While attending law school at the University of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia native Reynold Jaffe was booking DIY shows at least three nights a week — including Bright Eyes’ first performance in the city in 1999. Through that key booking, he met agent Eric Dimenstein, whom he stayed in touch with over the years as he became more immersed in the music industry. After first working in the business affairs department at Rykodisc, Jaffe later started independently managing Kurt Vile (whom he met at the indie record store his now-wife ran at the time) and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield.
By 2017, after years of encouragement from Dimenstein, Jaffe finally turned his passion into co-founding his own company, Another Management Company (AMC). Today, the firm has 10 employees and a roster of just over 20 acts, from Mdou Moctar and Alvvays to 2022 breakouts Blondshell and Horsegirl. “I never thought managing bands would or could be a career,” says Jaffe. “We identified a gap between the big management companies and a bunch of rogue one-man shows … Indie labels used to be thought of as junior varsity. I don’t think that is the case anymore at all. Some of the most artistically and commercially viable records can happen in the independent sphere, more so now than ever.”
During Thanksgiving dinner in 2020, Jaffe excused himself to hide in the bathroom and listen to a Bandcamp link his friend had sent. “I immediately fell in love,” he recalls of hearing Chicago-based teen trio Horsegirl’s first three songs. “I DM’d the band on Instagram from the table and said, ‘Please, can we talk?’ ” He hadn’t felt that surprised since hearing Snail Mail five years prior, subsequently signing the then-teen act to AMC in 2016. After partnering with Horsegirl in 2020, Jaffe helped the group score a record deal with Matador this year. “My experience with Snail Mail is not a small part of what made them comfortable with pursuing this.”
Welcoming indie-rock act Blondshell into the AMC family in June was pivotal for Jaffe. “Blondshell marks one of the first instances of a band that I’m not the manager of,” he says, praising AMC’s Holly Cartwright and Shira Knishkowy. “The passion was exuding from them for this demo …They’ve been in the driver’s seat, and that was my goal for AMC.” Jaffe believes the success of Blondshell, the Sabrina Teitelbaum-fronted act recently picked to join Spotify’s Fresh Finds emerging artist program, proves what can happen when the right team comes in at the right moment “with a vision and relationships to put gasoline on the fire.”
Though AMC started working with Niger-based Mdou Moctar in the summer of 2018, Jaffe had long been a fan of the Taureg songwriter and musician. “I’ve always liked music from that part of the world, but Mdou combined the traditional sounds of that part of the world with raging Western guitars, which I also love,” he says. “I would always go see him and the band as they came to town.” Following encouragement from musician Matt Sweeney, who “was a huge early proponent” of the musician, AMC added Mdou Moctar to its roster with the goal of signing the act to a new label. In 2020, Mdou Moctar signed to Matador and in late 2021 released its sixth album Afrique Victime. “At risk of being hyperbolic, it really is that sort of rarified air of seeing that band play,” continues Jaffe, teasing that after playing an estimated 200 shows this year the band is already back in the studio working on an album he hopes will arrive in 2023.
The Philadelphia punk band Poison Ruïn had been on Jaffe’s radar for some time. “It was one of those things where it’s like, your little brother’s doing something cool and you don’t immediately pay attention because it’s just your little brother’s thing and then you step back and you’re like, ‘Holy cow, this is really special,’ ” says Jaffe. He recalls how the act’s first album, I, uploaded to Bandcamp in 2021, sold 300 vinyl copies in under five minutes, prompting a repressing. He and AMC manager Dan Oestreich agreed the group could transcend the DIY punk scene, and now, much like Horsegirl and Blondshell, anticipate the band’s major breakthrough in 2023. Says Jaffe: “It could definitely be their year.”