James Penycate is not is a hard working and dedicated businessman who has an undying love for sound. A friend of mine for years, he has proven to be one of the most passionate humans I know, and absolutely lusts after the unique. After working with some of our favorites (i.e Best Coast, Gold Panda, Darwin Deez) his personal PR brand grew to be undeniable and unstoppable.
So. How exactly did OohBrilliant (or, Brilliantly Different) begin?
I sort of fell into music, I never really thought I would get the opportunity to work with musicians and labels despite having a deep love and mild obsession with music since a really early age. After a few years at Warner Music I ended up at Sony Music and then promptly left after 2 years. Looking back it was glaring obvious working in marketing at a major label wasn’t for me but during this time I got switched onto the small but growing world of blogging and it hit me one day, there’s something happening here and NOBODY is working with these guys. That and a couple of ideas led me to working with Wichita and Lucky Number and starting Ooh Brilliant (or Brilliantly Different as it was back then) back in August 2008.
You are in a unique spot of working with music artists who are widely talented, and still very fresh to the industry. What’s that like?
Ha. Yes. The nature of what we do is that you have to start developing a roster of acts, often they are new until they start to break through which Best Coast, Gold Panda, Twin Shadow, Darwin Deez and Ghostpoet, Memory Tapes, Niki & The Dove and Friends are. Honestly, the most exciting part of this is seeing the acts take off leading into the album and then post album. One of the best moments of my life was in October and seeing 1500 people watch Gold Panda in London. That may not sound a huge amount – but the venue is called Koko in good old Camden and definitely a moment for a lot of acts – and definitely for an electronica non vocal artist. That said, nobody is yet to offer the opportunity to work with Arcade Fire or Kanye.
I’d always swap size of audience for music I love. Always.
What’s the last show you went to?
I think it was Icona Pop (although it was a practice show), or Niki & The Dove. This week it’s Korallreven and AlunaGeorge.
What does your average Monday look like?
Monday is pretty dull actually – the industry is super slow so I tend to catch up on reports, do some reading and get as much admin out of the way as possible. There’s often a task or plan that isn’t dealt with by someone somewhere that then needs actioning immediately. I’m more of a Thursday guy really..
It’s breakfast time. What can I get for you?
Tough call. One day marmite on toast, another bacon and eggs benedict, on another yogurt and fruit. My current favourite is definitely Portabello mushrooms with topped with Gruyere and crumbs that a place called AllPress does amazingly well. Whatever the day, it begins with coffee. I’m picky.
Kanye or Jay z?
Kanye forever. I think I missed the memo on Jay Z.