The Dfest Music Conference connects music industry professionals with emerging artists and those who aspire to have a career in music.
Since 2004, the Dfest conference has been empowering attendees to take their musical endeavors to the next level.
The lineup this year includes a keynote speaker, an artist series keynote speaker, a business series keynote speaker, and a wide range of panelists.
The following are brief bios on each of the individuals participating in this year’s conference.
Keynote Speaker: Andrew W.K.
Andrew W.K. was born Andrew Wilkes-Krier in Stanford, California, and raised in Michigan. A piano player since the age of five, he spent his high school years playing in bands, and in an effort to expand his creative endeavors moved to New York City in 1997. After playing numerous solo gigs, word spread around New York and Europe, and he was signed to a record contract with Island Def Jam Records.
In 2001, his first album, I Get Wet, was released. Critically acclaimed, Andrew appeared on magazine covers across the country and the globe, including NME, which featured him twice. After the release of the album he was featured in many publications including GQ, Rolling Stone, Spin, Q, New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, all of which agreed that with his arrival on the music scene, rock music had a new influence.
Following the release of I Get Wet, Andrew embarked on a world tour, taking part in Ozzfest and Warped Tour, as well as arena and club shows with Aerosmith and The Locust. He made major television appearances on the Tonight Show, the Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, CNN and many more.
Artist Series Keynote Speaker: Traa Daniels
Traa is a member of the platinum selling band POD, and President/CEO of Ryot Entertainment Group. With nine million albums sold, three worldwide tours, eight major label releases, and numerous motion picture soundtracks under his belt, he is very aware of what it takes to be successful. The two main reasons that most musicians fail is lack of knowledge and the wrong team. For these reasons Ryot Entertainment Group was formed and is dedicated to helping artists achieve their goals in the music industry.
Traa’s new book is entitled "Pack It In: Kill or Be Killed in the Music Industry". It Details his history with POD from building a core Street Team to playing in front of Millions of people. The main portion of the book is information and tips on how to avoid some of the pitfalls of the Music Industry, including info from writing a bio to publishing to building a street team.
Business Series Keynote Speaker: Martin Atkins
Martin began working on the business side of music in 1988 when he formed Invisible Records and then Mattress Factory Studios in 1996. In just Over two decades Invisible has released over 350 albums and has had placements spanning from the original Miami Vice to Showtime’s Queer as Folk to Robert Altman’s The Company.
In 2003, Martin began teaching “The Business of Touring” at Columbia College in Chicago. Martin wrote his book Tour: Smart in 2007 and has since spoken around the world at the Midi Institute in China, Drumtech in London, NAMM, SXSW, and By:Larm in Oslo, and many more. He spent significant time in China over the last two years recording, signing, and producing bands. His 2006 visit spawned his first documentary 16 Days in China which documents his experience. He is a father of four boys and lives with his wife, Katrina, in Chicago.
Music Conference Panelists
Amanda Berman is Sr. Director of A&R at EMI Music Publishing. Amanda’s signings include 3Oh!3, Say Anything, Matt Squire, John Feldmann and upcoming rock act Middle Class Rut. Amanda began her career in the music industry as an intern and scout for Warner Bros. Records. Soon after, she was appointed to A&R Coordinator in early 2003 at WBR. Amanda worked with a broad spectrum of artists varying between Trapt to Mike Jones while at Warner Bros. Amanda joined EMI Music Publishing in February 2006 as A&R Manager. She was featured in Billboard Magazine’s Top 30 under 30 Executives in August 2007.
Amy has a vibrant and successful roster, a thriving business and a core philosophy that remains in tact despite surging tides of change in our industry. After 5 wonderful years further honing her skills as part of the team at Tsunami Entertainment, she has now joined forces with CookmanMGMT. Her current clients are Money Mark, multi-Grammy winning Ozomatli, multi multi multi-Grammy winning Producer/Mixer/Engineer Robert Carranza, Camilo Lara and Mexican Institute of Sound.
Veteran manager, music publisher, speaker and consultant Barry Bergman is the founder and president of the Music Managers Forum in the United States. An outspoken advocate on artist rights, he has testified on Capitol Hill serving the interests of artists.
Barry has published more than 150 songs recorded by various artists including Michael Bolton, Cher, Kiss, Joan Jett and others. Three of Barry’s biggest hit singles were Don’t Shed A Tear recorded by Paul Carrack on Chrysalis, Don’t Close Your Eyes by Kix on Atlantic and Kathy Mattea’s Love Travels on Mercury. Barry currently manages indie artists Billy Harvey, Marc Ribler and Medium John.
