Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Aaron Miller, Arts & Crafts’ Artist and Content Manager

Festival Music House
On September 7th and 8th, Festival Music House will showcase two nights of amazing music at Toronto’s Adelaide Hall. Featuring A Tribe Called Red, The New Pornographers, BadBadNotGood, Operators, and other great Canadian acts, the invite-only TIFF event aims to highlight the variety of artists’ musical talent. Produced by Toronto-based label Arts & Crafts, the shows will also feature artists off of the label’s excellent roster. In a recent interview, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with A&C’s Artist and Content Manager Aaron Miller to discuss the origins of Festival Music House, how it’s evolved, dream festival line-ups, and how diversity is key — enjoy!

AMBY: Hey Aaron, thanks for speaking with me today. To kick things off, please explain to our readers how you first got into your industry.

Aaron Miller: I was working at City TV for a long time in the journalism world and came to Arts & Crafts as a music publicist and things kind of evolved from there to management, marketing, programming, and all of that fun stuff. I came about it in a somewhat non-traditional way, but here I am nonetheless.

AMBY: You’re now Artist & Content Manager over at the label. What’s one of your fondest memories of working at Arts and Crafts?

Aaron Miller: That’s a really good question. There have been many, but certainly the first Field Trip Music and Arts Festival in 2013. It was a celebration of ten years of Arts & Crafts, and having lived in Toronto my whole life, it was amazing to see the community respond to the event and be a part of celebrating the ten years of music this label’s put out.

AMBY: The label’s had fantastic success with Field Trip and will soon celebrate Festival Music House’s 5th anniversary on September 7th and 8th. Where did the idea come from to create these more intimate mini-festivals?

Aaron Miller: It’s a very different kind of event. Although we’ve produced it, it’s not our event per say. The event is paid for and run by the Radio Starmaker Fund and they contract us to put it on, on their behalf. In this case, we’re representing the interest of the Canadian music industry at large which includes all of the labels, big and small. We play a different role in Festival Music House than we would in Field Trip. The inspiration for the event was to provide members of the film and television industry – who are here for TIFF – with an opportunity to experience some of the great music that Canada produces every year and to interact with the music community in Canada. That was the original inspiration and it was to connect the dots between great Canadian music and the film and TV community internationally. It’s also evolved over five years; we’ve moved from one venue to another.

AMBY: As you mentioned, the goal of the shows is to introduce attendees to new music they might use in an upcoming project. If you could pick one of Arts and Crafts’ artists to have a song featured in any movie, what would your dream pairing be?

Aaron Miller: We have so many great artists and every movie is so different; they need different kinds of music and different sorts of artists. We have some great and young artists within our stable, including a girl named Lowell who writes amazing pop music. We have some really great, dark, and moody music with artists like Reuben and the Dark and The Darcys. One of the great things about working in the Canadian music industry and at Arts & Crafts is that we have diversity. If anything, I’d like to see all of our artists benefit from the opportunities of film and television. That’s the goal.

AMBY: The two festival shows will include some awesome Canadian talent like Diana, Paper Lions, The New Pornographers, and as you mentioned before, Lowell. For 2014, you’ve had some great releases come out. I’ve especially been into the new Zeus record, which was released earlier this week. Which would you recommend our readers listen to?

Aaron Miller: That’s like picking from your children [laughs]. I’d like to name… I certainly think the new Lowell album, which is coming out September 16th, is an incredibly strong pop record with some interesting stuff on it. I would recommend that your readers pick that one up. We’re also putting out a record from a local band called Absolutely Free which comes out October 14th. As well, we have some interesting licenses as we’re putting out Tricky’s new album. You can see the diversity we have on our roster at this point in time, and that’s what I’d encourage readers to listen to.

AMBY: Moving onto some more off the cuff questions, we’d like to learn more about your personal taste. Sadly festival season is soon coming to a close, if you could curate your own festival, who would be in the line-up?

Aaron Miller: Woah. That’s a good question [laughs].

AMBY: Thank you.

Aaron Miller: I’m a really big hip-hop fan and I think that there’s some amazing stuff out there. For me, again, I think that diversity is key. There’s a rapper from Atlanta called Young Thug who I’d definitely put on there, BadBadNotGood who you see on the Festival Music House show, there’s a young Toronto producer named River Tiber who I think is exciting.

AMBY: For our last question, what’s something about yourself that most people don’t know yet?

Aaron Miller: My love of dance music and hip-hop is probably something people don’t associate with me. I used to rap and go to raves… [laughs]. That’s probably something that would surprise a lot of people. I’m also an avid jogger.

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Thank you Aaron, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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