Hard 8 Management And Working Group Merge To Become The Hard 8 Working Group
RICH EGAN and DIRK HEMSATH have merged their companies — HARD 8 and WORKING GROUP, respectively — to create THE HARD 8 WORKING GROUP. The newly-formed NASHVILLE-based company be home to management, label, and publishing divisions. The expanded management roster includes BRANTLEY GILBERT, CHEAT CODES, DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, BILLIE EILISH, and R.LUM.R. THE HARD 8 WORKING GROUP will include EGAN’s FOLSOM RECORDS, which originally started as a vinyl-only label and has been home to releases from RISE AGAINST and FACE TO FACE and will re-release DAN LAYUs’ critically acclaimed debut album.
“DIRK and I go back 20 years and have always shared a mutual respect, trust, and work ethic, even when we were on opposite sides of a negotiation,” said EGAN, who founded VAGRANT RECORDS in 1994, sold it to INTERSCOPE, bought it back, and then sold it again to BMG last year. “It’s ironic that two punk rock kids ended up in NASHVILLE together working with such an eclectic roster, but DIRK and I speak a common language. We do things that make sense to us and for our artists — and that isn’t a genre specific approach. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of this new company.”
HEMSATH said, “Inspired by our love of music, RICH and I both started labels as teenagers and grew them into successful companies that provided an outlet for artists and music that changed culture. “We both went into management at different times for the same reasons: to be passionate advocates for artists’ rights, work and their business. Rich is a true artist advocate and I can’t wait for what we will do together.”
The company will also include a new label division headed up by A&R wunderkind and management partner DAVID CONWAY.
“CONWAY started with me as a DOGHOUSE intern and 15 years later continues to be a brilliant A&R and marketing asset with multiple Gold and Platinum songs to his credit (including Cheat Codes’ “No Promises” featuring DEMI LOVATO),” added HEMSATH. “His sense of how to put songs together with artists, writers and producers and then market them is incredible.”
Laura Bender Appointed GM Of The Hard 8 Working Group
Industry vet LAURA BENDER will serve as GM of both the management side and the labels and will take an active role in the greatly expanded venture. BENDER was most recently at ADA LABEL SERVICES.
BENDER said, “I moved from NEW YORK to work with RICH because his passion is contagious—he goes all in on his artists and their music and is constantly bringing new ideas to the table. I was ecstatic when he told me that DIRK and his team were joining the family.”
THE HARD 8 WORKING GROUP artist managers DANNY RUKASIN, MIKE BACHTA, AARRON KEISER, BRANDON GOODMAN, SEAN SHEAHAN, ANDY STANLEY, SPENCER KELLEY, EMILY HEMSATH AND NICK MEYERS are joined by staffers MICHAEL SCHNEIDER and PATRICK MAXWELL.
As staunch NASHVILLE supporters committed to reinvesting in the thriving city, EGAN and HEMSATH will move their 15-person company into their new downtown building in JANUARY 2018. They’ll maintain a satellite office in LOS ANGELES.