We had the good fortune of connecting with Hector Meza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hector, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work-life balance has become a central tenet of my every day. Working in music, it becomes really easy to allow your personal passions and your professional endeavors to become entangled and ultimately burn you out as a whole.
I came into the music industry on a chance; I was a HUGE music fan, especially in Electronic. I had a chat with an agent representing an act I booked in college. One thing lead to another & I deferred my law school admission to take on an internship at a major agency. To say I was excited would be an understatement.
The first few years of my career, I was overzealously active and trying to go out and see/meet as much music as I could and engulf myself in a genre I truly loved as a fan from my younger years on. Moving from an agency to (eventually) lead a team at a creative startup really skyrocketed my self-esteem / work potential and I was engulfing myself more & more into my work.
While there are plenty of crazy stories of flying across country to see artists at unique festivals then coming back Monday morning right off your flight to handle 10 hours worth of work, late nights into sunrises seeing keystone artists in intimate rooms, the physical and mental toll it took after a few years became very apparent.
When the Covid pandemic hit and everything came to a hard stop, it gave me a great opportunity to review my lifestyle, my passions, and my personal interests making me note a toxic view I had of the industry and my latter experiences in it. I was taking very personally things that were completely out of my control, only because I had a personal attachment to the art that was being created and that I was involved with. I came to hate the craft I flipped my whole original career path for, and I hated myself for the person I became.
Since then, I have had the great opportunity to work with a company that values work life balance for both their team & artists. I’ve been able to pass along my experiences throughout my professional and personal life to help create a comfortable and collaborative workspace for this new team and I have not been more excited about being back in this environment; it feels like a coming back to form.
While I no longer work exclusively in Electronic, I still hold a special place in my heart for it & all the amazing friends + creatives who put their whole into it. Music, in all of its interpretations, is a powerful medium that moves people in every way under the emotional spectrum. Being part of that, creating experiences that people mass to, is an amazing high that can go sour.
Create good habits (hydrating, activity), surround yourself with likeminded peers that will amplify the balance you’re seeking, constantly check in with yourself & get yourself the things needed to be at peace with what you can control.
The industry will always be there, remember to have fun 🎉
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Originally, when I entered college, I thought I was going to study genetic research and go work in a lab. Ultimately, I landed with Sociology degree with a general interest in Law that had me take an LSAT. Throughout all this, I was heavily involved in my college’s student activities board being on the executive board for 3 years. I ended up as a concert chair my last 3 semesters, bringing together party planning with my huge interest in music. My 2nd semester, I booked Childish Gambino and his agent came to the show. We chatted on music & Electronic (which I was REALLY into at the time) to which he asked if I ever had any interest in the industry, to hit him up.
One email, internship application letter & deferment of law school later, I ended up at CAA where I spent the first 3 years working in their Music Touring Department, the latter half in Electronic specifically.
When it came down to it, I wanted to get a little more creative and WAV Media offered that opportunity to grow a platform focused on hip-hop & electronic. Here, I was able to learn content production, digital community growth, and a slew of other applications I was able to use my knowledge for. I had the opportunity to run regular programming, create music videos / content specials, and strategize major developments with a slew of amazing rising artists who are now all notable in their own right as well as well-regarded partners across media and music.
When the company folded 3 years in (as most startups do), I was in a weird place where I felt disconnected with music & the industry as a whole. I’d put everything into this & now it was gone. I really had no idea where to go next, I came to realize I wasn’t happy with the person i’d become.
This lead to two different opportunities: Guin Music, an independent hip-hop / R&B record label focused on artist creativity & wellness, & Fhloston Affairs, a multimedia company bringing together live performance, video, and digital art I co-run with my best friend & business partner Eavan. These both offered me an opportunity to build & create in new ways but also rethink how I approach my work life balance. With each, I offer up as much of my own perspective from my experiences to help create efficient workflows, cohesive well-rounded strategies considering an array of resources, and a hold a space for creativity to flourish (within budget).
Some of the big takeaways for me from my experience:
– Be Open to New Ideas: you will learn things one way but there is no one path. Exploration of everything that’s going on is key to figuring out how your interests align.
– Dancing the Line: Working in the creative space, things can become very personal. It’s important to create those boundaries for yourself & noticing when things affect you. Art can be stressful, but it should have an element of fun!
– Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by [lack of information].” (The actual quote isn’t as nice ^___^’)
– Take Time For Yourself: Drink lots of water, let yourself be lazy blob sometimes, find a little time to do something for yourself every day. The emails & clubs will be there, your mental sanity may not
– Take a Deep Breath: You’re doing amazing
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When friends come to visit LA, I like to go to take them to some personal fave spots. Absolute musts are AYCE Korean BBQ in K-Town, drinks at Apotheke or Whiskey Lucky Charm ice cream at Cool Haus. Also, a beach day in Malibu w/ Ike’s sandwiches leading into dinner & drinks in Arts District topped off by a warehouse party down the way wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
For my Vegans, Doomie’s (both Hollywood locations), EL Cocinero (Van Nuys), and Sage Bistro have become staple choices.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To Guin Music & our amazing team for allowing me the opportunity to help build a unique environment for work & art to thrive
To KJ Sawka & Ron for taking a chance on something new & helping us create amazing community + experience
To Dave Ou, my drinking buddy, big idea instigator, mentor; thank you for constantly reminding me of my potential
To Jazz, Kingsley, and Mac, thank you for letting me grow in your new department & teaching me the ropes
To Mitch Rose, thank you for taking a chance on a kid ranting about the lack of Trance in the US market
To all of the amazing friends & colleagues I worked with at WAV Media + CAA helping me grow, enticing me to reach further; and to their continued success in the fields they’re in now. (Y’all make me look like chopped liver!)
To Cell Ops for the opportunity to being part of a crazy forward-thinking project and community
To all of my friends that I met through my years escapades and still are true blue, thanks for being amazing
To Eavan, my best friend & business partner, thank you for constantly being a thorn in my side & pushing me to take charge
To Bean & Ethan, who constantly remind me that life isn’t that serious, I appreciate you more than I can put into words
& to my mom & family, hey look things worked out!