What is the most rewarding aspect of being the Merchandising Director of Fueled By Ramen?
I feel like merchandise is an extension of an artist’s brand and another way fans can support the artists they love. The most rewarding part of working in merchandising is seeing people wearing the merchandise that I’ve had a hand in creating. It’s an “I did that!” moment where you feel proud of your job.
What is one of your favorite memories from when Fueled By Ramen was still located in Florida?
Well I’m still in Florida, but when the entire office was there everyone hung out outside of the office going to shows and throwing parties which was really fun. We had so many fun times that I can’t narrow it down to one so here’s a short gist of multiple memories. PATD gold record baseball game – Panic! At The Disco A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out officially went gold. To celebrate, John got everyone a ticket to a Tampa Rays baseball game with food and drink. It was memorable because it was the label’s first gold record and we all got to celebrate together.
Powerspace Bid Night – Powerspace was in Tampa and had a night off. There was a fraternity at University Of South Florida that was having their “Bid Party” where they announce their new pledges. They needed a band and we got Powerspace to play. The band played a bunch of cover songs as well as their originals and everyone had a blast. There was even a point where all the new fraternity pledges got on the stage, took their shirts off and started swinging them around their heads.
FBR Powerhour – Back in the Tampa times, working for a smaller record label wasn’t super lucrative. In order to save money without sacrificing fun, we would get together after work and do a Powerhour. If you’re not familiar with Powerhour, it’s when you get a bunch of beer, a playlist of songs that are 1 minute in length and do 1 shot of beer every time the song changes for 60 minutes. It was a cheap weekend night and usually ended in a dance party.
Bamboozle Trips – The trips to Bamboozle have always been memorable. One year in particular was super memorable because a few of us rented a 12 passenger van and drove hours and hours up to the festival. In the middle of the night a huge semi truck was exiting a rest stop and didn’t see our van. We had to swerve to avoid being hit and in the process boxes of CDs and merchandise got all thrown all over the van. We saw our lives flash before our eyes, but we survived and were still able to get the merch to all the boys and girls at Bamboozle.
We heard that you used to work directly in the warehouse. What is the craziest warehouse story you have to this day?
The preorder for Panic! At The Disco Pretty. Odd. was definitely the craziest time in the warehouse. We even dubbed it “Panic! At The Preorder.” We did the deluxe box set that had vinyl in it and we didn’t receive the physical product until a few days before the release date. We had to pre-make thousands of vinyl boxes. They took up a entire empty warehouse that we had at the time and took over every room in the office including the bathroom. I believe we pre-sold around 9k copies of the deluxe version so once we got them, we had to close up and tape all these boxes, which took a long time. It was at least a month before we got everything filled and shipped out. We worked weekends and longer days. There were employees crying....it was pretty crazy to say the very least.
At one point in time, you were actually an intern at FBR just like us. So what is the one thing we should do before our time here is up?
Just try to get a taste of everyone’s job to see what interests you the most. I was somewhat lucky when I interned because the staff was much smaller (I think only 3 full time employees at the time), so I got to help with a lot of different jobs. I also have a suggestion for after your official internship is over and that is to stay in touch and continue to learn. When my summer internship was up, I made sure to keep weekly and sometimes daily contact with the FBR staff and continued to volunteer my extra time helping out any way I could.
If you were writing an autobiography about your life and experiences at Fueled By Ramen, what would you title it?
You Can’t Download A T-Shirt – My Life As A Merchandiser In The Music Industry
Thank you to The IMPOSSIBLE Project for providing film for this photo!