Eleftheria Kalampali is the woman behind the One Woman Company.
Making a professional choice by “heart”, she represents several bands, including POEM, Mask Of Prospero, Hypnotic Nausea, Devil made me do it, EIEN, Mind Departure, and many more in the highly male-dominated music industry.
Fighting her daily battles to promote music against prejudice and phobic syndromes on metal music.
Based on her personal experience, she answers all our questions …
About the profession
What prompted you to choose such an unconventional and interesting career as the promo (management) of artists?
It all started around 2012, through my association with Poem, at the beginning of the financial crisis, as I had suddenly lost my job.
For many years I took over their management as an amateur, at the same time as other jobs I had found and left.
Having many years of work in a number of companies, in credit control, digital sales, and sales team management departments.
However, experiencing extremely difficult working conditions, I finally decided to give myself a chance to leave these situations behind.
And to dedicate myself almost exclusively to something I have set up from scratch and I definitely love it more than anything I’ve done in previous years.
So in January 2018, I announced to my then director that I wanted to resign.
In March of that year, I went on tour with Poem in Europe, and in November after a lot of work, I started One Woman Company.
Of course, I took a risk and the difficulties I encounter are still many. However, they are mine and me and my associates are solely responsible for solving them.
What were your feelings when you first started?
I was very down to earth from the beginning and completely focused on my goal as, I may have officially started in 2018, but I’ve been working with various bands since 2013.
In the early years, excitement and romance hit the top with the slightest! However, I experienced how tough this industry is, quite early on.
As a result, any romance was eliminated early!
As an artist manager, what does your work entail?
We deal with the promotion of each new work/action of the artists, with the booking of their live shows, in many cases with the management and organizing (as with Poem) with their social media, etc.
We have an advisory role, we are psychologists, often soul-suckers, and often moms!
What is your favorite part of your job? And what is the best part of your job so far and what’s the worst?
What I enjoy most is working with bands that set high goals with full awareness of the sacrifices they entail.
Although always in the initial discussions, I orient the conversation towards it, and everyone always agrees.
But when it comes to decision-making, 95% realize they can’t handle it, either because the band members have jobs that they can’t leave behind, or because the cost is too high, or whatever.
When it comes to artists who ask, listen, discuss and therefore respect their decision to approach me, I get a lot of satisfaction because good communication and patience are key elements in the relationships I want to build.
The best part of the job is seeing things happen.
Even if I have worked for months with strain and difficulty, seeing things coming to completion excites me and gives me a great boost to keep going.
I also really like to communicate with good people, good souls.
On the other hand, since it is a job that has to do with promotion …
I don’t like the rudeness, jumping to conclusions, and the unreasonably bitter backstage criticism (because the scene is small and everything is coming to light! Haha).
Has your work evolved since you started, especially now with streaming and social media, which have a greater impact on the music industry? Do you think that the industry has been evolving since you started and to what extent?
In fact, because I’m very new to it, everything you describe in the question was in front of me right from the start. So whether I like it or not, I follow them.
It’s almost an entire job to have a person who keeps / monitors apps, music platforms, discussion forums, and social media accounts consistently.
The degree of evolution is enormous, nothing works EXACTLY as it did almost 3-5-10 years ago, so keeping up with new developments is crucial to this job.
It is good that so many artists are shown and heard.
In my opinion, there are so many that from one point onwards the industry sees them as numbers, as a result of which we lose the forest (*we look at the tree and not see the forest), as exceptional bands and artists, unfortunately, are lost in the algorithms.
Imagine, for example, if no one had discovered Floyd and we had never heard Shine on you…
Bring it to the present – how many similar diamonds are waiting for us to discover them, but they will never reach our ears because the industry blocked them or did not distinguish them?
What methods do you use to send samples of the artists you represent in order to close deals with record companies and/or sponsors?
Always by mail. If a zine/label/magazine etc. asks me to receive the information in another way, of course, it will.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to follow the management of artists?
Have concrete and tough stomach – well, and if they don’t, they will get it!
To be honest, to respect their collaborators and not to fool the artists who approach them.
