm Japanese American. I think a lot of the focus of what I do is, is to blend art with history, to blend art and songwriting and storytelling to kind of connect people with difficult histories. You know, to like basically soften people's hearts with music, and then unload that difficult, [laughs], message, so that it kind of stays.

[00:03:30] Being a human being is a very special thing. It's almost like impossible, from a physics standpoint, for us to be a- alive doing a podcast, talking over like 3,000 miles. We go to space. We harness, you know, nuclear fusion, and it's like a miracle that we're alive right now. It's better to be alive now than it ever has been. Like 75 years, it was not, not the case.

[00:04:01] My mom's from Okinawa, and, you know, Okinawa's this like small island, it's kind of like the Hawaii of Japan. They have an indigenous race of people. They speak Japanese, but with a dialect that mainlanders can't understand. You know, in World War II, they were kind of caught between, you know, their native country that was their home, and the country that they were at war with. They're kind of treated as cannonfodder between the mainland Japanese troops.

[00:04:29] It was kind of crazy, you know, how violent it was. The battle of Okinawa was this awful, really brutal attack, which ended up in like a quarter of Okinawan civilian population being dead. She was on like the, the losing side of the war. I would hope that the more sophisticated we get and the more intelligent we get, that we will protect everybody, all the m- marginalized people and communities, and not fall back into the worst of what our potential is.

[00:05:00] We should, we should be better. We should be the best version of ourselves, I think, in all times. I'm really lucky to have very supporting parents. I grew up in Virginia, also upstate New York, Ithaca. My parents were academic researchers from Japan. And I think like most Asian kids, playing violin is like breathing. [laughs]. You know, it's something. I was raised on classical music, but, you know, I was also a teenager, so I was into like Nirvana and, I don't know, Chili Peppers. I was a metalhead too, so I was into Metallica and stuff like that. But I really got into chamber music, and just really appreciated classical music for its depth and beauty.

[00:05:42] You played Bach or Mozart or Beethoven. You played with the symphony or you played Bach solo etude. These were things that have survived solely on the quality of these pieces. These things are inherently beautiful, and they're beautiful because they kind of showcase the capacity of human beings to transcend with music. You're basically channeling through the best that humanity has to offer up until this point. And so, I think there's so much gain from playing great works of the past. It's a masterpiece.

[00:06:23] But I think when I was graduating high school, there was never an inkling in my head that I could be a professional concert violinist, or even an orchestral violinist. I was just not of that caliber. And so I went to engineering school.

[00:06:37] Speaker 4: Your more fundamental modes of learning.

[00:06:39] Kaoru Ishibashi: My dad actually taught at Cornel, so I think maybe one of his buddies gave me a character endorsement. But when I went there, I entered this music dorm, and that's what I wanted. It was called Jam, and it- basically, I was just jamming every single day, and snowboarding, and playing in bands, and I realized that if you're not studying something that you're passionate about, it's going to be an uphill struggle. And I was really into this jazz violin, that was my thing, like improvising on violin.

[00:07:04] And so, I went to the one school in probably the world that taught jazz violin, which was in Berklee, Boston. I loved improvising on violin. I was an improvising violinist in New York City for like 10 years. You know, so I freelanced doing that, and then I also composed music.

[00:07:21] And I had a rock band, a failed rock band for a while, called Jupiter One. We had two albums. Sophomore effort, and didn't do too well. Um, [laughs], I, I still like it, but that's when I started realizing I was just like this guitar rock singer guy, jumping around, doing scissor kicks, try- you know, trying a little too hard. And so, as much as I wanted to be a guitar, rock singer, I think playing the violin made the b- biggest connections for me. It always, it always helped me the most, because I was really good at it. You know, it's easy for me to like improvise on violin, because I studied it so much, you know?

[00:08:01] I'm not like the best violinist, but I know how to blend in and help the music. So I started freelancing for other musicians, like as their sidemen in their band. And I joined this band, Of Montreal, um, which at the time was one of the coolest Indie Rock bands you could be in. And so I got to join that. Of Montreal was really Kevin Barnes. He's the sole force, the songwriter behind that band. He's the consummate artist, right? He's all the finding inspiration and- and just reinventing himself at every corner.

[00:08:35] But they really encouraged me to be creative and like do new things. Like on the first tour, like I was in the band for one year, so on the tour bus in the back they had a bunch of synthesizers that were set up, and we're always just back there making music on our laptops. And it was this really creative atmosphere. In addition to partying a lot, the value of creating music was something that was just thriving on that tour. And so I'm really grateful, because I, I think wrote a couple of songs on that bus, like Bright Whites, the song I wrote for my debut album.

