Benjamin Gomez turns a love for live music into his very own business
by Carlos Anchondo '14
“Oh man, you’ve got to listen to this one, called Holy Water. It’s one of their biggest songs right now and so good.”
Benjamin Gomez ’17 hits play and waits. A grin quickly spreads across his face and his eyes light up as the music builds, swelling to fill the room. He bobs his head in time with the beat.
The band is Riders Against the Storm (RAS) and Gomez is their booking agent.
Gomez first learned of RAS when band member, Chaka, visited the office of the Austin Music Foundation (AMF) where Gomez served as an events planning intern over the summer. Gomez and Chaka started chatting about the hip-hop industry and how much money major artists earn when booking concerts. Thinking of Trinity, Gomez told Chaka about future possibilities with KRTU and the Student Programming Board, where Gomez leads as concerts chair, and the pair exchanged emails.
Chaka messaged later that night explaining that his band was looking for representation and wondered if Gomez might be interested. Shortly after, Gomez launched BG’s Booking, with RAS as its first client.
Only a few months later, Gomez has expanded his client list to five musical groups. He scouts for artists who command a strong social media presence and who are already playing venues regularly but do not currently have representation. Gomez secures gigs and organizes tours for his clients, like an upcoming Texas and Louisiana tour planned for RAS.
He says that it is crucial for him to have a full understanding of their discography and musical style before he finds them a venue, as he only wants to book clients in places where they can develop a following and where the music scene complements their aesthetic.
“I am there to take care of the business side of things so that the artists can focus more on their music,” Gomez says. “To find the best venue for your client you have to be persistent, to always follow through.”
As Gomez grew BG’s Booking, he commuted between two internships, one at the Austin Music Foundation in Austin and the second at Do210 in San Antonio. Gomez spent Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday in Austin before driving south to San Antonio on his lunch hour to work Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and Friday with Do210.
At the AMF, Gomez worked on the Wine Down Series, a biweekly Tuesday happy hour at the ACL Live Moody Theater that combined free drinks, free food, and “a great local band.” He also helped coordinate a series of panels about music and business education, where partakers could learn anything from knowing their rights in a recording studio to how to market themselves as artists.
Additionally, Gomez was the point person for revamping the AMF’s Artist of the Month Series, upgrading the honor from a shout-out on social media and the AMF newsletter to gigs in Austin and San Antonio, studio time, a blurb in Rockstar magazine, a spot on Austin’s FOX7 morning show, and multiple radio interviews.
Equally high on Gomez’s list of priorities was Do210, an organization that strives to compile any event happening in San Antonio at any one time, from massive concerts at the AT&T Center to a neighborhood block party. Margaret “Libby” Day ’12 and Kimberly Johnson ’09 were Gomez’s bosses at Do210 and guided him as he added events to the calendar, developed content lists, and worked events.
Gomez found his internship at Do210 through the San Antonio Ambassador Program, an initiative cultivated by the Department of Human Services of the City of San Antonio. It is an internship program for San Antonio enrolled college students that encourages residents to work locally and invest back into their community.
“Being a San Antonio native, I have a lot of pride for the city,” says Gomez, whose roots in the city go back four generations. “San Antonio has always been a cultural hub, but now it is being more recognized as one, with this newfound love for arts and culture that makes being in San Antonio really cool right now.”
For someone who once aspired to be a sports agent, Gomez can now think of no better way to spend his free time than at venues like San Antonio’s Paper Tiger or Woodlawn Theater and Austin’s Cactus Café or Stubb’s BBQ.
“I love seeing how a concert is executed and the business part that goes behind it all,” Gomez says. “When you’re watching from off-stage and you’re seeing hundreds or even thousands of people enjoying the band you represent, that’s really rewarding.”
Gomez is a double major in marketing and management with minors in communications management and entrepreneurship. He was a founding member of the start-up Modern Snail. He is spending the fall 2015 semester in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, studying buyer behavior, business law, and strategic management.
Carlos Anchondo is a writer and editor for marketing communications and a member of the Trinity class of 2014. He can be found on Twitter at @cjanchondo or at canchond [at] trinity.edu.