Boye: Wait, so are you saying Skrillex and Young the Giant became famous because of your event?
Elmo: I’m not going to say they became famous because of my event, but I will say that I gave them their first residency where they got discovered.
Boye: Oh, that’s amazing.
Elmo: Yeah. Young the Giant definitely. They were a Newport Beach band and they sent me their song “Cough Syrup,” which is now a huge hit. But even the demo of that song was very similar to the actual production recording. I was like, ‘This is a hit.’ They were the first residency I gave and they got signed to Roadrunner. And then Skrillex was the very last residency I gave. Deadmau5 came and saw him there.
Boye: Remember when Skrillex was Sonny from From First to Last?
Elmo: Of course, that’s where I met Sonny. Sonny and I were on Warped Tour together when I was 18 and he was 15.
Boye: Wow. I grew up in Minnesota and you I was one of those kids who wore the Chuck Taylors and loved all that stuff. I remember when Warped Tour came into town, Underoath was my favorite group, ever. And that year as we were walking in, these people handed us tickets and basically all we had to do was help for an hour and then we were backstage the whole day.
Elmo: That’s awesome.
Boye: It was. Anyway-
Elmo: I did Warped Tour when I was 15, 16, 18 and 21, or some shit.
Boye: Such a good idea.
Elmo: When I was 16 I won the world’s fastest drummer competition at Warped Tour in Las Vegas.
Boye: That is so cool.
Elmo: Yeah, it was my first competition. I was such a little kid.
Boye: So, sorry I interrupted. You were throwing these events –
Elmo: Throwing this event and then when the night became a success, a lot of people were meeting there and things were forming organically. Since I was the guy throwing it, a lot of people were coming to me being like, “Yo, I want a songwriter, I need a drummer, I need a bass player, or I need a manager.” I started playing matchmaker just because I love people.I love putting people together. I love collaborating. I started just doing that and whenever it worked it felt amazing because, to a creative, finding your equal, your creative partner, is the most important thing in the world. We had a lot of success cases come out of that and a lot of people make friends, and make bands, and make movies, and make whatever. While that was happening, I was like, wow, we need a digital platform for this to happen. We need a digital card so we can jam. We need a Jammcard. That was the first thought. I pitched it to my dad. My dad’s an entrepreneur. He was like, that’s great, and you should build that. But if you are, you’ve got to stop touring and you’ve got to stop making records. I was like, okay, cool well then I’m not going to do that because at the time I was 24 or so, and I really wanted to continue focusing on my drumming and my musical career, so I put it on ice. That was the Aha-thinking of it-moment
The Aha-I’m going to make this-moment was four years later. And, I thought about it almost every day for four years as I was on tour and I was growing as a professional. When Skrillex blew up, I was drumming with him and then Christina Perri blew up, I was drumming with her, and all these other people that were coming out of Camerata – I was working with them. I’m playing arenas and I have albums charting. And I was like, oh, okay. I’m at this level as an individual, as a drummer and everything. But if I got a label to give me a budget to build a band, it would all still be built via word of mouth. So, I was like, wait a second. I was working on records with older cats who are legends and who I was so excited to work with. And I’m seeing these guys, some of them are in their 60s, grinding as hard as me, and I’m 25. But, they’ve been legends for 30 years. That ain’t right. So I was just like, holy shit. The top tier pros need Jammcard as much as the amateurs, and the college kids, and the up and comers. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s almost annoying how long I had been thinking about this and hadn’t built it. So I was like, ‘I want to just to attempt to build it. And if it fails, at least I tried. And I’ll never think about it again. But if it works out, well then great. I’ve been thinking about this for so long.’ That was the moment I was like, okay, I’m going to make the leap and do it. It took a lot of sacrifices. I was at the height of my career as a drummer and a music director, and I quit to build my tech startup. And I knew nothing about tech. There was a huge learning curve, but I’m a resilient dude. I’m also street smart. I didn’t go to college. I’m a self-taught drummer, even. And definitely a self-taught entrepreneur. I’m very much a dive in and figure it out guy. I had never thrown an event before I threw Camerata.