Interview: Brett Segall of Verge Campus & EMUZE
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 07:42:06
Chance the Rapper Videos
Right now, The Verge Campus Tour is captivating colleges across the United States. It's the ultimate college festival. Not only does it boast a headlining set from Chance The Rapper, but during the day it features an Interactive Village with a myriad of brands and sponsors including protective gear innovators G-Form whose lightweight pieces are revolutionizing active wear. It's unlike anything on the road now. It makes college cooler…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, co-founder of Verge Campus & EMUZE Brett Segall talks the tour and so much more.
What was your vision for the latest installment of The Verge Campus Tour? How did you approach it?
Coming out of college, I founded our parent company EMUZE with my good friend and co-founder Maxwell Zotz. The tour came about when we were looking for a way to launch our EMUZE.com platform. Our first tour was in the spring of 2013. We did about 27-30 colleges in a matter of 30 days. It was Kendrick Lamar, Steve Aoki, and Bad Rabbits. In and of itself, the tour is a national collegiate lifestyle music festival. When we actually visit a school on the tour, we do a whole campus takeover. During the day, there's an Interactive Village where we bring out brands like G-Form, Karmaloop, and more together in a really engaging experience. Students will have the opportunity to play different types of games, get free swag, and be able to learn more about all of the companies in the Village. Not only do they learn about them, but they can get an opportunity to pursue an internship or even a career. Overall, we've built this festival-type of experience where it all leads into the night concert with our three main acts. It's all-encompassing.
What's the synergy between you and G-Form?
This is G-Form's second time being part of the tour. They're one of our brand partners. They are a revolutionary protective company. They're very focused on athletics. When we work on our Interactive Village, it incorporates lots of types of industry. We have fashion companies. We bring our EMUZE.com platform, and we work with companies like Spotify. G-Form are very focused on athletes like boarders and bikers as well as soccer and hockey players. This tour is a natural vehicle for the college market, which is a focus for them. They've been a key partner of ours for two years. It's great. They were on our first tour, and this is their second. They're a deep component for us.
How do you go about curating the lineup?
The Verge Campus Tour is really dedicated to three types of genres—hip-hop, EDM, and an alternative or indie sort of genre. For each tour, we really look for an artist who symbolizes Verge and the demographic we're centered on, which is college. We listen to what the demographic is interested in and talking about. It's that kind of buzz. We really look for artists who are "On The Verge". They're about to break into that mainstream. They're not entirely there yet, but they're about to break in. We had Kendrick on the first tour. On the second, we had Krewella. Chance The Rapper was on our radar, he encapsulates what our tour is about, and resonates with colleges around the nation.
How do you build the tour each year?
Our first tour was in the Spring of 2013. We always thought of it as a one-time event. It would be a vehicle to launch EMUZE initially. After the success we saw and given the fact we were able to create an experience on college campuses, we wanted to continue that experience. We did one in Spring of 2014. In terms of expanding upon it, now we've done Fall of 2014. We've already gone from being an annual event to being a semi-annual event. We're making it more available to universities across the nation, and we're enhancing the experience the tour is able to create and bring to a college campus from a production standpoint. We're making it more accessible and building up on the experience we bring to a college campus.
Where does EMUZE fit in on the tour?
Our parent company is EMUZE. When we first built the company, EMUZE.com was our focus. It's a social media magazine for entertainment. It aggregates the collective social media network in presence of topics for an event like The Emmys or The Grammys to entertainers or bands. The site itself brings all of the content you'd see published on these networks into one cohesive place.
What's next for you?
We're not a just a national music festival. We're more importantly a lifestyle company. In the next few weeks, we're launching our VergeCampus.com online lifestyle publication. It serves as that common thread between our EMUZE technology and our events and physical engagement, which is The Verge Campus Tour. VergeCampus.com is focused on lifestyle and things the college demographic is really interested in like music, style, technology, sports, and pop culture. It's a direct linkage between the tour and the platform. The publication is written by college students for college students. That's the unique thing about it. We have chapters established across the U.S. at colleges that run their own online publication at VergeCampus.com. They gain experience with what goes into building their own start-up and writing their own campus for their campus that speaks to what their campus is really involved with and substantiates campus life at their university.
Have you attended The Verge Campus Tour?