That Was an Accident . . . with Martin Atkins - Creative Innovators with Gigi Johnson

Episode 24

That Was an Accident . . . with Martin Atkins

Question: How do you decide what adventures to take in your nonlinear career?  What are intentional plans vs. accidents?

Guest: Martin Atkins, Music Industries Coordinator, Millikin University; producer, drummer, documentary filmmaker, DJ, and teacher


Photo: Kara Hammond and NARAS


Martin Atkins talked with our host, Gigi Johnson, from his studio that also acts as a museum of all of the adventurous projects around his career.  Martin shared how he began drumming at age 9 and persistently getting into Public Image Ltd, waiting through 5 drummers.  He talked about believing early on that he had a job -- "it's being me."  He diversified by accident and kept adding roles as blockages came his way, including launching bands and labels.  Each time, he picked the best option that arose and looked for both safety nets and for solutions IN the problem itself. 


Our Guest


Martin Atkins is the definition of entrepreneurial activity in cultural arts endeavors, his 35+ years in the music business spans across genres, borders, and industries.

He was a member of Public Image Ltd and Killing Joke. He founded industrial supergroup Pigface, The Damage Manual, and Murder Inc., and has contributed to Nine Inch Nails (for which he has a Grammy) and Ministry. He is the owner of Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios (est. 1988). He is the author of "Tour:Smart, Welcome To The Music Business….You’re F*cked!” and "Band:Smart."  He is the Music Industries Coordinator at Millikin University in Decatur Illinois. Martin is a producer, drummer, documentary filmmaker, DJ, and father of four.


Whatever the future of entrepreneurial music business education is, you can pretty much bet that he’ll be in the middle of it.


Mentioned Links:



Your Host: Gigi Johnson, EdD


I run transformative programs, speak/moderate, invest, advise, and produce multimedia on creativity and technology.  I taught for 22 years at UCLA, where I ran the Center for Music Innovation and the podcast "Innovating Music," built four industry-connecting programs, and taught undergraduates, MBAs, and executives about disruption in creative industries.  Before UCLA, I financed media M&A at Bank of America for ten years.


Connect with Us


Sponsored and Produced by the Maremel Institute

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Creative Innovators with Gigi Johnson
Creative Innovators with Gigi Johnson
Creative industry change agents who build and create against the grain and with inspired ideas join us to inspire and amaze.

About your host

Profile picture for Gigi Johnson

Gigi Johnson

Gigi Johnson founded Maremel, which runs transformative programs, invests, advises, and produces multimedia on creativity and technology. Her current initiatives include the Amplify Music conferences, podcast, channel, and research with 45 organizations; books on technology and creative work; events on local creative startups; and a new creative industries skills training program. She taught for 22 years at UCLA, where she ran the Center for Music Innovation, built four industry-connecting programs, and taught undergraduates, MBAs, and executives about disruption in creative industries. Before UCLA, she financed media M&A at Bank of America for ten years. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership for change from Fielding Graduate University, an MBA from UCLA Anderson, and a BA in film/TV production from USC.