Michael Parisi’s career has seen him work as a music journalist, promotions manager at Warner Music Australia, A&R manager (he signed Regurgitator and The Whitlams), and he set up Sputnik Records (where he signed MUSE and Machine Gun Fellatio). His most recent venture is artist management company, MPM.
Did you fall into the music industry, or was it an industry you were always determined to work in?
I was always a big music fan. As a kid, I would spend every last cent of my pocket money on records. I never really thought too much about it when I was in my teens, but as I went through university I started to think how great it would be to work in the industry so I started writing about music for the student newspaper at La Trobe. I then went on to write for Beat Magazine and then this lead to a position at Inpress Magazine as one of the founding members. Being at Inpress was great for networking – I made many industry friends and was offered a job at Warner Music as a promo guy, which I jumped at. From there I worked up the ranks from promo to artist development, marketing and then into A&R, which was by pure accident. I kept hassling the A&R guy at the time to sign an act called Regurgitator and he eventually relented. It went upwards from there.
You’ve worked as a music journalist, promotions manager, head of artist development, A&R manager and you’ve started your own record label – what role have you enjoyed the most/least and why?
I’ve always had the most fun when running my own label. I had a label back in 2000 and was able to sign who I wanted – Motor Ace, 28 Days, Machine Gun Fellatio and MUSE. I’m in a similar situation today where I work with artists I love, such as Dan Sultan, Way of The Eagle, Owl Eyes, and Stonefield. Enjoyed the least? Working for a major around the time that the upper executive staff had no idea about music and artistry in general.
My life in the music industry is …
Full of surprises. Every day is a fresh adventure and no day is ever the same – that’s what keeps me here!
There is a record-shaped present under your Christmas tree, what record do you hope it is and why?
Hopefully another turntable complete with a box vinyl set of STAX classics.
What’s the best piece of industry advice you’ve received?
Never cross the road to anyone. Let them cross the road to you.
Check out Michael’s most recent music venture, Artist Management Company, MPM.