Abstract Biography: The story begins at Huntington High. Jake Zimmerman was in a ska band that experienced DIY shows, the “pay to play” scenario, lazy, sketchy, and unprofessional promoters, playing to a grandma and one friend, and so on. They only played a handful of shows. At the end of the band’s run, Zimmerman had a fueled motivation to change and prevent those types of situations for bands like his; to help preserve the local music community and the sacred local show.
The first show Jake Zimmerman ever booked was at Huntington High School; two punk bands, two ska bands and two metal bands. The variety of genres showcased was a catalyst to the affirmation that diverse shows will always be some of the most important, interesting, and exciting shows that one can attend. That concept encouraged Zimmerman’s plan to have an affect on the process of evolution in music and business. The next few shows Jake booked were at his house; “-either in my backyard or in my back porch. I learned a few things from booking these shows. I learned how important DIY culture was to a lot of people. People started to pay attention to what I was doing and why I was against “pay to play” shows. I think that people started to have more fun at shows, and bands were more content with how they were being treated (even if they were not making much money).” Jake lost a lot of money at first, booking his first few shows at actual venues “-and from these mistakes, I gained a new mind for business that I never had before in my life.”
Zimmerman had evaluated all of his own experiences up until this point: he applied simple problem solving and hustle to get a solution off the ground. The idea was to address all issues that any party had to bear regarding live, local music events. This concept seems to stand alone as a mission statement and reason for East Coast Collective’s success.
Appeasement of others to earn success.
East Coast Collective purposes all forms of social media to maintain a direct connection to its target audience. When visiting ECC’s social media outlets, [Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr] upon arrival, you immediately observe the line of communication between the company and the consumer, as well, jump right in and participate. You’ll see Jake Zimmerman asking and answering questions and inciting conversation by fueling multiple interactions. “I like to interact with fans and not only know what bands they want to come to Long Island, but also what they want to see, what they liked about the show and what they think can be improved for future shows.”
He explained that many times he doesn’t have control over what tour package comes through The Island. Booking agents put together the tours and East Coast Collective tries to book the appropriate bands/venues, “I have a generally open line of communication with some booking agents, and we work together to plan when certain bands are going to play Long Island over the course of the year.”
As far as booking locals goes, “that is determined by a few factors. I look for the complete “package” when it comes to local bands. A few key components go into this “package”. I look for bands that are either currently musically talented or have the potential to become great song writers and musicians. But besides that, I look for bands who care about the music community, and specifically the Long Island music scene. If you are one of those bands that is quick to talk trash on Facebook about this or that band/show/promoter, than I will probably never book your band. Also, if you are in a band but never come to shows outside of the ones that you play, I will probably never book your band. There are exceptions, but generally these people are not the ones that care about making our music community a better place, and I have no incentive to book them, no matter how talented they might be. In the long run, bands that “make it” are ones that stick together to other like-minded musicians and equally work hard, and come up in the music scene together.“ Thus, if you’re a local band, keep said “package” in mind as your career progresses.
fest noun \ˌfest\ : a gathering, event, or show having a specified focus; usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival.
July 6-8 marks the first ever Today’s Mixtape Fest. The anticipated 3-day music festival came about from Zimmerman’s own eagerness to book a festival showcasing artists from a variety genres. East Coast Collective booked three consecutive days of shows at three separate venues for the fest; across Long Island, according to artists billed and expected crowd turn-out. This turns out to be a sensible move to ensure successful ends for ECC, participants, and attendees. “I’ll be honest, ideally, I would have liked each show to be at the same venue but due to different sizes of crowds that I am expecting and different kinds of bands on each show, it did not work out that way.” There is a metal/hardcore show, a pop punk show, a hip hop show, a punk/indie show, and one or two after parties with electronic dance music (EDM) artists.
“Living so close to a major music market, New York City, we are exposed to hundreds of bands of all different genres over the course of the year. I think that in 2012, the average music fan is listening to many different types of music.”…”Some people are giving new music a chance and I think that is a really exciting thing. Long Island has a rich history of a diverse music community and over the past few years, it seems like we are experiencing a return to those times.” Unless you are a truly close-minded individual, there is something for everyone to enjoy at any one, or more, of these three days of music.
