Everything that we do is above average.
Indy: We started in 2013. My cousin Pietro has a club, and he suggested that I throw a Christmas party because every time we go to Anguilla for Christmas, it's boring. There's nothing to do besides the Christmas Tree Lighting, so I thought about it for a week and called him back and was like, "Let's do it on Boxing Day and call it Boxing Day Bash." Then I called him back a week later and told him, "I think we should add Diction to it" because I'm from The Valley and he's from South Hill. With the East and West, it made sense for us to come together and start a company. "AXA Boy" was a nickname I used to call my cousin, which is where the name AXA Boy Entertainment comes from. That's how it started, and Boxing Day Bash ended up being our first event.
Anguillians have been crossing their fingers for a Better Band Reunion for years. How did you and Diction make it happen?
I kept hitting Diction up to let him know that I think we should do the reunion. This was a little over a year ago. Hodgie kind of started me off in music growing up as a kid, so I called him and let him know that we wanted to do it, and he laughed. He knew a lot of people wanted to do it, and he wanted to know what the other guys had to say. Diction is closer to Pantha, who pretty much said he'd do it for us if we could get the ball rolling. From then on, it was just up to us to talk to every other member. I talked to the drummer Pipe, who's my cousin, and he was down. I literally called and texted Hodgie every morning for like two months, and I lived in Miami, but I did that to stay on him. We were just consistent about it, and they respect our brand and what we do--all the shows that we do. We haven't really lost yet. Everything that we do is above average. Coming down to the end of it, we had a meeting with everyone. They said yes, and we got the contract going. They all signed and approved it. Then we announced it the next day, and it was history after that.
The reason why we started focusing on strategy on Facebook and social media is because we were doing radio, and we were getting nowhere. You pay all this money on radio in Anguilla, and you won't hear your ad. It makes no sense, so we said we're going to focus and strategize to target the core market and fans that go to our shows. It's easy to see who follows you, who's commenting, and the activity you get from different people. I'm a tour manager in America, so it's easy for me to use the same strategy with AXA Boy Entertainment to get it going. You get a couple people helping you out. We had Tiny [Brooks] counting down the days leading up to the show, and we filmed the rehearsals to keep building the energy because people hadn't seen the band together in so long, so to see them rehearsing, laughing, and hanging out was incredible.
How was it for you to personally witness them come together and to see the chemistry pick up where it left off?
I flew in on Cinco de Mayo weekend and watching them in the band house for the first time was crazy because I was a kid sneaking into Ground Zero just to watch them play and now they're even better than they were back then because they're all even more professional today. Every song that they played that night, I got goose bumps. I got so excited that I called Diction and was like, "You have to see this. It's insane."
What was most rewarding about seeing the reunion through to the end?
Our concern was the people. We didn't get any negative opinions about the show. Everybody was pretty much like, "We loved it. We want to see it again." We tried to keep the show on a tight time schedule and keep stage management tight so there wasn't any lag time, and it was a continuous event. We succeeded at that. There are a few things we can build on personally as a team, but overall people loved it. I got a lot of messages on Facebook with people expressing it was the most fun they had in years, which was important for us. It feels good. That's so much more rewarding than anything else--that the band and the people that support your events love it.
People often see the end results of your labor but don't necessarily get to see the work that goes on behind the scenes. What are some misconceptions you're faced with as a promoter?
In Anguilla, it's tough to do events. We had issues with getting everything together for the venue. There's always deadlines and timelines you want to meet, but it's hard to do that because most people work at a slower pace here. We've gotten better as a company so it's easier for us [to navigate that], but when we did the Machel Montano show two years ago, it was a mess. Sound check started when the venue opened--it was just a mess. The Better Band Reunion was a lot smoother for us. We didn't have a lot of issues, but the cost of the event went a lot higher than expected. It went over budget by far. A lot of times people look at the success of the event, but they don't know what you put in--the energy, the money, and the resources just to make it happen.
Or they might underestimate just how hard it can be to put it together.
It's hard to replicate what AXA Boy Entertainment does. I travel the world. Diction travels. We work in production. We see things, we write our ideas down, and we bring it right back to Anguilla. We spend a lot of time really taking apart and breaking down every event, down to every minute of the show. If you don't put the same amount of effort in calculating everything that you do, it's going to be hard to replicate or beat us. And we're operating in a market where there's not a big population to bring in large amounts of profit, so you have to find a healthy balance or your show can turn into a loss really, really easy.
As monumental as the reunion was, where does AXA Boy Entertainment go from here? I've already seen talks of a Better Band Reunion Part 2.
We're working on Part 2 right now. We're also planning a big event for carnival on August Tuesday. We have an event coming up for St. Maarten Carnival. We're even collaborating on events in Tortola. We're doing a lot. AXA Boy Entertainment isn't an Anguilla-based company. We're from Anguilla, but we're trying to branch out to do a lot more.
And outside of AXA Boy Entertainment, what's next for you?
I can only go up from here. I'm in a good place. I'm growing in business management and tour managing. Ace [Hood] finally got out of his contract, so he's about to re-emerge this summer, so it's going to be tough for me balancing AXA Boy Entertainment with Ace coming back and making a statement all over again and the traveling back and forth. But there's so many things that I'm working on between Miami and Los Angeles, so sky's the limit for me.
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