We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Brian Parker a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Brian, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Let’s start with the story of your mission. What should we know?
I worked at a local record store that specialized in heavy metal music called Blue Meannie Records. It was a haven for metal related records and merch. It was more than just retail, it was a meeting place for passionate metalheads. When it closed down around 2008, it left a void in San Diego for a place to shop for metal merchandise, and meet like-minded people. Well a few years later, I decided to do a little “Metal Swap Meet” in my driveway, and with the help of my buddy Israel Pelayo, it was successful, and we have keept it going for over 12 years, at various locations.
Brian, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
The work is a passion project. It takes a lot of time to organize the vendors, sponsors, rentals and staff. I am not a trained project manager, and the scale of the event has grown over the years, but the organization aspect has gotten easier. It gets daunting when we try to top ourselves by getting bigger bands, and renting more expensive equipment, but we are have loyal attendees, and they always show up in big numbers. I think being pretty much the first in the U.S. to have a metal merch centric event has helped Metal Swap Meet stay strong. It also helps that the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Tijuana metal scene is very supportive of each other, and I feel they appreciate the event, and the effort. The things that make me proud are seeing the family environment. This is an all ages event, and it’s amazing to new friendships being made, children seeing the bands, and hand-made art being sold.
We’d love to hear about how you keep in touch with clients.
We try to take full advantage of social media. Often, we have concert ticket giveaways, metal trivia and announcements. We also post videos to YouTube and audio as podcasts. We are pretty accessible to our followers and are happy to answer questions or listen to their suggestions. Lucky for us, our customers are very loyal and are passionate about the Metal Swap Meet. In the future, I am thinking of having an email newsletter. This could be a great way for us to communicate news and contests.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
Well, not everyone knows this, but I am a photographer by hobby. I do make a little money once in a while, when I shoot a wedding, but right now, it’s just a hobby. The aspect I find rewarding is to try to make someone think about that photo. Try to leave some mystery. Like “what is that person looking at off-camera?” or “what are they thinking about?” It’s the reason I am more attracted to still photos more than I am video. I do enjoy video as well, and for those who have watched our videos on YouTube can attest, the video quality has gotten better. Video can be mysterious (see David Lynch), but I feel it’s much easier with still photographs.
- Website: http://www.metalswapmeet.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sdmetalswapmeet/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sdmetalswapmeet/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-parker-photography/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/metalswapmeet
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrn6RaELwSnoPgmEJ9PmXag
- Other: Photography portfolio https://heavymetalphoto.com/
All photos by Brian Parker