What’s going on man, introduce yourself to the people
What’s up everyone, my name is Patrick Welby, and I’m 27. I have a couple job titles; I’m an Account Architect at Pro-Ject, Co-Founder of These Days, and work with Aux-Cord DJ’s, a monthly event held at East Room.
How was life growing up?
Life growing up was pretty solid. I grew up outside of Minneapolis with an extremely passionate music family.
When did you first getting heavily interested in music and wanting to build a career in the industry?
I’ve always been into music due to my family being heavily involved with music. In our house we had probably around 10,000 cd’s and vinyl records. My parents named my middle name Dylan, due to Bob Dylan. I started to realize it was a career path when I looked at Rhymesayers, a hip-hop record label based out of Minnesota. I started going to events like meet and greets, and in-store performances, at Fifth Element, which was right below Rhymesayers HQ’s. When I started attending all of these events I realized there was an infrastructure to the hip-hop industry. That’s what sparked me to want to get involved with the music industry.
In 2007 you moved from Minnesota to Chicago to attend Depaul. How was your college experience?
Honestly, my college experience was perfect. Being an 18-year-old kid growing up in Minnesota and being able to move to a huge urban city was an eye-opening experience for me.
While attending Depaul, you had played a pivotal part in Radio Depaul. What were some of your biggest accomplishments in the 4 years?
In 2010-2011 we ended up winning the best college radio station in the nation. It was awesome to be a part of that team and to be a part of the rise of the radio station here at Depaul. People who were in the music scene in Chicago started to realize just how big Radio Depaul was starting to become.
One of your first biggest tasks was to write for FakeShoreDrive, a Chicago Hip-Hop blog led by Andrew Barber. How were you able to obtain this position early on in College? How was the experience working with FSD and Andrew?
I had a good friend of mine named Zack Johnson who referred Andrew to me as someone who would be interested in interning. At that time I had started my own personal blog and posting daily content on Chicago’s talent, to me, it seemed like a perfect opportunity and transition to be able to write for FSD a nationally recognized website. Andrew was very helpful and supportive; he gave me a platform when I was young in the scene here. Andrew allowed me to tap into his resources to get interviews with big artists.
My experience was fantastic. Andrew would invite me to events I could attend, get me into shows, and special performances. Our relationship extended well past the two years I wrote there. Eventually that relationship led to Andrew recommending me to join Chicago’s Grammy Chapter.
How was working in Chicago rather than Minnesota been able to help elevate your success?
I think there are a few things that would contribute. I came to Chicago at a very unique time. I was just a year or two ahead of the Chicago renaissance that was coming. Acts like The Cool Kids and Lupe Fiasco transitioned into the leaders of Chicago now, Kids These Days, Rockie Fresh, shortly after that Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Jeremih, and others. Another factor was the many different platforms Chicago has, we have various media platforms, music venues, and DIY spaces that help create a well-rounded scene.
When did you and the rest of the guys come together to start TheseDays?
After I graduated I started my own website called CrowdNoize which took up a lot of time for several years. When that stopped, I met up with one of my old colleagues from Radio Depaul, Eric Montanez. We had this idea to get back on the air because we felt Chicago didn’t have a radio resource for artists to share their content. At first we wanted to make a radio platform, but with the times shifting, TheseDays became an online publication. Eric and I put together our resources and found like-minded individuals in the scene to join our team. We grabbed Jake, Brent, Westley, and Ben. We knew that with this team we would be able to produce high-quality events, radio shows, cover stories, and more. Our online presence is growing, but within the next year we are looking to get back into Radio as a content vertical to focus on.
TheseDays has risen to a huge media outlet for Chicago. Did you think it would turn into what it had turned into when you guys were first brainstorming ideas?
I had good confidence in the team and I knew we had the right heart and soul to turn this into something big. I will say, we gained more traction and responsibility than I could have ever imagined. We are just about to celebrate our 1-year anniversary in September, everything happened very quickly. I attribute that to our core team, sticking it out, putting in the hours, fighting over the right things, it’s all because we care. Another thing that helps is the fact that we are always in communication which ranges from weekly meetings to using resources and tools to communicate daily on scheduling social media posts and planning out releases.
Did your early radio gig with Radio Depaul make you want to start creating TheseDays Radio?
100%. There’s definitely a feeling when you’re on the air talking to new artists and premiering new content. That feeling I had at Depaul, we want to achieve with TheseDays. We look to be the first voice for certain artists and a support vehicle for creatives in our city. College radio allowed us to do that and here at TheseDays we hope to have the same infrastructure where we could support as many of our peers in the creative industry as possible.
Each month you throw a party at East Room called Aux Cord Dj’s. Where did this idea come from?
Two buddies of mine, Sam Riddle and Kevin McGraw came together to produce Aux Cord Dj’s. The idea came from wanting to put the music into the hands of people who aren’t traditional dj’s. After they had me DJ the first event, they brought me onto the team. They figured with my network I would be able to help them find new individuals to DJ. Sam ended up moving to LA to continue working for Capitol Records, and I then stepped in to help Kevin out. As Sam continues to grow out in LA, we hope to get Aux Cord Dj’s set up out there soon.
Over the years who have been some of your favorite artists to work with?
I booked Chance for SXSW showcase in 2012 and that was amazing. At that time, Chance’s record “Juice” was bubbling, and NPR came out to the show to cover that specific set. It was a huge moment for Chance and his team and for us due to the fact we had such a powerful outlet checking out our showcase. Also, I managed whysowhitefor 3-4 years. That was an awesome experience as well, we were able to go on tour, release two records, and create partnerships with brands like Nike. This was an awesome experience for me, I really learned a lot, working with the creative team, putting the tours together, and working with the many different partners.
Lets talk about your current gig, which is being the Account Architect at Pro-Ject. Talk to us a little about Pro-Ject and the role you play
Pro-Ject is made up of two verticals; proprietary event series and micro-agency. Our networking event series allows us architect relationship for the purpose of doing business – using our software algorithm we developed. After producing a dozen of these events, Pro-Ject evolved into an agency with capabilities that range from that producing experiential events for brands like Budweiser (SXSW 2016 and Made In America 2016) to negotiating sponsorship deals for 5 music festival here in the Midwest. I joined the team in the Spring of 2015 and the diversity of projects we’ve worked on has been not only a blast but a tremendous learning experience. The fact that I get to learn from the agency’s partners everyday, is something I always wished for. Their mentor-ship is of tremendous value. The agency is so young I can’t wait to be a part of its growth.
Written By: Nicholas Rud