Q&A With Erik Nielsen

16th July 2018

Tags: ,

As a prospective new student at BIMM, we figured you’d be interested to read about our tutors and their backgrounds within the music industry, which is why we’ve been conducting Q&A’s with some of our newest recruits to scratch beneath the surface and highlight why they’re such an asset to our faculty. Expect rock ‘n’ roll stories, career-making anecdotes and just a bit of name-dropping for good measure.


Erik Nielsen

What department are you joining at BIMM Birmingham?

I’m – naturally – joining Music Business. After a brief introduction at the end of last year, I’m stepping up to deliver 3 whole modules now.

Area of specialism

Mostly artist management, but I’ve done everything from keyboard tech to production manager to label accounting to album recording and mixing to merchandising – you know, artist management!

Can you sum up your career highlights in the music industry up until this point?

Um, lots. Was involved with basically inventing crowdfunding with Marillion, along with them being one of the first artists to ever sell anything online and running their shop and label; I’ve worked (and work) with Elton John, James Blunt, Bryan Ferry, Grace Jones, 2CELLOS, Anne-Marie, Blue, The Hoosiers, Nigel Kennedy, Rebecca Ferguson, Just Jack, Jake Isaac, Maverick Sabre, Imelda May, Ms. Dynamite, Pnau, The Strypes, A Genuine Freakshow, Four Star Mary, Bright Light Bright Light… There’s more I’m sure, those are just the ones I can remember. I’m also a board member of the Music Managers Forum and head of their education committee, I have run industry training and marketing sessions with Music Ally, I’ve spoken at music industry conferences in the UK and internationally, and I once held a Guinness world record for fastest live DVD ever produced (with Marillion – it was beaten by Muse, and then RE-beaten by Marillion again a few years later!)

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at BIMM Birmingham?

The bit I love best is getting into the deep details of how the industry works, and inevitably get a room full of students saying “Wait… what??!!” SO much of the music business is counter-intuitive, and the fact that this future generation of music business entrepreneurs question the way it works – once they learn HOW it works – gives me a lot of hope that we’ll see some big changes when they get their hands on it. I enjoy a good debate, and like to have my mind changed by new and radical ideas – which students often offer up more than some of the professionals I work with!

Top records of all time?

It all depends on the mood, and whether it’s songwriting, amount of ‘killer’ tracks, sonic production… I don’t know. How about if I just say that I’m very much looking forward later in the year seeing The Posies perform ‘Frosting on the Beater’ in full live, and also Mew ‘Frengers’ the same (and literally one night after the other). I’m currently loving Hatchie ‘Sugar And Spice’, but would also probably need to mention Tool ‘Lateralus’, Talk Talk ‘Spirit of Eden’, Smashing Pumpkins ‘Siamese Dream’ and New Pornographers ‘Brill Bruisers’. But, that’s also leaving out about 100 others that need mentioning too. Again, though, those are the ones that immediately spring to mind. Oh and Radiohead ‘The Bends’ (I’m old skool, man). And Genesis ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ (and Peter Gabriel ‘So’). And The La’s only album. See? Impossible. (And I didn’t even mention ‘Junk’ by Brainpool – damn!)



James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.