Interview: James Carragher

Our Creative Music Production alumnus tells us about how he ended up working in A&R for Dirty Hits Records...


From playing in bands to studying production and then becoming an A&R rep at Dirty Hit Records, James Carragher's experience in the music industry is definitely diverse. Currently working for the label of artists like The 1975, Wolf Alice, and Pale Waves, James recently chatted with us about his career path.

When did you realise you wanted to work in the music business?
I definitely came into it fairly naturally. I was in bands growing up and also produced music, but while doing that I realised I was always that person who would facilitate everything else. When I started to meet with A&R’s and managers, their professions sounded like something I had already been doing with my own bands, so there you go... 

What are your main inspirations?
I feel really fortunate to work with such an amazing group of people at Dirty Hit Records. Everyone there really motivates you! 

What led you to ICMP?
I actually transferred to ICMP for my second year from another music university studying drums and production.

To me, what made ICMP really stand out in comparison to other places was - and still is - its ability to bridge the gap between studying/developing your talent and being active in the industry. 

Wolf AliceDirty Hit Records' roster includes Wolf Alice (pictured), The 1975, Pale Waves, and more.

How did you move from studying our BA in Creative Music Production to becoming an A&R?
I met a few managers and A&R’s whilst studying and realised there was a bit of a crossover between being a producer and an A&R representative. I definitely still use my ears like a producer would when listening to music and I think this really helps me.

What's a day in your life like as an A&R representative?
It’s quite varied day to day depending on what our artists are doing and what new artists are doing! As for the latter, I’m consistently looking for exciting music or music that everyone else is talking about. I usually do so by going to gigs and by talking to a mix of different people from various sectors within the industry. 

What's the best piece of advice you received about building a career in music?
Being patient and persistent creates opportunities.

And the one you would give to ICMP students?
Figure out who you need to meet! I think actively engaging and networking is one of the most valuable skills in music and one that is slightly understated. 

What's the band/artist you wish you discovered?
King Krule and Blood Orange.

king KruleKing Krule

And finally, give us some music recommendations; what are the artists and records we should really listen to?
Discrete Music by Brian Eno and Loaded by Velvet Underground are probably my two favourite albums! New music-wise, I love this artist called Shygirl at the moment.


We'd like to thank James for sharing his experience and music recommendations with us. To find out more about Dirty Hit Records, visit

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School of Music Business
by Lara Magnelli
March 12, 2020
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