At West End on Wednesday March 20, people gathered to listen to local musicians strumming along on a dimly lit stage – it was not the typical atmosphere of a night at the bar, but this was the launch event for Elon University senior Alexander Zito-Wolf’s new company, Locallive.
Zito-Wolf, a biology major and business and psychology double minor, started a company similar to a large scale booking agency, but with a public relations and social networking component.
“The project I’m starting is sort of a social networking project with the aim of linking talented local artists with the venues and the fans that are appropriate for them,” Zito-Wolf said.
He first got interested with the concept when he acted as a booking agent for his friend, Jon Harrison.
“Halfway through I got the inspiration, like wow, this is a really cool atmosphere, this is a really cool scene,” Zito-Wolf said. “I wish that there was more of this available at Elon and also in the larger world.”
Zito-Wolf decided he wanted to partner with a local venue for the launch of Locallive, and the first place he thought of was West End Station. Owner of West End, Josh Ezrine, was excited to collaborate because West End is currently going through a lull and they are seeking a way to attract more people to the bar.
“They used to have this big West End Wednesday with an influx of college students and it’s been dying down a little bit,” Zito-Wolf said. “[Ezrine] said, ‘Wow, I would really like to work with you and get something started. If it’s going to bring me business and allow you to launch this project, it seems like a great deal.'”
The main importance of this project, according to Zito-Wolf, is having the ability to match musicians with venues that suit them and to make them accessible to their fan base. He recently went to Fat Frogg, a bar, grill and live music venue in Elon, and saw a band perform there that was completely inappropriate for the crowd that was in attendance.
“It was this hair metal band and we’re sitting around with a bunch of families and everyone’s like, ‘Oh God no, oh God no!’ and that doesn’t need to happen,” Zito-Wolf said. “Those people can be playing for their hair metal fans who are going to have a blast, who are going to really enjoy that and you can have a local acoustic show when there’s a family restaurant that wants that.”
Zito-Wolf believes there is a lot of interest for live performance at Elon but that it’s hard to come across a way to access it.
“I’ve been going to open mics and there’s always a lot of people there, there’s always a lot of interest,” Zito-Wolf said. But, being in a few bands himself while at Elon, he found it hard to find places to play.
“[There is] not a lot of place for hobbiest musicians [at Elon] – musicians who have talent but aren’t music majors or something like that,” Zito-Wolf said. “There’s little access to playing time if you’re not a music major.”
Along with Locallive benefiting the Elon community, it will also kick start what Zito-Wolf hopes to do in the future. A career path he is thinking about is expanding the business. He wants to find someone to take over the Elon branch of Locallive after he moves back to Boston and starts a new branch there.
“I’m trying to establish someone who’s a good all around person and who is really passionate about the mission,” Zito-Wolf said.
Zito-Wolf also thinks he can bring some of his public relations social skills to the science field. He thinks there is a huge unfilled gap to make science more communicable and more transparent.
“Science itself is this really collaborative field led by really anti-social people,” Zito-Wolf said. He believes by helping with communication throughout the science field, improvements can be made in the communication of science globally as well as the collaboration between scientists and science corporations.
Communication is a specialty of Zito-Wolf’s and that’s one of the main forces behind this project.
“The idea of the company is to facilitate fans finding the music that they like and that they want to see wherever they are, and to facilitate musicians finding and connecting up with those venues and those fans,” Zito-Wolf said.