Interview: Katy Irizarry Talks About Her New PR Firm Suspiria

What if the infamous Wizard behind the curtain Wizard of Oz weren’t a malicious, maniacal, power-hungry coward? What if that Wizard were the opposite of all of those hundred-dollar words for asshole? What if they kept a whole industry moving and grooving behind the scenes and found a way to be kind despite ridiculous hours and requests? Those, my cowardly lions and brainless scarecrows, are the best of the best music publicists—the wizards, witches, saints, and sinners who get your new favorite artists into your ears, via the emails, ear canals, and early-onset carpal tunneled-fingers of writers like yours truly.

This one (I don’t know if she’d like to be called a witch, though her company is named after the bewitching classic Italian horror film, Suspiria), Katy Irizarry, recently left Season Of Mist to start her own independent firm, Suspiria PR, in early 2023, and it’s very clear from her selection of metal-and-horror-focused clients that fun is an early mission statement for Irizarry.

“I just want to help promote the art that I believe in,” Irizarry explains. “Whether it be a live event or a record or something in the realm of horror, it’s just so invigorating to be a part of something I love and helping it grow and shine. I have an ‘artist first’ mentality. I am not doing this for my own gain—and definitely not doing it for the money—but I am doing it for the artists.

“It’s important to me that each one of my clients is happy and that they get a personalized, tailor-made experience. I intend to keep my roster tight so that I can put the proper time and effort into these projects. I don’t want to become a publicist who just bombards everyone’s inboxes with too many press releases or pitches. I’ve been there, and no one benefits from that approach. I am very much over quality over quantity and intend to keep it that way.”

What may be a surprise, given an already firmly entrenched mission, is that Suspiria PR (magically, you might say) came to be accidentally, as she recounts:

“I’ve always eventually wanted to become an independent publicist, but I didn’t know when or how, and didn’t even really know if there would be a space for me because there’s no shortage of incredible independent publicists here in North America. But last summer, a few people had inquired about hiring my services independently, including the agent for Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, so I started Suspiria in the honor of my first ever client and favorite horror movie. It just started to grow from there. In a way, I didn’t seek it out. It sought me out.”

Her early clients initially seemed focused on festivals (both in the States and abroad) which needed a boost and were a match made in some holy/unholy place with Suspiria PR. On the band front, her campaigns have included standouts like The Lion’s Daughter (whose newest album sounds like a John Carpenter score, Nine Inch Nails, and Uada raised an undead child to term), rising Indigenous black metal act Blackbraid, Spanish thrash legends Angelus Apatrida, and a couple of dark synthwave acts, with more on the horizon. Each of her clients thus far exude fun, and the levity is refreshing in a world that can take itself way too seriously.

A huge part of any success is the ability to raise up the next generation of talent, and Irizarry is quick to shout out the person who guided her on her path.

“Jamie Roberts was my first PR mentor and someone I still very much look up to today,” Irizarry says. “I had already felt I wanted to go into PR after working a bit with Carol Kaye at my first label job on an Alice Cooper documentary launch party. The job just felt so glamorous and really spoke to my talents in writing and communications. I had interviewed first with Jamie Roberts for a job to be her assistant at Eleven Seven Music, and while she didn’t hire me, as I was way too green, she looked out for me and was a major advocate in helping me get my first PR job with Adrenaline PR when the position was made available. She continues to be someone I trust for advice and assistance to this day.”

Irizarry and Suspiria PR are on Twitter if you want to learn more.

 Photos courtesy of Katy Irizarry

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