2016 was a really crazy year for us at IHEARTCOMIX. If you read our 2015 Year in Review (2016 one coming soon), then you know at the end of last year we made some big decisions about who we are as a company and where want to go. Long story, short, we wanted to make some drastic changes, so we did. We closed our eyes and jumped, and well, 2016 was the result.
This year was all about us thinking big and expanding our horizons, shaking off the shackles of our past and putting a focus on our passions, skills and creativity. It was not easy, especially during the first half of the year, but as time progressed things began to flow. We figured it out and changed in many more ways than expected while doing it. However, we landed at who are meant to be.
We did SO MANY new things in 2016 and really pushed the boundaries and perceptions of IHC. We spent a lot more time creating video productions and live streams. We did a lot of agency work for brands and more excitedly, other artists. We traveled, we partied and we created our own IHC universe along the way. Funny enough, there were several big things we spent our time on in addition to this list I can’t even tell you about, but you will hear about them soon. :)
See below for our 20 or so best moments of 2016…
We kicked 2016 off in Park City, UT for the annual Sundance Film Festival. This year we helped develop Base Camp, Sundance’s first ever outdoor music venue. IHC took on the task of programming about half of the space with musical appearances by Flying Lotus, Neon Indian, Dan Deacon, Daddy, H09909, Miya Folick and more. We spent 10 days at the festival and took in a lot of amazing flicks getting ready for NEXT Fest in Los Angeles, our annual music and film festival with Sundance.
2016 was a big year for IHC as we jumped head first into the world of live streaming with great success. Streams had been something we’ve dabbled in in the past, but we wanted to do something bigger and more bold, so we dreamed up Party Stream. Party Stream began as a DJ and Gaming focused event hosted by comedian Brandon Wardell. Starting with Jack LA and later partnering with Ham on Everything, Ghastly and Addison Groove, it was an experiment that lead to much grander versions later in the year.
In addition we started a fun, smaller version called Break Time, which streams on occasion from IHC HQ.
This year we took the most subtle approach to SXSW we’d ever taken. Instead of our usual Austin Party Weekend multi-day mega event, we just did one, the official IHEARTCOMIX SXSW showcase. In a year of transition we needed the space, but that doesn’t mean we still didn’t throw a kick ass party with a kick ass line-up. This year’s showcase featured Stooki Sound, The Range, Petite Noir, Prayers, H09909, Miya Folik, Azul and Dem Ham Boyz.
In 2015 we moved into a new shared office space in the Arts District with clothing label, Teenage. In 2016, we took over the entire space and turned it into IHC HQ, our own version of a shared work space. It’s been an amazing experience to not only see our business grow, and the physical manifestation of that, but to work along side so many inspiring peers. We feel blessed to share this space and always have a desk or two available…
One of the cool things about IHC HQ is that we have our own outdoor venue as part of our office, Wilson Lot. For Cinco de Mayo this year, OWSLA took the space over and enlisted IHC to help throw a huge, cheap party for the kids. Headliners included Skrillex and Getter. The party was all kinds of wild.
This year IHC joined the team for FORM, a one of a kind festival that takes place at Arcosanti, AZ. The festival takes place at a futuristic city of the future built over a cliff looking out on beautiful scenery. The 1500 applicants get to participate. This year’s festival line-up featured performances by Skrillex, Four Tet, Hundred Waters, Thundercat, Tortoise and many more. IHC’s role was to oversee brand partnerships for the fest and help with infrastructure. On the second night, Franki Chan joined forces with Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber to through an impromptu all night Prince party until dawn.
Comic-con San Diego is a yearly destination for IHC. It’s essentially our homeland, the event that spawned us, so we take with great pride being able to do cool shit and bring good music to the madness. This year we teamed up once again with Adult Swim to help spread the word on their several activations. In addition, we teamed with A-OK Collective and VICELAND to program the VICELAND Party Bus and throw one, huge kick-ass free party. Performers and participants included Action Bronson, Anamanaguchi, Shlohmo, Dougpoundd, Yung Jake, Suicide Girls and more.
We love to party. While IHC got out of the ticketed promoter game in 2016, we still threw ourselves the occasional after hours. Our community is important to us and sometimes the best way to show that is to get down a little. 2016 saw us experimenting more with format. We had tributes to Prince, James Brown and 90s rave Music. We teamed up with great labels like HW&W and had artists like Kaytranada, H09909 and Todd Edwards perform. We spent a lot of time with our buddies at Ham on Everything and Loud Village.
We released our first short film! As one of the first releases of the now defunkt Bittorrent Now initiative, IHC put out a truly disturbing film by Jesus Rivera and Jonnie Prey entitled YOU ARE ALL FUCKED. What is it about? Well, watch it.
