What a difference a year makes.
About this time in 2012, the young promoters known as DC to BC were a trio on the cusp of launching a day of music that their home town would hopefully never forget.
Now, Trillectro — from “trill,” meaning “authentic” in hip-hop circles, and “electro,” which is short for “electronic” — is a household name among the festival set here.
When the second annual hip-hop/EDM mash-up show kicks off at Half Street Fairgrounds in Southeast at noon Saturday, it’ll mark the end of a whirlwind six months for the crew, which has found itself straddling two coasts.
Composed a year ago of Modi Oyewole, Marcel Marshall and Quinn Coleman, DC to BC has expanded to include two previously silent partners and investors, Erick McNair and Jason Mowatt.
“I’ve supported everything they’ve ever done. So when they asked me about [Trillectro], it was a no-brainer to me,” said McNair, who works at a core reporting company.
The new five-man hydra of 20-somethings has found a way to keep it together, even with more than half of them now living in Los Angeles.
“It’s rough. Obviously if there’s meetings here [in the District] that need to happen, only Jason and Modi can do them. And so you feel kind of helpless in that sense,” Marshall said. “Your business day is really scheduled on the East Coast, and now you gotta wake up at the crack of dawn and you gotta be on e-mail.”
“It was definitely challenging sometimes . . . being here [in the District] running around, having to do all these hands-on things, while the rest of the crew is out in L.A. going to day parties,” said Mowatt, a Jamaica native and former Capitol Hill staffer. “It can hurt your morale a little bit.”
It’s a hit that Modi might have taken the hardest. After turning down a marketing job last year that he says would have paid “hella bread,” a few other opportunities fell through on the West Coast and he found himself living at home with his parents. While operating as the effective face of the franchise on the East Coast (he was named to Refinery29 magazine’s 30 Under 30 list), it wasn’t the glamorous party-planner lifestyle you might think.
“I think that made me realize that there was so much more to be done. And you can’t just sit there and think everything’s going to come to you.”
The East Coast-West Coast split for this group of old friends was business, not personal.
“It’s cool to just be closer to the entertainment industry and be able to sit down and talk to some of these people we’ve been working with over the last year and change. These agents, managers and even some of the artists we’re working with,” Coleman said. “Just being in L.A., I bump into guys like [rapper] Travis Scott, out and about.”
And the effort has paid off. The Trillectro festival’s social media presence is up tenfold from last year. The event promises to have a more interactive experience with a more festival-specific feel, something Quinn was insistent on.
“We had an awesome show last year, great lineup, good sound system, good production. But we didn’t really have any bells and whistles,” he said. “I think this year it’s kind of just important to give people more of an experience . . . that little wow factor.”
So, when they hear the crowd rocking near the ballpark Saturday afternoon, the five members of DC to BC will be able to look back on a year in which they’ve spread their wings and grown apart, yet their friendship and work ethic have kept their baby alive. Along the way, arguments were had, major partnerships were passed on, venues in other cities were considered, but the team’s collective excitement at the Coupe while discussing some last-minute business Monday over chicken wings said it all.
“This week is hectic. Meeting to meeting, but it’s fun,” Marshall said. “What do we have to complain about? Who’s got it better than us?”