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A LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR WELCOME to the 9th Annual LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival! We have some SUPER EXCITING changes to this year’s Conference & Festival programming! For starters, we are going ALL IN on the Conference Programming, and Jen Kellogg (Conference Co-Director, The Entertainment Institute Owner/ Founder) has been BUSY! Not only has she expanded the Conference subject matter to include the latest, most current challenges and relevant topics facing us in today’s music business climate, but has assembled one of the greatest crops of industry experts in LAUNCH history! LAUNCH has made deliberate changes to restructure the overall program to foster more & more direct interaction between participants. Throughout the weekend, you’ll notice the addition of group lunches, the reigning in of the previously expansive nighttime Festival staging, and more. This is to corral more of us together in fewer locations, to increase proximity to each other, and to encourage even more relationship building. One major feature this year is the inaugural installment of FEST FRIDAY, a 15 band, 3-stage “event within The Event,” Friday April 14th. This new programming piece takes place at Binns Park, outdoors, and just 1 block

from the front door of the Convention Center. We will host both the LAUNCH Annual Conference-wide Attendee Appreciation Party AND the Annual Panelist VIP Party here, keeping everybody in the same area, with no competing programming, from 5:00PM-9:30PM. This event is also open to the general public (as are ALL LAUNCH nighttime Festival programming events), so we look forward to one heck of a fun time! We are SO PROUD to continue our mission to serve aspiring musicians and industry professionals, through unparalleled low pricing, and FREE attendance for those who submitted for performance consideration, an effort that is only made possible by virtue of the support of our many generous sponsors. Should you run into anyone from Wells Fargo, York College, Heineken, Fireball, The City of Lancaster, The Marriott and Lancaster County Convention Center, and so many more, far too many to mention here, please consider saying “thank you”!! And thank YOU...for traveling here, for digging in, for believing in yourselves, and taking the plunge, pursuant to acquiring knowledge, going for broke, for putting yourselves out there, and laying it all on the line. Your determination, your talent, and

Jeremy Weiss, Conference Director (right) with LAUNCH 2016 performer Yazz the Greatest

your hunger continue to inspire us all here at LAUNCH. We notice, and we deride a real sense of purpose from YOU. Finally, for those of you who identify as simply “a music-lover,” WELCOME FRIENDS! Grab a badge, or a single event ticket! See something BEFORE the rest of the world. Dance, raise a glass, celebrate the fantastic crop of talent we’ve had the pleasure of assembling for you! In years past, you might have been able to catch some of the phenomenal

developing artists who came to town through our submissions process; like 21 PILOTS, MEGHAN TRAINOR, THE DISTRICTS, and many many more, and in the most intimate of settings. These are experiences and memories that last a lifetime. We look forward to sharing more of them with you this year! So, let’s DO THIS!! Let’s make LAUNCH 2017 count among the greatest, most productive, entertaining, and FUN editions to date! See you there!

LAUNCH MUSIC CONFERENCE & FESTIVAL 2017 STAFF Conference Director: Jeremy Weiss Conference Director: Jen Kellogg Director of Art & Marketing: Andrew Zell Social Media & Panelist Liaison: Diana Obracaj Sponsorship & Operations: Spencer Carpenter Sponsorship: Kate Truscott Sponsorship: Allison Skiff Production Manager: Bryan Naranjo Registration Coordinator: Paige Sodano Registration Attendant: Kristen Oles Registration Attendant: Erika Glass Exhibitor Liaison: Tammy Eno Volunteer Liaison:

Production Assistants: Skyler Giordano, Kyle Fisher, Mike Rogers, Niki Galbraith, Andrew Pettit, Hayden Calhoun, Andrew Pappasergi, Riley Kopp, Ashley Ventura, Stella Weiss, Titus Irvan, Ashley Huff, Tyler Digiovanni, Aaron Woodhouse, Xavier Hladky, Lindy Kraska, Steven Cowit, Isaac Pawliung, Caleb Leaman, Matt Bailey, Antonio Vazquez, Noah Jensen, Elliott Mazur, Josh Lofties, Sean Johnson, Chris Olsen Contributing Writer: Eric Spitz (Substream) Conference Videography: Springwood Productions Travel Agent: Robin Ernst (Bon Voyage Travel)

Photography: Dan Gillespie, Madeline Martin, Audrey Lew, Ashley Kalinoski, Delaney Bass, Josh Himes Advisors: Kevin Lyman (Vans Warped Tour), Annie Weeks (City of Lancaster), Kayla Forgrave (City of Lancaster), Jennifer Mercandetti (Lancaster County Conv. Ctr.), Marshall Snively(Lancaster City Alliance), Roger Fitzwater (Woodcrest Audio), Bob Anderson (808_the_plug), Rob Barber (Atomic!), Shawn Young (York College), Lou Plaia (ReverbNation), David Silbaugh (Milwaukee Summerfest), Rick Gadd (Decadent Suite)



