Carl Hitchborn




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EP 202: Carl Hitchborn (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 202. Uh, okay. Let’s kick off this episode today. I am excited to introduce my guest Carl Hitchborn. Are you ready for this Carl? 

[00:00:13] Carl Hitchborn: [00:00:13] I’m very ready. Thank you, David. 

[00:00:15] Dane Reis: [00:00:15] Brilliant. Carl is the CEO and co-founder of escape arc, where he is on a mission to build the biggest and fairest music company in the world.

[00:00:25] And in the process create a brand new music industry where artists don’t just survive. They thrive in less than two years, he took UK alternative rock band, the Hunter from obscurity to selling over 10,000 tickets in London, selling 60,000 albums and over 150 million streams, the best part, this was achieved without conforming to traditional music industry norms.

[00:00:49] And it was done in a way that is both replicable and scalable. Carl, that is a very quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:07] Carl Hitchborn: [00:01:07] Thank you, Dane. It’s been an interesting journey. It’s been almost 12 years that I ventured into the music industry before then. I was a Baker. And I decided that I was not going to get the fulfillment that I desired from being involved in the bakery business. It was a family business. And so I decided to enter the music industry and I discovered was not why I imagined it would be, uh, it was, it was very unethical and very unfair.

[00:01:36] So I decided that I was going to try to do things differently. And so I’ve had a very interesting journey over the last 12 years. And as you said, I had a project, a Hunter that I took from nowhere to a position of really creating an incredible story. And that’s led me to where I am now, a company here in Los Angeles.

[00:01:57] And it’s been a very interesting last two years of educating artists all over the world, leading to the foundations of. The mission that you just read out already, um, of building the biggest and famous music company in the world and in the price list, creating a brand new music industry will Walters.

[00:02:14] Don’t just survive they five. And so that’s a very big goal, but I’m really excited to be

[00:02:19] on that mission. 

[00:02:21]Dane Reis: [00:02:21] Oh, that’s so cool. And what a what a journey as well as coming from, you know, being a Baker and then into the music industry. Huge  of course. Uh, very excited to get into this interview today, but let’s first get into this section here and Carl, look, I am a sucker for a good quote.

[00:02:36] What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?

[00:02:39]Carl Hitchborn: [00:02:39] I’m going to give you a quote from the podium Hill. I read thinking grow rich just before I decided to get into the music industry. It was reading that book that triggered me. And so the quote I’m going to give you is whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe it can achieve.

[00:02:57]Dane Reis: [00:02:57] Oh, so good. And you you kind of alluded to it as saying that’s kind of what kicked off your entire journey into the, into the music industry, but how else has that quote affected and impacted your music career?

[00:03:12] Carl Hitchborn: [00:03:12] Thinking big thinking big and, and really believing that whatever we decide that we want to try and do the only reason that we will not get there. Is if we did not try to do it, if we did not put the energy in and take action that’s required. And so for me, thinking big, and also as you go on your journey to wherever it is, you want to get to that there will always be obstacles.

[00:03:36] They’ll always be things that will come your way that will not. Uh, be part of the plan, but ultimately if you’re a lot of these obstacles to get in your way, you will stop. But if you also look at them and say, there’s always a way for wherever it’s able to talk or to the side or underneath, you’ll find a way if you just keep on moving forward.

[00:03:55] And so thinking big and then taking action, no matter if things have gone to plan or they

[00:04:00] haven’t. 

[00:04:01]Dane Reis: [00:04:01] really like that. And what I really like about the whole idea of  thinking big is that, you know, I think sometimes people, especially in our industry, others outside of it, looking at what we’re doing will think that we’re just, these dreamers are setting these kind of of ridiculous goals, right. As they perceive them.

[00:04:17] And. At the end of the day, of course, there comes a point where you actually have to take the action. You have to do the thing, take that first step that path. down that path. But if you can’t conceive the big end goal, there’s absolutely no way you can get there.

[00:04:30] You have to see it before you can even begin to achieve it.

[00:04:35]Very cool. Well, let’s get into this next section here. And Carl, of course you are an entertainment professional. I am an entertainment professional, and I think that you would agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest and personally emotional industries in existence. in And you know, as well as I, that.

[00:04:57] Do create and have a successful career in this industry like you’re having now it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yes, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and move forward through like we alluded to in that last question, but tell us what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out?

