Welcome to Local Music 'Mericans, where we meet some of the people behind the local music scene -- those who aren't necessarily members of local bands, but more the people who make the scene move.
Gavin Mulloy is a young marketing pistol for Granada Theater, and he appears to be poised for greatness at his trade -- for no more glaring reason than just being himself.
He's an insightful local music fan, and a ruthlessly witty and sarcastic bloke. To listen to him speak is, at least, a very non-boring experience. That alone goes a long way when it comes to capturing the attention of music consumers in a 140-character world.
There's something to be said for just fearlessly being you, and redirecting all that leftover energy and focus on just having fun with it all.
Admittedly, there's no real wild-ride adventures in Mulloy's story: He graduated from the University of Kansas with a marketing degree, unsurprisingly, and here he is.
It would seem that the darkest and most breakneck chapter of Mulloy's story is still a smidge away from being written. But rest assured it's coming -- and it looks to be a page-turner.
Either way, he's a local music advocate worth getting to know a little better, which we'll get busy doing after the jump.
It seems like the Granada is the kind of place that has a very all-encompassing mentality about music. As far as supporting local music, it seems from out here that you've integrated local and national together and treat them very equally. Maybe even without much regard to whether one is local or not.
It's kinda up to the audience. The more local bands that can draw a crowd that's the Granada size, totally the better for us. If the local scene is weak, then national acts may skip Dallas, I'd think. Seems like Dallas is taking a big step forward lately. Things like Homegrown, 35 Denton and Gorilla vs. Bear Fest seem to be growing awareness of Dallas a a city that's serious about music. We were lucky enough to get Girl Talk and Panda Bear here, and they skipped the live music capital of the world. Keep it weird.
You seem like the type of guy that has a well-rounded music collection. True? What music would we see you wearing out nowadays on your own time, if we were, say, a fly on the wall at home with you?
Wore White Denim out this year. St. Vincent got stuck. RTB2 always is on a playlist somewhere. Portugal. The Man was new to me, so I spent some time there. My friend has spent, since the year 2000 getting his collection fully digital on .wav files. Like everything. So I get to copy that and just play. He'll tell me about some '70s, '80s or now band that I never knew about. Oh, and when I'm alone or drunk ... or drunk and alone ... it's all rap from at least seven years ago.
From what I've been able to absorb on my handful of visits to the Granada office, it seems to be a hub of creative musical thought where lots of ideas would change hands. Accurate? Tell us about your work environment there. Sure seems like it would be a pretty cool one.
Me and two other people sit in a big room with typically two or three interns. When someone has an idea, we just kinda all contribute to it. Even the guys at the Theater have come up with some great promo ideas, which is great. [Granada Theater owner] Mike
How about before the Granada? What sort of fun endeavors did you find along the way?
I moved around a ton. Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, New York and Texas. So I had different friends that listened to different stuff. I remember the first rap song I heard in North Carolina went something like, "I wear my hair the way I want to, so fuck you, fuck everybody." I had my mom take my 2 Live Crew and NWA tapes away from me after she made me listen to them with her. As a kid, it's fun to do bad things, but I wasn't hurting anyone. That really got me interested in music, and asking why was everyone listening to New Kids on The Block at the time. I supported a friends band from the 'burbs in high school and went to Trees every weekend. I booked a couple bands at house parties in college, but really just traded 'em beer. Then, my first post-college roomie stared a website Krautdog.com and was trying to do an online 'zine. This was 2000, so you could do anything. We started interviewing bands (mostly national, but some local), doing album reviews and illegally posting mp3s. It went pretty well for all 10 issues; we even got picked up by the same network that first sponsored College Humor. I got an interview with Flava Flav and David Cross & Bob Odenkirk. But it was just wearing us out for $20 profit a month, and we were using FrontPage. So I went and decided I needed to learn design because I liked that. I did that for a while and hooked up with a local PR firm, now HCK2, and really learned a lot there. They had awesome brainstorming sessions where everyone felt comfortable to say the stupidest thing. Then, years later, I was living across from The Cavern and my friends were all starting to play gigs and I started making posters.
