Breakthrough Talent Award winner, Jake Mazzuca joins Only Helix

Breakthrough Talent Award winner, Jake Mazzuca, discusses his new role as Head of Production at Only Helix…

Photo: Production Futures

What first sparked your interest in touring?

“I grew up in a music-orientated household, I’ve played drums in bands and have been involved in music in some way from an early age. After spending my early teenage years learning music production, I decided to study studio and live music production at university. Initially, I wanted to work in a music studio and produce records. However, I fell into live music, began learning audio engineering from a live point of view and started mixing live gigs and absolutely loved it. The different challenges posed by live shows suits me as an individual, I’ve spent my fair share of time working in offices before and they aren’t as fun, to say the least!”

What does your new role at Only Helix entail?

“I was approached by Only Helix Director, Tom Nicol, who I had known for a couple of years at this point, to come on board to oversee production at Only Helix, which is an exciting opportunity and feels like the right step for my career. I now oversee the production side of the company’s portfolio alongside Only Helix Director, Steven Down. As a production company we’ll start by getting into the strategic planning of a tour and liaise with suppliers, managers, and labels to then formulate budgets and advise on the best way to execute a show or tour. We then build and plan the tour, creative and team to go on the road with the setup. I’m proud of the work we do and the team we have.”

Why was Only Helix the perfect fit?

“We share the same way of working and our morals and guiding principles are aligned. Only Helix invests in people, and they strive to develop and nurture young talent in the sector – which is something I am passionate about having been given the same opportunities myself. Only Helix has the experience of doing the biggest shows and tours in arenas and stadiums, which is somewhere I aim to be very soon. Taking on this role was a big step up for me but is an equally beneficial opportunity for me to learn – Tom and Steve are so good at what they do, and they are very willing to pass on their knowledge which for me is invaluable.”

What advice would you want to offer to those who want to follow in your footsteps?

“I’ve been lucky in meeting the right people at the right time, but I think the reason that has happened is because I have worked to be in the right place and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I would encourage anyone looking to progress in this competitive industry to go above and beyond. I began life on the road as a FOH Engineer, but I went above and beyond – planned routing, allocated budgets, and helped bands and performing artists as much as possible, even if it wasn’t in my job spec. The social aspect of touring is equally important, you can be the best at your job technically but if you’re not personable or able to share a bus with other people then you’re much less likely to be invited back in my experience.”

How did it feel to scoop a Breakthrough Talent Award at Production Futures ON TOUR?

“It was a welcomed surprise. It is something that I am very proud of, and it felt like the perfect indicator that I was on the right path in tour and production management. It has inspired me to make as much of my career as possible, I have high expectations of myself and even though it was nice for the work I have been doing to be recognised and rewarded – I believe that there is still so much more work for me to do before I reach the high levels I have set myself and have been inspired to achieve by the amazing people around me.

What’s next for you and the team?

“We are working with over 13 unique touring artists now so it’s an incredibly exciting time at Only Helix. Recently, I hit the road for a six-week tour of 16 festivals across Europe with KALEO. This was followed by headline shows with The Snuts at SWG3, a tour of Australian and Japanese festival slots, as well as providing production/tour management responsibilities for Olivia Dean’s Somerset House show before further gigs in Japan and the US.”

Words: Jacob Waite

Photo: Production Futures