If you want to make someone want something, tell them they can’t have it. That’s what happened to Emma Hogan, growing up as a music fan in a village in South Wales: “I couldn’t get to gigs because the last train home from Cardiff was at 10pm,” she says. “So when I went to uni, finally I could go and see bands, and from then on it was pretty much all I did.”
After editing the college newspaper’s music section she began freelancing for NME in the late 1990s. She then moved into music PR, before she impressed during a stint covering an agent’s maternity leave at ITB, and went on to build up her own roster of rising stars, which currently includes Dry the River, Mary Epworth, Dancing Years, Cut Ribbons and Jake Hart.
With many of her acts still developing, she believes that her role is partly about A&R and nurturing new talent, and is a firm believer in touring as training. “In the beginning I think it’s often good to put artists on the road as much as possible," she says. "partly because they get better, but also because it’s how they figure out who they are as a band, and who they want to be.“
Emma’s passion for gig-going shows no signs of diminishing (“If I see four gigs in an evening, even if they’re all rubbish, I still think I’ve had a good night”), and she also likes to keep a fan’s eye view on the live circuit in these difficult economic times. “I do buy tickets,” she says. “I think that matters. It keeps you grounded. I It’s easy to carried away with ticket prices when you never pay for tickets yourself, and it can harm your artists if you’re pricing people out of coming to see them.”
In a world where everyone seems desperate for fame and recognition, she positively enjoys the anonymity that comes with the agent’s low-profile role.
“There’s something brilliant about standing there in the crowd and seeing it all going off, and thinking ‘I put all that together – and none of these people know.”