In our new series “Women in Metal” we put the spotlight on the women who work hard behind the scenes in order to bring your favourite music closer to you. The first instalment of the series featured Becky Laverty of Pioneer Music Press from London, UK. With the second instalment we make a jump across the Atlantic Ocean and all the way to California where we talk to Nikki Law of Century Media Records. Nikki is the label’s hard working Publicist and Product Manager but let’s leave her do that talking and tell us what that job entails.
Dom: Hey Nikki, how are you doing? To begin with, could you please tell us for how long are you working now with Century Media Records and what do your duties include?
Nikki Law: I’m doing well, thanks! I’ve been working at Century Media for 3+ years now, and I do publicity and product management for various bands signed to the label.
As a publicist, it’s my job to get the word out to press about new albums, tours, etc.—anything that my artists have going on.
As a product manager, I work with the other departments here (e.g. new media, sales, graphics, etc.) to ensure that albums/tours/etc. are set up properly for my artists.
Dom: What is the atmosphere like in the Century Media offices?
Nikki: It’s pretty laid back. I can put up posters in my office, wear whatever I want to work, play music out loud—it’s definitely not a “corporate environment”, which I’m totally fine with!
Dom: Is the work very demanding? How many hours do you work every day?
Nikki: Yes, we have a smaller staff these days, so we all wear a few different hats. It’s not a 9-5 job (I’d say that I work 11 hours per day, on average).
Dom: What is the best thing about working with Century Media?
Nikki: I get to work closely with some of my favorite bands.
Dom: Have you had any difficulties dealing with the press?
Nikki: No, not really. I’m a pretty easy-going person, so most “press difficulties” don’t bother me too much. I also don’t have time to get into petty fights with people.
Dom: What have you been doing before joining CM?
Nikki: When I was 18 or so, I interviewed bands for a local public access TV show.
After high school, I went to college and earned a degree in Literary Journalism, and then I did some paralegal training—it was during this time that I interned at Century Media, helping with tour publicity. I wasn’t hired right away, but they eventually asked me to join their team.
Dom: Do you do anything else in addition to your CM job?
Nikki: I do freelance PR work when I have time, but CM keeps me pretty busy!
Dom: When and how did you get into heavy metal?
Nikki: I grew up listening to some of the “classics” (e.g. Black Sabbath, Scorpions, etc.) because my dad was into that stuff. At some point (in my teens), he gave my brother Iron Maiden’s “Live After Death”, which I borrowed from him. It was love at first listen.
Dom: Have you had any troubles, as a woman, to get a job? Did you have any problems with being accepted into the metal scene?
Nikki: No, I didn’t have any trouble getting hired (interning really helps to get your foot in the door!). I think women will always struggle with being accepted in this scene though. It’s definitely a “boy’s club”.
Dom: Do you see a lot of women working “behind the scenes” (press, photographers, managers, publicists) in heavy metal? They don’t seem to get as much credit for their work as the musicians…
Nikki: I wouldn’t say “a lot” because women are still the minority in this scene, but yes, there is a fair amount of us these days.
Regarding “credit” for behind-the-scenes people v. musicians, I think it depends on who you ask. Most fans don’t know about the women who are working behind-the-scenes—but they also don’t know about the men either. Publicists/managers/press/etc. shouldn’t be in the spotlight; it’s our job to get fans talking about the artists, not us…
I think that most industry people are aware of who’s doing what though, regardless of whether you’re a man or woman. It’s really not that big of a scene—we all know each other, for the most part.
Dom: Do you see a lot of objectification in metal and does it bother you?
Nikki: Sure, but there’s objectification everywhere—it’s not exclusive to metal…It does bother me because I’ve worked hard to be taken seriously, but I try my best to ignore it. There’s no reasoning with idiots…
Dom: How does the metal scene look like in California?
Nikki: It’s pretty strong out here. Tours usually make a couple of stops in California because there’s definitely a demand for it… Granted, our state is pretty big, but Texas (for example) may only get one stop on a tour, if anything—and they’re bigger than us!
Dom: What are the biggest upcoming projects for you and CM? Which ones do you look forward to most?
Nikki: I have new releases from The Haunted, Devin Townsend Project/Ziltoid, and At The Gates coming up. Those are all priorities for CM as well. I’m really looking forward to At The Gates, of course (need I say more?!).
Dom: You recently attended Maryland Deathfest. What are your impressions of the festival?
And for the end, please tell us what albums do you find yourself listening to recently?
Nikki: Yes, I had my first MDF experience this year, and hopefully it won’t be my last! I loved everything about it—the line-up and the crowd, especially. Obviously the billing is un-matched for a US festival, but there is also a real sense of community at MDF. I felt like everyone was part of one big metal family… I walked away with a bunch of new friends that I hope to see again at future MDFs.
Lately, I’ve been listening to The Haunted’s new album (Exit Wounds – out September 2nd!) and also Abysmal Dawn’s upcoming full-length. Charles Elliott (Abysmal Dawn, Bereft, etc.) is my boyfriend, so needless to say, I’ve heard this album (in its various stages) for some time now. I may be biased, but I think it won’t disappoint.
For all things Century Media, head to the label’s official website.