David Pichilingi is a man of many talents. With a career spanning over 35 years in the international music industry, he has worked as an artist, in management, A&R, recording, publishing and on the live music scene. He's worked alongside legendary artists including New Order, Happy Mondays and The Farm. In 2008 he launched Sound City in our shared hometown of Liverpool which is now the biggest metropolitan music festival and business conference in the UK and has expanded to include events in EUROPE, USA, UAE, China and Korea. His CV also boasts the role of CEO of Modern Sky UK and North America after he joined forces with the Chinese record label in 2016. He is clearly a busy man, so we were delighted when he agreed to chat with us. Read on as we get to know the man behind the music...
You have over 30 years experience in the Music Industry, that’s an impressive feat! Were you always passionate about music from a young age?
Yes, going to gigs from a very early age. To the matinees at Erics and also buying my records in Probe on Button Street. This was part of the teenage journey in the late 70s and early 80s... Liverpool was a great place to be to see artists from all over the world. It demystified the idea of being in a band and made you believe it was achievable.
You founded Liverpool Sound City in 2008, and over the years it has grown to be an International music event showcasing in New York and more recently Korea. Did you ever imagine it would become this big?
There has never been any kind of great plan. I just wanted it to be something that I could be proud of. From day one we were always ambitious and wanted to showcase what we believed were the greatest bands from Liverpool and the north but also from around the world. Taking Sound City to other continents was just a series of happy accidents.
In 2016 you joined forces with the Chinese record label Modern Sky and are now CEO of Modern Sky UK and North America. What’s been your most exciting career moment so far?
I have had some amazing times on my journey so far. I always call myself a jack of all trades as I have worked in most areas of the music business. For me this is what keeps it interesting and exciting. I get bored if I do anything for too long ... I think you should try and re invent yourself at least every 10 years. That is why I have always changed the shape and direction of Sound City. To keep it edgy. I am very happy with what we have achieved in such a short space of time with Modern Sky. I am really keen to see where we can take it in the next 5 years.
You’re taking over South By South West next month to bring Sound City to the streets of Austin Texas. How difficult do you think it is for UK artists to crack America?
Very difficult. Whenever I take bands over there I just tell them to have a great time and don’t worry about trying to crack America. If you have a good time and play great music - that is usually the start and you can build from that. But it takes a lot of time and even more money… so it is not easy!
You must be a busy man... Is it manic trying to balance all of your ventures or have you slowed down a bit since the pandemic? What is an average day in the life of Dave Pichilingi?
Meetings, Zoom calls, emails, phone calls, studios, gigs, trains, planes, bikes and beers - every day is different.
You were in a band when you were younger, do you miss performing yourself?
I loved performing - it was all I did for over 15 years. However, I do not miss it. These days, I love working with bands and artists to help them fulfil their vision and dreams.
You’re Liverpool born and bred and it’s the city you still call home. A lot of people think you need to be in London to make it in music, were you ever tempted by the lure of the capital?
Never. I am in London most weeks and that’s the way I like it. I believe that the greatest musical talent in the last 60 years comes from a 50 mile radius of Liverpool and Manchester. So if this is where the talent pool is - why do I need to be in London?
And finally, what music do you listen to at home and who is your all time favourite artist?
Most of my life is still filled with listening to new music from artists we have either signed or looking to sign. Currently playing the beautiful new album from Mick Head- called ‘Dear Scott’ - I think it is his greatest piece of work for many years. On walks I still find time to play Bowie, Velvets, Talking Heads and other stuff from those early days at Erics when the fire was started in my belly.