[00:05:25] The other side better. Because of it.

[00:05:27]Carl Hitchborn: [00:05:27] Okay. So let me give you a story 

[00:05:30] Dane Reis: [00:05:30] Yeah. 

[00:05:31] Carl Hitchborn: [00:05:31] at the end of 2018. I was about to there’s there’s a venue in London called Alexandra partners. It’s actually 11 and a half thousand capacity. You knew 

[00:05:39] Dane Reis: [00:05:39] Wow. 

[00:05:40] Carl Hitchborn: [00:05:40] Hunter. We were about to play that venue. And I have the play. I had an email from a lawyer saying the band were not happy.

[00:05:47] They want to get out of the contract. The next thing they canceled, all the shows, right. right. Leading this show and, and. Everything that I was planning ahead, which was big, big goals. We were playing to get to a Venus. We had all sorts of things that were set. It just stopped instantaneously stopped. And I was in a position where I’d be invested all of the income and profits that had come in back into the project to help scale projects.

[00:06:11] And so I was not in a position where I had yet made the money. It was about to make the money. I was a part of, to make millions of dollars and I ended up losing a lot of money. And so. so. I had already got a visa to fly to Los Angeles, to live with my wife and my two kids. And so regardless of the big obstacle that I had just dropped in front of my way, I was not going to allow that to stop me.

[00:06:32] And so I flew to Los Angeles with my wife and my two kids, and really had to figure out what I was going to do. And I didn’t really have a plan at that moment in time. And I just had a confidence that I would find a way. And so. so. Within a matter of weeks of arriving here, I had the idea that I was going to write a book of the story of how I came into the music industry as a Baker and created the fastest growing alternative rock band in UK history.

[00:07:01]And I knew the story would be compelling. I already, every time I shared the story with people, they were like, wow, this is incredible. They want to know more. And so I wrote that book and I haven’t looked back since I’ve sold. I have a 30,000 copies of the book is called zebra to wreck a breaker. And the beefing about it is that I also sold those copies directly to consumers.

[00:07:23] So I have a fan base or customer base of customers all over the world who I have a connection with. And so I’ve turned a situation of adversity into one that’s positive. And I now have. I’m in a much bigger position than I was back then. I have a lot more projects that I’m working with. I have a lot more security in the knowledge that I have a customer base.

[00:07:49] I have a time if people leave in me. And so, uh, I could have kind of up in a bowl and quiet about it. Instead, I decided that I was going to double down and I was going to go for it. And I decided to take my whole family to the other side of the world. And. Just go to go and try and fulfill the American dream.

[00:08:08] And that’s

[00:08:08] what I heard 

[00:08:09]Dane Reis: [00:08:09] wow. That is a crazy story. I can  I can only imagine it to have to have all that work put in and then. Especially just have the rug pulled out from under you instantly, but then to then  continue and carry on and, and create more from that. That’s amazing. I love that story. It’s so good. I’m gonna have to pick up your book as well.

[00:08:27] Carl Hitchborn: [00:08:27] Yeah. And, and really the why I would say is that. The world that we live in, and this has always been like, this is that stories is what really captivates people. And so when you have a slowly, you can leverage that story. And so I always knew that I had that story. You couldn’t, you could take the band away, but you couldn’t take away the story and the history of what had been done and the results and the stats that were there in the public domain.

[00:08:54] So. So. I knew that I could leverage them at some way. I wasn’t sure how, but writing the book was the best thing that I could do. And it’s

[00:09:02] been incredible

[00:09:03] Dane Reis: [00:09:03] Oh, that’s so good.

[00:09:05] Carl Hitchborn: [00:09:05] Yeah. 

[00:09:06] Dane Reis: [00:09:06] Oh, wow. And I want to piggy back on that really quick and talk about a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be in this entertainment industry for a living, or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing in the entertainment industry.

[00:09:30]Carl Hitchborn: [00:09:30] Yes. Going back to what I discussed earlier around thinking very rich. So I read that book and that was really in a position where the bakery business, it was a family run business and I’ve been growing the business, but there was a lot of conflicts. And so when I say confidence, it was really around. The fact that the business was doing well, and my family didn’t want to grow.

