Step into the dynamic world of club music PR as we put focus on one of the UK’s most consistent boutique agencies for our latest Behind The Brand feature. Clara Suess’s Suess Media have worked with artists, labels, and promoters both big and small, as she’s championed emerging talents and helped guide established names toward new heights.
Her acclaimed roster of clients boasts names like Faithless, Just Her, Matthias Meyer, Strictly Rhythm, Einmusik, Dave Seaman & Quivver, Henry Saiz, Local Suicide, and a ton of other impressive acts.
We asked Clara about her humble beginnings in the world of PR work, which projects she’s most proud to have been involved in, and what advice she would give to anyone that wants to follow a similar path.
You’re from Edinburgh but are now based in Ibiza, how’s life on the white isle?
I’ve actually been back in the UK (I split my time between Ibiza and Brighton) since early December. I’m looking forward to returning to Ibiza later this month, in preparation for the build up to start of the season. Definitely missing the sunshine and warmth! Ibiza is fantastic and I really enjoy it out of season, when things are much calmer. There are lots of music industry people who live in Ibiza most of the year, so it’s a good time for meetings, before the crazy summer season begins.
What was your first experience with PR work, and when did you decide you wanted to pursue it long term?
Whilst studying English Literature at Glasgow University, I used to be the Clubs / Nightlife Editor at the Glasgow University Guardian. I originally wanted to become a journalist but even back in 2002 when I graduated, I could see how much the print media landscape was changing and how competitive it had become.
Whilst at University, I did a part-time job working at the box office of the sadly now defunct Arches in Glasgow – selling tickets for all of its various events – both huge and underground club nights, music gigs, theatre, comedy, visual arts, fashion shows. Whilst working at the Arches, I observed the PR Manager, Sandra Marron, and decided I wanted to do what she did! I worked in the Edinburgh Fringe press office when I graduated which opened doors to working at various arts organisations in Glasgow.
I have always loved music and as a fan of electronic music and nightlife, also helped some friends with securing press coverage for various club nights in Glasgow in the ’00s (including for the legendary Sub Club, Glasgow School of Art, and The Arches).
Once I moved to Brighton in 2010, I started running a club night at Patterns called Vanishing Point, bringing such DJs as Optimo, Justin Robertson, Denis Sulta, Krystal Klear, and Michael Mayer to Brighton, which I also did the PR for. I decided I wanted to work with electronic artists and labels full time and was spotted by labels to work on their roster.
What are some of the main challenges you’ve faced between then and now?
The continually changing face of media – both print and online – with so many titles which were around even 5 years ago no longer running. As such, there are fewer opportunities for covering music, yet more music than ever before. This means we have to be extremely creative with pitches in order to stand out and always research new opportunities, for example the rise in Instagram channels, Spotify playlists, and generally trying to maximise budgets as much as possible.
What’s one specific campaign that you’re really proud to have worked on?
There have been plenty which have been really rewarding but the one which stands out most recently was Danny Tenaglia’s Global Underground GU45: Brooklyn from last year. It was a delight to work on such a brilliant release by a true legend (and a lovely person) and to see such excellent press coverage and the wonderful feedback from fans. Given Danny’s recent cancer diagnosis we wanted it to be a huge success.
And what campaigns do you have running right now?
Lots! Currently working on on-going artist campaigns for Matisa, Tony y Not, Just Her, Peter Invasion, Kate Stein, the forthcoming Balance compilation from Dave Seaman & Quivver, the big new Global Underground release which I can’t wait to reveal, the forthcoming album from Sharam (one half of Deep Dish), plus artist releases for Joyce Muniz, Budakid, Athens Of The North, Niki Sadeki, Warriors Of The Dystotheque, and others. So quite a bit!
If anyone wanted to kick start their career in PR in 2024, what advice would you give them?
Get as much experience as possible – be it running your own club night and doing the PR, or contacting agencies you respect and who work with artists and labels you like to ask about experience. Hard, quality work is always noticed and will be rewarded.
The worst job you’ve had in the past?
Thankfully, I’ve enjoyed all my jobs since uni and have a strict “no dicks” rule with clients! Life is far, far too short to deal with rude people. However, I did have a job in a shoe shop in Edinburgh when I was 17, which I quit after 4 days due to a horrible boss and smelly shoes!
What do you have planned for 2024?
Moving back to Ibiza later this month and working across lots of exciting artist and label campaigns. A lot of Suess Media’s artists will be playing in Ibiza this summer, which is what prompted us to move over in December 2022 as we were finding we were back and forth a lot in the summer to see artists play and for press campaigns, etc. so spending lots on hotels, restaurants, taxis. Now we’re renting our own place with an annual rent and have our own car (now with Spanish plates which we are due to collect later this month!) which saves a lot of money overall. Plus, I’m really looking forward to IMS Ibiza, Brighton Music Conference (which I’m speaking at, on PR & Marketing), and ADE.
And have you set yourself any personal goals for this year?
Whilst I have a driving license, I rarely drive, so this year I want to get back into driving as you need to drive in Ibiza with events and meetings spread over the island. Also to do more running in the Ibiza countryside and along the seafront. Whilst living in Brighton, I was out running at least 3-4 times a week, running half marathons and even one marathon, which really helped with my mental health, as well as my physical health, and overall wellbeing.
Before we go, tell us one tune you can’t seem to get enough of right now?
Matisa – Disco from her new ‘Baby Disco’ EP on Correspondant is wonderfully catchy! Matisa is definitely set for a big 2024.