If you're a fan of the local music scene in Denver, there's a high probability James Irvine has touched your life in some way.
As the co-founder of the management collective Holy Underground, he has helped develop acts like StaG and Inner Oceans, both of whom were selected as official SXSW showcase bands last year. As a talent buyer for Larimer Lounge and the Underground Music Showcase (UMS), he's curated an enormous number of performances from national and local musicians in Denver.
But at the end of the month, Irvine is moving to New York City to book shows for The Bowery Electric in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.
"It's all moving very quick," Irvine says. "I'm heading out there with two suitcases, hopefully I'll come back for everything else."
Irvine won't be severing ties with the Denver music scene though. The majority of bands with Holy Underground are Denver-based and will remain so. He'll also be lending his efforts to this year's UMS.
We caught up with Irvine before his move to talk about what lies ahead for his career and the organizations he's worked with in Colorado.
How long have you lived in Colorado?
I'm a fifth generation Coloradan. My great-great grandfather (who I actually met) came to Colorado on a covered wagon. I've been in Denver since 2004-ish, I believe. I was raised in Evergreen, spent a brief amount of time in Boulder for ahem....college.
Why are you moving to New York City now?
The time is right. I'm in my 30s, I don't see my career in Denver progressing further than it has anytime soon. I've got a great job waiting for me, and very little commitments here. I almost left a year ago at this time out of frustration. I'm leaving this time for opportunity in the greatest city in the world.
What does the future hold for Holy Underground?
We will continue on 100%. I've never been more content with the talent I'm working with right now (Rose Quartz/Brothertiger/Shady Elders/Inner Oceans/Plum).
I think being in NYC will open up a lot of opportunities for my artists. We're looking to push our artists to another level nationally, I'm confident this will propagate that success.
I'm not moving to New York to expand Holy Underground, but it's certainly coming with me. Brett Rowley will maintain the Austin office, and Rande Kamolz will continue managing StaG from wherever he may be (he's currently on the road with Hundred Waters).
Will Holy Underground continue working with Denver artists?
100%, four of my five acts are Denver based. I love them all.
What's your relationship with the UMS going forward?
I'm extremely fortunate that [UMS Event Director] Kendall Smith has retained me as National Talent Buyer for the UMS. We're well on our way for the best UMS to date. It's exciting. It's my favorite time of year, and I'm going to be smiling ear to ear when I return for it in July. We've got the devilishly handsome Jason Hoke on board to book the local acts this year.
Who is taking up the talent buying efforts for Larimer Lounge, and what kind of music acts might we expect to hear there in the future?
Bart Dahl has been taken the role of talent buyer of Larimer Lounge. Bart has years and years of experience managing great acts such as Dinosaur Jr, Nathaniel Rateliff, Lucero and currently Residual Kid.
Larimer has been doing great, it's a good time for me to leave. I'm certain Bart will maintain the relationships on both a national and local level.
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