[00:09:20] Then Mr. Steak, which is another song from my second album, I had definitely made that on the bus, part of it. You know, so it's, uh, a creative time.

[00:09:39] Modern musicians create new music for people. It's still pop music, you know, it's not pushing any borders or like hitting new ground or anything, but I think it's very different, like playing somebody else's music versus creating your own. In the classical world, what you're doing is you're having a conversation, uh, with yourself and with your inspiration, and basically creating, uh, a statement about how you feel about something through these, uh, masterpieces from the past.

[00:10:07] It's kind of like creating vocabulary, like reading poetry, so that you have these beautiful words. But when you go to create your own music, you're creating your own voice. Having a conversation with somebody else. You know, you know, because in a conversation you're improvising based on your own vocabulary.

[00:10:25] And people always want new music. They want something new, they want something fresh, but the reason why they want it is they want to be inspired, they want to feel good about themselves and they want to feel good about humanity. They want to f- see people creating new things that reminds them of how exciting life is.

[00:10:42] I get excited about music all the time. When I hear a new piece, a new song or like some band or an album I've never heard of, it's exciting. In my younger years I'd just get excited because I just loved music, but then now I understand why I get excited, and it's really because I'm just getting reminded of how clever and innovative human beings are. Uh, me, as a human being, as one of them, I'm just really excited to be a part of this creation engine, this machine, this amorphous blob of creativity that has been gifted to us as human beings.

[00:11:17] My big break was like playing with Regina Spektor, I think. She's a pop artist, really brilliant songwriter, and she could just, like halfway through the show the band would leave, we would leave, and she'd just be solo. You know?

[00:11:32] And completely command the audience. And people are like crying, and, you know what I mean? And the next day, like, oh, I wonder what they said about the show, you know? And I'd read in the newspaper, and one of the reviewers was like, "Oh, I couldn't, couldn't wait for the band to leave and it's just me and Regina." You know? [laughs]. I was like, oh. That's when I realized, you could have so much intimacy with the audience when you're solo, you know? You- you need a band to kind of party, to raise the roof, but there's a lot to be said of a single voice and an instrument, and pumped with your favorite song. And I think Regina Spektor's really good at this.

[00:12:07] So I had the opportunity to open up solo for Regina Spektor in Australia. I couldn't take my band, because it was just too expensive, and so I was forced to play solo. So I just had my violin. I think she let me use her guitar for a couple of songs. So I had a solo opening set, and I sold so many CDs. I brought over like 50 CDs, and I sold them out like first night, and then I had to bootleg CD arc from like, uh, Sydney or Melbourne or something. [laughs]. So they're selling CDs for $25 Australian, each, which was one to one to US dollars, so I came back with like $5,000 in my pocket, you know? At that, and it, it, it blew me away. I was like, okay, maybe I need to really push myself with violin.

[00:12:50] And so I started focusing on really pushing the limits of violin improvisation, and that's when I got into looping. And then when I went out solo, doing these shows by myself, either opening or doing small shows by myself, it was like, "Look at me I'm just one person." Violin, you know, beatboxing, and it was really experimental.

[00:13:18] There's a humanity there, that people want to see, that they resonate with, and it was a big part of the early part of my career. And so I had to leave my band and just go solo. And being a solo artist actually is great, because I was living in New York City, I had a kid, it was just like... there was a lot of pressure to just succeed. You're always like screaming for attention, you know, when you live in New York, right? And it's like if you run a company and you fail, you're failing a bunch of people with you. It's a lot of stress, right? As opposed to like if you're a novelist, you just fail yourself and you can just move on.

[00:13:56] And so I realized that if you break off and just be your own creative voice, it frees you up from all these like pressures to completely succeed. It's a pure, creative moment, and in turn that actually helps you to connect with more people, because people see that purity of emotion, they see that purity of human being in art and music and everything. That's what connects to people. It's not like a great melody or a cool beat, it's to see a person within that music, it's, and that's how I feel like is the most powerful way to connect with people.

[00:14:37] And so that was a huge part of my aesthetic, was to basically create a huge sound by myself, with the guitar pedal, that basically allows you to just record over yourself, and basically lets you create a big sounds, and to make loops and beatboxing. And then have intimacy with the audience, and that really helped.

[00:14:59] Hiromi: So I don't know about you, but for me, I think music is a structure that I'm super familiar with from the outside, but when I hear stories like this, it's like I get a sneak peek inside the structure, maybe for the first time. [laughs]. And it's super interesting, you know, he's describing a journey through the music business, that I think many of us don't think a lot about. And to give us a little more insight into what goes on behind the scenes, I wanted to introduce you to someone who's been with K on this journey.

