In our series of coveted Colorado music-industry jobs, so far we've covered a range of jobs, from being a guitar tech and handling publicity to being tasked with overseeing digital music delivery from a vast electronic music catatlog to band management. Today, we bring you five more coveted gigs. Keep reading to learn more about the positions and the people who help make up the music industry in Colorado.
Nightlife Photographer/Online Marketing (Jordan Loyd, Beatport)
Jordan Loyd creates images that make you want to go to experience the shows he's shooting. Following a random photo gig at Beta Night Club, he received a recommendation from Catherine Nguyen (profiled in an earlier installment of our coveted jobs series) that took him to Florida to shoot the Ultra Music Festival. From there, it's all history, as they say.
"After high school, I was real into ski and snowboard photography," Loyd recalls. "But Ultra was the real jump into music for me." The folks at Beta noticed some of his photos after a show one night at the famed club, and he was put at the top of the list for photographers. But why dance music?
"I think the culture surrounding the dance music industry is pretty cool," Loyd explains. "I don't think a lot of genres of music really hit that. It's all about that singular moment in the night, and the crowd goes insane."
Along with being photographing festivals and events all over the country, Loyd also recently started working for Beatport, the world's largest hub for dance music. "I work a lot on the email marketing campaigns, translations and analytics," he notes. "I went in as social media and marketing intern, but I don't really do that as much anymore."
These days, you can find Loyd's fingerprints all over the electronic music scene. From festivals in New York (Electric Zoo) to Miami (Ultra Music Festival), Lloyd's work is perused by some of the biggest names in the world. Chances are if you've seen a photo from any of these events pop up on your Facebook feed or your Twitter timeline, it's got Jordan Loyd's watermark in the bottom corner.
Talent/Service/Administration Coordinator (Albreanna Watson, SoCo)
When Albreanna Watson moved here from the Dirty South, she had no idea at the time that she'd end up doing what she is now. Starting in an entry level retail position, Watson possessed a passion for fashion, and that inspired her to go to school for merchandising. All of that changed, however, when she was offered the job as a cocktail waitress at Vinyl Night Club.
"I started right when I turned 21 at Vinyl," Watson recalls. "And if you work in the industry, you know, but people always want shifts." The night club scene is a grind, and where the money is good, there is a lot of temptation and competition. "I downgraded to braceleting, cashiering, and just learning things from the bottom." It didn't take long before her managers noticed how hungry she was, and she quickly moved up to bartending.
"There is a very fine line between partying and working," Watson points out. "And a lot of people get sucked into the party, keeping them from moving up the ladder." Still hungry for more, Watson expressed interest in an opening at the SOCO Nightlife offices answering phones and other office responsibilities.
These days, Watson wears as many hats as she can fit into, including booking artists for weekly events, coordinating fashions shows, tending a bar, making schedules, running social media channels for several clubs, and she is the voice that informs you about tickets sales, keeps you up on lost and found, bottle service details and whatever else you call a night club about. "You hear people say 'that was the craziest weekend of my life!' and that's my weekend all the time, except I have to be at work the next morning as well."
Any tips for a hungry up and comer? "Plot, plan and pursue," she says with a laugh. "Persistence is key."
Blogger (Nick Guarino, ThisSongIsSick.com)
Searching out new music and sharing it with your friends (and their friends) sounds more like a late-night obsession than a job, but Nick Guarino has parlayed his blog, ThisSongIsSick.com, into a viable career. "My original goal was to make good music more accessible," says the rising Boulder music mogul, "because I felt like there was a lack of that on the radio and mainstream media."
Driven by this notion, Guarino turned TSIS into a popular site that attracts upwards of four million hits per month, and one that has been crashed more than once thanks to exclusive releases from Big Gigantic. This caught the eye of talent buyer/band manager Ben Baruch (profiled in an earlier installment of our coveted jobs series), and the two have since established a great relationship over the past few years.
