Martin Mills: Daniel Miller, Richard Russell, Tom Silverman and Other Friends and Colleagues Recall His Most Memorable Moments

Jean-Phillipe Aline
Label manager for Beggars Group France

Most memorable encounter with Martin Mills:
“It was a while ago, in 2002 when he was looking for people to work for Beggars Group France with Laurent Rossi. My job interview turned into talking about music with such a figure of the industry, something thatrarely happened during past job interviews. The good thing with Martin is that you can talk about music, different projects or ideas that could be linked to music. Beggars was everything I was looking for: working for, and with, passionate people. That might be the secret formula of Beggars' success.”

Favorite Beggars Group artist or album:
“I'll stick to the band that I've worked with from the beginning, Vampire Weekend. There was something new intheir music, though it was influenced by different artists. But I loved that mix of different cultures and their energy on stage.  But I also have to mention Little Joy and Antony & The Johnsons.”

Martin Mills: 2013 Billboard Icon

Bob Ansell
Head of Beggars Group in Canada

Most memorable encounter with Martin Mills:
“The first time we met at the Earl's Court [London] Beggars Banquet office in 1982. Tim Harrold, president at Polydor International hadsuggested I meet Martin. He felt we would get along. All I can say was, after our meeting -- including a trip to the basement to nab some records -- I called back to Montreal to tell Peter Erdmann, the Polygram president, that I had just found our next jewel. The first record we released was "She's in Parties" from Bauhaus. PolyGram Canada had the longest running licensing agreement that Beggars had anywhere in the world until we finally went independent in1997 with myself and David Freeman running the Canadian Beggars office.”

Favorite Beggars Group artist or album: 

“With such a long relationship howcould one narrow it down to a single record or artist. Some highlights have to be The National, Adele, The Cult, St.Vincent, Icicle Works, Love & Records, and The Prodigy.”

Laurence Bell

Founder, Domino Records

Most memorable encounter with Martin Mills:
“He introduced me to my bank manager and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Favorite Beggars Group artist or album:

“The Beggars Group has brought too much music to the world to possibly single one act or album out. It has also brought somegreat labels to the world and helped more great labels thrive and survive. Hats off to Martin Mills.”

Charles Caldas

CEO, Merlin, the global rights agency for independent labels

Most memorable encounter with Martin Mills:
“Martin's enthusiasm, high standards, generosity of spirit and incredible mind have been influential to me in many memorable ways over the years, but the encounter that sums Martin up for me was very late at the Mohawk Patio at SXSW this year, where I was nursing SXSW feet and feeling the brick wall approaching fast.

“Martin breezed in, no doubt at his umpteenth show of the day, watched a few songs, stopped to say hi, shared his musical highlights of the day briefly but had to run because he had a couple of more shows he really wanted to see before the night was over.

“So, despite all of the success and the fact that he has a large and active organization under his influence, he wasn't sipping champagne at the Four Seasons waiting to be told what was good, he was at the coal face [CQ], feeling the music first-hand, chasing the thrill of finding the next great band, talking about music in a way which shows he as much a fan as ever, and that is what sets Martin apart.”

Favorite Beggars Group artist or album:

“I'm going to pick two. The first is a nostalgic choice: the Go-Betweens, who I followed passionately from very early on back in Australia, and whose import albums, with that old Beggars Banquet logo on the back, were amongst my most highly prized -- not least for the fact that it seemed so strange and inspiring  that on the other side of the world there was someone else who recognized the genius of something so close to my home.

“And my recent choice is the National, a band that shows that patience, perseverance, attention to craft -- underpinned by the supportive environment of a label like 4AD -- can bring commercial success to the most seemingly unlikely contenders. No major label would have persevered with a band like that, and it is a great illustration of why independent labels are of such importance to the musical ecosystem.”

Kenny Gates
CEO, co-founder, PIAS Group

Most memorable encounter with Martin Mills:
“Martin Mills and the Beggars Group is a mentor that inspired me to start PIAS in 1982.  We distribute the Beggars Group physically in the U.K. and interact closely on fundamental matters concerning the independent sector at Impala or Merlin.  It’s been 30 years since I cam into Martin’s office for the first time to buy some vinyl 12-inches and albums to import them over to Europe. “[My best memory] must be the time we tossed a coin on the tour support amount for one of Martin’s acts in the Benelux.  Neither of us like losing.”

Favorite Beggars Group artist or album:

“Just to name one is extremely difficult given how much great music has been recorded and released through his stable of labels.  For the sake of answering, let’s say it’s 'Fat of the Land' from the Prodigy.”

Andy Heath
Beggars Group director; CEO Beggars Publishing

Most memorable encounter with Martin Mills:
“In a huge auditorium in New York -- was it Madison Square Garden – watching the audience going bonkers at the Cult, and Martin said, 'I can’t really believe I signed this band; it doesn’t seem real.’  Which was typically modest.”

Favorite Beggars Group artist or album:

“It depends on what day you ask me but Cocteau Twins' 'Treasure' must be up there.  I simply love the Cocteaus and it was about that time I realized I was working with a unique and very special company.”