How music PR Angie Towse maintains successful relationships (and cuts off those that don't work)

by Ella Hagi

Meet Angie Towse, the founder and director of The Rest is Noise. The company grounded firmly in the realm of music and events, Angie is often the first port of call for the likes of The Warehouse Project, Houghton, The Roundhouse, Pikes in Ibiza as well as a long list of festivals in the UK and abroad.

Between brand promo and crisis management, Angie sat down with us for a candid chat on work, life and the balance between the two in an industry driven by passion.

Proudest work moment? I’m really proud of our roster. We work on projects like Houghton and Warehouse Project. We’ve worked on Ableton and Audiotechnica and Pikes in Ibiza. We’re an independent company but we’ve curated something to be proud of. That really defines who are and what we do.

I think we’ve been quite lucky — touch wood — but since starting, in the multitude of concerns I’ve had about work, I’ve never really had to worry about getting work. Sometimes we've had too much and sometimes we've had difficult clients and sometimes our clients go into crises, and that's all hard but we've always been lucky in who we get to work with.

What’s your biggest learning moment in the industry? I think the biggest thing I've had to learn is how to balance work and a social life. As part of work, we go to festivals and clubs to host the press and make sure they have a good time. It involves drinking and appearing to be in a relaxed, carefree party spirit, but at the same time, we need to be completely responsible. We've been at festivals and there have been casualties or serious logistics issues. At any point, you could get pulled out and suddenly you're meeting with the head of police, security, medics and event control and they're all looking to you in terms of communication and how to manage it.

What about when work finds you on a night out? It does happen. I found myself going out a lot less a few years back for fun. You’d go out and there’d be a lot of friends there and some clients, and friends who were clients and clients who were friends. It got quite blurred and it made me shut down a bit. I got into this work because I loved going out and the freedom that it brought, and all the fun that came with it. When I felt it was being stripped away, I withheld a bit on socialising so much. But eventually, I become a bit better at managing it. If someone starts talking about work, I’ll be like, sounds great, let’s pick it up next week. I tend to try and flip it back a bit, just make it a bit more sociable and not get too bogged down in work stuff. There’s nothing worse than deep heavy chat on the dance floor.

How do you deal with a difficult client? It is really difficult but I think it’s often down to communication. If they are being difficult it’s probably because they’re stressed or concerned about their impending event. So we make sure we report on everything we do. For us, it's half showing the results that we've actually achieved and half showing all the conversations we've had that for whatever reason didn’t come to fruition and why. Communicate properly, learn your client’s expectations and manage them.

If that doesn't work, then just fuck them off. Honestly. If any relationship, work or otherwise, comes to a point where it becomes draining or unhealthy, you need to have the strength to walk away. It can be really scary but it’s ok to just admit it’s not working.

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you are 20? Sometimes I wish I’d been told to start a business with someone else, not do it alone. There are days where you do wish you had someone there to share the lows and highs with. Also, don’t worry too much, and cut things off if and when you need to.

How do you organise your work? It sounds so boring and it’s the sort of thing I would’ve run away from when I was younger but it’s deadlines… We’ll have a very real, live date we’re working towards with events, and within the campaign, we’ll break things into smaller milestones. We have a big whiteboard with all our dates on it so we know when things are happening. We’re very vocal in the office and make sure everybody knows what’s going on with everybody else as well, which is just as important. Sometimes it gets busy and we need to juggle things a bit which can’t always be helped, but this helps set a flow to our work.

Is there a routine that sets you up for a good day? I meditate most mornings and I do try and do a bit of yoga or things like that. But, and this is something I didn’t specifically put into place for this reason, but the positive byproduct of cycling to and from work every day makes a huge difference for me. It’s about half an hour each way and it gives me time to listen to podcasts or have a little conversation with myself, and it just gets me ready. That half-hour gives me time to process and expend a bit of energy, and it sets me up to go. It’s nothing too spiritual but I love being able to do that. It’s a completely different experience taking the train. That adds to things, as opposed to taking away. Having that time to myself on that bike is just really valuable.

What’s a cause close to your heart? Mental health. It’s a huge thing in music and while there’s a lot more awareness about it, I think there’s also a lot that’s not being totally exposed. I kind of understand why. But there’s so much drink and drug abuse wrapped up in the industry. It’s become normalised and part and parcel of it all, it’d be ridiculous to say it’s not. I think that's the next conversation to be really thrown open. We know there's a problem, but I think we need more practical steps in place to deal with it.

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MJ Widomska Ella Hagi