For the 3rd year in a row IHEARTCOMIX teamed up with Sundance to produce NEXT Fest, three days of films and music at The Ace Theatre. This years line-up was especially exciting on the music end with the inclusion of music videos by Neon Indian and Blood Orange as well as the debut of Flying Lotus‘ short film, Royal. Films included The Greasy Strangler, Morris From America, White Girl and more. Live performances from Shamir, Sunflower Bean and Big Freedia rounded out the festival. IHC’s role continued to be one of production, talent booking, marketing and PR.
For our 2nd big event of the year at The Ace Theatre in LA, we partnered with WeTransfer for the debut of their How We Do series. Introducing WeTransfer to LA officially for the first time, we sold out the 1500 event in advance. Performers included BADBADNOTGOOD and the Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble with appearances from Kamasi Washington, George Clinton, Nai Palm and more. IHC handled all production, talent, marketing and PR for the event.
A big part of IHC’s new business model is agency work and boy did we do a lot more of that this year. Whether it was performing specific services for larger events like talent booking or marketing or taking on a production project from start to finish, 2016 certainly put us in a ton of new and exciting situations. From a gigantic Dorito‘s stage at E3 to a Russian culture festival at UCLA to the Revolve Clothing Coachella event with A-OK Collective to creating a comic book with Lights for Warner Bros Records, we did some very wild and very new things. Along the way we got to work with some of our favorite artists like Eric Andre, Ciara, Pusha T, A$Ap Rocky, Zola Jesus, Big Boy and more.
To celebrate the release of AlunaGeorge‘s new album I Remember, Interscope Records and IHC teamed up to create the I Remember live stream art installation experience. Taking place at Mack Sennett Studios within a 5 hour live stream party full of DJs and decor, IHC produced a 55 min, album length, one take, fully choreographed shot of the record spread across 12 highly stylized rooms each representing the songs on the record. The built-from-scratch rooms featured dancers, performance artists and Aluna herself amongst individual settings. The dream child of Alunageorge and brought to life by IHC, this showed us that the medium of live streaming was truly only limited to our own imagination.
2016 saw the rebirth of the IHC 1NFINITY universe, our shared music video cinematic universe soundtracked by our singles releases. We’ve been quiet on this front for just over a year as we’ve set things up for the better and developed the story. We filmed a short film for our last release, Mark Redito‘s So Many Things to Tell You, that will be released in early 2017 with much more info on the rebirth of the label. In the meantime, checkout these behind-the-scenes photos. :)
Soooo we came up with a whole new stage show called the IHEARTCOMIX SUPERSHOW and performed it at Festival Supreme. In what was a startling, yet satisfying turn of events for us, we started the year as promoters and ended as performers, all essentially under the same name. It was a huge win for us and a big vindication that our direction is the right one. What an honor to share a stage with some of the best comedians in the world and what a trip it was to bring the IHC characters to life! Performers included a reunion of our IHC 1NFINITY alums Gavin Turek, Chela, Mark Redito, Banoffee, Vanessamichaels and Lil Tasty. The show featured Ethan Mora (of Roadies), Death Metal Santa, Anarchy Bunny and McCreeper and was written by Jesus Rivera and Franki Chan. Directed by Jesus Rivera.
As a bonus we got to go on the Conan O’Brian show (at least the live stream version)!
Our final stream of 2016 was a big one, the Emo Nite 2 Year Anniversary, which was dubbed Streamo Nite (for obvious reasons). This was our largest stream undertaking yet trying to capture several rooms of the 2000 capacity event. Performers included All American Rejects and New Found Glory. The result was over 100,000 viewers!
Just a couple days later we hopped on a plane and flew to Washington D.C. to attend the first ever e-sports live stream event from the White House. We were invited for our work in the live stream space. We invited our buddies Hannibal Burress and Dan Deacon to join in on the adventure. It was a great cap to a year’s worth of experimenting in the medium.
We ended 2016 with one of the biggest and coolest events we’ve ever done: LA GIVES BACK. This special holiday event brought together several of Los Angeles’ most influential promoters to raise money to help the homeless community of LA. Participants included Brownies & Lemonade, Ham on Everything, Emo Nite, Space Yacht, Restless Nites, Free Grilled Cheese and Late Night Laggers. The event raised over $50,000 for local charities and featured surprise performances from Diplo, Valentino Kahn, Classixx, Etc Etc and tons more.
And finally, in 2016 we created our own universe of characters, The Land of IHC! All characters created by Demonbabies and Franki Chan. Some of these guys have been around for a while, like Anarchy Bunny or Lil Lucifer (red one), some are new like Herman (dinosaur) or E-L and Lincoln (the humans), but for the first time they are all together as one. Be on the lookout for all of these guys to be taking over IHC in a big way in 2017 and beyond.