PEEPLE is a post on like minded individuals within the RIFE COMPANY support group who make things happen BIG on the daily.
Our first PEEPLE post is on a close friend of mine and gnarly human, Chris Diaz. I first met Chris about seven years ago on Hollywood Blvd while I was doing shows at an all ages venue called the Knitting Factory. Chris has since moved on to Brooklyn, New York where he is a talent buyer at the clubs other location. He continues to push himself further in his hustle everyday and inspires everyone around him.
Chris, tell us about what you do at Knitting Factory Brooklyn.
Well, I’m basically a professional emailer. Artists, agents, managers and promoters email me 24 hours a day and I sort through each submission and figure out where and when on our calendar we can accommodate them. I try to give every artist a fair shot, but in today’s world where nearly anyone can write, record, and publish their music right from their own bedroom, it’s impossible to give them all a chance. There’s a new blogged about buzz band every day it seems; a new flavor of the week every hour. It’s my job to keep up with these trends in as many different scenes as possible.
I also help design flyers and posters for promotion, advance all production such as sound checks and backline gear, and DJ our front bar every Friday night at midnight.
How did you get started in the business and how did you end up doing what you are doing now?
I entered college knowing that I wanted to be in the music industry, but I didn’t know where I would fit in. I attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles from 1999-2003 and majored in Recording Arts. During my years there, I worked for their campus radio station, KXLU 88.9FM, where I got my first taste of booking bands. I successfully booked and promoted two “Fundrazor” shows for the station and I knew then what I wanted to do with my life. One of those shows was held at the Knitting Factory Hollywood, and after graduation, I was able to use my connections to get a part-time job running sound in the Knit’s smallest room, the Alterknit Lounge. After working there for about a year, and getting to know the rest of the Knit family, I was hired to start booking the Alterknit. Another year went by where I learned the fundamentals of booking and the politics involved within the industry and I eventually began booking the bigger stages at the Knit, until finally in 2007, I was promoted to Senior Talent Buyer for the Hollywood venue, booking all three stage every night of the week. In a sad turn of events, the company decided to close down the Hollywood Knit in 2009, but they offered me the chance to move out to NYC to book our brand new club in Brooklyn (our old Tribeca location had closed its doors earlier that year as well). I jumped at the opportunity and two years later, I’m still loving it out here in Brooklyn.
What does your daily NY routine consist of?
Coffee. Then I head to the office, read some news, check some email, scour the blogs for some new music, and then I get down to the numbers – making offers and projections. I’m in the office from the late morning into the early evening, then usually at the club for a few hours until the show starts. Sometimes I’ll stick around for the show, sometimes I’ll just head home for the night. As much as I love live music, I just can’t see bands every night… I need some nights with Netflix and my couch to keep my sanity.
Do you miss Hollywood?
Hollywood? No. Los Angeles? Yes.
LA will always be my home. I’ve spent more of my life there than anywhere else, so there will always be a big part of me there. I try to visit a couple of times a year to catch up with family, friends and industry colleagues. But that being said, I feel like I need Brooklyn in my life right now. I’m not sure I would ever want to move back to LA at this point, especially not Hollywood.
What inspires you and where does your motivation come from?
Music, duh. Both the good and the bad; the old and the new.
Great songs make me excited to be alive. When I hear something for the first time and it blows me away, it’s a strange feeling unlike anything else really. These songs will totally consume me for months in every aspect of my life. The passion I feel for them motivates me to continuously find new ones to obsess over, and thus find new artists to book at the Knit and help them develop a fan base in NYC. There’s nothing I love more than seeing an artist that I’ve booked go on to be a huge success across the world. I just hope they’ll all come back and visit one day.
I also love turning people on to great music. To see a crowd of hundreds leave the Knit each night with smiles on their faces after a show is priceless to me. The fact that I had a little something to do with that smile inspires me to go out and do it again and again.
Who are some bands on your radar right now? And some hard working local bands out of NY we must listen to after reading this?
My favorites from NY right now would have to be Hooray For Earth, Phantom Family Halo, & Lady Lamb The Beekeeper. There’s a great band out of LA that just played here during CMJ that you should be listening to called FIDLAR.