My name is Ben Spear and I am 21 years old. I own and operate Smartpunk.com, one of the leading music and merchandise websites for the Indie, Alternative, Rock, Emo, Metal and Hardcore genres. Smartpunk.com is known for our vast collection of unsigned music and helping people discover their new favorite band, while also helping bands get their name and music out to the world. Smartpunk.com is one of the primary sponsors and has one of the leading stages, showcases emerging artists, on the Vans Warped Tour.
For some divine reason, the stars aligned when Bill Hamel first stumbled upon the mind-blowing sounds of “progressive house” at Orlando’s fabled Firestone club in the early 90s. It was America’s epicenter of the most widespread youth quake to hit the globe since punk rock – the electronic dance music explosion. Madonna (“Hung Up”), Justin Timberlake (“Cry Me A River”), Brandy feat. Kanye West (“Talk About Our Love”), Britney Spears (“Touch Of My Hand”), Depeche Mode (“Johnny Revelator”), New Order (“Guilt Is A Useless Emotion”) and Rihanna (“Unfaithful”) have since employed Hamel for his alchemic retooling (with the Madonna, New Order and Rihanna remixes hitting #1 on Billboard’s Dance Chart (for a total of 5 #1’s and numerous other top 10’s in the past 3 years).
Brad Rains, Senior Creative Director of Film, Television and Advertising Music, has been with Bug/Windswept for the past 7 years. In charge of all synchronization opportunities for the catalog, Brad is responsible for placing our clients music in films, television shows, advertising, trailers, promo’s and video games. Recent placements include Nike, Kohl’s Department Stores, CSI: Miami, DJ Hero, Guitar Hero, Sprite, The Greek, The Philanthropist, Lifetime image spots, Gulliver’s Travels, Glee, Grand Theft Auto IV, Reaper, Middle Men, Army Wives and Beverly Hills 90210 (to name a few).
Brian Meiler is the TV Creative for Warner Music Group (Green Day, Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin). Having just celebrated his tenth anniversary working in the music business, Brian has been a part of music history. Beginning in 1999, he was part of the label team behind Sixpence None The Richer’s breakout hit "Kiss Me". Moving into A&R, worked with some of the newest talent of the early 2000’s.
Craig S. Hyman
Craig was manager of the A&R Department at RCA Records in the New York office from late 1999 – 2000. His music industry background encompasses almost every aspect of the industry. He has worked on the “label” side in A&R, was a talent scout, produced industry showcases, artist development independently, touring and live concert production (domestically and internationally), booking, consulted on recording projects for distribution, as well as been a U.S. representative for artists from Scandinavia, Canada, Europe and elsewhere.
Damian Elahi is Senior Director of Business Affairs at Warner Bros. Records in Burbank, California, with responsibilities for an artist roster including Avenged Sevenfold, My Chemical Romance, and Static-X. Damian was previously Business Affairs Counsel at INTERSCOPE-GEFFEN-A&M RECORDS in Santa Monica, California (2006-09), handling platinum artists such as All American Rejects, Daddy Yankee, and Pussycat Dolls as well as ventures including Maloof Music and DrinksAmericas.
Daryl Berg is currently FUEL TV’s Director, Music Supervision & Licensing. In this role, he works on everything from music marketing, music supervision, licensing, band booking and anything else music related the network needs accomplished. In the past six years at FUEL TV, he’s licensed over 30,000 tracks for usage, booked over 350 artists for television performances as well and executed numerous music marketing programs.
Eavan Porter has been with Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group for two years. As part of the management department in Nettwerk’s LA office, Eavan works with artists such as Jars of Clay, Sixpence None the Richer, Maria Taylor, Griffin House, and Lucy Schwartz on a day to day basis. This summer she started working with manager Kevin Kocher on artists Chromeo, Datarock, and Fan Death as well.
For the past 20 years, Mr. Owens has specialized in the Entertainment, Legal and Medical communities in the field of addiction recovery. From 1993 to 1999, Mr. Owens was the Program Director of the Exodus Treatment Center and has served as a consultant for the State of California’s Impaired Physicians Program, implementing substance abuse treatment strategies for physicians who were either mandated to or volunteered to undergo substance abuse treatment.