[00:15:31] Tom Sarig: Well, I wouldn't be it so much as take credit for being on the journey with him. It was really his journey. I- as his manager, I'm just there to support and facilitate all of his efforts, you know, personally.

[00:15:41] Hiromi: Well, and that's very humble of you, Tom. I know you're quite a force in reality. But why don't you, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do?

[00:15:51] Tom Sarig: Okay, sounds good. My name is Tom Sarig, and I operate Esther Creative Group Artist Management, and Anti Fragile Music Record Label, based out of New York City. But I'm on team K for everything.

[00:16:05] Hiromi: Yeah. And I wanted to thank you for facilitating the interview, Tom. Um, so maybe I could ask you, h- how did you get into the music business in the first place?

[00:16:13] Tom Sarig: Well, back in the dark ages when I graduated college, uh, this was in the, uh, early to mid '90s, and there was no such thing as a music business major as far as a field of study, you know? And having neurotic Jewish parents, I was pushed education-wise, and I graduated with an accounting degree. But I was just a music nut and spent all my money as a kid going to s- concerts, and on records and tapes and CDs and all of that. And so I wanted to get to New York somehow.

[00:16:45] So I worked in accounting for about nine months, and I really wanted to be in music, so I, I quit. I found a job like in the mail room of a record label, one of the big record labels in New York called A&M Records. That's kind of like, uh, a right of passage in a way for a lot of successful music business people, they start like in the mail room at a record label or an agency.

[00:17:06] And I worked in the mail room for a few months, and then worked my way up into what my goal was, which is called A&R.

[00:17:12] Hiromi: Explain that, if you would, Tom. What, what's A&R?

[00:17:15] Tom Sarig: A&R in a record label stands for artists and repertoire, and it's kind of the creative nerd center of a record label.

[00:17:22] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.

[00:17:23] Tom Sarig: They are responsible for finding and sourcing new talent, right? Discovering new talent by any means, whether that's on seeing a gig somewhere locally, or, or these days on TikTok or, or Instagram, right? And then shepherding the creative process of an artist, you know? People think, oh, a musical artist is just an artist and they just record, and it's not that straightforward. At the level that major labels are at, or the higher end of the business, there's a lot of decisions that go into song choice and producers and sounds and things like that.

[00:17:56] So it's the A&R executive's job to sort of shephard and guide and lead that process of recording, and then once recording is done, the A&R executive's job is to be the, the point person cheerleader within the record label, because the rest of the record label is involved with the finished product, with marketing and such, right?

[00:18:15] Hiromi: Mm-hmm, okay. So what- what does that look like then, the marketing department of a record label?

[00:18:20] Tom Sarig: Well, you know, at record labels, you have a publicity department that deals with press and publicity. You have a, uh, TV and you have a radio department that deals with pushing songs to radio stations. You have a social media department that deals with getting songs, exposure via the social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook and YouTube etcetera. But the A&R department is involved with that creation of the product of the music, right?

[00:18:45] Hiromi: Mm-hmm. Got you.

[00:18:46] Tom Sarig: So I, I did that for about 10 years and got to work with a lot of great artists that did well. And I worked at four, five different record labels over 12 years, and then mid 2000 sort of 2004, 2005, this was pre-streaming and the old fashioned record store business was dying. And so there was a lot of, uh, fear in the record business at that time. I really loved what I did still in terms of communicating and relating to artists. So I decided to go out and start my own artist management company.

[00:19:18] Hiromi: And how is a manager different from a A&R person?

[00:19:22] Tom Sarig: So an artist manager is different from A&R in that the A&R person at a record label is really just involved with the recordings of an artist and shepherding, which is a very important part of a recording artist. Like a management encompasses a much wider array of duties because you kind of have to do everything from what's the right bus we need to take for this tour? Who should our tour manager be? Is everyone in the band set for tour two things like, should we license this song for this television or film or not? What do the next six months, 12 months, 18 months, three years have in store? Like really thinking long range planning.

[00:20:02] It very much is like being a CEO of an artist company. And so in my management company, I started small and I grew it into probably seven to 10 artists and about that many staff as well.

[00:20:15] Hiromi: So if you don't mind me asking then what, what appealed to you about management coming from an A&R background?

[00:20:21] Tom Sarig: Well, I mean, I, I still have a management company obviously managed K, but in the last few years in the wake of streaming becoming a really big opportunity laid in business, I started my own little label. So now I operate both a record label and a management company. My staff, we have like six or seven of us here between New York and London. We kind of do kind of everything and more and more, there's a lot of like blending of business models these days as the record business has matured and evolved.

