We can’t brag enough about our biggest competitive advantage: Our people. They’re some of the smartest, most talented, most interesting people on the planet – and we’re not exaggerating. In fact, if you knew even half the things our employees are up to in their spare time, it would blow your mind.
The Secret Life of RV reveals some of the coolest things our employees are doing outside of work. (Read: THIS is where we blow your mind.)
Secret Life: Daniel Howie
Rockstar RV Recruiter/Literal Rock Star
A Charlotte native, Daniel graduated from UNCC in 2007 (Go Niners!) and worked at a technology staffing firm before joining Red Ventures in 2015. Currently, he’s the guy who reads all of your applications and hires top talent.
Oh, he also happens to be an indie rock star who’s performed with big acts like Manchester Orchestra and Neon Trees. His latest project is called “Mouth Sounds,” and his brand new album – which just dropped LAST WEEK – is already blowing up on international blogs, including The Huffington Post.
Q: First of all, where can we listen?!
A: Great question! Sing or Swim is available now on all major digital retailers. Check it out on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else they sell music. It should make a great soundtrack for reading the rest of this interview. 🙂
Q: This is your first solo project, but you’re definitely not new to the music industry. Want to talk about Sugar Glyder first?
A: Yeah, I’ve been performing and recording music for almost a decade now, which is crazy. I had a band in college called Sugar Glyder, and after we all graduated (in 2007) we decided we’d try to pursue it and see if it went anywhere.
Q: And it did!
A: It took off! We worked our way up in the Charlotte music scene, and we even played a few shows with a band you might know called The Verdict (formerly led by fellow Red Ventures Secret Lifer Chandler Martin). Eventually we started touring, and we played shows all over the US.
Q: (Permission to name drop)
A: We opened for Silversun Pickups at the Fillmore right here in Charlotte, and we played with Manchester Orchestra, Neon Trees, and some other big names on the road. It’s kind of nuts. We were doing all of our own booking, marketing, merchandise, all of that on our own – and we were playing some seriously big shows.
Q: What’s the biggest show you played with that band?
A: In 2011 we played at SXSW, which is where we got signed and things really took off. I think it started to sink in for us how quickly everything had changed for us when we somehow ended up at a Shakira album release party in New York City that year.
Q: Go on…
A: Haha, yeah. I think it was She Wolf. (Because that matters.) My buddy was an intern at Universal where she was signed, and they threw a party for her along with Rolling Stone. I happened to be in the city playing a couple of shows with Sugar Glyder, and we somehow got the invite.
Q: Was it everything we’re imagining right now?
A: It was insane. Tons of celebrities, fancy food, so much alcohol. I’ll be honest though, I really only caught a few glances of Shakira every now and then (when her giant security guys would shift their weight). Also, we got kicked out about 45 minutes into the party.
Q: Excuse me?
A: Hehe. When we got the invite we were told it might be cool to pass out demos and meet all of the A&R people from various labels who were there. So we did, and we met tons of reps. Security did not think it was cool.
Q: Don’t worry I won’t tell your boss.
A: It’s funny, because we didn’t even need to be doing that kind of stuff anymore. We were signed with Org music, which is a subsidiary of Warner Brothers. We already had an album deal! But we’d been doing it for almost 8 years at that point, and it’s a habit that’s hard to break.
Q: It also kind of sounds like you prefer being unsigned and doing all of that stuff yourself.
A: That’s true. In the beginning, we were sleeping in Wal-Mart parking lots for six months out of the year and living on PB&J and tuna sandwiches. There were several occasions where we ran out of gas on the road. I have very fond memories of pushing a van and a trailer for 2-3 miles in the middle of Illinois – and you just don’t get those kinds of experiences once you’re doing it with a label.
It felt like we were entrepreneurs. We were marketing ourselves, coordinating tours, managing all of our social media, networking with people – whatever it took to try to get our name out there, we were doing it.
Q: So fast-forward, Sugar Glyder eventually breaks up, and you go into corporate recruiting. Do you miss it?
A: Honestly, not as much anymore. When I first started a real “day job” I was really worried that it would be an awkward transition, but it’s amazing how many of the skills I learned doing music translate to the business world, and how many of the things I loved about it I’ve been able to find here.
Q: How do you mean?
A: I mean, as a frontman of a rock group you’re thinking about image a lot. You’re thinking about branding, networking. You put a lot of heart and a lot of effort into it, but ultimately you’re trying to make smart decisions for the rest of the team. All of those things translate really well into talent acquisition, so I feel like I really lucked out there.
The other thing I think worked out well is that I get the same fast-paced, uncomfortable feeling here as I ever did playing music (in a good way!). On tour, we never knew if we’d be playing for a crowd of hundreds, thousands – or zero. All three happened. The fact that I liked living that way, never knowing what’s next and being totally comfortable with being uncomfortable – I think that’s a huge reason why I fit so well here, too.
Q: Plus, you’re still making music!
A: Yes! I actually started Mouthsounds right before I started at Red Ventures, back in 2014. I would come in to the office during the week and then almost every weekend was spent writing and recording this EP.
Q: Think you’ll take this one on the road?
A: I think my full-time touring days are over, but I’ll definitely play a few shows around town and maybe take it around the Southeast. I can see myself playing Charleston, Durham, Raleigh – Weekend Warrior style.
Q: Lastly, I have to mention your 80s cover band.
A: I thought you’d never ask. Yes. In addition to Mouth Sounds, I am currently the frontman for a band called Cassette Rewind (also made up of people with “day jobs”). We play shows all over North Carolina and cover Top 40 songs from one of the greatest eras in music history. It’s nice to have an outlet like that where it’s just pure fun, and no one takes themselves seriously. We just play ridiculous music, and the crowd goes nuts.
Q: This is a beautiful thing. Thanks so much for talking with us!
A: Thank you! Hope you like the new album!
Check out the full EP from Mouth Sounds now on iTunes and stay connected with Daniel on Facebook!
Want more Secret Life? Read about fellow rockstar Chandler Martin or former Beast Mode designer Tommy Hines.