This is not your first time at LAUNCH, having been part of the EPIC line-up and showcase of 2014, with Chiodos and Our Last Night. It is a true pleasure to welcome you back as featured artist, after the release of your incredible 4th album (2016, Hopeless Records) “131”. What can fans expect to see/experience Saturday April 15th at the Emarosa performance? We put on the performance that we want. I don’t like to give it away, if you’ve seen it before you have some idea of what to expect. Videos and youtube clips don’t do it justice, in my opinion. In 2014, Central PA native, and alumni member of Lancaster’s This or The Apocalypse, Matthew Marcellus, joined Emarosa. While the band hails from Lexington, KY, is there a special connection to Central PA, by virtue of his having joined the band? I imagine there’s always a feeling of being “home” for him when we play PA. He’s played for a long time and it has to feel good when we come through and he can showcase all the hard work he’s put in, to his friends and family. Your live shows are incredibly high energy, but there’s so much more to it than that. The band seems to truly connect with the crowd, and give each person the feeling that you’re engaging and including them personally. What is the impetus behind this unique ability, are you cognizant of it, and is it something you strive for? That’s not something I can explain. I work just as hard or harder than anybody on that stage. You know what

I do? I connect. I get people off. I look for the guy who isn’t getting off, and I make him get off. What is it that you are most proud of, with respect to both the latest album, and with respect to the Emarosa live performance? I think digging out of a very giant hole. I jumped onto this ship while it was sinking, fast. Now we’re bigger and better than this band has ever been and it feels good to surpass all expectations of what people thought was going to happen with this band. Our latest album is arguably our most successful and undeniably the bands best, cohesive album. Our live performance is something that people just got wind of and now it is an entity on it’s own. After several line-up changes since the band’s inception in 2006, what is the primary inspiration between Emarosa’s continuing as a band, and what’s the secret to it’s persistence? I don’t really know what the inspiration was, they were dormant for 4 years trying to find a singer. You have to have some kind of persistence to keep it up for that long with no end in sight. Eventually, the dead weight took care of itself as does anything with growth and we found ourselves here. For me it started out as something to prove, then it was that I had something to say, I’m not sure what’s next. Do you have any immediate touring plans, exciting news, or tidbits in Emarosa’s future that you wish to

share with the LAUNCH audience now? We are supporting Pierce The Veil & Sum41 this Spring across the US, we will be recording a 131 reimagined EP with Aaron Marsh(Copeland) and will be continuing to tour throughout the rest of the year. How important or helpful do you think conferences, such as LAUNCH, are to aspiring musicians and music professionals in the early development of their career? Do you think, in the early days, Emarosa would have benefitted from a resource and exercise such as LAUNCH?

I think music festivals benefit a lot of bands. I learned a lot being a part of them when I first entered this world and I still learn a lot. I think you can build a formidable support system locally with conferences like LAUNCH. I can’t speak for Emarosa in the early days, but I would venture so far as to say, playing out and having an audience built in to your show absolutely helps the growth of your own fan base. See Emarosa LIVE at LAUNCH MC&F 2017, Saturday, April 15th at The Chameleon Club. Doors 5:00PM, and Emarosa takes the stage at 9:00PM!


AKISHIA: LIFE IS A JOURNEY You speak of challenges you’ve faced in your life, and how they’re reflected in your music. Could you elaborate a bit on that? Is music a mechanism for fans facing similar difficulties, to relate; a mechanism of catharsis for, or a little of both? Life is a journey. In your journey you go through tough times and situations that can change you forever, whether it be for the good or bad. In the worst times, we can feel like we’re the only ones experiencing this, the only ones suffering. I know my pain I’ve experienced in life, I am not the only one. Writing about what I couldn’t talk about and then singing about it exposes topics a lot of musicians don’t really like to talk about today and wanna keep private. It’s an autobiography and very therapeutic and that makes me more relatable to the world, because in my journey, I have a story for everyone; not just about pain & sadness but also overcoming the darkest days. Learning who I am, forgiving, letting go, loving life again, celebrating. You relocated, mid-career, from the West Coast to the East Coast. Can you tell us a little about how that transition went, and which music scene you find to be the most rewarding? Would you dare to admit which coast you prefer? I relocated for personal reasons. That’s what my song “Runaway” was about when I first got started in music. Escaping an abusive life and following your dreams. Now, I can say the west coast

just accept you, and love music. They would buy everything you do. #diehardfans. London was amazing as well. They definitely know how to do business. Very friendly and, of course, I love their accents. It’s like Italy and NYC had a baby and created London. What was the most amazing experience you’ve had as a performer, here in the United States? The most amazing experience I’ve had as a performer is people actually singing my lyrics along with me, and people coming out to me sharing their abuse they kept private. Or another story about how I’ve touched them on another level. Basically, thanking me.

