If we are not actively preparing the next generation to have the torch passed to them, we are extinguishing the flame on our future. While making a way for ourselves we have to be simultaneously creating a way for others that will stand the test of time. This way our kids have something to look forward to and a legacy to build upon.
How did you decide that you wanted to make parties and concerts your career? Worm: It was an early decision, but it wasn’t planned. The first party I had was after a rivalry Broad Ripple vs Arlington game my junior year at the USA Inn on Shadeland and Pendleton Pike. After paying for building, security and extra help I made $3,000 profit and I was like, “What other job can I do that at?” I always knew people from all parts of town. Being able to bring them all together for fun, music and dancing AND making money from it was a perfect fit for me. Then I started meeting entertainers through knowing Coach K which was my biggest influence to get into concerts.
Sounds like you were blessed to have your first gamble at promoting be a win. How did you handle when a loss came your way? Worm: The best example I can give is this. Yung Joc was the hottest rapper in the country at the time. He had 6-8 songs rotating on the radio with videos. I brought him to the [Club] Industry. It just so happened that was the week we had 22 shooting and 19 murders in one week. It was when the Mexican family got killed out east and the same week as the Hovey Street murders with my cousin Gina. Some people also got shot in the alley at [Club] Level and right down the street at the gas station. So many of the murders were club going people or people that interacted with them. The streets were shook. It might have been 60 people that showed up [to the concert]. We had even sold tickets and people didn’t show. That was about $20k. I can’t remember that night. You don’t want to remember those nights. That wasn’t the biggest financial loss, but it was one where I felt I had it in the bag!
Are there any impacts on promoting you’ve noticed from social media? Worm: It has reduced my budget on radio a lot! Instead of radio for three weeks for $3,500 I might spend $500 on radio the weekend of the event and kill it online for a month. I still put real flyers out to though. On the flip side now, you’ve got people that have been broke all their life and might come up on a sack or thinking throwing a show is the easy way to become popular. It’s making it easier for things to get over-saturated. Now there’s a lot of shows and a lot of promoters. I looked at Tony Lamont back in the days making money off his name, Geno and Amp, then myself treating our names as our brands. You get a lot of rappers trying to do a show now. If you’re a rapper, do a show where you’re pushing you. Don’t go pay $10-15k just so you can get on the stage before the person not knowing if that’s going to pay off or not.
For the generation that is coming up with social media being all they know are there any downfalls to it? DJ Mef: People don’t think for themselves. They just go off what they saw on someone they know’s page as a representation of the entire event even if it’s not totally accurate. Seeing one thing online might make someone not even give an event or venue a chance. One status can change hundreds of people’s perception of something. It’s up to us to shape the social media presence of what we have going on instead of letting others do it for us.
How do you know that you want to take over the family business? DJ Mef: I grew up watching the whole thing. There’s not a part of the game that I’ve missed from being at the radio stations to going and picking up the artists from the airport and hotels. I’ve been going to venues for soundchecks and watching radio shows being recorded since I was 9 years old. This has been a part of my life for so long. There’s not an aspect of promotion that I don’t know and love.
What made you decide to have a 9 to 5 instead of jumping right into parties? DJ Mef: I was brought up different. I was taught I have to have my own and I have to work for it and get it legit. Not the quick bread. I learned that it’s not going to just be handed to me so I needed to stack and get my resources together instead of jumping into it. I was just waiting for it to be my time. I did some college parties at Vincennes, but now I’m 21 and it’s my time.
Tell us about your name. Do you DJ your events? What does Mef mean? DJ Mef: I used to DJ, but since I came back from school I haven’t really had much time for it. It all comes back to a love for music. In no particular order M.E.F. stands for my core values which are money, education and family.
What’s the most important lesson you hope to impress upon your son as you pass him the torch of the family business? Worm: Quality over quantity. It’s something I had to learn over time through trial and error but I want him to know it from the start. I don’t want him to think he has to jump at every opportunity. Sometimes when the money is coming and it’s easy you want to just keep doing stuff. But now, I’d rather do something once every month or two before weekly and let it be exclusive. Keep the fire lit.