Inge Colsen is the founder of Gold Atlas, the New York-based creative PR and marketing agency representing some of the freshest sounds in music. She has been recognized in the industry for her killer taste and ability to surface some of the hottest talent in indie music to the foreground, artists including Boys Noize, CocoRosie, MS MR, Christine and the Queens, Pussy Riot and Haerts. We sat down with Inge Colsen to learn more about how she got her start, what inspires her, and what’s next.
LF: First things first, tell us a bit more about Gold Atlas. We know that you officially opened your doors in late 2015 with co-founders Lizzy Plapinger (MS MR) and Derek Davies of indie record label, Neon Gold. Can you tell us a little bit more about Gold Atlas and how the agency came to be?
IC: After working in entertainment PR and marketing in The Netherlands, while still studying Business Economics and here in New York, for about 17 years, I finally got my Green Card with the help of Lehach Filippa! I'd been working with Derek and Lizzy from Neon Gold for about five years on various artists and the last three years on MS MR (Lizzy's band together with Max Hershenow) and we decided to team up together to create a new exciting business model in Gold Atlas.
LF: Sounds like it has very much been a passion and labor of love. Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career in the music industry? How did you get your start?
IC: Without passion, nothing can propel and gain momentum. It's been a clear path I wanted to take since seeing a person read Billboard magazine next to me on the plane, while studying Business Economics. The words "music" + "business" lit up from the page and it all made sense to me which direction I wanted to take my career. I got my start interning for EMI Records, Matador Records and the PR company Nasty Little Man in NY one summer.
LF: You studied business economics and marketing at the Amsterdam school of Business before making your way to the NYC music and promotion scene. When did you make the move to the United States and how do you think it has shaped your career trajectory?
IC: During the third year at university, we had to do internships, and instead of working at an accounting firm in The Netherlands, I chose to work at a financial department at a record label in New York. By miracle and persistence, EMI Records took me on as an intern for six months. After returning back to school, I took on an internship at a Dutch record label and distributor, which led to other Dutch labels offering me jobs, but I wanted to finish school first. When V2 Records offered a part-time job, it allowed me to work while finishing my studies. The biggest help for me at that time were the visa requirements for recent graduates, for up to one year following graduation, students were able to obtain a J-1 visa to intern in the United States. I took that opportunity to find a second internship and learning experience in New York. As a result of my work during that time, the company hired me after my original visa expired.
LF: Ok serious question...favorite band from your formative years? Do you see any parallels or common themes compared to the music that you gravitate towards now in present day?
IC: First and foremost, I learned English by translating Frank Zappa's lyrics to Joe's Garage at 11 years old with the Dutch/English dictionary. He was a mystery to me and had a great sense of humor! Later on, I'd say either Peaches and or Anohni (fka Antony & The Johnsons) as they are both shapeshifters, artist in multiple senses of the word. They both stand out to me as artists who are able to truly, specifically articulate who they are as a person.
LF: Gold Atlas was recently at this year’s Pukkelpop, good stomping grounds for electronic sounds and indie beats, last year’s lineup included Alt-J, James Blake, Son Lux, Charli XCX and Odesza. How did this year’s lineup stack up? Any favorite moments from the show or artists that stood out?
IC: The biggest artist at the festival was Oscar & The Wolf, besides Rihanna and LCD Soundsystem. People have obviously heard of Rihanna, but the Belgian pop sensation Oscar & The Wolf will be known in USA in the months to come. Mark my words. ;)
LF: If there was one piece of advice that you could give your younger self what would it be?
IC: Be more confident, while also hold onto a naive/childlike view of things.
LF: If there was one piece of wisdom that you could impart on an international marketing/PR creative just starting out in his/her career, what would it be?
IC: Often when people ask for my advice on how to get a job in the music industry, I tell them to just start doing it, don't wait for somebody to give you a job. Armed with the knowledge, information and gut that you have, go out and create to the best of your ability.
LF: So what’s next for Gold Atlas?
IC: Keep growing the visibility of the current clients and expand the number of employees so we can take on more clients, especially ones in the film world.
LF: And last but certainly not least, who should we be listening to right now and which concerts should we purchase tickets for immediately? (It is New York after all, early bird gets the worm).
IC: Christine and the Queens! She's a superstar, artist and a phenomenal creator, nothing less! She'll perform on 10/10 in New York at Terminal 5.
For more information about Inge Colsen and Gold Atlas, please visit https://goldatl.as/.