“LEARNING WHO I AM, FORGIVING, LETTING GO, LOVING LIFE AGAIN, CELEBRATING.” definitely has more flavor. More soul in the music, and the beats are amazing. It has a different vibe to east coast music. East is more EDM and pop, more dancing fun music, which I love as well. If you mix the two in some way, that would be dangerous! I’m sorry but I love both West & East as equals. 2pac had the right view the first time. You





presence. Do you dance and model, as well, or are you strictly focused on your singing career? I am a chameleon. The full package. It comes with the territory of being an artist. I do it all. You have toured in both Korea and London. What can you tell us about these remarkable experiences? I can tell you that the energy is amazing! Especially in Korea. They

What made you decide to submit to perform at LAUNCH 2017, and what can you tell listeners to expect from your performance this year at LAUNCH? I’m used to doing SXSW and other gigs. What made me want to perform at LAUNCH is that it’s something new for me; an intro-point to an amazing new start. Rebuilding & rebranding myself, meeting new people, making good connections that can be of great benefit. And to the listeners...They can expect a smokin’ show. : ) SEE AKISHIA LIVE at LAUNCH 2017 at The Chameleon Club, Saturday, April 15th, 11:00PM $10.00/G.A. - Free with Standard Weekend, Saturday, or VIP Badge


CAROUSEL KINGS: FLOATING AND FOCUSED to detail for how a song should be constructed. Starting from the ground up, the entire group plays off each other’s energy to create an album with songs that pack powerful punches, which has resulted in this 13-track release that the group is understandably proud of. “I feel like the album’s pretty deep. I feel like I can honestly say I don’t have a favorite song on the album. I feel like we tried really hard to make each song its own thing,” Alexander says, pondering the creation of their newest album. Carousel Kings experienced creativity that reached new heights in the process of writing Charm City. Using the practices mentioned above, Alexander recognizes the importance of mental well-being and the power the human mind truly has, saying, “We can control so much more than we believe, or what we are led to believe.”

Printed with permission from Substream Magazine Story by Eric Spitz

Focusing on songwriting ground zero, and allowing the mind to reach new creative heights, pop-punk quartet Carousel Kings placed a heavy emphasis on their mental well-being to create their third full-length release, Charm City. In order to reach their new creative heights, Carousel Kings started implementing flotation therapy into their routine, using the practice as a meditative form in order to stay relaxed and focused while the album was being constructed. In short, flotation therapy—also referred to as sensory deprivation— is a practice where individuals lie in a soundproof and lightproof chamber of six to twelve inches of water filled with Epsom salts, allowing anyone within the chamber to float and reach a deep meditative state. In addition to being the vocalist of Carousel Kings, David Alexander has also worked at a spa in West Chester, Pennsylvania for the past two and a half years, and got the rest of the group involved in the practice, too. Currently, Alexander floats for around 90 minutes in a session, and does one session each week. “This is the first album that all of the band members participated in that floating, and I feel like it helped boost our writing and our creativity a lot. It was kind of like a steroid for the brainwaves,” Alexander says, reflecting on Charm City’s writing process. “I feel like the ideas just flowed very naturally and we didn’t have to force anything.” In regards to the specifics, a bulk of the music for Charm City was written beforehand. Alexander would take the music that was written and listen to it within the swim room, trying to create melodies while in a truly relaxed state.

Carousel Kings 2017 | Photo: Dustin Smith

While flotation therapy was the major medium used to boost creativity, the group placed a heavy emphasis on relaxation as a whole in order to stay within a good frame of mind. This included the use of binaural beats by Alexander and painting by bassist Cody Jay Williams. In addition to the writing process, the album art inspiration can be attributed to the idea of meditation as well. Carousel Kings’ utopian-like Charm City is described by Alexander as a place that’s visited during meditation. When describing his vision to a variety of artists, no one seemed to understand it better than Archan Nair, who’s previously done international campaigns for Kanye West, Nike, Red Bull, and many others. “I almost feel like it was meant to be,”

Alexander says about his experience working with Nair. “Our hope is that when people see [the album artwork], it makes them question themselves, makes them look inward at themselves, and has people searching for answers they didn’t even know they had questions for.” Even before the new routine for the band, Carousel Kings also went through the change of being signed to Victory Records for the production of their latest efforts, after having previously worked with local label CI Records. “We’ve felt very welcomed by Victory. I mean, the album wouldn’t be possible without them,” Alexander says. “I just feel really grateful, stoked, and excited to see what the outcome is.” One thing that’s certainly admirable about Carousel Kings is their attention

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PANELISTS EVA ALEXIOU FATA BOOKING Eva Alexiou is the CEO and President of DATA Booking Agency, a company that plans live concerts, tours, and other events for its artists and clients. Though mainly representing North American artists, FATA also works in Indonesida, the Phillipines, Japan, Australia, and eastern Europe. FATA has worked with Jimmy Eat World, Coheed and Cambria, Flogging Molly, Elliott, Hot Water Music, Saves the Day, MAE, and many more.

TIM BORROR UNITED TALENT AGENCY Tim Borror was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Kennett Square in Southeastern PA. Tim attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia, where he earned a degree in music business, and started his first booking agency. After gaining the attention of larger booking firms, Tim and his clients were absorbed multiple times over, eventually being acquired in the end by The Agency Group and subsequently United Talent Agency, where Tim is now a senior agent, booking 3000 capacity and up venues.

