Mat Hall and his self-titled agency moved to Austin about eight months ago, with two decades worth of musical expertise from Brooklyn and beyond. He’s worked with the likes of David Bowie and David Byrne and hopes to enhance the Austin music experience. He has been in the music business for almost two decades and his work spans the country — he’s spent time in Boulder, Colorado, New York City, and now Texas — under multiple independent and major labels. Now, after 17 years in the music industry, he sits with a carefully curated roster of bands under his company’s belt — Red Baraat, Delicate Steve, Saint Rich and Metal Tongues, an equally-impressive list of related consulting projects, and a light-filled, open office space in the heart of downtown Austin. And he’s just getting started. “What was true [in Brooklyn] still holds true now — I work with a really diverse, really small group of artists,” he says. “On paper they might seem very strange or difficult, but in reality they’re really accessible and have enormous futures ahead of them.” This time, though, it’s not just about the tunes for Hall. Though he’s every bit as excited about further expanding his business on new turf, he’s also ready to make a home here with one very special Austin native, Mahshad Vakili. “I was in Brooklyn for 13 years, and ready for a change,” Hall says. “As inspiring as it is and can be, like anywhere else you can go into cruise control. I needed [the move] for inspiration, but also because I was in love.” Hall calls his consulting projects “organic outgrowth” from the artists themselves; often, clients emerge because of a desired or already existing connection to a band or musician he represents. Most importantly, he values the trust and inspiration that comes from working intimately with each musician, something that, in Austin, he can continue to cultivate for years to come.
There is a spirit of possibility here that feels tangible to me. Austin is a town filled with entrepreneurs. Right now it feels like anything is possible here. I do my best work when I'm surrounded by bright, thoughtful people working hard at something. It stimulates my own ideas and strokes my competitive nature. I'm inspired by the creative environment here.
There is no science to this, so I can only speak to the qualities I seek out in the artists I work with. To begin, they are creating something that is objectively unique. This makes it easier to build their story and to get people's attention. From there, it is a question of how they manage their own talent. Their work ethic is incredible. They are self-directed, intelligent, and patient. They understand that they are building a career, and take the long view. They know how to let other people help them, and how to help themselves. You can be an incredibly talented artist and working with the best people in the business but if you're not dialed in and your attitude is shitty, you're going to have a hard time building a sustainable career.
All day long we work on creative ways to introduce the artists to new audiences. It helps if you're doing something unique from the start. We build a compelling story around the artist and try to find unconventional ways to introduce that music to the world.
Working on the campaign was incredibly inspiring because it reinforced for me what amazing things can be accomplished when a motivated group of people work towards a common goal. The sabbatical afforded me the time to recognize a lot of the mistakes I had made while learning on the job. I'm still learning every day, but I came back to the job a different manager. I'm much happier doing the job now, and I think the people working with me are happier too.
I love the people and the music I work with. I'm very lucky and grateful to work with the artists I do. They're not only extraordinary artists, they're great people too. All the work I do is in service of them. We have shared goals. So all the victories, big and small, are shared victories. It's hard work, but we do it together, so even the small steps are incredibly gratifying as we help build their careers.
Besides the work with the artists, I'm at work on two Austin-centric projects that I'm very excited about, which I hope you'll be hearing about soon.
I'll take a long run through town and usually end up in Barton Springs. I was a polar bear swimmer in New York and need to be in the water often. After that, I spend as much time as I can with my partner, Mahshad Vakili, because anything I do with her is pretty much the best thing ever.
by Joanna Steblay
As the warm weather begins to set in and patio parties hit our calendars, we can’t help but embrace that summertime has returned to Austin. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating the return of the season with decadent ice cream, healthy smoothies and icy cocktails from your favorite local spots.
For those days when it’s too hot to venture out, we went to Austin’s sweet treat professionals and compiled the ultimate collection of DIY recipes to make from your home. Click through the galleries below to learn how to make everything icy and sweet, from poptails for date night to ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party.more
The spring edition of the Renegade Craft Fair returns for its seventh year in Austin May 14-15 at Fair Market. With over 125 makers on the roster, the scene is sure to be bustling with local artisans and DIYers slinging their unique, one-of-a-kind wares. In addition to great shopping, the RCF offers activities, special showcases and plenty of food and drink options for visitors. This year, celebrate your hard work shopping with a snack from Burro Cheese Kitchen and Lucky Lab Coffee Co. before commemorating the afternoon with some snapshots from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. But before...more
by James Ruiz
Inspired by the beautiful outdoor living spaces featured in our May feature The Space Between, we went window shopping and found some great outdoor furniture and accessories to liven up your outdoor patio, porch and pool. Flip through the galleries below to see how you can add a pop of color and style to your outdoor hideaway.more
Hundreds of people are moving to Austin each day, and downtown is one of the major hubs of growth for the city. Local real estate expert Jude Galligan discusses smart urban growth and what to expect this year as the skyline continues to evolve.
Your blog keeps Austin updated on the latest news in downtown. What is the most exciting development happening right now?
From my point of view, the most exciting development is the Waller Creek District Master Plan. Decades in the making, this transformative project came to life after designers competed for the contract. It is finally coming to downtown, bringing an imaginative chain of parks,...more
by James Ruiz
As you flip through the pages of our February Love Issue, one thing you’ll notice is the beautiful blooms that pop up throughout the magazine. We got some major googly eyes for the bouquets featured in our "Real Weddings" features, and earmarked the TRIBEZA Wedding Guide for even more Pinterest-worthy petals.
Instead of letting all that inspiration go to waste, we tried our hand at flower arranging to see what we could create. Since we consider ourselves floral design novices, we asked a few top designers...more