By Kevin Alan Lamb
Each day I am reminded how fortunate I am to have been born into an environment which supports my growth and encourages dreams. It is a tremendous blessing to have family who love and protect you; parents who drive you across the state to play a game you love; sisters who order you pizza from Connecticut the night before you have surgery; and people you can count on in trying times to help make even the heavy things a little lighter.
When we take the time and space to realize our blessings, a sense of duty often calls us to reciprocate this fortune and help others. Recently I read that the next Buddha will take form in an entire community. I mention this because it comes to mind as I think of the notion of shared dreams. I believe the potency of a dream increases with the frequency of its longing. When a dream is shared by many, it likely benefits many, and is more likely to come true.
Michigan’s music community is built upon a foundation of shared dreams and dreamers. I know this because I am one of them, and we recognize our own. For years people were certain my name was Nate Purchase (and all this time I thought I was a pretty unique and distinct individual – silly me). Without ever meeting Nate, I began to learn who he was from people who loved him. I learned that he loved music, photography, writing, and most importantly – building the community which supported these things.
Some years later Nate has cut his hair, and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the soul of a man so many recognized as my own. Like myself, Nate is a gardener who plants dreams like seeds, intent on seeing them grow. He is a man of many hats, and as a result you’ll rarely see him not wearing one. Whether he is on the road managing tour with Desmond Jones, booking and curating events with Chirp and Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish, or shooting to thrill as media covering Electric Forest, Purchase Productions is seeing to sow the dreams of the ones he loves.
When I look at Nate I see success because his dreams benefit others. When I hear that he is presenting a Monday night residency at Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids I know it will be badass, because Nate doesn’t pitch dead wood. And when I think of all the times I was mistaken for my brother, I smile, because this world needs more humans like him.
What inspired you to make it official and launch Purchase Productions?
For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to help local bands reach a regional and even national level of success. I started Purchase Productions with that goal in mind. When I started the company I had just quit my day job and just kind of took a leap of faith knowing that I was going to bust my butt to make this dream become reality and so far I’m very happy with how far the company has come in such a short amount of time, and where we plan to take it. I am lucky enough to have two great people, Eric Frutchey and Isaac Berkowitz, working and helping me with the day to day stuff. Currently we represent Desmond Jones, Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish, Chirp, Isaac Berkowitz, House With A Yard, and Conrad Shock + The Noise. With those bands we provide anything from management, booking, tour management, poster design, and photography.
Tell us about the talent you have scheduled for your Monday night residency at Tip Top?
I couldn’t be more excited about the level of talent we will have throughout the year for the Purchase Productions Monday Night Residency at Tip Top Deluxe. I reached out to so many bands trying to make something really special with the resources I had available and couldn’t have asked for a better lineup. I love supporting local music and giving new bands a platform to get their music out there and thanks to Ted Smith at Tip Top I was able to do that with this residency.
How did you first start working with Tip Top?
I first started working at Tip Top through Desmond Jones. Desmond Jones used to be the resident host for about two years before we had to stop due to touring full time. We also had a number of ticketed shows and even a New Years Eve party at Tip Top. Once Desmond Jones stepped away from the residency, I watched a few bands try to do it but couldn’t because of the strain of playing four hour sets every single Monday. That’s when I reached out to Ted about the idea of me taking it over and changing up the format a little to feature a new band each month which helps reduce some of that strain on bands and give new bands the opportunity to get creative and push their boundaries.
You’ve got a lot on your plate… what are some of your methods for staying organized and focused on the ever changing task at hand?
Honestly, I’m always learning and growing. It does become hectic at times but I find that the busier I get the more organized it forces me to become. I start out almost every day with roughly three to four hours of responding or sending out emails and phone calls followed by organizing those emails by color code based on which band they are for. Every night I try to come up with an attack plan of what needs to get done for the next day. Like I said before a lot of this wouldn’t be possible for just one person which is why I have been so lucky that Eric and Isaac wanted to join the team and are both seriously crushing it for their clients.
I feel like it’s only a matter of time before PP and Good Sound co-produce something special… what are some long and short term goals for your business?