MIKE CARPENTER ADJUST CREATIVE Mike has deep experience in design, branding, marketing, and tech. He’s helped launch several businesses and can offer practical advice for performers, entrepreneurs, and storytellers. Mike will be at LAUNCH talking about TEI and the awesome things we’re building together. He likes to mix beer and ideas. His company, Adjust Creative, is a design firm in Chicago that works with several industry companies to build apps, software, and other interactive creations.

MARIE GIRONAS REYBEE Maria Gironas knew she wanted to be a music publicist since the age of 12 after meeting a publicist at a concert. Since then, she has stopped at nothing to break into the industry, using her ability to write and report through sites such as Bandsintown,,,, and Substream Magazine. Now, she works as a Publicist at Reybee with acts including Good Charlotte, Dashboard Confessional, Bear Hands, Manchester Orchestra, and Yellowcard.

JEANNE HOFFMAN BRYCE DOWNEY & LENKOV LLC Jeanne concentrates her practice in intellectual property and business litigation and transactions. She handles all facets of business and intellectual property litigation and has extensive experience handling diverse matters in both the state and federal courts. Jeanne has represented clients in protecting their intellectual property by providing clearance opinions for trademark filings, preparing copyright and trademark applications and prosecuting trademark matters in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

JEN KELLOGG THE ENTERTAINMENT INSTITUTE Jen Kellogg is currently the tour accountant for the Vans Warped Tour, co-founder of The Entertainment Institute, controller for Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival and instructor at Columbia College Chicago. Jen was instrumental in developing tours in minor league baseball parks with artists including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Def Leppard, Bryan Adams and the Counting Crows. Jen is not only an expert in large outdoor concert productions but has produced and settled shows in every type of venue imaginable.

STEPHANIE MAKSIMOW CATALYST PUBLICITY GROUP Hailing from New York, Stephanie is a wanderlusty soul who has found herself living all over the country - from Long Island, to South Florida, New England, and now based in Seattle, Washington. In her college years, Stephanie worked as a Street Team Leader for Fueled By Ramen Records before she decided to pursue her dream and go back to school for a second Master’s Degree in Music Business Administration, and turning to Jen Appel to jumpstart her career in Music Publicity.

JEN APPEL CATALYST PUBLICITY GROUP South Florida native Jen Appel graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelors in Communication and Culture and Barry University with a Masters in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. Entering year five of The Catalyst Publicity Group, Appel has seen success working with 400+ artists of all genres. She has fine-tuned creative marketing so emerging acts find success in their career and even more so has watched artists grow in to successful musicians. Appel has been fortunate enough to work with acts Boys Like Girls, Cartel, The Spill Canvas, and Our Last Night.

JONNY BOUCHER HOPE FOR THE DAY Jonny Boucher has worked in a variety of capacities within the music industry since he was 13. Gradually, after realizing that there was a gaping void at concerts created by the fact that while lyrics talked viscerally about mental health and suicide, there was nobody to tangibly follow up with these emotions after shows. This was one of the sources of motivation for founding Hope for the Day (HFTD), which Jonny has been CEO of since 2011, and actively partners with the Vans Warped Tour, Live Nation, and other leaders in the entertainment industry.

JIM DIGBY EVENT SAFETY ALLIANCE Jim Digby is 30-plus year veteran of the entertainment industry. He is the founder and Chairman of the Event Safety Alliance® and owner of Collaborative Endeavor Group (CEG), providing international touring strategies and complete production solutions for the live entertainment industry. He currently serves a Director of Touring and Production for the multi-million selling artists Linkin Park, and has previously worked with artists as diverse as The Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi, and Marilyn Manson.

HEATHER GRIFFITH FEARLESS RECORDS Heather Griffith is the head of publicity and manager of brand partnerships at Fearless Records, a Los Angeles-based record label featuring August Burns Red, At The Drive-In, Pierce The Veil, Plain White Tees, Motionless in White, and dozens more. In addition to her listed positions, Heather also manages inquires regarding reviews, interviews, mailing databases, and relationships with magazines and other press outlets on behalf of Fearless artists and the Fearless catalog.

TRACY ‘UNCLE O’ JACKSON POWER 99 It doesn’t take long to figure out that Philadelphia based on-air personality, Tracy “Uncle O” Jackson was a born hustler. Parlaying his talent for comedic commentary on everything from music to sports into a full time DJ spot wasn’t the initial plan; but it became clear the boost in ratings he brought to the show couldn’t be ignored. Six months after the former computer programmer stormed onto the airwaves, Uncle O became the third man for the original Hot Boyz show with Mikey Dredd and Pooch Man.

KYLA LOMBARDO RED FROG EVENTS Kyla’s job is to optimize the relationship between entertainment properties, artists, brands and media. She is the Festival Marketing Director for Red Frog Events (RFE), whose festivals include Firefly Music Festival in Dover DE, Shamrockfest in D.C. and Chicago Beer Classic. Prior to joining RFE, Kyla was the Marketing Director for Riot Fest.