Jake Schneider, a booking agent from Madison House Inc and a talent buyer for Michigan’s ROTHBURY Festival, started in the music business booking concerts independently in Iowa City and also for the University of Iowa’s S.C.O.P.E. Productions. After five years promoting shows, he teamed up with Madison House Inc and began working as a booking agent in their Boulder, CO office. His current roster of 20+ acts includes Bassnectar, Lotus, Pnuma Trio, DJ Rekha, Kraak & Smaak, Lyrics Born, Yard Dogs Road Show, and Rachel Goodrich.
Janelle Barreto is Associate Director of Universal Music Enterprises, Film & Television, Contract Administration, and works in the finalizing, legal matters, and fiscal closing the Synch Licensing deals in all of today’s entertainment mediums, including Film, Television, Commercials, Video Games, Soundtracks, Home Video, Internet, Musical Cards, Musical Items and more, for Universal Music Groups’ extensive catalog, which includes top artists such as U2, The Who, KISS, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Duffy, Rhianna, No Doubt, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Chris Cornell.
Jason Feinberg is the president and founder of On Target Media Group, a music industry online marketing and promotion company. He is responsible for business development, formulation and management of online marketing campaigns, and media relations with over 1,000 websites and media outlets. The company has served clients including Warner Bros. Records, Universal Music Enterprises, EMI, Concord Music Group, Roadrunner Records, and others with an artist roster that includes The Rentals, Flipper, Thin Lizzy, John Mellencamp, Primus, Wynton Marsalis, Ringo Starr, Chick Corea, and many more.
Jeffrey Jampol, President of JAM, Inc., manages rock legends THE DOORS, the JANIS JOPLIN Estate, the PETER TOSH Estate, the GRAM PARSONS Estate, and electronica artists INFECTED MUSHROOM. Jampol is the producer, along with Dick Wolf, of The Doors’ upcoming theatrical feature documentary, “When You’re Strange” and the producer of the upcoming Janis Joplin theatrical feature documentary. Jampol also serves as a consultant to managers, publishers and labels on heritage acts and to artists’ estates on catalog, publishing, licensing, branding, merchandise and marketing.
After touring with such artists as Graham Parker and Garland Jeffries/U2, Jenny went on to tour with the notorious rock band The Tubes, whose hits include "She’s a Beauty". In addition to singing and mixing sound, for The Tubes, she also managed the band as they toured throughout the United States and Europe. During her years with The Tubes she sang on records for artist’s as diverse as Jane Weidlin of The Go-Gos and Allen Ginsburg.
Jerry Davis is currently celebrating his 24th year in the music industry. His career in music began as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. As an undergraduate, Jerry worked in the campus concerts promotions department, and interned at KALX radio station while managing a local heavy metal band, RISK. Jerry, along with band members opened a local rehearsal facility for other bands in order to defray their own rehearsal and recording costs. As a result, several other local artists rented the facilities on a regular basis and a business was established. The most notable client was a local group desperate for attention called Metallica. The rehearsal facility is still in operation today.
Jolene Pellant started her career in the music business at the age of19 at the legendary Los Angeles rock radio station, KLOS. While pursuing a degree in Communications with a Film emphasis at CSU Northridge, Pellant simultaneously worked at the radio station and at Pop Art Film Factory as a music video editor. There she edited videos for such notable artists as The Bodeans, Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses), WC and The Madd Circle (for which her video went to number one on MTV) among others.
Oarfin Records Inc., the small studio and label founded by DeLange in 1993, eventually purchased Minneapolis’ 10,000 sq. ft. Metro Studios Complex in 1995. Under his direction as President, Oarfin Records grew to become not only the dominant recording facility in the region, but also its largest distributor and independent record label. In 1997 the label launched E Company, a Twin Cities booking agency, managing acts such as Shannon Curfman and Soul Asylum.
Justin Levenson is SESAC’s Manager, Consultant Support and Writer/Publisher Relations. An eight year veteran of the performing rights organization, Levenson is responsible for processing and signing unaffiliated songwriters.
Hailing from Birmingham, AL, Levenson attended Jacksonville State University before embarking on a career as a professional musician working with such superstars as Kenny Chesney and Donna Summer. Levenson joined SESAC in 2001 in the Licensing Department as an Accounts Resolutions Specialist.
Justin Seidenberg is the co-founder and owner of Kiqstart Music, an artist management firm based in Brooklyn, NY & Chicago, IL. Current clients include Kill the Alarm, Duke Tumatoe & the Power Trio, and John Garrison. Kiqstart Music also produces the first Pink Floyd themed cruise, Great Gig in the Sea. Prior to starting Kiqstart Music, Justin has experience working at Jam Productions, Bands.com, Red Light Management, and Live Nation as well as a Masters in Music Business from New York University.
