Jim Mawdsley is chief executive of Generator, a leading music development agency based in Newcastle, where he designs strategies and mechanisms to develop talent and support businesses in the music industry. Jim is also one of the founders and the festival director of Evolution, the region’s largest urban music event which, this year, takes place from June 3-4.
WHEN I WAS GROWING UP I WANTED TO BE A MUSIC PROMOTER. I was involved in bands and live production from an early age and came to Newcastle as a student to get involved in the city’s growing live music scene.
I had to get up at 6am, six days a week from the age of 13 to get money to go and watch Liverpool play at home which, other than music, was my major passion. I then worked summers as a labourer/decorator with my dad’s small building firm before leaving for college at 18 and immediately getting a job at Newcastle Poly on the stage crew.
I’D TELL MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF TO KNUCKLE DOWN AT MY STUDIES. I must admit that once I got involved in music I neglected my degree. This hasn’t held me back but I sometimes regret not getting a decent grade. Between the ages of 16 and 21 you don’t always realise how important those years can be and that they can lay the ground for the rest of your life. The harder you work, the better your chances are.
I’M CONSTANTLY INSPIRED BY THE AMOUNT OF VARIED MUSIC THAT PEOPLE ARE PRODUCING. At Generator we are helping to nurture this talent in this region and beyond. I’m also inspired greatly by those who are striving to build music businesses in these challenging times. We work with people in the music industry who demonstrate great resilience, from all over the UK. I’m very proud to be associated with them.
MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT IS PARENTING TWO GREAT SONS, LEO AND BOBBY. In my professional life, considering that I always wanted to be a music promoter, then it has to be establishing and building Evolution as a major music festival. It takes massive commitment, dedication and constant stress year-on-year and I’m grateful for all those who have helped me.
WHEN I NEED A HELPING HAND I TURN TO MY FIANCE MEL FOR SUPPORT. With Evolution, I go to my partner Dave Stone and co-founder Sue Wilkinson. At Generator we have an amazing team of fully dedicated people who are extremely reliable and always go beyond the call. I’m lucky to have so many great people around me.
PEOPLE OFTEN ASK WHO MY FAVOURITE BAND IS but to be honest it changes so often as I’m always one who looks to the future rather than getting nostalgic.
When pushed, I usually say The Pixies. They completely captured the energy I look for in an artist and were my favourite band at the end of the eighties – a pivotal time in my career.
IN MY SPARE TIME I LOVE TO SPEND TIME WITH MEL, LEO AND BOBBY. I also love riding my bike. The beauty of living in Heaton is that in six miles you’re at the coast or six miles in the other direction, you’re in the middle of the countryside. Perfect!
IN FIVE YEARS TIME, I’LL HOPEFULLY STILL BE DOING WHAT I’M DOING and that Generator has had a hand in even more successful bands, artists and music businesses from the North East.
For more information on Generator visit www.generator.org.uk or for the Evolution Festival
log on to www.evolutionfestival.co.uk