These days with ever expanding networks on social media and thousands of people on speed dial, you sometimes don’t realize who you’re connected with. One day while scrolling on LinkedIN, I stumbled across a post from Damien Tilman from BLCKDMND Management: he was looking for opportunities during last year’s Amsterdam Dance Event. I responded on that post, as I had just started planning for my ADE offsite event Nightfall | where we connect. We met up bunch of times in Amsterdam, and there I realized how much impact the work from Artist Managers like Damien has. Since his activities are mostly hidden from sight, I invited him to share his experiences with you here on People of the Night.
Name: Damien Tilman
Organization: BLCKDMND Management
Role: General Manager & Event Coordinator
Years active in music/events: 6 Years
How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Well, it actually sort of happened. Six years ago I started as a DJ on an international web radio station from France called Parazhit. There I grew into the program director role; I started covering interviews and simultaneously I managed a team of community managers and reporters. After some time I decided to start my own artist and booking agency called “Black Diamond Management”, which I run with my colleague Annick. We represent artists such as Linka & Mondello, the international duo Raven & Kreyn and Yozo.
Why is your work instrumental for the music/event ecosystem? How does your work impact the performance of others?
I always try to focus my work on helping people, try to open boundaries between “mirage and reality”. I can’t pretend having a big impact on people’s performances yet, because I’ve only been around for some time. But I’m definitely aiming to help others in realizing their dreams the best that I can.
What do you do different from other individuals and/or organizations in your field of expertise?
My focus is on the up and coming talents. I always strive to develop a long-term partnership with all individual talents that I meet in order to help them push their boundaries. I also have a keen interest in creating events, developing collaborations in order to strengthen my network and bringing them my expertise.
What is the craziest situation you ended up in while at work?
Definitely being able to arrange a deal between my main artists and an international act on a collaboration and hanging on the phone with him, that was crazy! This is probably my very first highlight as manager and I can’t be more proud.
What do you think is lacking in the current event/music ecosystem? Are you doing something to improve that?
In Belgium, a lot of people try to help individual artists, but as soon as the artists get famous and get global exposure, those folks always try to take advantage of the situation. Do you know those people who develop their own lives on the cost of their artists? I’m really sick of that. I’m really missing true and honest folks, who are working on their artists’ careers instead. You know, my life goal is to be proud — nothing more. Proud of working 24/7 and getting results, proud of being what I am and proud of developing long lasting projects and careers for others. I will always make sure to push others on the forefront, rather than being interviewed myself for the things I’ve accomplished so far. Of course it will take more time to reach my goals, but I don’t really care — I call that “professionalism”. We need more people who are honest, true and proud about being able to work with creative individuals.
To which project in 2018 are you looking forward to work on?
This year I’ll be working on brand new collaborations music wise, new partnerships for a side project in France. Alsongside of that I’ll be create new events in Belgium and throughout Europe! Looking forward to have more and more sleepless nights (in a good way of course!).
Final question: who inspires you to keep improving and why?
I’d say honest and positive people. When they have something to say they speak up, when they are happy for you they will congratulate you. We all need people to be on your side when something goes wrong but also when something goes well. We live in a connected world where you can hear and learn from others. I believe that learning aspect is really important. Nobody is perfect, and we all need to keep improving ourselves. To me, the most open-minded and real people definitely keep inspiring me daily. Oh yeah, I also respect the amazing work Scooter Braun does, I really love his vision and mentality.
As upcoming prodigy in Artist Management and Event Coordination, Damien Tilman slowly but surely becomes a voice on giving independent creative individuals the audience they deserve. Follow his behind-the-screens adventures and trips via the BLCKDMND Management Instagram and Facebook page. You can see Damien’s work come to fruitation in this video for Che Rebel Spirit and, if your French is good, you can read the story of his artists Linka & Mondello who have a tour in China coming up!