Today we’d like to introduce you to Benjamin Gipson.
Hi Benjamin, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
In 2021, a few friends and I were sitting in a coffee shop, chatting about the state of local music in KC and how there are so many great unknown, local artists who just never have the chance to be seen, heard, or discovered. We joked about making a name for the “little guys”, for the “underground homies” and having the city support them. After releasing my first single and playing my first two KC shows with some great musician friends, we realized that there was a need- a need for a network of local artists from all genres and experiences that have the opportunity to showcase their work. There are a few local record labels or niched collectives that are looking to do this on a small scale but not one that is for all artists, all people. Beyond music though, we know that artists of all types- photographers, videographers, visual artists, poets, etc.- thrive on connectivity and opportunities to grow their craft. Many times though, unless you know the right people, it is difficult to go from passionate hobbyist to being paid for the art you make.
So, in December of 2021, we (Elijah Green and myself) decided to begin to fill the need and launch “Underground Homies”- helping connect the city to its local artists by crafting experiences for artists to shine. Quickly we added Michael Rojero, a new KC artist, to the team and started dreaming and planning how to best care for the artists we connect with and the ways we want our “neighbors” to see and know the artists. Our approach to this starts with creating true experiences that are more than just going to a concert or listening to music. From graphics to social media to capturing of moments to a curated vibe for the moment, artists have their touch and signature on every part which is deeply felt in every experience people go to. Even more, we know that KC runs on “homie connection” even between businesses and we want to tap the local support of small business to also help support local artists. By partnering with local businesses for every experience, we strive to truly make the unity of the city be the constant source of vitality for KC.
Our first experience was partnering with IG Kansas City and KC Creatives for their Christmas party at The Ship in December. This was just the spark we needed to go into the New Year with ambition and fervor. In the beginning of 2022, we’ve already began two experience series that we will use as continual moments for artists and neighbors to connect. The first series we launched in January was Coffee + Co. which partners with local coffee shops to showcase musical artists. Kinship Cafe- a black-owned coffee shop in KCK- was our first partner and has been a great support of local artists and businesses ever since they’ve opened up. In February, we kicked off our Manor Magic series which mixes mansions, music, and magic to make an experience like you’ve never experienced. We hosted a Valentine’s weekend experience that partnered with Tacos Valentina to create such a beautiful night.
Right now, we are adding more experiences and partnerships each month while also trying to finalize the infrastructure of our website and business model that we hope to fully launch this spring. While we finish building that, we are trying to connect with more artists and just build a healthy, fun, and supportive environment for everyone. And, as always, we are dreaming and planning to help shape a fresh new way music is experienced and celebrated.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Every road definitely has its obstacles. But the beginning of our journey has actually been pretty smooth in the sense that connections and opportunities have just seemed to come out of nowhere and land in our hands. But the challenge for us is to create the experiences continually- to dream and plan and connect and make the magic happen. It reminds me of the movie “Field of Dreams” where if we “build it, then they will come”. If we build the experiences, then the artists and supporters will come and will help us create more experiences and support for artists. Right now, our biggest challenge is finalizing the nitty-gritty details of the business but also finding the time and financial support to make the big dream explode. I’m a 6th-grade math teacher by day so most of my time is spent focusing on the education and growth of my students, but I try to spend many of my evenings grinding on what I need to so that Underground Homies becomes successful and something everyone wants to be a part of.
As you know, we’re big fans of Underground Homies. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
UH (Underground Homies) exists to be the connector between the city and its local artists and businesses. We want to showcase the homies that are crafting and creating and game-changing our city AND celebrate that soul and drive.
Our approach to this starts with creating true experiences that are more than just going to an event or concert or listening to music. From graphics to social media to capturing of moments to a curated vibe for the moment, artists have their touch and signature on every part which is deeply felt in every experience people go to. Even more, we know that KC runs on “homie connection” even between businesses and we want to tap the local support of small business to also help support local artists. By partnering with local businesses for every experience, we strive to truly make the unity of the city be the constant source of vitality for KC.
Currently, we specialize in crafting musical experiences by partnering with local business to support it. We do this with excellence and thoughtfulness too because we want those moments to be impactful for everyone. But we hope to eventually be more than that by becoming a network for all artists and the city through our website, experiences, and just personal connection.
When it comes to Underground Homies, I’m most proud of how well received and supported we are by the community and the artists. To be seen and regarded as being “legit” and an important part of how the city grows only after a few months of existing is really encouraging and motivating as we dream big and want to see local music change in KC.
One of our mottos is “when you know, you know” because we want everyone to know about their local artists and these experiences that we are creating. The idea around our name gives the “exclusive if you know you know vibe” but that is mainly how people will first experience us- this subtle business that more and more people will engage with. Yet we want to be a big name in the city that every neighborhood and sector of KC knows about and is impacted by through the experience and artists we support! Ironically, we don’t hope to stay underground as the years go by 🙂
For people who are first experiencing UH and are wanting to be a part of what we are doing, we are always looking for more artists and businesses to partner with. Also, you can stay tuned to our social media for experiences we are putting on in the upcoming months! @undergroundhomies on IG
If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Our essential qualities for success are integrity, community, and thoughtfulness. With integrity, we strive to be a business that artists, partners, and neighbors trust as we build a beautiful community. Which community is the heart and soul of our endeavor. And with every aspect of the business and experiences, we want there to be thoughtfulness in the details that show that we truly care about the work we do and want to do it well.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @undergroundhomies
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/undergroundhomies
Itzel Underground Homies