[00:20:51] But back to your question as an A&R person, if you sign a few artists that don't sell, generally you get fired.

[00:20:59] Hiromi: Oh.

[00:20:59] Tom Sarig: So it's not, it's not-

[00:21:00] Hiromi: Got you.

[00:21:01] Tom Sarig: It's a meritocracy more than anything else, you know, so you may sign some really wonderful, amazing, important acts and if they don't sell, you know, you'll probably lose your job. So some young [inaudible 00:21:15] people get into that trick bag of having to sign artists, which they think will do well commercially though, they are not really excited or passionate or even think the artist is that great.

[00:21:29] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:21:29] Tom Sarig: But there are other factors which lead them to believe I felt be successful. So I always found that part of the job quite difficult because I'm only in it for artists that I think are really special and interesting and relevant, we could say relevant culturally and socially and all of that. And so, um, I felt like getting into management was a really positive thing because I could now choose to work with the artists that I wanted to work with, who I felt didn't necessarily have to have huge hit records, but as long as they were really interesting, socially relevant, culturally important and had some sort of business model, they were absolutely worthwhile.

[00:22:10] Hiromi: Well, that, you know, that's kind of interesting. You bring up business model. I would imagine in a lot of young musicians don't necessarily think about that. Which do you think is more important? The music or the business model?

[00:22:20] Tom Sarig: Well, it has to, it has to be both. I mean, I only wanna work with artists that I really believe in my heart are culturally important, socially relevant, have something to say, not just any sort of bobblehead of singing, but also have a business model. So it kind of Hiromi has to be both if it's just a business model. Well, then I would probably be managing a bunch of like Instagram models or something.

[00:22:44] Hiromi: [laughs].

[00:22:45] Tom Sarig: [laughs]. You know what I mean?

[00:22:46] Hiromi: That makes sense.

[00:22:47] Tom Sarig: You know, as my management company grew, I actually got to manage some older rock stars who were in the rock and roll hall of fame, like Lou Reed, I managed for the last 11 years of his life, Bryan Ferry, I managed for several years at Violent Femmes and Rickie Lee Jones. And those artists are artists that have credible cultural elite status and are still making really great music if they're alive and make good money. But then the challenge is more like, "Well, what can I add to that?"

[00:23:16] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.

[00:23:17] Tom Sarig: It's about trying to figure out how to shine a light on their legacy of greatness in the past, throughout their career, as well as trying to create attention for their new music. Because even, even these older artists, they, it's really important to them when they record a new record for fans to care about their new record and believe it or not, that's very difficult. A lot of times the fans just want to hear those hits from the past. And it's harder to come up with a plan of attack with the label, with the touring company to shine a light on the new music and not just rest on your laurels of the old music.

[00:23:54] Hiromi: Yeah. That makes sense. So, I mean, what goes into that decision to represent an artist? What are you looking for an artist that you believe in? Is it just a gut thing?

[00:24:02] Tom Sarig: Or, well, I just, I... I mean the one thing that has enabled me to stay to answer your question, the one thing that's enabled me, I think to stay in the business and not just become jaded after 27 years or so is I still listen to music as a fan first and foremost. I'm still listening to it as if I am the consumer, right? Whether I'm managing the act or whether the act is on my record label or publishing company. Like I still very much listen to it as if I'm a, you know, 60 year old kid. And I'm just like, I j- I love great, beautiful music.

[00:24:34] So I've never signed an artist to my management company or to my label or publishing company that I didn't really like. I could, I could never work with something that I didn't truly like the music, you know?

[00:24:46] Hiromi: Sure.

[00:24:46] Tom Sarig: There is a lot of gut that goes into it, but when analyzing an artist, um, it's sort of like, "Are the songs exceptional? Is the persona exceptional?" I mean the large majority of musical artists, I feel like are just interested in becoming successful by whatever means possible. And a lot of people don't really realize really great world changing talent is scarce. It's always scarce, you know? In our, in the music business, everything under exceptional doesn't really get through.

[00:25:18] So even if something's very good or really good, that's usually not good enough. So with my little record label, it's important to make the right choices, trying to work with artists who I think really have something to say are doing something that isn't some way unique. They're great songwriters, great storytellers. Nowadays artists also have to be able to tell their story to weave some sort of narrative on social media platforms.

[00:25:48] Hiromi: Yeah. Why is that important then? That they're storytellers?