As for the artists
How do you choose artists? What are the criteria you must meet to select and represent them? In today’s context – what is the main medium/way in which you discover an artist / new talent?
I really like their material and I want them to be good guys. I also prefer not to be burdened with a job that I will not be able to cope with, so time is also a limiting factor for me that will affect my decision on whether or not to take on an artist.
Many times I have been forced to say no to a very good project because I just don’t have time to run it.
At this stage, it is usually the artists who approach me and not the other way around.
Our scene is quite small and more and more people will know someone who has worked with us or seen our work and found it interesting enough to send an email or a message.
What is one of the biggest mistakes artists see in Greece today – and how do you think it can be addressed?
Artists want everything and think they can do everything without realizing what sacrifices may be required for what they think they want.
As long as they realize that what they want and think they can do, they can’t do it because it just requires more sacrifices than they imagined.
I said it a bit confusing, but yes, that’s the biggest mistake… That they don’t have clear goals.
Of course, it’s not bad at all to want someone to just play music and not want to quit their job to go on a 1-month tour or pay thousands of euros to go on tour.
On the other hand, it is not possible for them to want to play in all the festivals in Greece and abroad and to want to be the opening act for all the great artists, without having left their city.
There is no wrong and right decision and practice in it.
It’s just a matter of choices, desires, priorities, and sacrifices.
What are your top priorities when helping an artist develop and maintain a career?
It all depends on what the artist wants to do, what his dream is, and to what extent he can / wants to follow it.
Nevertheless, I will answer, having in mind artists who have very high goals.
Musicians need to write music and be committed to it.
Everything else, organizational, must be done by the person they have chosen to work together for this purpose.
My priority is not to let them forget their goals and to organize the next steps in order to complete the projects we have in our organizational chart in time.
In addition, I want to see the bands grow. Even if it means that at some point they have to leave me and go to bigger management.
I have no selfishness in this part – on the contrary, I will work hard to make it happen.
My goal is to stand out and I’m sure we’ll just change the formula of our cooperation – we won’t stop working together.
It is well known that the role of a promoter is not just professional. One sentence that illustrates this is that an administrator is, among other things, “Mother, Father, Brother, Accountant Lawyer, Psychologist, etc.” How can you cope with so many roles together and for different artists with different needs and strategies?
I mentioned it earlier! That’s right- this is how it is. Work is a matter of good organization.
Everything else is a great pleasure for me, especially when it comes to having good guys.
It’s not always easy, you need a little more masochism, but personally I have a lot of patience in this part.
Of course, I can’t say that I haven’t had to set limits in some cases or to say no when the line is exceeded and kindness is translated by some as a weakness.
Do you think it’s important to portray the artist’s personality on social media or focus solely on their music?
In most cases, their music is in line with their personalities – okay it’s not the rule, but it happens.
The social media of artists should focus on music as a priority, but always with a focus on the profile/style of the members as a whole.
In Greece, the role of the artist promoter is considered difficult and often musicians are chosen not to have “managers”. Where do you think this is due?
It may be due to several factors. First of all, a member or a friend may have taken on this role and be very good at what they do.
It may also be because the band has low goals and does not need a Promoter.
Possibly, they may have some acquaintances in the country and do their job and book their live shows on their own.
In general, no one said that everyone should have a manager.
It all depends on what the band wants to achieve, how far it wants to go, and what it is willing to sacrifice, as I mentioned above.
There is no right or wrong answer to this.
In a country like Greece, how easy is it to overcome the prejudices that exist for an artist? (For example, Satanist, Atheist, gay, and/or whatever else is considered to “affect” a section of society).
It is very difficult! And we see it lately, every day and very intensely. Personally, I am very pessimistic about this.
Which artist (alive) would you like to represent and why?
Tool, Opeth, Leprous, Soen, Tesseract, and many many many others!
You were expecting me to tell you something bigger, I understand, but I’m stuck there, with the prog scene, what to do… I really like it, I know it quite well.
Apart from the progressive scene, of course, I would choose my big crush … Metallica!
