John Telfer’s Rocking Gorillas joins IMPEL

Industry veteran has a long career across publishing, records and management

London, 23rd November 2020 IMPEL has added the first Brazil-based publisher to its ranks, with John Telfer’s Rocking Gorillas joining the independent collective.

Telfer is a music industry veteran, having created successful companies in three different continents over a long career in publishing, records and management.

His first company, formed in 1978, was Basement Music, which included such legendary writers as Augustus Pablo and Dennis Brown on its roster.

Basement evolved into a highly successful management company, with clients including Joe Jackson and Everything But The Girl.

Telfer then moved to New York, created Basement Music Inc, and became the manager of David Bowie, Television, Tom Verlaine, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Liona Boyd, and The Proclaimers.

In 1995, he was asked to become Head of International at the innovative Rykodisc record label. There, he established a network of licensees, distributors and publishers throughout the world.

After five years at Rykodisc, Telfer followed his heart and moved to Brazil where he founded Basement Brazil, which rapidly became the leading independent publisher in the territory.

In 2016, Telfer sold his company to BMG and became Managing Director of BMG Brazil for almost a year before leaving to pursue his own ventures once more.

Telfer helped create Rocking Gorillas with his partners and friends, Maira Colucci and Helena Cavalcanti, in 2018.

The company inked sub-publishing deals for catalogues from the likes of Reservoir Media, Domino and JIM in its first year.

Since then, it has signed a number of talented writers to its roster including Portugal’s Andre Viamonte, and Brazilian natives Rakta, Labaq and O Tarot.

IMPEL CEO Sarah Williams said: “It’s great news for IMPEL that our membership network is now reaching into Brazil. This adds breadth to our licensed repertoire and brings another highly-experienced publisher into the IMPEL fold. I know John’s perspective will be extremely valuable to us, and we look forward to working with him and his team to drive up income for Rocking Gorillas and their writers.”

John Telfer said: “Rocking Gorillas is only two years old but we are growing rapidly, both internationally and domestically. We are very happy about becoming part of IMPEL and intend to be a very active member. I was initially intrigued by IMPEL because many of its founders – the likes of Annette Barrett and Mike Box at Reservoir, Simon Platz at Bucks and Andy Heath at Beggars Music – are all my contemporaries, and are people I like and respect. The deciding factor was meeting CEO Sarah Williams, who has a deep knowledge and understanding of our evolving world – along with genuine likeability!”


IMPEL Collective Management Limited (‘IMPEL’) licenses and administers the digital rights of its publisher members’ Anglo-American repertoire for online activities on a multi-territory basis.