[00:25:52] Tom Sarig: Well, I mean, up until recently, there were basically two main 10 poles of an artist career. The first one was recordings, where are you gonna record? What songs you're gonna record? What producer are you gonna work with? All those sort of issues. And the second 10 pole being live performance in that, where is your booking agent gonna book the tour routing? How long is it gonna go for choosing the venues is very important, ticket pricing. Who's gonna be your support band.

[00:26:18] And up until recently, that was all that a recording artist really had to focus on. And I think there's now a full third 10 pole, which is actually just as important as live performance and recordings. And that is an artist's ability to entertain and engage over social media.

[00:26:40] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:26:40] Tom Sarig: As much of a bummer as that school, [laughs], lot of arts, uh, well, it's tricky 'cause it's different than being an actor because actors are always playing a role that's not them. When you are a musical artist, the product sort of is you and that can be really, uh, overwhelming and daunting to artists.

[00:26:58] Hiromi: That's an interesting observation that maybe just as much as the music itself, fans are really buying into this persona that they identify with. Um, can you think of an example maybe of how that persona might drive decisions for the business?

[00:27:13] Tom Sarig: Well, uh, to, to address like say, uh, what venues to play. So the first thing is having a cultural understanding of who your artist is, right? So Kishi Bashi is not gonna play at a sports bar.

[00:27:27] Hiromi: [laughs].

[00:27:27] Tom Sarig: Right? So I mean, I, and that's probably obvious to someone like you 'cause you seem very bright, but what is the nature of the show? Are we doing a tour that is more of like an alternative rock show or, or are we doing a tour with like a four pre string section on stage two where it should be more conducive to sit down optional seating, right? What is the current record about? Is the current record focused on the younger end of the demographic or maybe the older end of the demographic?

[00:27:57] And so therefore how do we price tickets? You know, do we go for a slightly higher price of tickets because golly fuel costs are higher than ever and our buses costing $3,000 more because of supply chain issues or do we try and, uh, bring in a bit of a younger crowd by playing in venues that are less theaters than they are sort of clubs with, with liquor and they're able to make their money on the bar so that you're able to get away with charging a lower price for tickets.

[00:28:31] So it really has to fit the music and then you're looking at a routing what cities you wanna play? And within those cities what's available? Right? So there's a lot of variables that go into it.

[00:28:41] Hiromi: Wow. Yeah. I, I think what I'm hearing is that maybe to make the right decisions for the business, you have to really empathize with the needs and concerns of the fan base, right?

[00:28:52] Tom Sarig: Yeah. Well, absolutely.

[00:28:53] Hiromi: 'Cause that's how you're gonna tell that relevant story maybe. And it's funny, I got that sense from Kay as well. When we were talking that throughout his life, he was always listening, observing, looking for ways to tell that relevant story.

[00:29:07] Tom Sarig: For sure. I mean, speaking of relevance, like he's someone who is always challenging himself to do something relevant, not, not just for the sake of being so, but just 'cause it's a natural thing for him, you know? But I think every artist from the sublime to the ridiculous needs to have a certain amount of people around them who are not just their mom, who's gonna love everything. They need people around them who are experts and experienced music people.

[00:29:36] Maybe it's their manager, maybe it's their A&R representative, but their label, maybe it's another friend of theirs who's a crazy music fan and is a music expert, a, a panel if you will, of people that they can, you know, pass their demos by. 'Cause a lot of times in any kind of art, when you make your own art, you're too close to it to really assess certain things about it.

[00:29:56] So having a group of people around you that have valid opinions can be very worthwhile. Ultimately the decisions and the choices are the artists. But I think to the extent that we can help artists make the best decisions, uh, we're doing our job really well.

[00:30:19] Hiromi: Well, thanks so much to Tom Sarig for taking some time for us on this episode. And thanks again to Sam Ushio, Ikigai Stories, you really need to go check out ikigailab.co for some inspirational interviews. To give you an idea, Kay, called my questions weird and Sam's questions interesting. So I'll let you be the judge of who's the better conversationalist.

[00:30:43] You know, a decade ago, Kay was finally finding his voice, but the question remained what other people listen.

[00:30:51] Kaoru Ishibashi: I was playing with Of Montreal and I was connected basically to the Indie Rock row that I always wanted to be connected with, but like financially, um, I was very desperate, you know, and it was kind of a low point in my life.

[00:31:03] Hiromi: In our next episode, we'll find out how Keishi Bashi took a leap of faith and emerged as Kishi Bashi. We'll also speak with an expert in the field of emotional intelligence to learn how our ability to empathize impacts the relevance of our communication. All that, and more next time on Reach.

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Reach - A B2B Marketing Podcast Presented By UviaUs