James Marcus Haney – who worked as Elton John’s personal tour photographer and videographer and is behind some of the best-known music imagery of acts like Mumford and Sons, Coldplay, and Jay Z – has taken on The Ruminaters as his first management client.
The Sydney indie-rock band with a noughties grunge edge are relocating to LA where Marcus Haney will document their journey together on film.
The LA music videographer released his own acclaimed feature film documentary No Camera’s Allowed in 2014, but as he tells TIO, he’d never considered stepping into the realm of management before coming across The Ruminaters.
“Ever since I dropped out of college, I’ve been very lucky to run around the world with a few of the world’s largest acts and document their tours, shoot their music videos and album covers,” he says. “And, as a byproduct, I have a very unique view to what’s behind the curtain, all the inner workings (and mis-workings) of how a band survives and thrives.”
James Marcus Haney met the band members Pencil (vocals/guitar) and Jake Mossop (guitar) in 2014, around the same time that No Camera’s Allowed was released.
“It quickly became evident that we had shared passions of music and occasional mayhem, and we became fast friends,” says Marcus Haney. “I finally got to see The Ruminaters perform in Australia in 2015 when I was out on tour with Mumford & Sons.
“Soon after, I offered to direct a music video for them, simply because I loved the music. A year later, when I was back in Australia for a Coldplay tour, we did another music video. A year after that, the boys asked me to step in as their manager. I replied with a polite but firm, ‘No fucking way. I’m not a manager. And I sure as hell ain’t babysitting you lot’.”
Watch The Ruminater’s clip for ‘Boys Off Work’ below:
However, anyone who’s seen The Ruminaters live will tell you they’re one of the most indelible bands in Australia. The band recently played to a sold out Lansdowne Hotel for their Welcome To Flight S.U.N 91 album launch, have toured the country with Grouplove and have been making waves since their standout sets at BIGSOUND in 2016.
“Months passed and I couldn’t shake the idea out of my head,” says Marcus Haney. “I love the boys in the band, they make insanely great music, have a bonkers live show, and have never played in America yet. I’ve seen how other bands have done it, and I know some of the right people around town I can get their music in front of.
“So I told them I’d manage them, under two conditions,” he adds. “One, they have to move to America. Partly because of the greater opportunities and exposure they’ll have here and partly because I selfishly want them in my everyday life here in LA. Two, I can film everything. Everything.”
Guitarist Jake Mossop (aka Mossy) said one of the band’s initial interactions with Marcus Haney was at “an elaborate house party in the hills of LA.”
“It was like one of those house parties you see in the movies, where the rich kids’ parents go out for dinner and the kid throws a crazy party in his parents mansion, drunk people everywhere, expensive shit getting trashed, people in the pool,” he remembers. “Anyway, I walked into a kitchen filled with drunken bodies and I see Marcus over by the stove frying up a steak. I asked him where he got the steak from and he replied, ‘the fridge’. I said, ‘Oh do you know these people?’ and he replied, ‘No, but I’m hungry and this is a really good steak’.”
Mossop says that in the four years since that early encounter, Marcus Haney’s approach has been the same.
“He seizes every opportunity and pretty much gets what he wants in an oddly graceful way.”
The road to full-time management of the band has been a natural one. Marcus Haney acted as a consultant for The Ruminaters for the past four years, he toured Europe and Australia with them, and worked on three of their music videos: ‘Boys Off Work’, ‘Bad Bad Things’, and ‘How Can I’.
Watch the clip for ‘How Can I’ below:
“We share the same enthusiasm and drive to push the boundaries creatively and we have always worked so well together on every project,” says Mossop. “Nothing is off limits. We are very excited to be working with Marcus in his domain, we are prepared to be screamed at and put into many uncomfortable situations.”
The documentary film will not only follow the process of The Ruminaters quitting their jobs in Australia and relocating to America, it will cover the band’s career as they accrue a localised team and navigate the biggest recorded music market in the world.
“I’m an outside perspective looking in, no matter how much access I’m granted or how personally close I am with the artists,” says Marcus Haney. “The idea of making a film from the perspective of a first time manager, from within the group looking outward, is exciting – I don’t think anyone’s really done that before.
“[…] We’ll film both the mental, wildness of the band’s journey and also the managerial perspective – the other side of the curtain of the music industry business and all that happens behind closed doors.”