Q & A with IPR Alum Jarod Hadaway

Jarod at work at Last Triumph

Jarod Hadaway graduated from IPR in 2007 with an associate degree in audio production and engineering. Since then, he has worked in all aspects of the creative media industry from teaching and mentoring high school students at a Minneapolis charter school to founding and running Last Triumph, one of Minnesota’s first certified B corporations and the first record label/music group B corp in the world. Jarod is a striking young man, filled with positive energy and surrounded by a charismatic, can-do aura.

Always on the go, Jarod is sometimes hard to corner, but he was a part of a recent IPR Inside Tracks featuring Zivix’s Jamstik, a portable Smart enabled digital guitar that interacts wirelessly with IOS apps for learning guitar or performing and recording. Just last week, Jamstik made CNN’s list of the 36 Coolest Gadgets of 2015.

You can usually find Jarod in his home studio with one of the Last Triumph artists, in his garden cutting greens for his morning shake, or (in March) in Austin, Texas on the SXSW Take Off Tour. I recently caught up with Jarod and was able to get an update on everything he’s been up to since he graduated from IPR:

IPR: What was your first industry job after graduation?
JRH: I started out recording artists and bands at my home recording studio. I also worked at Navarre, as the college music marketing representative. It used to be distribution of CDs of video games, music, movies, etc. across the Twin Cities. The industry has changed a lot since. I’ve been a part of creating a Xbox360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii video game. I’ve also been doing photography that I have a lot of fun with.

IPR: Talk about Jamstik, how are you involved with that product?
JRH: I make moves for Jamstik with music artists, businesses, and education – supported by an amazing team at Zivix. Our product is a breakthrough in music technology with interactive portable solutions for the mobile lifestyle. Lately, we’ve been working with Greg Karas, Doug Wayne, and the Andy Grammer band. They’ve been using Jamstik and Puc [another Zivix product] on stage for all their shows. I have to thank IPR for originally connecting me with this position. I have been with Zivix about six years now.

IPR: Describe the concept behind Last Triumph.
JRH: We produce original music, play shows, make art, volunteer and want the best for the environment and community. We have over ten albums and many singles as a crew. Since CDs have died, our focus lately is pressing our music onto quality vinyl records with distribution into indie record stores across the US and beyond. There is a huge movement toward vinyl for a lot of reasons, the listening experience, the sustainability of the product. When you listen to a record you’re so much more focused – there’s not a “skip” button – when you drop the needle you tend to listen to the whole thing.

Jarod Hadaway and the Last Triumph Crew
Jarod Hadaway and the Last Triumph Crew

IPR: What does a typical week running Last Triumph look like?
JRH: We are usually in the studio, at shows, and on our laptops editing photos, video and promoting our music. I’ve been spending time cultivating distribution relationships with record shops across the country. We really do it all – from production and performance to distribution and merch.

IPR: Who is Last Triumph’s most exciting artist right now?
JRH: They are all exciting… check out our crew page!  Marah In The Mainsail, Sassan, Blinds, Mike Daum, and Hyun all have big projects set to drop in early or mid-2016. I’m excited for Lewiee Blaze, he’s 18 years old and he has so much potential… his lyricism… his dedication…  You’ll be hearing about this guy soon, he’s going to be a heavy hitter – soon.

IPR: I know you want to talk about your commitment to organic/green living – how did that evolve and how has it become a part of Last Triumph’s mission?
JRH: As a certified B Corp we strive to be as sustainable and green as possible. Many of the events we’ve hosted have been “zero waste” events using compostable products and recycling used materials from the event. We’re partnered with organic sustainable companies like World Centric and Columbia Gorge Organic.

IPR: You regularly bring a group of artists to South by Southwest…
JRH: The Take Off Tour! This is a multimedia tour we’ve hosted for coming up on six years. We tour from Minneapolis to several gigs on the way to to Austin, Texas. The tour showcases the latest and dopest music and music tech from Minnesota. Zivix has been an awesome ongoing partner, along with World Centric and Columbia Gorge Organic Juice. Stay tuned for this year’s announcements coming soon!

IPR: What was the best lesson that you learned while a student at IPR and how does that apply to your current work?
JRH: I learned at IPR to constantly network and interact with people – because that’s what’s going to keep food on the table. Your network is everything. It’s gigs, a place to stay out of town, a collab on a track, and a link to the next network.

IPR: Anything else you would like to share?
JRH: Just thanks to IPR and all of the awesome support over the years.

IPR: One last question: JR, JRod, Jarod… It’s hard to keep track of you in my contact list! Which is the preferred moniker? Or is there another alias that you prefer?
JRH: So true! All of those work. P Diddy’s name changes have been a strong influence in my life!