Dave Stewart Interview with eurythmics-ultimate.com Part 2

So do you think that the larger a company is, the more their creativity is stifled as company processes and committees dictate how decisions are made?

I’m amazed that people are so afraid to stick their neck out to make a decision in case it jeopardises their job, its far easier for people to say no than it is to say yes.  What I know that does work is when a large organisation has the ability to divide itself up into smaller subgroups.  A good example is how a lot of the big record companies also had much smaller indie labels, because once a band gets into a huge conglomerate structure, its almost impossible for anybody with an idea, as explained in the book, an underling who has a great idea, or has seen a great new band, trying to convince the CEO that it would be a good thing to pursue rarely happens.  We’ve come up with a game on how you get there.  It is very very difficult.  Also, for the CEO, who is always looking over the top at everything, they rarely know about everything that is going on within the company.

I’ve particularly taken to your idea of having 1, 3, 5 day business plans, rather than the traditional approach of approaching a bank and having to show them a 3 year plan, I doubt many business plans presented to bankers 3 years ago accounted for the current recession we are all in, but in reality, how many large companies can really adopt this concept?

What I am saying is that within a company you can have these smaller groups that have a creative remit, and these groups although are part of the company, do not work within the system. These groups can then expirement and work within the 1 day and 5 day plan, and if something works they can pursue it, if it doesn’t they’ve not wasted much time or money, and move onto the next idea. They are able to work outside the box

So what you’ve described above sounds like the relationship that you have with Nokia, you’ve got several job titles with them now, can you tell us a bit more about how that works?

Yes, this is exactly what Nokia have done, they have hired people like me and then put me together with various people within Nokia, we come up with ideas that can then be taken to more senior executives.   This is what happened with Cindy Gomez and the whole Dance Fabulous thing, and look where that’s taken us.  Also, we’ve created this TV show called Treasure Tag with Cat Deely, but with Nokia sponsoring the pilot show.   Then there’s the project we’ve been working on with Tim Kring as well, (At the time of the interview, it hadn’t been launched, but is now, www.iamnotamember.com and https://www.conspiracyforgood.com/) its going to be a wild ride, people will not have seen or experienced anything like it.

And do you think the project with Tim will extend beyond just the core Nokia user base?

Oh god yeah, its going to be everywhere, but I just cant say any more!

I’ve been reading some of your posts recently advising musicians on to not focus completely on selling their music, but selling and marketing themselves, it is obviously a struggle for artists to make money from just their music in these digital days.

Yes, exactly, I think these days the reason d’etre has to be the person, the engine that creates, it might be that you are selling things that you didn’t think you would, you know having other ways in which you can make a living.  The whole world has opened up now, in fact I was talking about just this last night to Annie, not that long ago there were really only 6 or 7 major record companies, but basically they all had a manufacturing and distribution element to their business , they had factories that made CD’s and therefore added a service, but now, that is really all out the window, and these companies are still struggling to find their identity and roles within the industry.

So what is the future for record companies then?

Today, any body or any company can be a record company, could be starbucks, a phone company, a rum company, a vodka company, an ice cream company, in fact anyone where there is a destination and people go there. So from that you could align yourself with a very local little company, maybe even with just three or four shops.  You then become known for something else.   Look at Nokia, they started as a rubber manufacturer.   You could give the band £5000 to go and record an EP,  but it will only be available to download from your website.  So then your brand becomes known and attached with the band and before you know it you’re selling their music, their merchandise and tour tickets, they could then diversify and sell music equipment and so on.  It makes it kind of interesting for both sides really, fans of the band will visit your website and may then purchase other items from you.  Its diversification.

So if you look at Weapons Of Mass Entertainment, which I almost called your latest record company, in reality its more of a company that has a host of resident artists skilled in so many creative areas that you can put together a team for any specific project.

Yes, its all about a group of individuals , but together we can achieve many and varied things, some that as an indiivudla you might not get the chance or opportunity to have a go at.  Anything goes, whether its a TV series, a studio session, or splitting into a group of 2 or 3 to go and try something.

So are you talking about the much tweeted about Factory Girls (Natalie Mendoza, Nadirah X, Ann Marie Calhoun, Boy, Cindy Gomez).