[00:09:50] They didn’t want to make a bigger impact than what we have as they used to say to me, why can’t you just be happy with what you have? You have a nice home, so you have a nice car, you have money coming in. And I used to say that, cause it’s not about the money. It’s about impact. It’s about improving constantly and pioneering new ways and doing new things.

[00:10:06] And that’s what excites me. And so I decided that after reading that book, it triggered me to decide to find a new pathway. And so. It will be in September that we 12 years, but I decided to embark on the journey and the music industry. And so I decided that this is what I was going to do. And the reason that I decided to do this is because for me, music is one of the most powerful mediums of connection that exists in the world.

[00:10:31] And every human on earth. Needs music. It’s kind like one of these things that we need water, we need food, we need music in our lives. And so I decided that if I can make a wave in the music industry, I could make a way in the world. And so that was my journey at the very start, deciding to embark on the mission

[00:10:53] I am on now. 

[00:10:55] Dane Reis: [00:10:55] so good. I love what you said. If I could make a wave in the music industry, I could make a wave in the world. That’s so good. I love that. And let’s talk about your number one book, that momentattached to that.  Walk us through that day. What was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book moment?

[00:11:16] Carl Hitchborn: [00:11:16] So when I decided to. Launched the Hunter I’d been in a situation with another project called coast that I’d signed to a major record label. And it was very frustrating because we haven’t got the momentum that we expected to get. We have much more momentum on our own. And when we did this deal, we were already stuck in the machine.

[00:11:35] It was very painful, very frustrating. So when I had this other project that I was in develop was developing at the time called Honda, I decided I wasn’t going to do it with the system I was going to do outside of the system. And so. I decided that I was going to take this project from zero to playing to Brixton Academy in London within two years of releasing the first song.

[00:11:56] And so everyone told me that that that was not possible. I was insane and they basically laughed at me. Um, and so 18 months from releasing the first song, booking that show and actually setting it very, very quickly to the point where we ended up putting another night on as well and selling 10,000 tickets. 

[00:12:16] Dane Reis: [00:12:16] Wow. 

[00:12:17] Carl Hitchborn: [00:12:17] That was a big moment to know that why I said that we could do, we did times two. And so that was, as of right now, that’s the biggest moment for me is to say, to go for a big guy like that and make it become a reality, many of our things along the way. But that was just a very significant moment because.

[00:12:35] Traditionally to get to this venue in alternative. What could normally take you five to 10 years? So we did that in 18 months from releasing the first song and it was an incredible moment

[00:12:48] to experience that. 

[00:12:50] Dane Reis: [00:12:50] Wow, that’s so good. I can only imagine that you’re the kind of person that a lot of people listening to this in the, that are musicians.  And doing that that grind right now would love to speak with you. so good. and let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now?

[00:13:11] What are you looking forward to? And it’s a weird time, right? We’re in this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry and the music industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:13:23]Carl Hitchborn: [00:13:23] So,

[00:13:23] So, as I said, I have been building a customer base in the last couple of years, I decided that why would do is I would go deep into building relationships. So as many people as possible that connected to me from buying my book. And so. so. I embarked on this crazy idea of I’m going to get on zoom calls with a lot of people.

[00:13:43] And so I started to do using calls. I was doing 10 to 15 ankles every single day, and I’ve done that for two years. And I was lucky recently in I’ve done over 6,000 one-to-one Ingles with artists and people who work with artists from all over the world. 

[00:13:58] Dane Reis: [00:13:58] Wow. 

[00:13:58] Carl Hitchborn: [00:13:58] And so I’ve really got a deep understanding. I already had a good understanding of.

[00:14:04]The pain that authors go through and the really uncertainty that they have in the journey ahead, as you said earlier, it’s a very difficult lane to navigate in the environment, into the site. There’s so many things you can do. There’s so much noise. And so I embarked on this journey with the idea of. Creating an education system. So that’s one of the things I’ve been working on is creating an education system that will teach artists how to build their own businesses. And so they can create sustainability for them. Artistry. And then, so that’s kind of kind of like  the second part of my mission to, to create a brand new music industry where artists don’t just survive.

[00:14:43] They five, if you give them the knowledge and the tools, they can land it in themselves. And that means that they are, they have the autonomy and they don’t have to rely upon the system. And the gatekeepers that are in their way will no longer be in the way. So I’ve been educating artists how to do that themselves.

