Fenway Recordings is an artist management company headquartered in Boston and Los Angeles. Originally founded in Boston in 2001 by Mark Kates as an independent label offering management services to a small number of clients, Fenway has evolved into a full-fledged artist management company, guided by a simple principle: To work hard for artists we truly believe in and are inspired by. Fenway’s client roster includes MGMT, Joywave, The Cribs, Mission of Burma and Doves.
Mark Kates has been a central figure in the genre of alternative music since before it even had a name. He has done A&R, promotion, marketing, been both label head and owner, and now is primarily an artist manager. Kates grew up in the Boston area where Mission of Burma's music inspired him to work for their label Ace of Hearts. From there he moved to Big Time Records in Los Angeles and artists like Love and Rockets, Alex Chilton and the Hoodoo Gurus. His work there led to Geffen Records where he spent 10 1/2 years and created the alternative promotion department eventually segueing to A&R and playing a significant role in the development of the alternative radio format. He signed Beck, Jawbreaker, Elastica, Alabama 3 and others. He brought Sonic Youth to Geffen and A&R'd albums by them as well as Nirvana, Hole, Teenage Fanclub, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, White Zombie and many others as well as co-executive producing the soundtracks for "Beavis and Butt-head Do America" and "Suburbia." Kates left Geffen in 1998 to run Grand Royal Records for the Beastie Boys and work with them as well as artists like Sean Lennon and Luscious Jackson. In 2001 he returned to Boston and established Fenway Recordings, a music management company. Coincidentally Mission of Burma decided to reunite that year and he again works with them as well as MGMT, The Cribs, Saves The Day, Guards, Doves, Bodega Girls, Faces on Film, and others. As DJ Carbo he is resident and curator of The Fenway Recordings Sessions, a live concert series produced by Crossroads Presents that has brought over 300 shows to Boston since 2004 including headliners Diplo, fun., Hot Chip, Echo and the Bunnymen, Dum Dum Girls, Wolfmother, Two Door Cinema Club, MGMT, and many more. In 2012 the series was expanded to include a livestream initiative with MTV Hive that has produces livestreams with Tegan and Sara, Alt-J, and Cloud Nothings.
Fenway Recordings is a small, independent operation whose relationships with its clients run deep. In fact, while 2001 may be the year Fenway was technically established, the company’s roots can be traced back to a night in 1980, when Kates first saw Mission of Burma play at a small club just outside of Boston. He credits the band, whose raw, loud and pioneering music was breaking ground in Boston’s post-punk scene in the late 70’s-early 80’s, with his initially getting involved in the music industry. In his opinion, Burma was “too good not to be bigger” than they were, so Kates got a job at Burma’s label, Ace of Hearts and his career, and his friendship with his favorite band, officially began.
Nearly 20 years later, things came full circle for Kates when he founded Fenway Recordings back in his hometown of Boston. After spending the first half of his career in LA, including ten and a half years at Geffen Records, much of which saw him in the A&R Department working with artists like Sonic Youth, Beck and Elastica, and a three-year turn managing the Beastie Boys’ label Grand Royal Records, Fenway Recordings sees Kates once again working with some of his favorite artists.
Fenway Recordings (Label)
Since 2004, Fenway Recordings has also seen Kates hosting the Fenway Recordings Sessions, a concert series at intimate venues in the Greater Boston area featuring some of the best up and coming artists from around the world. Artists that have played under the Sessions banner include MGMT, Yeasayer, The Ting Tings, The Temper Trap, Bat for Lashes, The Cribs, Freelance Whales, Hot Chip, Jamie Lidell, Cold War Kids, Grammy Award-winners Wolfmother, Echo and the Bunnymen and many others.