In news of other East Coast Collective derived festivals; the highly anticipated Long Island Fest procured a line-up more impressive than the Long Island community has hosted in years. “We will have some of the biggest bands in hardcore/punk playing on a small stage in a small room to make an intimate and awesome experience. The Ethical Humanist Society is a favorite of many LI hardcore kids and even though I would have liked to have it in a bigger venue to allow more people at the show, I am thrilled to do the fest there. Long Island Fest 2010 at EHS is a weekend I will truly never forget.”
Now, we know Long Island Fest is going to be big this year. I asked Jake, “aside from the impressive lineup, what else does the fest provide?” “Hardcore is meant to be intense and in your face. That is exactly what this fest is about. We are only selling 400 tickets, and for those 400 people, they will get an incredible experience. We have several different hardcore affiliated clothing lines and record labels coming down to sell their merchandise. There will be cheap food and drinks served. I am very excited to have Long Island Vegetarian Eatery feeding the appetites of the vegan/vegetarian hardcore kids.” New York has the biggest and best hardcore/punk music scene of all time. During the later 80′s through the 90′s, Long Island experienced a huge explosion of genre-defining bands. There is a lot of pride in the NY and LI hardcore scenes, making Long Island Fest so important to Zimmerman and others. We don’t get big hardcore/punk shows every weekend on Long Island; people truly look forward to LI Fest every year and maintain high expectations. The positive feedback ECC has received thus far has been reportedly overwhelming. Zimmerman affirms, “Long Island Fest is about LIHC and supporting all things LIHC. […] I personally cannot wait to see Madball play Set It Off at EHS.”
Then & Now
I asked Jake to reflect on one of the craziest most trying experiences he has endured under the East Coast Collective brand. He brought up the fact that Long Island fest 2011 almost proved to be a disaster after a venue owner pulled out at 7am, the morning of the fest’s opening day. ECC worked on the fest for 10 months, fans and band members flew out for the reunions of Tripface, Skycamefalling, and Mind Over Matter. Luckily, Jake didn’t let his frustrations get the best of him, secured a venue, and the show went on.
Another incident occurred at the “last” Crime In Stereo show at the Ethical Humanist Society. The short of it goes as follows: During the first band, a line out the door drew the cops attention. They tried stopping admission and shutting down the show. It was decided that of the 75-100 still on line, foreigners who flew in for the show we granted admission and plans for another show were promised to those turned away. Many understood but several were extremely discouraged and pissed off.
These circumstances served as tremendous learning experiences for Zimmerman; true tests to his business sense and individual character. He explained, “ECC has taken me to places I never thought I would be four years ago. I always had an interest in working in the music industry for a living, but as of recently I have been given some serious opportunities to make a name for myself.“
Last Dish & Record Label Rumors [Answered!]
“Lots of exciting things are happening for ECC. Obviously, we are booking shows for the fall already and those will be announced in the next month or so. A lot of different bands that you would not normally expect us to work with. The first tour that we are booking/sponsoring is called Today’s Mixtape Tour and it is happening all of July with Second To Last, American Verse and Bellwether. Sam Gursky has been working on a ton of video stuff for ECC and a lot of that will be released throughout the summer. Because of Sam’s immense talent, we are going to do more exclusive live and acoustic videos with bands throughout the year. And the record label rumors are true, East Coast Collective will start to put out records this year. The first thing we are doing is called “The Long Island Mixtape”. It will consist of mostly bands playing Today’s Mixtape Fest. That will probably be out by the time you are reading this! If you are passionate about music, stay involved with your local music community. Start a band. Shout out to Sam Gursky, WaalArt, Nick LaGrega and hatebrigade.”
To come full circle, I asked Jake one final question: Pick one – 2008 or 2012?
His response: “2012 and 2008 are extremely different points of time for me, but I would definitely pick 2012. As simple as everything was in 2008, I believe in progression and I wouldn’t trade these last four years for anything.“
Most notably, East Coast Collective is about to hit the first of many high points in its existence. ECC offers everyone a chance to have their expectations blown out of the water. Jake Zimmerman at East Coast Collective is providing an opportunity to buy a ticket to see music of your choosing to AND lending free exposure to live music that you may not choose (without some motivation). If that isn’t a low-budget philanthropy, then what the fuck is?
Make sure to participate in your community. Can’t get your ass up and out?