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When we were at SXSW it was astonishing to think that the person standing right next to you at some concert could hold the keys to the industry’s deepest secrets. From producers, agents, record label giants, to even other college students, connecting with as many people is one of the key points of SXSW. Here is an interview we did with Northeastern alumnus Dave Barry.

Dave Barry, AS’06

As a graduate of the Music Industry program at Northeastern, Dave Barry went onto create and found the very successful Moniker Guitars based right in Austin, TX.

1. What was your most eye-opening experience at Northeastern?
I think that the only way I can do this question justice is to answer it on two fronts:

Location/Facilities
Growing up 25 miles away from Northeastern University (where both of my parents went, worked and earned their Master’s Degree. In fact they met in an elevator in Richards Hall) I had always envisioned NU as a “city” school. When it came time to look at colleges I wrote off all “city schools” because I wanted something more intimate. My parents suggested we just check out Northeastern as it had changed a lot from their days there in the 1970’s. I visited and was immediately hooked. Trees, grass, nature in the middle of the city!?!? I was sold. The convenience of being in the city with the feeling that you are in a suburban university was unlike anything i had ever seen. Once finishing the tour of the campus I couldn’t wait to start there. Fantastic library with (at the time) more computers than I had ever seen in a single room, that were available to students almost 24/7. The music recording studio fully equipped with top notch gear and an on-campus live entertainment nightclub, AfterHours. Less than a month after starting at NU, I was hired as the technical/production head (at AfterHours) because they were going to start to bring in bigger bands and needed to get a staff of students to run it… Northeastern empowers students)

Students/Faculty
From the first weekend I visited a friend of mine at NU, a year prior, I realized just how diverse (culturally, geographically, ethnically and overall thought process) the student body was. This intrigued me very much, having lived my entire life in suburban Massachusetts. New people from wildly different background with brilliant ideas…. I knew Northeastern University was where I needed to be. Once classes started and I began to meet my professors there was no doubt that I had made the best decision of my life. My first class (a dreaded 8am) on my first day was “Music Industry 1” with Professors Jim Anderson & Leon Janikian. These two would go on to not only help me through my college journey every step of the way, but have become lifelong friends. The faculty at Northeastern cares.

2. How did Northeastern prepare you for working in the music industry?
The answer to this question alone could take up a page. As I previously mentioned, Northeastern empowers its students, the music industry was going through its most dramatic/drastic change during my 5 (2001-2006) years at Northeastern. Fresh off the heels of Napster’s success (another Northeastern homegrown success) and the mp3 file sharing “epidemic” many national critics were declaring the industry to be “dead”. Knowing very well that music will never die, but the way it was distributed and monetized was on thin ice, my peers and I were forced to think of what the next moves would be (if we had a hope getting a job in this field that we loved upon graduation). Through the guidance of professors, who were equally as surprised but with more past experience, we focused on the constants and modeled our studies, business plans and discussion on “Where do we go from here? How do we make it better than it was before… for everyone?” It is now 10 years later and the Music Industry has only grown.

3. What is one piece of advice that you have for students going into the industry?
Get involved! Meet and network with as many people as you can fellow students, faculty, alumni etc… The Music Industry is very much based on what you have done and who you know. So while you are learning make sure you are doing at the same time.
In the words of the great professor and one of my dearest friends CAMD Professor Jim Anderson, “Be happy and do great things.”