ALEX BADANES & ETHAN MACCOBY, ACS COBHAM CLASS OF 2008
"The year we were in charge of planning Heywoodstock the show was particularly successful. It was my first exposure to performing as a band and definitely got me started".
ACS Cobham best friends working in perfect harmony
Burwood Media was founded by two best friends, Alex Badanes and Ethan Maccoby, who grew up together listening to music, going to shows and having some epic parties. After throwing an emo (a style of rock music that deals with emotional subjects.) and punk rock party in a local bar to listen to music that you might not otherwise hear at a nightclub, they've gone on to sell over 46,000 tickets and performed over 150 shows per year in the US and overseas.
Alex and Ethan first met at ACS Cobham as early on as Pre-Kindergarten. Ethan was brought up in a musical household where his family would sing and he would be involved in ACS musicals and plays. Alex took part in the jazz band all the way through High School, as well as having his own band. "Even though Ethan wasn't in it," Alex recalls, "he might as well have been since he was our manager/ roadie."
When asked what was a specific highlight during their time at ACS Cobham they mentioned 'Heywoodstock' an event where Grade 12 students would organise a battle of the bands to help raise money for the Namibia school trip. Alex recalls "the year we were in charge of planning the show being particularly successful. It was my first exposure to performing as a band and definitely got me started".
"It's also worth noting that we titled Burwood Media after Burwood Park where we lived when we were neighbours in England."
- ALEX BADANES
Alex's teacher Mrs Lees played an instrumental role in his musical development when he applied to world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. At the same time, Ethan attended Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA studying economics.
Alex and Ethan remarked that "a lot of successful business people stumble on a great idea accidentally, and ours definitely happened in that way." In the beginning, it started with them inviting friends, people they knew with no following at all. After creating a Facebook page announcing the party at a bar, they figured that no more than 20 people would arrive and they might receive some free drinks. What they could never predict was the event going viral with people seeing that their friends were going and then their friends after that, creating a huge ripple effect.
On the day, a hundred people packed into the small bar, and the owners of the bar had to turn customers away. After the first party, the venue asked if they could organise another one. The second event, a couple of months later, resulted in instant growth of the Facebook page, and the birth of Emo Night Brooklyn.
"Pretty much after the first night, both Ethan and I had the idea that we could take this a little bit more seriously, and it could be a money opportunity. Later down the line, we travelled to other cities. We had more people involved working with booking agents and started taking social media a little bit more seriously, and it all kind of evolved into a real business," Alex recalls.
Following the success of Emo Night Brooklyn, they started experimenting with smaller shows doing other genres. The first one to take off was a sell-out disco party called Gimme, Gimme Disco. This created a diverse portfolio that enabled them to run four or five events in one city in the space of a month.
After initially developing one strong channel, they now have three in total, making them decide they needed to start running an umbrella company under which to house all of their businesses.
What's most impressive about Alex and Ethan's entrepreneurship is they also have nine-to-five jobs, and according to Ethan: "It takes a lot of timing and management skills... Alex and I talk all day, every day, throughout the day. We've been able to work without having to sacrifice the growth of Burwood Media." Alex considers it to be similar to his time at ACS: "I had the band, we're doing musicals, and we still managed to find time to finish all our school work".
When asked if they contribute the success of Burwood Media down to their long-lasting relationship, Ethan says: "Running a business with someone and starting it is such a daunting task. If you don't have a good relationship with your co-founder, it makes it miserable to work, and you find yourself with no motivation. If it weren't because of Alex, I would have probably given up by now". Alex adds: "It's also worth noting that we titled Burwood Media after Burwood Park where we lived when we were neighbours in England."
It's clear that music has played such an important part in their lives and that love started at ACS Cobham. Explains Ethan: "Me and Alex have some of our fondest memories staying after school and just jamming down in the drama room or practice rooms...I would 100% contribute my love for Emo Pop Punk music to ACS as my whole friend group got interested in music. Back in 5th grade, the band Linkin Park was our first delve into that realm, since you listen to stuff your friends are into, because of ACS and because England had such a very thriving pop-punk emo scene, we definitely wouldn't be doing Emo Night Brooklyn, and we definitely wouldn't have Burwood Media."
With the current circumstances, they find themselves spending most of their energy keeping in touch and engaging with their fans. They do livestreams every other Friday, and 100% of their donations are given to different charities. If you would like to attend one of their events, please click here.
LAUREN HALEY, ACS EGHAM CLASS OF 2009
"Music is my passion, and it's incredible what you can achieve when you are given the right environment in which to succeed."
KAREN RUELLE, ACS KNIGHTSBRIDGE CLASS OF 1975
"The school offered an interesting array of classes and the teachers were really invested. At ACS, they really cared and were there for us.
Olutade Olulade, ACS Cobham, 2005 - 2007
"My time at Cobham not only prepared me for further education but I feel more so that it gave me the tools to live a fulfilling life."