Angela Mastrogiacomo started in the music industry like most of us do — as a fan.
After seeing a mesmerizing performance by the band The Coming Weak (more about that below), she launched her music blog Infectious Magazine in 2009. It was a fun project that she enjoyed throughout college, but after graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 2011, she was looking for a way to turn her passion into a career.
“As anyone who runs a blog knows, you’re not making any money off it,” she said. “After five years being in the music scene and being on the receiving end of so many press releases, it dawned on me that I could make a career out of working with passionate artists — and make a living too.”
In 2014, she launched boutique agency Muddy Paw PR, which exclusively focuses on the music industry.
“We’re lucky that we get to work with bands that are into” she said. “We won’t work with someone if we’re not fans of the music because we won’t be able to push them to other people.”
Mastrogiacomo splits her time between Boston and Toronto, explaining “I kind of bounce around a lot,” she said. “I work from my computer, so I don’t need to stay in one place.”
She’ll be in Toronto for Canadian Music Week, participating in a panel called “My Podcast is Bigger Than Your Blog and My Playlist Rocks Your Internet.” Below she outlines five shows that helped her get her start in music.
The Coming Weak at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, Rhode Island, Jan 11, 2009
I was at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel to see my favorite band, Anberlin. I got there a little early and as soon as I walked in and saw one of the opening bands, The Coming Weak, I was just completely struck. It was one of those rare moments where it feels like the universe has come together for one brief moment to show you your destiny—and mine was music. I felt so compelled to share this band with the world that out of nowhere came the idea to launch a music blog (this is back before music blogs were really a thing) and tell anyone who would listen about them. Within two months Infectious was born and my first interview? You guessed it. The Coming Weak.
Anberlin at San Francisco Warped Tour, 2014
This was unknowingly the last time I’d ever see my favorite band. Although they did a final tour in 2015, I was in Toronto at the time, the only show (to my knowledge) to get snowed out by a major winter storm. But you know, if the band had to go out, and if there had to be a last time, I’m glad this was it. I was covering the festival for my sixth year in a row for Infectious and I’d just conducted a great interview with Stephen and Joey before watching them take the stage. As always, it was a high-energy, passion-filled performance that had me singing every word, and left me feeling incredibly inspired — that’s what great artists and great live shows do.
Andrew McMahon at Cultivate Festival in San Francisco, 2015
I didn’t even know that Chipotle put on a festival called Cultivate until I moved to San Francisco in 2014. But pairing my love of burritos with my love of music made all the sense in the world, and this turned out to be an incredible performance. As a long time fan of Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin, and now the music McMahon was releasing under his own name, I was thrilled to see him on the lineup. As I sat there in the grass, the warm June sun on my skin, everything felt just about perfect.
The Karma Killers at South by Southwest, March 16th, 2016
Have you ever been into a band kind of casually, then you forget about them, and then you accidentally see them live and fall head over heels in love with their music? Well, that’s what happened to me at SXSW this year, when I stumbled into a venue a little earlier than I meant to (I see a theme here…) and discovered some major live talent in The Karma Killers. I was there to see Arkells play, but I wandered in about 15 minutes early and oh. my. God. Those were some of the best 15 minutes of the entire week. I’ve already gushed about how great live performances can inspire, and this was no different. The Karma Killers gave their performance their absolute all. They were thrashing around on stage, throwing their bodies around in what seemed like perfectly choreographed movements, and delivering a punk-rock vibe that would have made CBGB proud. It was easily one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.
Arkells at South by Southwest, March 16th, 2016
There are some bands that are album bands, and some that are live bands. Arkells are absolutely the latter. While their records are fantastic (and I bought them almost immediately after their show) they are a band that excels in the live setting. I’d been a casual listener for about 6 months, and figured SXSW was as good an opportunity as any to see them live. I had no idea that I’d walk away from Austin noting that show as THE best performance of the week, and one of the best I’d seen…ever. I love a band that has fun on stage and that’s exactly what these guys did. There was joking with one another, with audience members, and a performance that just oozed energy, talent, and passion. I walked away feeling inspired, energized, and ready to take on the world. You already know what I’m going to say—that’s the mark of a truly remarkable show, and I would encourage anyone living in a city they’re passing through to see them. You won’t regret it.