[00:14:59] And the first part of the mission of building the biggest and fairest music company in the world, that’s really about. Finding those artists that really have ambition that that wants to really have a big career. They want to make a big impact in the world, but they don’t want to be in the system. And so the idea is for us to create that’s the new system for them that is fair and equitable, and we’ll give them the platform that they need to.

[00:15:23] Being able to focus on the art, knowing that the business line of it is being taken care of in a way that’s fair for them, and it’s going to get them to where they want to be. And so I kind of find that the skatepark, um, to be the vehicle, to do that. And I’m really excited because this is kind of really the, the calm before the storm.

[00:15:39] If you like, we’re getting a lot of foundational things in place. We’ve just concluded some deals on distribution and various other parts of the. Foundational things that you need to be able to build infrastructure, to help us do what they really want to do and that’s to make as much of a wave out there in the world themselves.

[00:15:57] And so I’m very excited because. I would say within a matter of months, a lot of people gonna start to hear about escape Hawk and the work that we’re doing. And so this is a really cool interview to be doing, because this is one of the first that I’ve done. And so I’m really looking forward to looking back at this in the future and for people to listen back to it, to see that this is the

[00:16:22] beginning of it. 

[00:16:23]Dane Reis: [00:16:23] Oh, not as amazing. I’m very excited very for you. And, um, I’m just going to tap into everything that you’re doing and just follow you and see how everything develops over the next handful of months and years of months and years and stuff. That’s very very cool. And. It is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview.

[00:16:41] I call it the grease lightening round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?

[00:16:52]Carl Hitchborn: [00:16:52] I’m ready? 

[00:16:53] Dane Reis: [00:16:53] Brilliant. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?

[00:17:00] Carl Hitchborn: [00:17:00] Honestly on the behalf of artists that I’m mentoring, I would say the one thing that holds them back is really not knowing where they should start. And so there’s so much noise, so many voices that makes it hard for them to know where they should actually start on the journey. So the key is to have a big goal.

[00:17:17] One that inspires you enough to take the action necessary, to get going and to avoid the noise and distractions that coming

[00:17:22] away on the, journey.

[00:17:24] Dane Reis: [00:17:24] yes, the uh, the comparison game, I can imagine 

[00:17:28] Carl Hitchborn: [00:17:28] Oh, yes. 

[00:17:28] Dane Reis: [00:17:28] a big role.

[00:17:29] Carl Hitchborn: [00:17:29] Oh, yes. The comparison game, looking what everyone else is doing and not taking any action themselves. It’s very much the, one of the things that happens. And then of course, there’s a lot of people out there that say they know the answers and then they don’t necessarily know the answers. And so people don’t know where to turn.

[00:17:43] So you have to just get, get to it,

[00:17:45] take out.

[00:17:46] Dane Reis: [00:17:46] yes. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:17:51]Carl Hitchborn: [00:17:51] Think big and in turn, take massive levels of action to make your

[00:17:55] goals become a reality. 

[00:17:57] Dane Reis: [00:17:57] yes. Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause

[00:18:07] Carl Hitchborn: [00:18:07] Well, uh, we really are in a world that is very connected for social media and. Where would that be before the pandemic or post pandemic building a relationship with your audience online is one of the most powerful things that you can do. And so if you cultivate an audience online, build a relationship with those people that want to support you in the end, they will support you at every level.

[00:18:29] And so when we get out of the pandemic, if you’re in the entertainment space where you’re in venues, then. If you have an audience that already knows likes and trusts you, they are going to want to come and see you in the venue as well. So building a relationship online using social media, that’s the thing that really is with us.

[00:18:50] It’s not going anywhere. And so maximize it. That’s what I

[00:18:53] would say. You should do. 

[00:18:54]Dane Reis: [00:18:54] Yes. I love that. And the fourth question, what is it your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or piece of technology you found is helping your career right now.

[00:19:08]Carl Hitchborn: [00:19:08] I truly believe that having a growth mindset is fundamental to success. And so there’s a platform called mind Valley, which is incredible. It’s fun to have lots of awesome education. Very much focused on helping you to cultivate a growth mindset. So mind is a tool that I frequent almost every single day.

[00:19:28] There’s lots of great education.

[00:19:30] I would highly recommend. 

[00:19:31] Dane Reis: [00:19:31] very cool. I’ve not heard of that. I will be checking that out. As soon as this interview is finished 

[00:19:36] Carl Hitchborn: [00:19:36] Awesome. 