It must be tough sometimes to work for a place that spends the day putting so much into its creative presentation -- especially since the actual payoff for it comes at night, when you've just finished a long day at the office. Are you able to find the time and endurance to enjoy both the creative process in the daytime, and also being able to attend the shows that you've worked passionately on presenting? You seem to be pulling it off nicely, and even getting out to other venues to review talent.
Man, the shows are the whole reason we do this. I'd be silly to only see Granada shows, though. I try and hit at least five shows a week or I feel like I'm not doing my job. Plus, I like seeing bands live. When I found out about Deep Ellum in high school, I kept coming back like every weekend. I practically lived at Trees in the early '90s. I still remember not being allowed to go to the Nirvana show there because it was a school night. Parents just don't understand. I check out most of what Parade of Flesh puts on. I go to Dada and Double Wide a lot. Bryan Street Tavern is doing some cool stuff. And I'd probably be in a bar anyway, so I might as well make myself useful.
Are there clever, out-of-the-box strategies at work for promoting music that's not necessarily so familiar to the mainstream? If so, care to share?
I love that there are people that know what #fartbutt and "Solis's beard" are. I didn't create either but would call myself an avid supporter of both of those local memes. My approach is just to have fun. If we do that, people will join in. This isn't like we're doctors. It's rock 'n' roll. Let's do some crazy stuff and see what happens. I think as long as your content is interesting and new, people will pay attention. You can't fake interesting. People will see through that and then distrust you or your brand. My last boss had three rules: Say what your mean, mean what you say and make me love you. I abide by those. Oh, and have fun. If you're not having a good time, how can you sell having a good time?
I can kind of picture bands from the area wanting so badly to be a part of the Granada's own little music scene that they offer to do things like, I don't know, maybe come set up and audition for you guys. What's the most common way local bands go about effectively reaching such a busy office of music guys and managing to get your attention directed towards their music?
Honestly? Playing other venues and doing a good job there. It's not like a band's first gig should be opening a show at Granada. Play places like Bryan Street, City Tavern, Double Wide and Adair's, and make those places go crazy. Someone from here will probably see you and be impressed. There's one guy who comes by and leaves us like five notes and CDs a week to book his band, and he's never played here. The best way is just to play and be good. If you're good, someone here will hear about you.
How much dedication does your organization have towards the intake of brand new local sounds? I know it's a tedious process to sift through a lot of submissions.
It's not like a band just comes out of nowhere. And if we miss out on something local, it's not like Dada or the Kessler will miss them, too. Then we'd hear about it, too. I feel like, if we hear something local and really dig it, everyone in the office will know by noon the next day. The great thing is, I feel like the local community has become much more open to sharing in the last year. If we fight with each other, then who's benefiting from that? Plus, we're all inventing the same wheel.
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I'm sure there's an exchange in the office of who's someone "you've got to go see live." What sort of a buzz about bands from our area might be going around at work right now?
Mystery Skulls, for one. Saw them soundcheck at Dada on Saturday, and I really like what they're pulling off. Any time you can catch RTB2, you should. I saw Poison Control Center from Iowa open for Titus Androonicus and they put on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. I'm looking forward to seeing The Mohicans at the DOMA Showcase. I always go see Hormones play 'cause sometimes they even fight each other onstage. How punk is that?
Are there a lot of musicians on the Granada staff?
Our venue manager Tim plays in 2.75 bands, and most of
What sort of an entertainment operation would you create under your guise if money, resources and the right caliber of people on staff were not logistical issues? Tell us about Gavin's ideal music utopia!
I'd imagine it would be some sort of cloud-based structure like Lando had in Star Wars. With Tuaca cannons. Actually, just having the Granada in my life is kinda as close to utopia as you could ask. I mean anyone could hopefully make a fun place with no restrictions, but having restraints only leads to creative solutions. I like when the work is hard because it's more rewarding when you solve whatever problem you're presented. I'd love to have a place where acts starting out could come and use it as a practice space and a place to record, and then I could help them learn how to promote themselves. Like the YMCA of rock. Oh, and I'd have a screen-printer on staff full time. I love T-shirts and I wanna make one every five minutes.