LARRY MARTIN FAKELIFE CLOTHING Larry is the owner of FakeLife Clothing, a social enterprise founded on the unusual practice of a for-profit business raising money to benefit others. Sales from FakeLife benefit orphans and their communities in countries all over the world. FakeLife, inspired by an ear for music, an eye for creativity and a heart for hope, began in the hardcore/punk music scene. The seeds that were firmly planted in this scene grew deep roots, and helped to catapult the brand into what it is today.

CURRAN BLEVINS FRAM PROJECTS Curran Blevins has operated Fram Projects for 5 years, and has strived to be forward thinking, and always on top of technological advances in the music industry. Taking creative advertising and marketing risks to further artists careers, and introduce them to large audiences, all without signing to a label. Curran has worked with artists such as Hoodie Allen, Our Last Night, and Yonas. “I strongly believe that the music industry is the wild wild west, and the only motto you must have is one of which the bigger the risk the bigger the possible reward.”

TERRY ‘BUZZ’ BROWN DARKCHILD ENTERTAINMENT For the past 10 years Terry has continuously impressed label executives and the rest of the world by finding and matching some of today’s most creative talent the music business has seen. He is known for his ability to identify, spot and elevate raw talent. Terry has a natural ability to spot the “X” factor in undiscovered raw talent. Even with the music industries drastic changes, Terry continues to rise to the top and find great talent and connect them with deals so they can live out their dreams.

CHRISTINE FEOLA HOUSE OF INDEPENDENTS Christine has been booking Asbury Park, NJ for over 5 years. She started her own company, Dark City Entertainment, 4 years ago and focused on developing a strong Asbury Park music scene. Christine books The Stone Pony and Convention Hall, in addition to curating Convention Hell, a Halloween concert at Convention Hall which has become wildly successful. Christine is now the talent buyer and promoter at the House of Independents, a brand new 500 cap venue in the heart of Asbury Park.

PATRICK P-NUT HICKSON TEAM EARLY MANAGEMENT Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, P-Nut started working as a road manager for Rocafella Records artist State Property. After fellow Philadelphia artist Freeway released his instant classic “Philadelphia Freeway,” P-Nut began road managing him and performing with him as his DJ for 15+ years. With close proximity to the artists he was road managing, P-Nut became familiar with record deals all the way from the independents up to the majors. His client list has included Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Young Gunz, Peedi Crakk and Omillio Sparks.

MICHAEL KEALEY MOTOR SCOUT MUSIC PUBLISHING Michael Kealey is the founder of Motor Scout Music, an independent music publishing and rights management company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that specializes in placing music in all aspects of media, including film, television, advertising, web and video games. Prior to starting his own company, Michael worked for ten years in New York for Billboard rated Top-10 publishing firms, Ultra Records & Ultra Int’l Music Publishing as well as The Royalty Network, holding senior creative and administrative positions.

KEVIN LYMAN 4FINI A constant innovator, Kevin Lyman is best known as the producer and creator of the extremely successful Vans Warped Tour, the longest running traveling music festival in the world today. Celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, the tour has played to over 9 million fans. When not curating giant festivals, he sits on the Board of Directors for Saint Archer Brewery and the LA County Fairplex. He also has his hand in the record industry as co-owner of Side One Dummy. Kevin is a partner in LAUNCH and co-founder of TEI.

FINN MCKENTY CREATIVE LIVE Finn McKenty is the executive producer of music and audio at CreativeLive. A survivor of the 90s hardcore and graffiti scenes, Finn channeled his passion for DIY culture into business and entrepreneurship, landing him a marketing position at Abercrombie and Fitch and product development jobs at Motorola and Procter and Gamble. Finn has written for MetalSucks, Substream, and others, while running The Punk Rock MBA. His secret mission is to build an army of hardcore-kids-turned-CEOs to take over the world.

DAVE MCWANE BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE David began his writing career composing lyrics for Big D’s music. As the band traveled across America, Canada, Mexico, England, and eastern and western Europe, David recounted his observations and experiences in prose and poetry. David has contributed to contemporary music magazines -- Alternative Press, Punk International, AMP , etc. David has produced and directed 13 music videos of Big D that are available “on demand” and in a variety of internet sites.

DARBY MOELLER SIXTHMAN After 10 years working at record labels in marketing, Darby decided to make a move and found Sixthman, a company who curates and produces festivals at sea. Beginning as a Partner Relations Manager, she worked with artists, agents, and managers to execute their vision for a festival on a ship. Her music industry experience and passion continues to help curate new festivals and explore new avenues for the company. Since starting in 2013, Darby has worked on 39 cruises and spent over 165 salty days at sea.

RANDY NICHOLS FORCE MEDIA MANAGEMENT Randy Nichols, owner of Force Media Management, has guided artists on his roster to Gold and Grammy nominations, overseen sold out tours on six continents, and sold over 5 million records. A regular of LAUNCH, SXSW, CMJ, and many universities, Randy also advises AtVenu, the premier live event merchandise platform, which reports in-venue sales to Nielsen, in addition to being an early investor in Bandsintown.

