Always know that your passion will help you overcompensate for any shortcomings you may have.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to be featured in Alternative Press’ “Innovators” issue. We all like to be recognized for our accomplishments, so it was a really cool thing to be selected for. Even though the music industry is seemingly gasping for air, I take a lot of pride in the fact that my crew and I try our damnedest to stay creative and find innovative and engaging ways to connect with music fans.
The other day, I came across the full interview I did with Alternative Press. The magazine didn’t publish the whole thing, but after reading it, it reiterated a lot about how I feel about music, my job and where I came from, and how I constantly encourage young people to follow their dreams. It’s a quick read, so I hope you enjoy. Check out the full feature here.
How do you think Tooth & Nail has affected our music “scene”?
Tooth & Nail and Solid State have both boasted diverse rosters full of innovative bands that have always pushed music in new and exciting directions.
How has the company been so successful bridging Christian music with mainstream success?
Our goal has always been to get music that matters out to as many people as possible. I’ve never viewed our artists as “Christian” artists per say and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve had so much success. Good music will always connect with people.
What do you see as the company’s greatest success?
We are able to affect peoples’ lives positively through music. When I was younger, there were so many bands that inspired me and opened my eyes to a whole new world. They made me dream about the future and in a lot of ways, they made me feel alive. We are still able to do that today and that is an amazing thing.
Where do you see Tooth & Nail in five years?
Tooth & Nail will continue to be working with and supporting great bands.
How did you get where you are today?
From working in college radio, putting out zines, and being on street teams to working at record stores, interning at a major label, interviewing and video taping bands, and constantly going to shows, I soaked up music like a sponge. A few years, several states, and a few different record labels later…and here I am.
What’s your definition of an innovator?
An innovator is someone who is never content with the status quo. An innovator strives to try new things and put new ideas into action without fear of failure.
What’s your personal mantra?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
When/why did you first realize you wanted to do what you for a living?
In college, I had a “eureka” moment where I truly realized that I’d much rather spend my life doing something I loved than thinking about waste management facilities and satellite topography (which is what I was studying at the time). So I abandoned a safer and potentially much smellier route and trusted my heart. From that moment on, I was determined to work in music and help support artists that pour their souls into their craft. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in achieving your success?
In anything you do, there is always the fear of letting go. On several instances, I’ve been faced with the prospect of leaving behind the familiar for something completely unknown…and sometimes, letting go is the very thing that will help you find what you are looking for. So, for me, letting go has been that obstacle, because I have always known that wherever I am, I will make a difference.
What do you see as your biggest accomplishment?
Honestly, I’ve always been proud of the fact that I simply took the risks necessary to do something with my life that is meaningful to me. The result is the sheer gratification of knowing that I am doing what I love while being able to make an impact on the lives of both bands and fans. All of the little successes that come with trying to sell records are just icing on the cake.
What’s the biggest disappointment you’ve experienced in this industry?
For me personally, the biggest disappointments come with simply not reaching my personal goals. I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve – not only for our bands and this company, but for myself. Anytime a band falls short of reaching their full potential, it’s a hard pill to swallow – because my expectations are just generally so high.
Who did you look up to when you were getting started in this business?
Jeff Matlow of crank! A RECORD COMPANY. Not only did Jeff have a tremendous vision for his company, but he also released a lot of records by bands that have greatly impacted where this scene is today. He also gave me my first opportunity in this business. Check out Mineral, The Gloria Record, Cursive, etc.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self now?
Don’t let “conventional wisdom” interfere with your gut feeling. When thinking about “what you want to do with your life,” don’t overthink it.
What would you say to someone who wanted to do what you do but didn’t know where to start?
No matter where you live or what your situation, if you have a vision for your life, pursue it! Immerse yourself in what you love and go for it with everything you’ve got. Expect setbacks, but don’t give up…and always know that your passion will help you overcompensate for any shortcomings you may have.