By: Anand Harsh
Since the early days of TheUntz.com, we have been given a leg up here and there from members of the music industry who saw what we were trying to do and gave us a shot. One of those helpful hands came from agent and manager Jonathan Griffin. A well-known figure in the underground electronic scene, he has amassed quite a roster of UNTZ faves including Random Rab, ill-esha, saQi, and more.
Griffin now embarks on the next step of his career, creating a boutique artist representative outfit Waveform Agency with his longtime associate, and heading to Denver, Colo. to lay some roots. As a way of introducing its roster to the masses, each Wednesday will henceforth become known as Waveform Wednesday, with a playlist featuring new cuts and classic tunes from artists on the roster coming out each week. The inaugural issue features contributions from Akouo, 9 Theory, StéLouse, Buku, Love and Light, and Instant Party!, among others.
I got a chance to chat with the entrepreneur as he set off on this new endeavor.
Tell us about the new agency--the partners involved, as well as some of the artists with whom fans of TheUntz.com might already be familiar?
Waveform is the creative outlet for me that has been building in the back of my mind for a while now. Building something from the ground up and having that bond with a project from its infancy is something that I’ve always been drawn to but wasn’t really sure if the industry, in its current state, would allow for. Smaller, more boutique driven agency approaches seem like they are fewer and farther between these days. With Waveform we wanted to build something that allows artists and their teams to have a creative environment that feels more personal and approachable than a major agency but still provides the infrastructure that a growing artist needs to really bloom.
This is a project that I couldn’t be happier to share with my long time friend and colleague from Autonomous Music, Frank Green. We have known each other for nearly a decade now and are originally from the same small area of Virginia. Working on this project with someone that I have known since before working in the music industry is something that I feel very fortunate to have in play right now.
Why strike out on your own and start this new agency now? And why are you relocating to make Denver your new hub?
It was a time for new endeavors all the way around at Autonomous. I love my partners there as brothers, but it was just time to branch out and open the next chapter of our lives.
Denver is arguably my favorite city in the states. I lived there for years before moving to Portland to work with Autonomous. We have a number of clients based there and it’s really a hot spot for creative new artists in general. A lot of my friends both industry and non are out there and it just felt like the right time to come home for me.
Are there some new, up-and-comers you've picked up you're particularly excited about?
I feel really passionate about the up-and-comers that we are working with at the moment. We have some truly innovative and talented artists both domestically and internationally that I think will be making some waves in the years to come. Expect some really strong releases this year from Phazz, Ellie Herring, The Geek x VRV, Dot, and Flamingosis.
Do you have any big tours in the works fans might like to know about?
Our roster has a super active fall coming up. We will be announcing a number of these in the next few weeks but I cant quite disclose much more than that at the moment unfortunately.
What do you hope to achieve with Waveform Wednesdays?
Waveform Wednesdays is a way to keep connected with the fanbases of our clients and hopefully cross pollinate some of those demographics. I think ultimately though, its a way to showcase whats happening creatively with our clients week in and week out.
Talk a bit about Waveform's approach to managing artists--what is most important to you in this corner of the music industry?
I think that inherently artist management encompasses wearing many hats and being a jack of all trades. At the root of it I’d say it's equal parts organization, big picture mentality mixed with a day-to-day approach for achieving a clients goals, and a sense of understanding what a project needs to create growth. The most important part of being a good manager to me is being adaptable to changing industry trends while keeping true to what got me here in the first place... the music.
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