Why? What do you mean why? Because it’s the “biggest” band in the world.
Of those who are no longer alive, who would you like to have and why?
I’d like to have worked with The Beatles or Pink Floyd – don’t make them all dead, not all people are dead, just not active.
Because we are talking about musical geniuses beyond competition!
Especially at a time when things were being done in a simpler way and it was all about music.
What advice would you give to an up-and-coming artist looking for a promoter?
I would advise them to have a clear picture of what their goals are, to keep their ears open, to choose people he trusts, and not say too much no – especially in the beginning.
About the choice of space
By what criteria do you choose the venues for a concert? Does the safety of both artists and spectators influence your decisions about venues? What measures are you taking on your part? Have you discarded spaces? If so, what was the reason?
In order to choose a venue, we take into account both the sound advantage that it can offer us, the stage, the capacity, and of course the financial factor.
Security worries me a lot!
Unfortunately, we should all be more concerned and become a priority in the decision to gather our fans, in a space that does not follow protocols.
After all, there are many unpleasant examples.
The loss of my friend at a festival during a live show because there was no doctor or ambulance, the fire in a venue in Bucharest that burned dozens of people and so much more.
Both I and everyone should be more responsible when it has to do with human lives.
Do you think that the concert venues in Greece and abroad are different, and if so, in what way?
If we are talking about venues, I have seen very good scenes both abroad and in Greece, but I have also seen scenes for crying!
As far as festivals are concerned, there has not been any festival abroad that I have been that left me dissatisfied or nothing has happened that will make me feel insecure.
However, both in Greece and abroad, there are places (fests & venues) that need to be improved in terms of security!
It would be a pity to mourn victims in the event of an accident.
About the media
What is your relationship with the media?
I think we have developed very good relations with several media and in some cases very friendly!
It is very important for me to know the person I communicate within each medium, that I really appreciate the fact that they are dealing with me.
With my idea, with my live show, with my festival – and in many cases in their spare time, just to support the scene. I respect it a lot.
How do you choose the media in which you promote your artists? What criteria must be met for it to be selected by your company as the appropriate medium?
A prerequisite is to be related to the musical genre promoted each time and also to show respect to the artist no matter how young or old they are.
What do you think is to blame for the large circulation newspapers, and (or/and traffic) sites that are not involved in promoting events related to the Rock / Metal music scene?
The fault lies in the fact that our country does not have this mentality, does not support this scene, and does not even know it.
Therefore, the audience to which the newspapers are addressed will not deal with some who, admittedly, are: atheists, Satanists or I don’t know what else!
About your personal life
If you could go back in time, would you choose another profession, and if so which one and why?
I have a degree and previous experience which allows me to go back to what I call – my miserable security, at any time.
I don’t want to think about what I would do if I went back in time because the answer to whether it is true or not wouldn’t be representative nor true.
I’m here now and I’m doing this. Tomorrow … we’ll see.
Tell us some things about yourself. What do you like to do in your free time (if you have any)?
I am a professor of economics, I teach dance in children’s classes and adult classes.
At the same time, together with the members of Poem and some other good friends, we have a Social Cooperative Enterprise (also called One Woman Company), with which we operate in various fields.
Free time is a joke!
However, I always find time to do my workout (kung fu), my yoga, and spend quality time with my husband and our dear friends and relatives!
What is your favorite music scene?
Progressive Metal always!
Tell us your ten favorite songs and how do you feel about each of them?
- Metallica – My friend Of Misery: Anxiety, disarming honesty, bitter truth
- POEM – Weakness: Redemption
- Madrugada – Majesty: Loss, Love
- The Beatles – Because: Gratitude
- Pink Floyd – Shine on you crazy diamond: 400,000,000 emotions
- POEM – Brightness of Loss: Sadness, Strength
- POEM – Remission Of Breath: Emotion, Relief (I would comfortably put 400,000,000 emotions here too)
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody: Sadness, Acceptance
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Teach Your Children: Love
- Mother Of Millions – Nema: Pain
Thank you very much for this interview, for the first time it happens that someone only wants me! Hahaha