[00:19:37] Dane Reis: [00:19:37] and the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still have all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do?

[00:19:48] Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?

[00:19:51]Carl Hitchborn: [00:19:51] No, honestly, I wouldn’t change anything so far on the journey. Life is a journey. We have ups and we have dones and we have to embrace it and focus on energy towards constantly improving every day. And so the journey to now has been incredible. I’m excited about being here. The fact that I’m on the staff is awesome and I want to make the biggest impact possible.

[00:20:14] So I don’t dwell on the past. I always look at it. We’ve had lots of lessons along the way, and it’s up to us to constantly improve. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why we on this

[00:20:24] one.

[00:20:24]Dane Reis: [00:20:24] Yes. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.

[00:20:35]Carl Hitchborn: [00:20:35] So those who say that they know what to do. And those who actually know what to do are few and far between. So follow your intuition as well as your logic to determine if the advice that you’re getting will actually help you or not. If you’re not sure. Or if you think the answer is no, keep on taking action on the things that you already know is working for you so that you’re not wasting your energy on misguidance or guidance. That’s not really helping you get to where you want to be. So just trust your instincts, trust your logic, and keep on taking action. If you know that you’ve got something working, just keep doing that. Cause if you, if you get distracted, you’re going to stop taking the action. And so keep, keep on doing it.

[00:21:15] That’s

[00:21:15] what I would say. You need to do. 

[00:21:17] Dane Reis: [00:21:17] Oh, I think that is incredible advice. And I would recommend everyone rewind real quick and listen to that again, at least once. again, at least once. it’s so important. Because we see in the social media world and as online world that people get huge and have these seemingly overnight successes left right.

[00:21:35] And center, but really it’s about staying consistent with that one thing that works for an extended period of time.

[00:21:43] Carl Hitchborn: [00:21:43] Absolutely. That’s it. You have to keep

[00:21:44] focusing. And as you said, it’s about despite the compound effect of that constant action on the things that wiping. And it’s very simple, you know, it’s, it really is. And I’ve got many projects that I’ve been mentoring that I’ve got them to, to work on, simplify everything, and it’s incredible the results that they’ve had from doing that.

[00:22:05] And so I can’t stress it enough, stay focused on what, on the things that you know, working and don’t get distracted by. The noise that comes your way. The more momentum you build, the more noise will come. And so you have to learn to say no a

[00:22:20] lot. 

[00:22:21]Dane Reis: [00:22:21] yes, so good. And to wrap up this interview, Carl, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:22:36] Carl Hitchborn: [00:22:36] Well, as I was a Baker in my previous. Career. Um, I started to get nicknamed the Baker in the music industry. And so I’ve kind of taken on that brand guys as my brand identity. And you can find all my social handles at the beaker says, and my website is the bacon I have various information products and books that you can acquire from me.

[00:22:59] And as I said earlier, I’m on the, on a very big mission, but to really start to. Execute in a much more public facing way up until this point. The last two years, I’ve been very much on the ground doing one-to-one Ingles with artists and people who have losses. But as of right now, I’m kicking off to tell the world the amazing work that myself and my co founders, miss Kate block are doing.

[00:23:24]And so visit my website. Agile email address to the newsletter and you’ll definitely get lots of news for me ahead and connect with me on social media. Please send me a message. I always reply to you. I love connecting with people. That’s how the world

[00:23:38] ticks. 

[00:23:40]Dane Reis: [00:23:40] brilliant. And for everyone listening out there, I’ve put the link. Everything called just said into the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with him and also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, teachers, arts, and entertainment educators, and anyone, and you know, aspiring to create a career in the entertainment industry.

[00:24:03] You booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career case in point. Everything Carl just gave us today. His journey is incredible. So much goal to take out of this episode. If you like this one, make sure you hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss the next guest.

[00:24:24]Carl, thank you so much for being here. This was an incredible interview. Loved getting to know you. Thank you.

[00:24:31] Carl Hitchborn: [00:24:31] Thank you, Dan. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity and the time, and I’m looking forward to sharing the podcast with my audience as well, because I think that some of your previous episodes will be very helpful for these guys

[00:24:45] as well.

[00:24:46] Dane Reis: [00:24:46] Wonderful. My pleasure.