ENSEMBLE 2.0 :: one year on, much more to come

ENSEMBLE 2.0 :: one year on, much more to come
September 8, 2015 Rob Farhat

Ensemble is almost one year old. We’ve had a pretty amazing year with its ups and downs, and it certainly hasn’t been easy, but overall we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved so far and are extremely optimistic about the future. Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to, what we’ve done right and wrong, what we’re changing, and a little preview of what’s in store for the future…Семья и бизнес

(For those of you who have no idea who we are or what we set out to do in the first place, here’s an intro from when we launched)

So far our work has mainly been a combination of artist management and concert promotion. Since we launched on 27th September 2014, we have…

– Worked with over 20 artists in either a management, PR or concert promoter capacity, including Ensemble Ériu, Kirkos Ensemble, Loah, Nova Collective, RiZA, Téada Orchestra, Zaska, and more…

– And put on over 30 concerts and events, including:

Yeah, so we’ve been pretty busy. That may sound like a mighty impressive checklist for our first year, and the majority of our projects have been hugely successful, thankfully with no major flops either. But in fact doing SO Карагандинском much has been our biggest mistake.  We pride ourselves in trying to make sure everything we work on is done to the highest level, and as a two man operation with no funding that wasn’t always possible with the amount we took on.

It also meant we struggled to plan well – if you look back on our calendar we’ve alternated between extremely busy periods and relatively quiet ones – which has maybe held us back a bit from being able think more long-term, while some of our smaller plans fell by the wayside completely (this blog, for example).

These are all growing pains and are part and parcel of trying something new and ambitious. But rather than hitting the breaks or even scaling back, we want Ensemble to continue to grow in a more sustainable way, so that in time we can hopefully make a significant difference as a major positive force for Irish music and artists.

We plan to start releasing music as a label in the coming months – which was always one of our main intentions when we started the company – and to expand our events beyond just gigs, and actually engage with a wider community of musicians and music lovers alike.

That probably sounds like more work, not less. And it is. So we’re making a few changes. Firstly, we’ve added 3 new members to the team ::

1. Brian Dillon, our new Label Manager :: Brian is one of the most capable guys we’ve come across in music who’s known best for lending his diverse musical talents to Meltybrains?, but is also a highly experienced producer, engineer, and all round on-the-ball individual. We’ll have more news on the label very soon…

2. Tadhg Byrne, our new Event Promoter :: Another member of Meltybrains?, Tadhg is also the brains behind 2 of Ireland’s most unique and successful clubnights of the past few years in Junior Spesh and Sim Simma. He’ll be taking over as our main gig promoter, with some very special events in the pipeline for later this year.

3. Joe Panama, our new Community Manager :: The charismatic, head-bangin’ bass player in Overhead, The Albatross is possibly the most widely loved member of the Irish music scene. Joe is working on building a community programme that’ll include workshops, screenings, and a network of people and resources, that we hope to have ready by early 2016.

(Yes, we know this is something we’ve talked about starting for a while, but we’d prefer to wait and make sure we get it right. Joe would love to hear your thoughts and you can email him at joe@ensemble.ie)

Meanwhile there are some changes to our original founders and co-directors’ roles ::

Rob Kearns – up until now our Production and Operations Manager – has started working with our friends at Improvised Music Company as their Production Manager and Developmental Officer, and hence is taking a step back from Ensemble. He’ll still be production manager for our bigger projects and will have an advisory role on others, but will no longer act as co-director or be working with us on a full time basis. This is a change that made sense for both him and Ensemble and we’re wishing him and IMC all the best together, and it’ll also result in some interesting collaborations between us and them in future.

As a result, Rob Farhat – thus far our Event Promoter and Artist Manager – will now be the sole Director :: of Ensemble. He’ll be almost entirely reducing his involvement in promoting our gigs while the much more capable Tadhg takes over that side of things, and will now focus on running the company in general and managing 3 main artists – Loah, Conor Walsh, and Ensemble Ériu – while working with others on a more project-by-project basis.

So we’ve now gone from 2 full time directors manically trying to do everything themselves, to a team of 5 – comprised of 1 full timer and 4 project-based part timers – who will each be able to specialise in a particular role that suits them best. We think that’ll give each element of what Ensemble does, and the company overall, the best chance of success.

We’ll be opening some more project-based positions in the not-too-distant future too, and if anyone out there would like to work with us and feels likes they have something unique to offer, we’d love to hear from you at info@ensemble.ie

Unfortunately we’re saying goodbye to a few of our original artists – Nova Collective, Téada Orchestra, and Zaska – who’ve been an absolute pleasure to work with and we fully expect to go on to do bigger and better things. But we felt that by managing 5+ artists we weren’t able to do them all justice. We’re certainly open to working with more in future and will still put on gigs and give any advice or help we can to others, but for now we want to focus on doing the best we possibly can for those we have as manager and record label.

We have a very busy couple of months ahead, starting with a crowdfunding campaign for our label which you can check out here, and our 1st Birthday concert on 26.09.2015, featuring the wonderful Loah, Simon Bird, Conor Walsh, and more TBA. Tickets available here.

Right after that we’re organising a nationwide tour for Ensemble Ériu’s Stargazer Suite, inspired by the paintings of Jack B. Yeats – full details here. Then (crowdfunding allowing) we’ll be releasing the debut EP by minimalist/electronic pianist Conor Walsh on vinyl and digital at the end of October, along with a nationwide tour.

Plus we’ve got some very exciting headline shows and collaborations lined up too, which will all be revealed in the very near future here. (And no, we still haven’t quite learned to space things out properly.)

So while our structure has changed our core beliefs and aims are still the same – to provide support for Irish artists who previously had little to none, and bring their music to a wider audience. We can’t make any promises but we’ll give it our best shot, and we hope you’ll continue to support us along the way (especially if you read this whole god damn post, you’re definitely a keeper).

As ever, if you want to get in touch you can reach us on info@ensemble.ie (apologies if it takes a while to get back to you but we will try to eventually), we’d love to get your feedback and suggestions on how to make the music world a better place.

Nice one,

Rob, Rob, Brian, Joe, and Tadhg. AKA Team Ensemble 2.0



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