Our first ‘Industry Insider’ features one of the hardest workers and philanthropists in the industry, Kevin Lyman. Kevin is the founder and operator of live entertainment company 4Fini where he produces the longest running festival in North America known as Warped Tour. Kevin Lyman has also been the curator of a few other successful tours including Taste of Chaos and the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. We recently caught up with him to ask a few questions regarding his philosophy behind the development of new artists and what his vision was for this years Warped Tour. He even mentioned A&R Radar Featured Artist Night Argent as a band to watch!
A&R Radar: What are your top 3 unsigned or undiscovered artists to watch this year on Warped Tour?
Kevin Lyman: I’ve been looking at artists all around because I’ve been travelling around a lot. On Warped, Icon for Hire has a real chance and I’m looking forward to hearing some new music from them. There is a band called The Kenneths from the UK that the bass player of Mumford and Sons turned me on to and we decided right away to bring them over. Then there is another band called Night Argent who won the Warped Tour Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands and they will be on the tour for about 3 or 4 weeks. There is a young girl that is just starting by the name of Macy Kate who will be doing some dates with us, but that’s the thing with Warped this year is that there are so many bands the question is who will break out this year. We usually have one or two breakout bands every year and I thint his could be a great tour for Bebe Rexha who even though she’s a writer, writing monster hits for Eminem and the one song out with Nikki Minaj right now and she could have a really interesting summer. I think Night Riots who had that one song that was number one on Sirius Alt with “Contagious” and Moose blood from the UK is really starting to catch on. When I first put the lineup out, people didn’t quite understand. I think people who know music are starting to look at the lineup and say “Whoa” there are a lot of bands who have great things going on. I’m pretty excited to see how it all pans out in a week.
A&R Radar: What do you look for in artists when developing the warped roster from year to year?
KL: Of course I’ve got to book some bands that are recognizable and that our core audience is going to get. The number one band they wanted to see was Pierce the Veil. At the Kerrang Awards, Pierce the Veil won the award for Most Loyal Fan Base which makes sense. Black Veil Bride won Best Live Band and Pvris won Best up and coming band. All of those bands will be with us on Warped. I’m looking for great live bands and up and coming bands with good fan bases. If I get some of those, then I get to book it like I did this year which was very diverse and eclectic lineup.
A&R Radar: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artists in todays industry, what would it be and why?
KL: It’s about hanging in there. It takes time. To obtain success, it takes time. Pierce the Veil was not an overnight success. The Maine and Mayday Parade have all hung in there. Be good people and hang in there and eventually you will find that window. It’s about being nice, working hard, writing good songs and it doesn’t change much. I was just reading the press that comes out on Fridays and I noticed it talks about the same 10% of people. Then there is the other 90% out there that are just working really hard and trying to chase their passion and carve out a niche to put a roof over their head.