Keith Lacock began his career in the music industry while still in college in 2003 by booking bands in a live music venue. In 2005 he began working at Tinderbox Music where his main area of expertise is with college radio promotion. He has worked on radio campaigns for Ingrid Michaelson, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Gramercy Arms (which included members of Nada Surf, Joan as Police Woman, and Guided By Voices), Cecil Otter (Doomtree), Grieves, and many more. He also has extensive knowledge in the areas of publicity, publishing, booking, and CD manufacturing.
Ken is a Vice President of Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, P.A. From the Midwest, he helped build the firm’s entertainment law practice to international recognition. A recovering (and not very distinguished) multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Ken’s vocation and practice focus is music law. He has served as legal counsel to many artists for over 20 years including multiple Grammy® award recipients as well as gold and platinum recording artists.
Laura got her start in the entertainment industry eight years ago as an agent trainee at Writers & Artists Agency and later moved to The Firm assisting one of the partners. She made the leap into the music supervision world in 2004 by working with Laura Wasserman’s company Avenger Entertainment. During her time at Avenger as a music coordinator she worked on films such as SHARK TALE, A LOT LIKE LOVE, XXX2: STATE OF THE UNION.
Founder of We Are Listening, Lior has gathered an international group of the music industry elite to create a music company at the forefront of the music industry. In 1999, he began working with production teams at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and CBS in Los Angeles and catered to post-production houses developing international advertising campaigns for brands such as IBM, United Airlines, Visa and Toyota. In 2004, he secured seed capital for We Are Listening which, today, has assets and divisions in artist management, music publishing, digital distribution and a number of online music portals including VIRV.tv and YouLicense.com. Lior is also a regular contributor to popular music blog, ThePlugg.com.
Mike Gormley is Co-Founder of Los Angeles-based Yes, Dear Entertainment an artist management and marketing firm. He started out as a musician and journalist in his native Ottawa, Canada and then as a feature writer and columnist with the Detroit Free Press. He subsequently was a Director of PR at Mercury Records, then joined A&M Records where he was Vice President of Publicity and Assistant to the Chairman.
I was made of Minneapolis, schooled in Mass. Worked at RCA Records, Velvet Hammer helping on the day to day for OneRepublic while scouting for their Columbia records JV label, and have been working at Atlantic Records in the A&R department ever since. I signed the band Camera Can’t Lie, and am helping to launch an imprint called HellYa! Records this summer. I also rule.
Growing up in Canada, and living in NYC since ’97, Gelineau has an extensive career in various aspects of the music industry. An executive with over 30 years of Domestic and International marketing experience in the music industry, her involvement ranged from radio (CKCU, CKUT, CBC Brave New Waves) to club dj, music retail buyer, concert promoter and finally executive marketing roles at BMG Music Canada, Palm Pictures, Volcano and TVT Records.
Rekha Malhotra, aka DJ Rekha is a producer, curator, educator and activist based in New York City. Called the “ambassador of Bhangra” by the New York Times and named one of the most influential South Asians by Newsweek, Rekha is among the first DJs to merge classic Bhangra and Bollywood sounds into the language of contemporary electronic dance music.
Stephen Bond Garvan has lived and worked in the music business- based in Boston, NYC, Colorado and now northern Idaho- for almost 30 years, primarily as an artist manager, representing artists from US and internationally. Clients have included: Cindy Bullens, Cliff Eberhardt, Alex Call, Mickey Harte (Ireland), Casey Neill & The Norway Rats, Chris Daniels & the Kings, Katoorah Jayne, Ezio (UK) ,Michael Kelsh, April Cope and Big Wide Grin.
After breaking a string of unsigned bands at WJRR, Atlantic Records hired Stevo as an A&R guy to find and develop bands for them full time. Stevo’s signings include platinum rockers Shinedown and Paramore. He’s been working for Atlantic Records for the past 11 years from his office in Orlando, FL.
Val Wolfe is a music agent at The Agency Group, Ltd. in Los Angeles CA where he represents a variety of music and performing artists including Gogol Bordello, Lee Scratch Perry, Os Mutantes, and many more. Starting his career at International Creative Management in the early 1990s as an agent assistant and booking colleges for contemporary music artists and comedians; in 1998, Val joined Bandwagon Touring Artists as an agent booking artists including Megadeth, Pennywise, Social Distortion, and others for the firm.