Short term, I’d like to really push the residency and have it become “a thing” again within the Grand Rapids weekly schedule. I see a lot of progress already from it but there is still a lot more work to be done to get the word out. Long term, I’m not really sure yet. I’m still kind of figuring that out but I do know that it will involve helping local bands progress. And yes I absolutely see a collaboration with Good Sound, you know you’re my dawg (or secret twin brother as many thought for so long). Not sure what that collaboration may be but let’s get that conversation going asap!
Are you working with other venues in Grand Rapids?
We just hosted our first Purchase Productions Music Showcase at Founders featuring Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish and Chirp. That event turned out to be a huge success with it even reaching capacity at one point in the night. I’d love to start working with The Intersection and 20 Monroe Live on some things that would make sense for venues of that size but as of now my go to spots are Tip Top Deluxe and Founders; both of which have been very helpful and nothing short of a pleasure to work with.
If people would like to be involved with your events, how would you like performers to submit?
Very soon, we will be launching our website which will have links for artists to submit for different shows or reach out in regards to any of the other services we provide. We are hoping to have that up and running within the next month or two.
For years people thought I was you. Knowing you better now, it was quite the compliment. Tell us about your upbringing, family, did you play sports? Have you always loved and been involved in music?
HA! I cannot begin to tell you how many people have tapped me on the shoulder in the past screaming KEVIN! Only to find out I was some other giant with long hair. Don’t tell anyone but that’s the reason I shaved my head.
My family is such a huge support system for me and they have helped guide me since the start of all this. Every single person in my family has inspired me in one way or another. My Pops has served 39 years in the Fire Service winning several awards and constantly putting his life in danger to save others. My mother was once a professional figure skater, yoga instructor, and interior designer but most of all has been the rock of our family providing endless love and support in all of our dreams and goals. My brother, Steve, I have always looked up to a lot whether it be his work ethic, being an amazing father to his kids, and he is always there to give me advice and wisdom when it comes to my business and photography whenever I ask. My sister, Adison, I could write a book about the amazing person she has become but I’ll keep it short. She is the type of person that can turn any bad situation into a positive one and that is something very few can do with such grace and ease.
Growing up, I have always been drawn to the music whether it be my mom blasting the funk classics or my dad with classic rock n roll, but primarily I was a soccer kid. Almost every night of the week I would be traveling all over the state and midwest for practice, games, or tournaments. I loved soccer more than anything in the world; however, a slew of injuries made me choose to hang up the cleats. At that point, I was in college and felt a little lost honestly but that’s when my love for music and the scene really took hold. I can’t even tell you how many concerts and festivals I attended while in college but I do know without those experiences I wouldn’t have the knowledge and drive to do what I do today.
Do you see the potential in Michigan to be regarded in a similar light in the music world as Nashville, Asheville, and Austin?
I think Michigan is already heading in that direction and has been for the past five or so years. We are still a little under the radar in regards to those other cities mentioned; however, I’ve never seen our local scene as strong as it is today. Almost every band supports one another whether it be helping bands swap gigs or even coming out to support others shows. I can’t tell you how many times I look around the crowd and I’m surrounded by other musicians and artists. I think there is some truly great talent here in Michigan and especially in Grand Rapids that if given the right opportunities could do some very big things in the future.
Sixteen in the clip and one in the hole
Nate Dogg is about to make some bodies turn cold
Now they droppin’ and yellin’
It’s a tad bit late
Nate Dogg and Warren G had to regulate
Just in case you were listening for one, This Is A Good Sound.
February – eRoy & Friends
March – Bear-A-Tones
April – Static Apparatus
May – Muskegon take over featuring Flexadecible on 5/6, The Dead Shepherds on 5/13, Delta Decalactones on 5/20, and Cosmic Knot on 5/27
June – Blue Oddity
July – John Nowak
August – August (8/19 – Nate Dawg’s Bday Bash. Details TBA)
September – Stormy Chromer (9/2 – Isaac Berkowitz)
October – El Brandino
November – Trifocal
December – Drew Phoria