ULF OESTERLE SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY Ulf Oesterle is an assistant professor in the Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University. Outside of teaching he started an indie label and artist management company, was the programmer and host of a weekly specialty radio show and has promoted concerts in upstate New York and NYC. He received a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the Newhouse School at SU in 2007.

NIKHIL POTDAR OUTERLOOP MANAGEMENT Nikhil Potdar is a manager/producer for Outerloop, Director of Business Development & Marketing for Sumerian Records, an Advisory Board Member for Hope for the Day, and a Associate Member of the Recording Academy.

JOHN RICCARDI EVENTBRITE John Riccardi is a Senior Account Manager at EventBrite, an event hosting hub with ticketing options, real-time analytics, and over two million events handled each year. He has written about and been interviewed for creative ways of promoting shows and events and has years of experience in the event promotion and online ticketing fields. His most memorable show is seeing Price with 3rdeyegirl in Toronto in 2015.

KRISTIN SCHLOSSER WE ARE TEAM HANS Kristin aka “Gypsy” founded We Are Team Hans, llc in 2011 with her husband Hans, although HANS actually stands for Have A Nice Show. The company was founded to be an all-in-one development/mgmt/marketing/ touring machine for bands, as well as their crews. Gypsy has Tour Managed / Produced such tours as the Monster Energy Get Loud Tour with Bone Thugs n Harmony, 17 band festival Scream It Like You Mean It, Decibel Magazine tour and numerous other bands.

CARL SEVERSON GOOD FIGHT ENTERTAINMENT Armed with the knowledge and experience from the multiple bands he’d developed, his work at Roadrunner, operating Ferret Music for over a decade, and touring as vocalist for Nora, Carl Severson co-founded Good Fight Entertainment, with an emphasis on label services congruent with the evolving recorded music climate. At the end of the day, with over 2.5 million album sales under his belt, Severson is most proud of having helped his friends do what they love and avoid mundane day jobs at the same time.

DEBORAH ZUKE SMITH ZUKETUNES Deborah “Zuke” Smith is the founder of zuketunes LLC and a vocal coach & artist mentor based in the NYC metro area. She has worked with many types of artists including Frank Iero, several finalists on The Voice, X-Factor, American Idol, and America’s Got Talent. Zuke gives back to her students by sharing everything she has learned and coaching them to be not only great performers but to make a difference with their talent. Her studios are located in northern NJ and NYC.

BRIAN STORM ROCK FEED Brian Storm is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rock Feed, an online metal, rock, and hardcore news outlet. Brian also handles and has launched multiple YouTube channels, including Massive Metal Covers, and is a correspondent for Brian’s mix of news, jest, and humor in his journalism finds his audience with precision. He enjoys putting pizza in a blender, cruise ships, and cold beer, though not necessarily in that order.


MIKE MOWERY OUTERLOOP MANAGEMENT Mike Mowery is the president and managing partner of Outerloop Management and Outerloop Records. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Outerloop manages 40+ artists including Refused, Darkest Hour, & more. Mike also owns EDM label Crime Kitchen, a partner of multiple EDM outlets such as Raver Rafting, Most Addictive Records, and Daily Earfood. Mike has also started a podcast network Jabberjaw Media, app PickUp Sports, local news blog Source of the Spring, a non-profit organization and 5K, Leo’s Run.

LOU PLAIA REVERBNATION Lou Plaia is the Co-Founder / EVP Music Industry & Artist Relations of ReverbNation. The company operates worldwide with customers on every continent and more than 10 million unique visitors every month. Prior to ReverbNation, Plaia worked 16 years at Atlantic Records and imprint Lava Records as the Head of Marketing & Artist Development, where he worked with Kid Rock, O.A.R., Simple Plan, George Carlin, Mike Stern and many others. Plaia was also responsible for negotiating partnerships with Nascar, Schick and Disney.

BRIAN ROSENBLATT BRyCE DOWNEY & LENKOV LLC Brian joined Bryce Downey & Lenkov, leaving one of Illinois’ top 25 largest law firms after nearly 15 years. Brian previously developed and co-chaired an Entertainment, Media and Privacy Practice Group, and Intellectual Property Group at his past firms. Brian brings his entire platform to Bryce Downey & Lenkov, where he continues to expand his national practice.

DAVID SILBAUGH MILWAUKEE SUMMERFEST David is a co-founder and co-producer of the Yellow Phone Music Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A boutique conference that presents programming featuring numerous industry luminaries and showcases with emerging and unsigned talent. Silbaugh is best known as a Talent Buyer and Production Supervisor for Summerfest, which books over 800 artists of nearly all genres, featuring international headlining artists as well as emerging artists. He is also currently serving as an A&R Consultant for GMR Marketing on a synch licensing project with a SXSW tie-in.

