Doing these interviews with talented and creative people working in Scotland is not only getting rather addictive, but it’s a great way to justify how nosy I am into other people’s working lives! So I was thrilled when Dianne Stevenson agreed to be interviewed for this instalment as she works in an industry I know nothing about. I’ve known Dianne for about 3 years , and although we share a mutual love of film our main shared passion (and guilty pleasure) is a certain Barefoot Contessa. Here she fills me in on what goes on behind the scenes at a music production company, hot new albums and Glasgow’s best hangouts…

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Dianne, 27 and I’m Head of Advertising at Rage Music – a music production company based in Glasgow.dianne stevenson
Where is home?

Home is Lochwinnoch, a small village about 30 minutes outside of Glasgow.  Although I live in Glasgow now, I spend a lot of time back there; walks along the loch with my mum and the dog or hanging out with my sister and nephew.  It was a great place to grow up.

Describe a typical work week?

We’re a small company, there are only 3 full time members of staff, and so my weeks vary from one to the next.  A lot of it is research, keeping up to date with current advertising campaigns both here and in the US, speaking to clients and organising sessions.

I’m involved in the initial creative discussions with agencies; usually we have visuals to work to with temp track (a piece of music which is used during the edit as a guide) this gives us an idea of the kind of sound or vibe they’d like to go with. In some instances they don’t actually know what they want and it’s my job to talk through (sometimes with the composer) references, ideas, and instrumentation – to get as much information as possible so that when the composer sits down to score the commercial, they know what they’re doing.


RAGE_Seassions_Fatherson_024You travel a lot for work – what is your favourite place you’ve visited?

I think it has to be New York.  I’m there a few times a year and I love it.  You can be completely alone and it doesn’t matter.  There’s so much going on, you are buzzing around all day, grabbing a coffee here and there…

We went to Potsdam, just outside Berlin, a couple of years ago for an orchestra session at Studio Babelsberg, that was a lot of fun and it was a really cool place.

Any top tips for NYC? Best cafe/vintage store?

I love the West Village.  It’s a bit away from the busy touristy bits; it feels a lot more chilled out and is usually where I stay when I’m there.

How did you get into the music industry?

I was always at gigs, loved music and thought is there a way to do this?  I volunteered a lot, at various music events and eventually met my boss at one.  I interned for a bit, and now deal with all commercial spots that come through Rage, whether it’s for TV/cinema or radio.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?

There are so many amazing new records out at the moment!  Lianne La Havas’ new album is beautiful, The Twilight Sad, Tame Impala, Rachel Sermanni, Admiral Fallow.  I’m pretty obsessed with The Staves new album too, and eagerly awaiting new Frank Ocean!


Who or what inspires you?

It might sound very clichéd or obvious, but music inspires me – I listen to music all day long. There’s nothing more inspiring than working on a commercial and hearing what our composers come up with for it; to see the music and picture come together for any of our projects is so exciting.

Last concert/gig you went to?

We just finished off a series of gigs at our studio in Glasgow.  We had some amazing bands play; Admiral Fallow, Fatherson, The Twilight Sad and Catholic Action.  We filmed the sessions and definitely intend to do more in the future.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ina Garten on Food Network.  She has the most fabulous life and makes the most delicious looking food.


Best piece of advice?

In terms of the industry I work in, I’d say – volunteer, do your research, talk to people and most importantly listen. Don’t be a know-it-all!  As long as you have something valid to say and a genuine interest, people will respond.  Remember, the people who you’re scared of talking to have all been in your position.  They’ve started off as an assistant, a runner, a tea-maker, but they’ve worked hard and built connections. It’s competitive, so you have to be willing to speak up.

Favourite films?

Lost In Translation stands out.  It’s just such a beautiful film with a great soundtrack; I go back to it again and again. The music really draws these two lonely characters together and we can understand their shared experience.  That’s one thing music can do above all others – transport you to this place of shared experience.

“Her” gave me the same feeling, but in a different way.  It’s actually quite a sad film when it comes down to it; Joaquin Phoenix’s character is so lonely and he’s in love with an OS – something he can’t see or touch, but it still feels real and true.  Arcade Fire scored the film, and it was so perfect.  It completely drew you in and complemented the visuals so well. Like Lost In Translation, it’s a film you can get completely lost in. There’s a track called “Song On The Beach” and the scene in the film is so dreamy. I listen to that soundtrack a lot.


What are you most proud of?

Most recently, I supervised the music on 5 short docs for espnW on the lead up to the women’s world cup. The films showcased female athletes and their stories of success, and were directed by award-winning directors Rena and Nadine Mundo.  It felt really cool to be part of the project as a whole, and celebrating these inspirational women and their lives.  The films were truly stunning.

Favourite hour of the day?

We often have a meeting around 11am with coffee, this is great, we discuss ideas, what we’re up to for that week and anything else going on.  It gets the brain going, although the coffee helps too!

dianne stevenson photo by tom duncanBest brunch in Glasgow?

There are a few places, but The Hyndland Fox or Epicures of Hyndland are both great.

THE HYNDLAND FOXAbove: The Hyndland Fox.

Best cocktails?

Too many to choose from!  I love a Negroni or a Margarita for fun.  So many good cocktails at Gin71 too!

Favourite Glasgow hangout?

Again, there are so many great places!  I love going to Ichiban or Bibi’s to grab a quick bite, or The Hug and Pint on Great Western Road for a drink.

Favourite place in Scotland?

I love so many places in Scotland, but Back of Keppoch, Arisaig is up there.  The beaches are stunning!  It’s very nostalgic for me as I used to go there as a child.dianne stepson by tom duncanPhoto by Tom Duncan.

Article cover image: Dianne wears her Rosie Sugden flouro pink beanie from AW13.