Todd P (aka Todd Patrick) is a concert promoter based out of Brooklyn, New York who has been putting on indie rock shows for the past ten years. He has served as curator for many events taking place at venues like The Silent Barn, The Market Hotel, and Death By Audio. I believe it is within reason to say that if one is involved with the DIY music culture of Brooklyn, they are involved with Todd P. He is an advocate for small-scale, non-corporate, and underground means of music promotion. This is most evident in his recently hatched plan to throw a music festival in Monterrey, Mexico. The music festival is called MtyMx, it takes place March 20- 22nd and is expected to attract a large amount of tourists and locals.
BTR was fortunate enough to visit Todd P in his Bushwick office and get an exclusive interview.
I arrived at his building on time, but I was only let in after calling his personal cell phone several times. After being let inside I realized just how busy he was. Aided by a squadron of interns, Todd P held court in his kitchen office. Every single person in that kitchen was in a feverish trance, eyes glued to the screen, spouting off names and dates to Todd as he sat back and kind of soaked it all in like a Buddha. I was in the war room. Todd was extremely efficient and delegated responsibility like a true businessman. It was evident that this was no fly-by-night operation.
After a few minutes of patient waiting, Todd and I went down to the basement to talk about South By Southwest, MtyMx, the music industry, and music. He was the perfect interviewee – confident, opinionated, and wordy. It took very little on my part to prompt insightful and personal commentary.
The first topic on my list was SXSW. For years, the music industry has convened in Austin, Texas to fawn over the latest buzz-bands. However, some feel it has become such a corporate institution that very little music discovery takes place. Because of its prestige, some feel that only “established” bands get to play to corporate types that already know them via Internet buzz and press. To some extent, it has taken on some notoriety for its debauchery. Todd P. filled us in on his take on the festival:
“It’s a lot of people who never see one another, who spend all day long writing emails to each other, getting together for a week and getting hotel rooms, running around going to mixers and getting drunk and fucking each other. The only difference is, this particular industry is about music – which is art, and I don’t debate the need for there to be an industry convention, but I will tell you that often the shows that bands play for this “convention” are some of the worst, least inspired, most stifling events at that place [Austin] all year long.”
In reaction to this, Todd has been throwing a free party in Austin for the past couple of years. The event takes place at a venue called Miss Bea’s and is completely free. Miss Bea’s served as a venue for the truly underground and unpretentious. “It’s all ages and the fences thing [no fences] is something I particularly liked about it,” says Todd. He continues, “That means we can’t have controlled access. Elitism is basically out of the picture, because we couldn’t keep people out.”
Unfortunately, local authorities have been cracking down on Todd’s parties in recent years. Because of the large numbers of people that attend the free event and the noise generated by the bands that play, municipal bodies threatened his concert. Todd also believes that music industry entities were resentful of the popularity of his free event and supported action against him.
“They see it as someone stealing their thunder, stealing their dollars and they’ve been threatening to shut us down… it became pretty obvious that, that was their next step – to shut down.”
In light of this development, Todd P decided to look for another place to throw his parties. For years Todd traveled to Mexico as a tourist, exploring the rich culture of our American neighbor. He was so enamored with the country that he encouraged anyone that would listen to travel with him. During his travels in Mexico, Todd became acquainted with a Monterrey-based promotion collective called “Yo Garage.” They are the Mexican equivalent to what he does in New York City. After negotiating with the people at Yo Garage, Todd established the groundwork for a new show, MtyMx. Much more ambitious in scale than his Miss Bea’s show, MtyMx will be three days of uninterrupted music from early in the morning to late at night. Todd has also managed to snag a couple of exclusive acts, including Liars and Dan Deacon, to make his bill particularly attractive.
MtyMx is slated to be a big party but has also attracted a lot of skepticism. Among certain Americans there is a gut reaction to Mexico that is unfair – namely, the idea that Mexico is “unclean” and underdeveloped. By throwing a music festival in Monterrey, Todd hopes to dispel this myth and also open up a cultural dialogue between Mexican and American music scenes.
“Anyone who’s ever visited a U.S. consulate knows that when you speak with a Spanish-American accent or you come from a Latin American nation, they are very skeptical of you and they will treat you very disrespectfully. You know, it’s actually been a major problem in our national image worldwide, the way that our consulates and immigration departments treat foreigners who try to apply and go through the legitimate process. Not to mention, nine times out of ten people get denied, so we end up with all these rock bands, all these artists, all these fans of all these things, and aficionados, who simply cannot cross the border. Why not give them an opportunity to be a part of the same conversation? And so the conflicts of all these things come together to make MtyMx something that I really wanted to do. I could make a statement about the border, I could make a statement about the divide between the way we think about Mexico and the way Mexico actually is, I could make the same statement I’ve been making for years about the music industry versus what a real show is. And we could also just have a really fun party. And that’s why we did it.”
Because of standing Visa laws, it is much easier for an American band to visit Mexico than it is for a Mexican band to visit the states. By bringing the festival to Mexico, Todd P is challenging the way music is usually presented and disseminated. BTR will be following the event in this upcoming week and hopes to document the successes and hopefully minimal failures of MtyMx.
Link to this article: http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1357
– Thompson Davis