Nadeem A Salam, a British-Bangladeshi citizen, is not your average tour manager. This young entrepreneur is a photographer, filmography expert and flies his own plane as well.
The 27-year-old has worked with famous bands such as The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Megadeth and is the founder of Skesh Entertainment.
He has also directed and produced over 20 music videos, garnering millions of views from around the world.
The Business Standard recently conversed with the multifaceted artist about his passion for music, his camaraderie with Dave Mustaine and Red Hot Chilli Peppers and his upcoming plans for Bangladeshi musicians.
"At just 17 years old, I started working as a tour manager for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I was making lots of money and was given a 20 percent commission for my work. So, instead of wasting it, I decided to use my entrepreneurial skills to invest that money in business," Nadeem said while talking about how he got into entrepreneurship.
Nadeem's journey as a tour manager started 10 years ago in Florida. He used to play in bands and realised that tour management would be an ideal profession for him to combine his passion for music as well as earn money.
His first project as a tour manager began with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. "I realised that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has a huge fan base all over the world, especially in Asia. I had to be creative in order to monetise Asia and spread the music industry," Nadeem said.
His success with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus encouraged Nadeem to start his own company.
He wanted to give it a meaningless name so that he could give it a true meaning. "And thus, I ended up with the name 'Skesh'. When I searched for the name on Google there were zero searches listed for it," Nadeem said.
Upon realising the huge market that Asia was for music, Nadeem moved to Malaysia and started expanding his operations in Singapore and Philippines. Before he knew it, Nadeem was operating in six different countries, over 25 cities, across Asia.
Skesh Entertainment managed over 150 international shows across 70 cities around the world in 2019 alone.
During the pandemic, the company had to promote brands through live streaming and broadcasting in order to ensure safety for both the audience and the bands.
Working with Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Megadeth
"We had our first tour with Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 2016 when they performed in Asia. The band called us and it was truly a breathtaking moment for me," Nadeem said.
The concerts were fully packed and involved one of the highest levels of productions. Nadeem said that he thought the drummer of Red Hot Chilli peppers resembled Will Ferrell and the band also noticed this similarity between them.
Speaking more about his endeavours, Nadeem said, "We had a great laugh and I truly share a good bonding with the band. They are incredible performers and are still rocking in their 50's and 60's. I went to festivals with them in the UK and hung out with some of the crew. Being able to see one of my favourite bands in a completely different environment made me truly happy."
Nadeem had two shows with Megadeth in Asia and shared a close relationship with Megadeth's guitarist Dave Mustaine. When Nadeem was in Jakarta, Dave used to hang out with the Skesh team.
"So in the first show in Jakarta, 'I See Stars' keyboardist Andrew Oliver banged his head against the keyboard and we had to take him to the hospital to get him stitches. When Dave heard about Andrew, he came to the hospital and hung out with us," Nadeem said.
He continued, "Dave told us crazy stories to keep us entertained. I was really shocked when Dave told me that he had heard about the famous 'Concert for Bangladesh' and knew about Bangladesh. He was really nice to us and is a fabulous performer."
Getting involved with Atticus, Rockiss and Merch Cow
'Atticus' is a renowned clothing brand by American rock superstars Blink-182. To Nadeem, band merch was a big culture back then and he used to buy limited edition T-shirts from the brand.
"When I earned a decent amount from my first company, I decided to buy shares in Atticus. Clothing goes hand in hand with music and I truly believe music can be promoted through clothing lines. We get orders from Bangladesh for Atticus clothing as well," he said.
The young entrepreneur also runs Malaysian clothing label "Rockiss" which makes clothes that are mostly for women. It is similar to Atticus but Rockiss focuses largely on the domestic market in Malaysia.
Nadeem wanted to start "Merch Cow'' when he saw how much profit the bands could make against their earnings in merchandise production. The bands in Asia would earn more from merchandise than the concerts. Last year, Skesh printed 10,000 units of shirts and sold them all over South-East Asia.
So why has there been no concert by international bands in Bangladesh yet?
"As a tour manager we have done shows in Bangalore, Chennai and all over India. We were supposed to do a concert in Bangladesh with the band "Miss May I". A local company reached out to me regarding the show in Bangladesh but sadly the organiser had to cancel the event later due to some resistance," Nadeem recalled.
"After this incident, I never tried to host a concert as I did not want any negative impact on the bands if the show gets cancelled," Nadeem added.
Nadeem did a show in Malaysia during the pandemic called "Platform Live" and he has decided to do its second season in Bangladesh showcasing all the musical legends of the country. Popular bands such as Artcell, Nemesis, Miles, Cryptic Fate and many more will partake in the concert.
"The concert will have your favourite bands performing covers of their favourite international band and an international band will cover their songs as well," he said.
Platform Live will be free for streaming through www.platformlive.bd and all the shows can be watched in full HD live.
Nadeem is currently residing in Bangladesh until the production of the concerts completes.