"The first real big show was Skrillex at the Fox Theatre," say Guarino, recalling his early exposure, "and I couldn't even meet [Sonny Moore] because I wasn't 21 at the time." The young Guarino was still taking full advantage of access by passing out flyers and stickers to promote TSIS.
Once he found himself engulfed in the music scene, the entrepreneur was soon managing Robotic Pirate Monkey, a trio now co-managed by Souls In Action founder, Lulu Simone. This led him to approach GRiZ, a Detroit raised saxophonist with a knack for creating bangin' tracks, which then turned into another professional venture: managing GRiZ.
Guarino plans on pushing TSIS to new heights and to continue showcasing more talent. "I am going to be developing the artist management side," he says. "And so, essentially, there are other artists I have had my eye on.
"And as far as live shows," he concludes, "there is so much more with festivals and partnering. With those, we were gone all summer. Now we are gearing up for fall: We've got Wolfgang Gartner at Boulder Theater, and GRiZ at the Fox in December."
Artist Representation (Wilcox Weaver, PressPlay Colorado, Center Stage Classic)
Going to a lot of shows is rewarding as a fan, but it can also be frustrating when you realize that all the talent you are seeing is not being heard by more people. Wilcox Weaver came to this deflating realization in Boulder and decided to do something to change it. "Two years ago," he remembers, "I started up PressPlay Colorado with a collective of DJs that weren't getting the love that they needed."
Seeing this talent so unrepresented, Weaver took it upon himself to bring it all together, which is where he stands now with Center Stage Classic. Representing artists from all over the world, Weaver soon found himself consumed to the point where he was takikng time off from school to focus solely on the music scene.
"Since PressPlay Colorado started," he points out, "we've had about twenty or so writers and photographers providing content, and it just brings a lot of music to people who may not have heard it before."
The 21 year old business owner and partner has big things on the horizon, including bringing one of his artists, Anvil Smith, all the way from Russia for a show in early 2013. "With agency, I have a partner in California, Veronica Weitz," he notes, "and she covers a lot of the U.K. side of the agency. There are about fifteen acts, and we try to get them exposure here."
Mobile Party Master (Ben Travis, Whomp Truck Founder)
When Ben Travis acquired a legitimate sound system for the purpose of throwing his own events, it never occurred to him that he should pack it into a box truck and park in random gravel lots to blast dubstep.
"I found a 1969 Chevrolet ice cream truck," Travis recalls. "It was $700 and fit my needs and budget." After loading up this truck -- which was originally acquired for the sole purpose of transporting equipment -- one day out of his garage while throwing back a few cold ones with a buddy, Travis noticed that the subs just fell into place. "We stacked the [speakers] into the back of the truck and noticed they fit perfectly." Thus Whompy, the only mobile electronic party that can literally shake the ground beneath your feet, was born.
"After that, I hit up some friends at a gallery (Theory and Practice) down on Santa Fe, and we parked out front and played music during the First Friday art walk." The first round brought out a crowd that surprised even Travis, and provided great exposure for the debut in March of 2009.
Three years later, Travis has formed a crew of Whomp Truck residents to play after hour shows, and they continue throwing down for free at First Friday art walks, as well as last-minute-revealed locations for special parties. That will all change come winter when the crew plans on working on the newest addition to the Whomp Truck family, Would Shop 2.0.
So how does an information technologies consultant transform into a truck whomping DJ?
"Another just kind of happening," he says. "I played instruments my whole life, and I love all sorts of music. I used to think all electronic music was basically really bad trance. I thought all of it was like that, but then I met a friend here, and he was all, 'Do you like jungle?' he played some and I fell in love with it." After that, Travis remembers using all his spare cash on vinyl purchases, and really delving into the creative process.
For the rest of this year and into next, Travis's plans to take things to the next level are well within reach. Hosting shows and after hours at Would Shop 2.0, which doubles as both a workshop and a special event venue, is only the beginning, For now, though, you can find Whompy near 13th and Santa Fe in a parking lot, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for upcoming productions at Would Shop 2.0.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.