Interview: Anne Haffmans, Head of DOMINO Recording Company, Germany

Text: Charoula Kolonia, SPOT

Anne joined the music industry in 1994. As a graduate with a degree in English literature and a newcomer to the music industry, she joined the ride with the company Intercord, based in Stuttgart, Germany. She quickly evolved within the industry, and from a junior product management position she ended up working for some of the biggest label record companies such as: MUTE, EMI and DOMINO, and working with artists such as Moby, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, and many more.

Thank you for being here. Let’s start with, what is your favourite thing about working as a label manager?

– I think that my real passion is to find alternative ways of getting where you want to get to, you know, getting a complex music album out to a mainstream audience that is always what I like best. I really enjoy trying to make the music fit the market or find the niche in the market that this music fits into.

What do you know about SPOT Festival?

– Well, it is a big Danish festival and it is very prone not only to Danish music, but also some other music from neighbouring countries in Scandinavia. As I listened to the festival’s program, I found it quite interesting but I decided that there are four that are definitely going to be on my list to see: Niels Bech (NO), Elias Seguijja, Blondage and AV AV AV.

Some people say that there is a Nordic wave at the moment, how can you relate to that?

– There has always been waves of music coming out of the Nordic countries. But it is getting increasingly difficult for countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway or Finland to bring their music to bigger audiences in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, for example. In Germany, the competition for foreign language music, music from places outside of Germany that are not the usual English American heritage, is fierce. At the same time, the interest for it has grown, and the technology has developed the idea of the bands to promote themselves. So, I do think all these efforts of the Nordic counties are necessary, because they offer platforms for the artists to get out of their tiny markets.

What is your purpose of coming to this festival?

– I like these festivals for networking and I really like to take notes and compare the markets; I usually find the problems in the markets very similar, no matter the size! I am also attending as an ambassador for DOMINO, and I will be there to talk to people and give some advice.

So, I am really hoping to learn more about the Danish music market and see how they go about. No matter which market you are talking about, I think you always learn something about your own market! I find it very interesting to see what SPOT has selected and which horses they bet on!

Do you have any favourite Nordic Band? Do you have something specific that you liked about them? What grabbed your attention? Have you cooperated with any Danish artists?

My favourite Danish band is Efterklang! It’s not only one of my favourite Danish bands but probably makes it into my top 20 of all bands. They are simply great and their album “Pyramid” is definitely one of my desert island discs. I also like Den Sorte Skole a lot, and find their way of marketing their music very interesting. I was also working with a band called Carpark North back in my EMI days.

What would you consider as a successful festival?

I think that listening to some good music is definitely a super plus, but also networking and having the opportunity to talk with different people whether it’s musicians or it’s professionals from different countries.

Do you have any tips for an artist who finds DOMINO attractive and would like to approach?

Interestingly, I think the most signings at DOMINO happened because other DOMINO artists suggested bands. So, it goes a lot via recommendation. I would always recommend to people that, if they are looking for a record company, they have just to talk to other bands, to hang out at festivals and maybe support other bands and get to know people there. In general, I find that there is no better way of finding music but seeing bands playing live, so festivals like the SPOT festival and other showcase festivals are really important.