Shifting the focus from the individuals who create the best albums to take an inside look at the behind-the-scenes jobs that keep the industry running. Go beyond the music and meet the people who keep your favorite bands in the public eye…
Mike Cubillos is a PR individual and the founder and owner of Earshot Media, which celebrates its 20-year anniversary this year. His day to day, while wild and often unpredictable, mostly consists of being the middle man between Earshot’s clients and the press—like this magazine! Based in Los Angeles, Cubillos has become one client I rely on to consistently represent diverse musical genres and artists willing to take risks in their exploration of different soundscapes. His job description is my dream…
“One day I might be pitching a singer-songwriter and the next, a punk or metal band. Or I might be out in the field covering a show or working an event or meeting up with a writer or manager for coffee or lunch. There are many times where I wake up and think I have an idea of what my day is going to look like, but then I check my email or get a phone call, and all of a sudden, I’m thrown for a loop and off doing something totally unexpected.”
What experiences led Cubillos to his position?
“I got my start in college by doing a few different internships. I used those experiences to learn all I could about the different facets of the music business and eventually got hired on by one of the labels I was interning with. I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am today without that foundation of learning from experienced music industry veterans. My time working at different record labels prepared me to go out on my own with Earshot Media.”
What inspires him to continue working in this scene?
“I’m inspired every day by my bands. They risk a lot and sacrifice so much to put their art out into the world. I have a ton of respect for the labels I work with as well. It’s no easy feat to start a record label, let alone be successful at it, so I love that I get to champion these smaller companies that are putting out great music for all the right reasons. I’m also inspired by all the brilliant writers and editors I get to work closely with. We’re all music fans first and foremost, so the fact that I’m surrounded by so many creative people is something I appreciate about what I do.”
“Bands that influenced me a lot include Pixies, Ramones, The Clash, Pavement, Nirvana, The Specials, Fugazi, New Order, The Smiths, X, Guided By Voices, Matthew Sweet, The Velvet Underground, and I know I’m forgetting a bunch. Too many to name! I was also a big fan of labels like Sire, Sub Pop, 4AD, 2 Tone, Factory, Matador, Trojan, Island, The Cure, Vagrant, Epitaph, etc.”
Does Cubillos have any advice for others wanting to get into the music industry?
“I would say to just start by learning all you can about the music business. Start locally by getting involved in your scene. Hit up record labels or PR firms to ask if they are in need of an intern. Make the most of any opportunities that come your way. Make yourself indispensable so they’re left with no choice but to hire you. Work hard and don’t expect to have anything handed to you. Pay your dues and don’t be a jerk. People will notice and, eventually, doors will open.”
We are always grateful for people like Mike. So, be like Mike.