ERIC TOBIN HOPELESS RECORDS/SUB CITY Eric Tobin is the Vice President of Business Development and A&R at Hopeless Records and Sub City Non Profit. He began his tenure at Hopeless over ten years ago as the label’s in-house booking agent, drawing on his experience of several years of touring as both tour manager and live sound technician. At Hopeless, Eric currently oversees three core business areas: domestic sales and business development, international strategy and sales, and A&R and artist development.


Kate Truscott is one half of the dynamic duo that makes up the 4Fini Nashville office where sponsorship strategy is handled from introduction through activation. Kate works with clients to create and execute key programs that allow them to access all that the 4Fini properties have to offer including social media and digital integration, artist relations, onsite marketing, and management of all staff each summer on the Vans Warped Tour. Kate grew up in New England and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Jeremy Weiss is the founder and owner of The CI Companies, the umbrella brand of his career endeavors: CI Records, LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival, The Champ venue, CI Productions, CI Design & Printing, & the CI band management arm.


DARK VADER: TOP 5 REASONS I SHOULD BE A PANELIST 1. I have mastered my craft. 2. My band is blowing up faster than Alderaan. I mean, lets examine this - I conquered every A-market venue the galaxy, it only took me two weeks to conquer every rebel stronghold in the entire U.K. system, and I’m super tight with the dudes in August Burns Red. 3. Look at me. I’m obviously wardrobe-savvy, and you cannot deny the importance of image in the music industry. Take for example my totally sweet cape and helmet. You can’t tell me that isn’t awesome.

4. I have been relevant since 1977 and I think we can all agree that I’m not going out of style anytime soon. So you are looking at a musician who is part of a trend that will never die, and has over 40 years of experience. 5. And on top of all of this, I have overcome tremendous adversity after literally suffering the loss of all of my limbs and being set on fire by my best friend. So now I address the one responsible for attempting to prevent my writing of this column: who got burned now?

Dark Vader | Photo by Madeline Martin


THE PUZZLE, THE PIECES, THE PERFECT CAREER Hello LAUNCHers! I have to admit I’m low key jealous of you. Back when I was starting out in this industry, I had to seek out mentors and pepper them with a million questions - and it can be hard to know what to ask when you are just starting out. My mentors were very good at their jobs, but most were not natural teachers. Back then, I remember thinking how I looked forward to sharing knowledge in a different way when I became an industry veteran. First, I started by designing my course, “Producing and Touring Live Entertainment” at Columbia College Chicago, to really focus on the things that are hard to find elsewhere specifically the financial side of touring and getting paid for shows. Having been a Talent Buyer at Jam Productions, and currently the Tour Accountant for the Vans Warped Tour, I’ve offered on and settled thousands of shows of all sizes. Now, I’m thrilled to be even more involved in programming LAUNCH to bring together industry leaders to teach you about the areas where they have expertise. You are going to get so many valuable tips that will be immediately useful in your career. My goal is to bring the experts to you, with straightforward info, presented in a clear way. Pretty much,

what I wanted when I was starting out. The music industry is kind of like a puzzle and it’s my goal to bring you all the pieces so you can fit together the perfect career. And that goes for those of you in a band, solo artists, or all the behind the scenes professionals like me. Thanks for joining us for the conference this year. It has been so much fun to grow this part of the event over the last few years with my company TEI. PLEASE come talk to me and tell me what you want to see more of, and what works for you- I want to make this the best conference for YOU.


GALACTIC EMPIRE: OUT OF THIS WORLD So...You’re chilling’ in your studio, Atrium Audio, and it hits you...STAR WARS... PROG METAL STAR WARS! Can you tell us what brought about this amazing concept?! In early 2013, I (Grant McFarland) made a drum play through video which was comprised of myself playing a drum solo over top of the original audio recording of “The Imperial March” performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. I put that video on YouTube, and for the last few years I always thought to myself “I wonder what this would sound like if the orchestra was all heavy metal guitar?” So one day when I had too much free time on my hands, I sat down and rearranged each section of the orchestra as faithfully as I could into separate guitar parts. When I removed the orchestra, the end result was an extremely complex and interesting progressive metal arrangement of the song. It sounded so cool, that I knew I had to make more songs. I immediately sent the track to my studio partner Carson Slovak. Both of us were excited about the concept, and before we knew it we had fleshed out demos for 11 songs. During this process, we quickly realized we needed a real guitar player on board. I could hack my way through the stuff a few notes at a time, but I wanted someone who could add their own flavor into the mix. I contacted our good friend and previous studio intern Chris Kelly, and asked him if he’d be interested in being a part of a Star Wars heavy metal band. I believe his response was “DIBBS ON GUITAR!” Your first video for “Main Theme” went NUTS on YouTube, currently well over 4 MILLION views. Were you surprised? We were overwhelmed with the unexpected viral success of our first music video. After completing the demos for the album, Carson, Chris and myself thought “Hey, it would be sweet to do a music video for one of these songs.” And then we thought “While we’re at it, we should probably do that video in full costume”. So we finished recording the final version of the “Main Theme” and contacted Lancaster-based Aurora Films to produce our music video. The entire time we were shooting the video we were thinking “This is ridiculous...what are we doing, and why?” But that’s the biggest part of what made it so fun. We were genuinely recreating nostalgia and having a ton of fun doing it. The video edit was completed in early December of 2015. Instead of releasing it immediately, we thought to ourselves “Should we just wait to release the video until the day The Force Awakens is released in theaters?” So that is exactly what we did. We put the video online around 3pm that day, while we were waiting in line to see the new movie. By 6:30 PM, the video had already reached 400,000 views. I couldn’t stop checking my phone in excitement, and I realized that I needed to just turn it off completely so I could fully enjoy the movie. By midnight, the video had hit 1 million views on our Facebook page. Even though none

