Believe-owned metal label Nuclear Blast has restructured its A&R department and promoted Nathan Barley Phillips and Shawn Keith to Head of A&R, Europe and Head of A&R, North America, respectively.
Long-serving employee Tommy Jones is promoted to the role of Label Manager, North America, which includes A&R responsibilities for the existing roster of Nuclear Blast America.
Current A&R Jens Prueter will also take over a newly created role, as Head of Catalogue / Senior A&R.
Nuclear Blast was acquired by Believe in 2018.
Since joining Nuclear Blast’s A&R team in September 2020, he has signed over 12 new bands across the group’s Nuclear Blast and SharpTone label brands, as well as helping to power the latest album from Metal legends In Flames to the No.1 album spot in four separate European countries.
Previously, the exec served as the Head of TuneCore, UK (2018-2020), where he was responsible for all operations and relationships with artists, managers and industry partners working with TuneCore’s distribution service in the UK.
Before joining TuneCore, wholly owned by Believe, Nathan founded Basick Records in 2005, a record label for heavy music.
Giving emerging UK artists such as Enter Shikari, Bury Tomorrow and Sleep Token their first commercial releases, the Basick label soon became synonymous with “the cutting edge” of heavy genres, according to Nuclear Blast, going on to sign and release music from Misery Signals, SikTh, and Monuments, among many others.
Shawn Keith joins Nuclear Blast after co-founding SharpTone Records in 2016.
Focused on alternative genres, SharpTone has signed established acts like Story Of The Year, We Came As Romans, and August Burns Red, as well as developed new talent, such as Loathe, Currents, Dying Wish, and Don Broco, whose latest album ‘Amazing Things’, debuted at No.1 in their native United Kingdom in early 2022.
Before co-founding SharpTone, Keith served as Vice President at Sumerian Records for eight years (2007-2014).
The indie startup launched Asking Alexandria (who released four RIAA-certified gold singles with the label) and instrumental heroes Animals As Leaders.
Tommy Jones has been working with Nuclear Blast for 14 years, initially as an independent contractor before being made a permanent employee and relocating to Los Angeles amidst a successful campaign with Slayer in 2015.
Through Jones’s tenure at Nuclear Blast, he has worked in Digital Marketing, content creation and most recently was the Head of Operations, prior to transitioning to the Label Manager role for Nuclear Blast America.
Jones has relocated back to the East Coast and is strategically positioned in between NYC and Philadelphia, and in between Los Angeles and Nuclear Blast’s European offices.
In his new role, Jones will report to Jérôme Riera, Label Director of Nuclear Blast, whilst Keith and Phillips are reporting to Marcus Hammer, Managing Director Nuclear Blast.
“We have been constantly developing and improving our approach to offer the best services to our artists across all channels and nail our position as the #1 label in heavy music”
Marcus Hammer, Nuclear Blast
Marcus Hammer, Managing Director for Nuclear Blast, comments: “We have been constantly developing and improving our approach to offer the best services to our artists across all channels and nail our position as the #1 label in heavy music. We are convinced that we are taking a further step now to an even brighter future, and I wish Nathan, Shawn and Tommy the best of luck and great success in their new roles.”
“After two and half years at the label, I’m honoured to be given the opportunity of leading the A&R department, as we usher in a new era for our genre.”
Nathan Barley Phillips
Nathan Barley Phillips, Head of A&R, Europe, said: “After two and half years at the label, I’m honoured to be given the opportunity of leading the A&R department, as we usher in a new era for our genre. Throughout my career, I have always tried to push the envelope by signing artists that have had a progressive outlook and attitude. It’s massively important to me that we continue to move our culture forward, and I’m relishing the prospect of delivering on that mission here at Nuclear Blast. ”
“I’m honored for the opportunity to cultivate the next chapter of a new era, while adding my own influences to the historic metal legacy that is Nuclear Blast Records. That mission starts right now.”
Shawn Keith, Head of A&R, North America, comments: “Over the last six years, I’ve collaborated with Nuclear Blast on creating SharpTone from its inception, developing artists with creative freedom, passion and purpose. They’ve given myself and my team the control, trust, support and resources to establish a label that values just that. I’m honored for the opportunity to cultivate the next chapter of a new era, while adding my own influences to the historic metal legacy that is Nuclear Blast Records. That mission starts right now.”
“I’m excited for this new chapter of Nuclear Blast with Shawn and Nathan and stoked to be a crucial part of it.”
Tommy Jones, Label Manager, North America, said: “As Label Manager for Nuclear Blast America, I look forward to handling A&R responsibilities for our extensive roster alongside of the Jedi, Monte Conner.
“I’m excited for this new chapter of Nuclear Blast with Shawn and Nathan and stoked to be a crucial part of it.”Music Business Worldwide