Keeping the Beat, From Indie Music to Agency Life
I never truly appreciated the adage, "You are known by the company you keep," until I joined an advertising agency. Having been a part of the Meet Me in the Bathroom era of the Brooklyn indie music scene and an original cast member of the four-time Tony Award–winning Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I am no stranger to feeling like the least talented person in the room. I mean, seriously, if I was in a lineup with Darren Criss, Neil Patrick Harris and Tegan & Sara, you would pick me last—rightfully so.
When I decided to make the career transition from touring musician to agency project manager, I'd largely said goodbye to music, emotionally, and was prepared to never speak of it again except awkwardly after too many whiskeys. Turns out I just hadn't landed at the right spot yet.
When I set foot in Baldwin&, I felt right at home, surrounded by a thriving music scene and likeminded misfits. Seriously, one of the first questions ECD Mitch Bennett asked me on day one was, "Did you play on The Antlers' Green to Gold?" I felt very seen and yes, yes I did. Those extracurricular, after-hours creative pursuits keep me sane and it turns out I'm not the only one at B& who likes to turn it up to 11.
Allow me to introduce some other members of the B& band:
The Synth Approach
Creative director of strategy Kelly Reed's blend of piano, synth, and vocals breathes life into introspective soundscapes that examine the human condition while drawing comparisons to Emily Haines and Cat Power. Her latest release, The Blue, is a prime example of her distinct sound and easy to get lost in.
Nathan Nichols, video editor extraordinaire, works under the moniker of Horriblyodd, pumping out electronica with a trusty Akai MPC 2000 XL and vintage sampler to create a thoroughly modern organic sound with retro vibes.
Aforementioned ECD Mitch Bennett returned to North Carolina and didn't wait long to reunite his old band. They dusted off their guitars from their attic slumbers and, with a new bassist and a new name, Megayacht, released a four-song EP, "Must Win Games."
If You Build It, They Will Strum
When managing director Jerry Bodrie isn't playing guitar you can find him at Redeemed Guitars' world headquarters (aka his basement workshop), building guitars of his own design—the Eldorado, DeVille and Fleetwood (he's a Detroiter and a luthier—a Luthroiter?). You can see some Redeemed creations in action with Medium Heat, a band Bodrie formed with art director Matt Wood. (Of course, that's only when Wood isn't double booked by Popular Fox—a side project with his old Brooklyn bandmates.)
Can I Speak to Your Manager?
Group account director Katharine Belloir manages local funk band DUCK, whose first record, "MOVES," has an undeniable groove and deep pocket. Any NC folks should check them out and get down at local institutions like Cat's Cradle and The Pour House.
Take Me to Your Leader
Founder and company namesake David Baldwin's creative career might have gone in a different direction had the rock gods smiled upon him—but rock gods don't smile. An avid guitar and rock 'n roll enthusiast, Baldwin recently revived one of his early bands and rechristened them as the Gumbys. Their recent 4-song EP has all the fixings you want from a classic rock band an sci-fi explorer artwork thanks to Matt Wood.
Get It Covered
Director of design Jen Matthews and studio designer Ian Wenstrand toss their hats in the ring, too, creating B& band album art—Stupid Idiot by Kelly Reed and I'll Wait For You by the Gumbys, respectively. Turns out the ad world is full of creative people. I'm glad to have found myself among like minded misfits and known by the B& company I keep.