of this was strategically planned, it was an amazing moment to see something come to life that was just a little inkling of an idea that happened to all line up at the right place and at the right time. Everything, from the scenery in the videos, to the costume work, to the playing in Galactic Empire is truly impeccable. How in the heck did you guys hit perfectly on all three aspects of the band’s presentation and execution? What about your backgrounds in music, art, and videography contributes to these aspects? Thanks for the kind words! Due to the nature of our work (Atrium Audio), Carson and I have always tried our best to produce the highest quality albums we are capable of. I think this carries over into any creative project we find ourselves involved in. If we’re going to make a Star Wars heavy metal band, it should look and sound amazing. The album itself took over a year to record and mix. We left no stone unturned in painstakingly intricate detail. To keep up with what we had created, we wanted to find the best costumes we could ( at a price ). The Rubie’s Officially Licensed costumes seemed to be the best bang for the buck. They appear screen accurate at a distance of 5 feet or more, so they were a great choice for the music video. Having already worked at Aurora Films for almost a decade, Carson felt that Aurora Films was a natural choice to film the video with. They have a great visual effects team. We worked closely with them to recreate our favorite iconic scenery from the Star Wars films. We created a combination of real physical sets, and green screen CGI modeled scenery. You recently completed a UK Tour, in which all shows were sold out(!) How exciting was that, and were you surprised? So far, the live band has been an incredible amount of work combined with a satisfying experience for band and audience. We have played four shows in the US, and a 2.5 week run in the UK. The UK tour went surprisingly well! 4 shows were completely sold out, and there were several more that were only 10-15 tickets shy of full capacity. We had no idea how this thing was going to go live. It’s one thing to have a viral video online, and another to actually have a turnout at a live show. Especially all the way across the Atlantic Ocean! We’re just going to keep our fingers crossed, work hard, and try to keep making our live show something unique and memorable. How do you balance your work with the highly successful Atrium Audio recording studio, and the demands of being in a band SO in demand? We just try to work hard, and plan accordingly! It’s important to strategize effectively. We want to make it a big event when we play, so we would prefer to plan less shows in lieu of over-saturating the

Galactic Empire | Photo by Madeline Martin


whole experience. When we have a small gap in our recording schedule, we plan some shows for the band. It’s been a great creative outlet for all of us. What, if any, special plans do you guys have, surrounding the forthcoming Star Wars movie? Up until recently, everything with this band has been a last minute thought without much planning. We honestly haven’t thought that far out in advance yet! But I can promise that “the Emperor will have something special planned” for that day. We know that several of you have solid backgrounds in metal/hardcore niche bands (This or the Apocalypse, Century, etc). How did you decide to take the leap to Galactic Empire? All of the pieces just kind of fell into place naturally. We didn’t really make much of a conscious decision to create this band. It almost created itself once the first few songs were there. Since I (Grant McFarland, ex-This or the Apocalypse) started the project, Carson (Century) quickly became involved simply because he works in the same building as I do and shares a love for Star Wars and music. When I needed another guitar player, I asked our good friend Chris Kelly ( of Alustrium ), who quickly jumped at the opportunity. When it came time to find additional players for the music video and the live band, I contacted CJ Masciantonio and Josh Willis (of Unparalleled Height, who also recorded at Atrium Audio ), and Chris brought Mike DeMaria ( also of Alustrium ) on board. Since we all share a background in metal music, it helped translate when it came time to learn and

rehearse the music in order to perform it live. A couple of you have participated in LAUNCH Music Conference, in the past, as panelists. What would you say about the importance of education and relationships in the music industry, experiences that can be found at events like LAUNCH? The music industry is a giant “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” There is no formula, or correct order to success. However - having a quality product which is buzz-worthy and consumer-desired, being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people and having the drive for success, and most important of all a HUGE work ethic and the desire to put in long hard hours of work all help. Paying your dues will go a long way. And having the proper tools and knowledge are important for all of this. The amount of connections, experience, and knowledge that can be obtained at LAUNCH create an invaluable experience that any striving artist/musician should be a part of. What can we expect from your LAUNCH 2017 performance? We want everyone to walk away from the show saying “I have no idea what just happened, but that was awesome”. We’re always finding new ways to change up our live performance to keep it fresh, and we definitely will be incorporating new things into our set to keep everyone who has seen us before interested. At least that’s the goal!

LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival 2017 Event Guide  
LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival 2017 Event Guide