Exactly, and I cannot talk about a lot of what’s been worked on, but obviously Nadirah had her book out under WOME, Cindy has worked with the Dance Fabulous, and the film she’s currently working on and loads more.   Basically its a new kind of management style.  All the girls are involved in different things.  Just watch Ann Marie and Nadirah they are going to be all over the place soon.

You are obviously a well read man, and one of my favourite lifestyle \ management books is called Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson,  which books have you read where they’ve made you sit up and take notice.

I’ve not heard of that book before, but I like the title.  The Big Moo and The Purple Cow are 2, ive now read every one of Seth Godin’s books.  Deepak Chopra for different reasons.  I sort of jump between books all the time, I tell you which is a great funny book im reading at the moment again is Meatball Sundae again by Seth.  Then I jump between books to do with spirituality then I go back to books about marketing, the whole shakey world of business and disruptiveness.

For many facing redundancy in these uncertain times, it seems that the book publishers are having a boom time at the moment, is there a book you can recommend to people to read?

Well Linchpin again from Seth is a great book about how to make yourself indespensible .  But for someone who has lost there job or about to its a chance to step back, and to think about one of the favourite things you did as a child, think about what you have learnt and experienced, and then try and adapt that in a work way, you put the 2 together and see if that pops out a creative idea you can pursue.

I guess that Social Networking can help people to test an idea very quickly, and you’ve totally embraced the online world, some would say, pushing the boundaries, giving away your music, photos and even writing new songs with songwriters you would never have found in the traditional way, but do you think that business’s today have quite captured and understood this way of reaching their customers?

You are right, the potential for instant feedback on an idea is incredible, the response is far more immediate than an email or waiting for a report to come back, I don’t think many people have really understood how these tools can be utilised in their business life.

But is it not government as well that could react quicker and be more in tune?  I know that several departments in the UK Government are going to be severly cut back, in some cases, probably disbanded, and in Education, where I work, the signs and rumours have been quite bleak.

Yes, but then you look at the creative companies and organisations at what they can achieve really quickly.  There’s a project with Nokia, Wikipedia, John Williams and a few others called Wiki Education, its all about a kid being in the middle of nowhere and be able to go through a proper course, whether that’s in the desert in Australia or the slums in India.  There’s a great story of a young kid working for a company and he started blogging about his job and is personal stuff, I do this and this, I don’t do this etc, the company saw what he did and decided to publish it and engage with their market, but then the kids they were taling to were saying back to them, of course we work like this, we’ve been doing it like this for years.

OK Dave, I can’t let you go without trying to tease a few updates from you from some of your project you’ve been working on.  We know about Ghost coming to London in April 2011, but what about Zombie Broadway and Barbarella?

I just been in New York with Alex Timbers, we’ve been getting Zombie Broadway closer to the stage, and Barbarella is currently being negotiated and is all under wraps, the Viennese company have almost come to an agreement so we’ll see how that moves on now.

Lover Earth – I don’t have much to do with Lover Earth now, Mark Warford, really wanted to go off on his own with it, we had some different ideas on it, but I really hope it works well for him!

The Dave Stewart Song Book Volume 2 – Haha, yes where do I start, im working on it in fact I have quite a few books underway at the moment so watch this space!

Your webistes are all changing too, you’ve got MartiniMoments now as well as Dave Stewart.com .

Yeah, Martini Moments is definitely the fun one, all my tweets, blogs, photos, and a great YouTube Channel can all be accessed and davestewart.com will be links with all of the companies and organisations that I work with .

Did you find your missing guitar?

The Blue One, Yes, it got put into the wrong case. In fact I’ve just had a new guitar made for me, and I bought a great guitar when I was in London, it used to be owned by Red River Dave.

Well Dave, just before we finish I have someone who has been listening to your interview here, it is my daughter Elizabeth and she is 7 years old and would like to ask you a couple of questions.

Hello Elizabeth, how are you. Whats your question?

Whats your favourite record of all time.

Wow, I think its going to have to be Across The Universe by the Beatles, do you know that one?

No i don’t, i’ll ask Daddy, what is your favourite album of all time?

That has to be Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. Hey Elizabeth, I’ve just found Across The Universe, have a listen to it now, this is an acoustic version.

Dave, thank you for your time this afternoon, I hope you manage to get off to Greece in the morning for your video shoot and appearances with Anna Vissi.

Cheers Steve, speak to you soon.