Industry Insight Vol. Three: On Tour Management – Manny Zelaya

Industry Insight returns and in this episode we chat to On Tour Management head honcho Manny Zelaya, who talks about his work as tour manager for Hardwell and all things related to touring.

| by | Features, Interviews

Touring for an artist has become such an important feature in their career. With a worldwide audience now at their finger tips and shows demanded by fans in their countries all over the world, artists are expected to perform. The co-ordination, pre-planning and everything in-between is now sorted out by a team behind the artists allowing them to carry on with the focus on music and their shows, while the team sorts everything out for them. Manny Zelaya, the current tour manager of Hardwell, formed On Tour Management after working alongside Erick Morillo, and he speaks to crssbeat to talk about the touring aspect of the industry, and give an insight for fans out there.

Hi Manny, thanks for taking time to answer these few questions about your job as a tour manager and your company On Tour Management. Just to get things kicked off, can you tell us a bit about how you first got involved in the industry and a typical day in the life of Manny?

I started in the business as a Bartender/Bar Manager for Pacha NYC. I believe working in the hospitality industry helped me understand customer service. Since I had the managerial experience my old friend Erick Morillo was looking for a new tour manager and approached me and asked if I would like to try it, and till this day I love it.

My day starts early at about 6am. I have to live a clean life and go to the gym to keep up with the young guys I work with. I wake up early because I deal with a lot of people in Europe. I also have to wait for the NYC time zone and finally west coast so I don’t get much sleep whilst getting shows ready. I could keep going and going but I think you can see the life of a TM/PM is one with no sleep.

Touring has become a necessity for the artists who want to be at the top of the game. What enticed you into working in the touring sector of the industry?

I guess for me it was to know that I have the back of my artist, meaning I do whatever it takes to make my artist’s life on the road as easy as possible. I’m also drawn to our fans, seeing those smiles and tears makes all those sleepless nights much easier. Let me not forget to mention I live a very privileged life and I am very humbled to know an artist trusts me to be a part of their journey.

After touring with House music legend Erick Morillo for five years, you decided to form On Tour Management. What were your reasons for doing so and what was the experience of touring with Erick like?

When I first started touring there were only about 5 DJs who had a tour manager. Basically if you had a tour manager you had arrived in your career. When the boom of DJ’s came I think people were just hiring their friends and the professionalism fell. I saw tour managers getting drunk, doing drugs and just not being the professionals I was used to seeing.

Erick was my mentor and taught me everything I know. He taught me to be a man of integrity because this business lacks it. It was a blast working for Erick and they were up there with some of the best years of my life.

Fast-forward to 2016 and you are currently the tour manager of Hardwell. What kind of tasks and work are involved in managing artist’s tours?

I’m fortunate to have a nicely sized team. We have Niki who looks after Hardwell’s logistics, Bas our sound engineer, Andre looking after our lights and Freek looking after our Visuals. I’m now the quarterback of our team making sure I get all of the technical information together for our shows, as well as making sure they are all to a high standard for a Hardwell show. We have a lot of moving pieces but we all play an important role in Hardwell’s success.

It is safe to say that tour management is not a typical ‘9-5’ job. How stressful can touring be and do you ever suffer from burnout. If so, how do you deal with it?

Touring is a hard life I can agree with that. I guess for me I learned at an early age you need to know how to manage your time. If you don’t know that you will fail and get burned out for sure. I guess for me the hardest part of touring is missing my family and friends. To be honest I have no friends. I traded my friends for this life and I’m OK with that. Friends come and go but the memories I’ve made will last with me forever.

At what point in an artist’s career do you think that they should considering hiring a tour manager and what criteria do you have when considering new clients?

I see too many young artists jumping to hire a tour manager instead of waiting to see where their careers are going. You need to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

I like to work with people who believe in themselves and know where they are going to be 5 years down the road. I’ve worked with so many people and I can tell the biggest let down is working with someone that has too much of an ego and won’t let me help them grow.

What are the hardest problems that come up when on tour and what’s been the worst situation that you are your artists have found yourselves in?

Delays and cancellations of commercial flights kill me because sometimes there are no backup flights. Not all artists can afford jets like you see on social media.

A funny story was when I was with Erick Morillo. I booked the wrong flights and landed in Croatia when I was supposed to land in Corsica. I arrive and I’m asking where my drivers are, they tell me they are outside whilst I’m saying I’m outside! Needless to say I figured out I made a mistake and we re-booked new flights and made it to the gig on time.

What advice do you have for any of our readers who are interested in working within the touring sector of the scene and what characteristics do you feel an individual needs to have a successful career in tour management?

I guess I would start with you needing to have integrity, without that you are nothing in this business. You need stay clean and drug free because your number one job is to take care of your artist. You also need to have good time management skills. You have to be as cool as the other side of the pillow, meaning you can never let your artist see you sweat. If something goes wrong on the road you need to be McGoyver. Finally, you must be resourceful and never be a liar.

Can you give us some news as to what your clients are currently up to and what we can expect from them in the near future?

Rule number one of tour management is you don’t discuss your artist’s future plans with anyone from the outside, that is grounds for termination.

What does 2016 and the future hold for yourself and On Tour Management?

Right now we have a small team of 4. We will grow organically and hopefully one day get into stage design and more production. It would be a dream to work with Coldplay or U2. That would make me so proud to work with legends like that.

