2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Jamie Coletta)

by Steven Spoerl

jamie coletta

One of the people that I bonded with the most over a sheer love of music was SideOneDummy‘s publicity genius, Jamie Coletta. Connecting over everything from our incredibly extensive appreciation for Meat Wave to things as trivial as The Office’s use of silence, it’s been a joy to get to know her over the past year. The world could stand to use more people with her levels of passion and understanding.  Having just run David Anthony’s piece on Coletta, it felt appropriate to run her piece for this series next. Here, she reflects on becoming Microwave‘s manager and her appreciation for her family. Read it below and continue pursuing the things worthy of your unfettered belief.

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Taking Chances

Last year, with the help of Brian Kraus at Alternative Press, I stumbled upon a band from Atlanta, GA called Microwave. All it took was one night and a gram of California’s finest for me to fall completely in love with their debut album Stovall. I remember sitting on my bed, stoned to oblivion, realizing I had just listened to the entire album without stopping once. You guys realize how terrible most bands early/self-releases sound, right? Usually you get through a couple songs and keep their name in the ether of your memory but that’s about it. You never listen to the whole thing without skipping. That’s just ludicrous.

Well that night, I did.

I immediately scoured the internet assuming I’d find one of my A&R peers already on the case, but as you likely know the end of this story since I’ve told it about a million times, I found nothing. I started talking to them casually a few weeks later (truth be told, it was a conversation about The Office that sealed the deal) and before you knew it, we were family. They performed on Audiotree Live in December of 2014. Up until then, things seemed to be moving at a normal pace for a band of their size, but once the Audiotree session went live, everything changed.

All the labels and managers I thought would have initially been interested started calling, and I encouraged the band to feel out all of their options. I knew I wanted to sign them to SideOneDummy but wanted to make sure they felt comfortable before making a decision. At that point, I had never even considered managing a band before. The idea was just so far from my brain.

I met Microwave at SXSW in Austin, TX in March of 2015. We met the first day I arrived and spent every single day of the festival together. I’ve met a lot of people in my life but never have I clicked with a group of people as fast as I did with these guys. That week ended up being crucial in our future as a team. They locked in their booking agents and we started talking about bigger picture goals together.

Before we parted ways, it was like we all just knew. Still, I hadn’t even muttered the words “manager” yet. I sat in the airport waiting for my flight to depart when a manager friend of mine called to ask about their situation. It was the light bulb I needed. After reflecting on that week together and re-listening to Stovall another couple hundred times, I brought it up with the guys and that was that. The adventure of my life began.

Since then, I obviously signed Microwave to SideOneDummy Records. I worked with them to release a split 12’’ with a band from Buffalo, NY called Head North, their first proper release on the label. I also confirmed their first full US support tour with Have Mercy, Transit, and Somos. By the end of 2015, I locked in what will be their biggest touring opportunity to date, supporting The Wonder Years and letlive.  this spring.

If you had told me a year ago today that I would start managing a band and help propel them towards this kind of success by years end, I wouldn’t have believed you. This whole process has taught me the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone, and I can’t wait to step even farther with these guys in 2016.

Feeling Whole Again

Let me preface this by saying that my family has always been incredibly supportive of me and my endeavors. While at times, especially the beginning, I’m sure they felt skeptic and fearful as I boarded a one-way plane to Los Angeles to work in the “music business” with “punk bands,” they’ve always shown extreme pride and enthusiasm for the life I have built here. But this year, two of them in particular stood out to me in their unwavering display of support.

My brother is four years younger than I am, studying to be a physician’s assistant, and lives in Coventry, Rhode Island. He has two fantastic dogs, a Siberian Husky named Luca (yes, he named his dog after a Brand New song) and a White German Shepherd named Jet (okay, to be fair, this is my mom’s dog but my brother moved and couldn’t bare to separate him from his best friend, Luca). He’s almost as obsessed with The Office as I am, which makes for the easiest gift-giving process of all time.

Like the rest of my family, my brother has always been supportive but this past year, he really took it up a notch. He joined the SideOneDummy Vinyl Club, pre-ordered records (even bought multiple variants of some), stopped into his local record store to check for our releases, and decorated his home with some of his favorite S1D releases. I can’t really explain why but this has had a profound effect on me this year. Every time our warehouse manager would tell me something like “Jamie, your brother just bought two flags and another Microwave variant,” I felt whole.

My sister is two years older than I am, works in social media marketing, and lives in Seattle, WA. She has an incredible wanderlust, having traveled all over Europe and about to embark on a three week solo adventure to Australia and New Zealand. For all intensive purposes, she is my polar opposite in life. As we grew up, we started to notice our characteristic differences, and at times we let it get the best of our relationship. But today, as adults, we find our common ground and a lot of times, it’s music.

My sister almost never misses a SideOneDummy band when they come through Seattle. She’s even gone to see bands she barely knows. She lets them sleep on her floor and get bitten by her dog. My bands are like extensions of my family. They’re my best friends. So whenever I would get a text from her with a photo of them on stage, or hear from them saying that she was super cool and welcoming, I felt connected.

You see, I have this picture (see: the photograph at the top of the page). I’ve kept it in my wallet for years. There’s my older sister (left) and I with our baby brother. I grab it at times when I feel scared, alone, homesick, nostalgic. I hold it in my hand all folded up and squeeze it tight. That picture makes me feel whole. It takes me back to a time of innocence, a time where even if things may not have been so great, it didn’t matter. I had them and we had each other. When you live 3,000 miles away from your family, it’s these little moments I hold onto the most. So sure, my brother simply buys stuff from the record label I work for and my sister steps over sweaty dudes to get her coffee. To anyone else, this may mean nothing. To me, we’re back in that picture again, arm-in-arm, without a care in the world.

-Jamie Coletta