You can keep up to date with all things On Tour Management via the links below.

www.ontourmgmt.com/
www.facebook.com/Ontourmgmt/
www.twitter.com/ONTOURMGMT
www.instagram.com/ontourmgmt/

Industry Insight Vol 3 With On Tour Management’s ‘Manny Zelaya’

Touring for an artist has become such an important feature in their career. With a worldwide audience now at their finger tips and shows demanded by fans in their countries all over the world, artists are expected to perform. The co-ordination, pre-planning and everything in-between is now sorted out by a team behind the artists allowing them to carry on with the focus on music and their shows, while the team sorts everything out for them. Manny Zelaya, the current tour manager of Hardwell, formed On Tour Management after working alongside Erick Morillo, and he speaks to crssbeat to talk about the touring aspect of the industry, and give an insight for fans out there.

Hi Manny, thanks for taking time to answer these few questions about your job as a tour manager and your company On Tour Management. Just to get things kicked off, can you tell us a bit about how you first got involved in the industry and a typical day in the life of Manny?

I started in the business as a Bartender/Bar Manager for Pacha NYC. I believe working in the hospitality industry helped me understand customer..

My day starts early at about 6am. I have to live a clean life and go to the gym to keep up with the young guys I work with. I wake up early because I deal with a lot of people in Europe. I also have to wait for the NYC time zone and finally west coast so I don’t get much sleep whilst getting shows ready. I could keep going and going but I think you can see the life of a TM/PM is one with no sleep.

Touring has become a necessity for the artists who want to be at the top of the game. What enticed you into working in the touring sector of the industry?

Industry Insight Vol 3 With On Tour Management’s ‘Manny Zelaya’

After touring with House music legend Erick Morillo for five years, you decided to form On Tour Management. What were your reasons for doing so and what was the experience of touring with Erick like?

When I first started touring there were only about 5 DJs who had a tour manager. Basically if you had a tour manager you had arrived in your career. When the boom of DJ’s came I think people were just hiring their friends and the professionalism fell. I saw tour managers getting drunk, doing drugs and just not being the professionals I was used to seeing.

Erick was my mentor and taught me everything I know. He taught me to be a man of integrity because this business lacks it. It was a blast working for Erick and they were up there with some of the best years of my life.

Fast-forward to 2016 and you are currently the tour manager of Hardwell. What kind of tasks and work are involved in managing artist’s tours?

I’m fortunate to have a nicely sized team. We have Niki who looks after Hardwell’s logistics, Bas our sound engineer, Andre looking after our lights and Freek looking after our Visuals. I’m now the quarterback of our team making sure I get all of the technical information together for our shows, as well as making sure they are all to a high standard for a Hardwell show. We have a lot of moving pieces but we all play an important role in Hardwell’s success.

Touring is a hard life I can agree with that. I guess for me I learned at an early age you need to know how to manage your time. If you don’t know that you will fail and get burned out for sure. I guess for me the hardest part of touring is missing my family and friends. To be honest I have no friends. I traded my friends for this life and I’m OK with that. Friends come and go but the memories I’ve made will last with me forever.

Industry Insight Vol 3 With On Tour Management’s ‘Manny Zelaya’

At what point in an artist’s career do you think that they should considering hiring a tour manager and what criteria do you have when considering new clients?

I see too many young artists jumping to hire a tour manager instead of waiting to see where their careers are going. You need to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

I like to work with people who believe in themselves and know where they are going to be 5 years down the road. I’ve worked with so many people and I can tell the biggest let down is working with someone that has too much of an ego and won’t let me help them grow.

What are the hardest problems that come up when on tour and what’s been the worst situation that you are your artists have found yourselves in?

Delays and cancelations of commercial flights kill me because sometimes there are no backup flights. Not all artists can afford jets like you see on social media.

A funny story was when I was with Erick Morillo. I booked the wrong flights and landed in Croatia when I was supposed to land in Corsica. I arrive and I’m asking where my drivers are, they tell me they are outside whilst I’m saying I’m outside! Needless to say I figured out I made a mistake and we rebooked new flights and made it to the gig on time.

What advice do you have for any of our readers who are interested in working within the touring sector of the scene and what characteristics do you feel an individual needs to have a successful career in tour management?

Industry Insight Vol 3 With On Tour Management’s ‘Manny Zelaya’

I guess I would start with you needing to have integrity, without that you are nothing in this business. You need stay clean and drug free because your number one job is to take care of your artist. You also need to have good time management skills. You have to be as cool as the other side of the pillow, meaning you can never let your artist see you sweat. If something goes wrong on the road you need to be McGoyver. Finally, you must be resourceful and never be a liar.

Can you give us some news as to what your clients are currently up to and what we can expect from them in the near future?

Rule number one of tour management is you don’t discuss your artist’s future plans with anyone from the outside, that is grounds for termination.

What does 2016 and the future hold for yourself and On Tour Management?

Right now we have a small team of 4. We will grow organically and hopefully one day get into stage design and more production. It would be a dream to work with Coldplay or U2. That would make me so proud to work with legends like that.

You can keep up to date with all things On Tour Management via the links below.

www.ontourmgmt.com/
www.facebook.com/Ontourmgmt/
www.twitter.com/ONTOURMGMT
www.instagram.com/ontourmgmt/

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