Who Is Brian LaRue?

Hey, it’s Brian LaRue. Good to see you here! 

Really quickly, in case you and I haven’t met yet: I’m a nearly-lifelong writer and musician, and a longtime resident of New York City. I’ve been a music journalist, a tech journalist, the manager of a DIY artspace, a songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalist, a content marketer, a fiction writer and poet, a DJ, and probably something else. This blog exists as an outlet for my less-commercially-oriented work — musings on arts and culture, jokes that have gotten out of hand, unsolicited observations, and of course plugs for other stuff I’ve made elsewhere on the web.

These days, I lead up the band Safe Houses, and I work professionally developing content for ad tech companies. I live in Ridgewood, Queens, with my partner and our emotional cat. You can find me as @laruminator on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Mastodon.

In a few more words than that: I started out early in both music and publishing, earning my first newspaper paycheck and forming my first band before I earned my driver’s license. I started contributing to the alt-weekly paper the New Haven Advocate (New Haven, CT) in 2004, and for the next seven years I served in a series of roles that I often collectively describe (half-jokingly) as “20-something indie rock guy in residence.” More accurately, I wrote album reviews, features, and the local music column; and compiled the events section for three years of that time. Eventually, my work was published regularly in all three of Connecticut’s major alt-weeklies of that era, the New Haven Advocate, Hartford Advocate and Fairfield County Weekly.

In 2010, I moved to Brooklyn, NY with little more than my books, my records and a hard drive containing two albums I’d just recorded. Following a spell publishing my own music blog, More Drive, I somehow found my way into the ad tech business, editing and reporting for a small industry publication. I discovered I was finding some answers to that lingering question a lot of former newspaper people had: How is it that some publications are able to thrive as businesses in digital media, and some aren’t? Questions like that have kept me in ad tech ever since, as either a reporter (I worked at AdMonsters from 2015-18, overseeing the sponsored content calendar for much of that time) or a content marketer. Today, I work with a number of tech vendors, who in turn work with a whole slew of leading publishers, broadcasters, and brand advertisers. Particular niches I’ve worked in include ad security and quality, supply- and demand-side platforms and exchanges, contextual targeting, brand safety, CTV/OTT, augmented reality, creative management, and measurement and attribution. My work has appeared in trade pubs including Ad Age, Digiday, AdExchanger, Digital Content Next, Wired, Forbes.com and MediaPost.

I’ve also been involved in DIY music culture for ages, and managed the Brooklyn DIY space Pet Rescue from 2013-19. Pet Rescue was a loft space in an industrial park, which I found and began building out (with a lot of help) in 2012. We threw rock shows regularly, and also hosted independent/original film screenings, readings, video and photo shoots, recording sessions, and multi-media art events. I handed over day-to-day operations in 2019, and the space kept going until finally closing up shop in 2022. I’m currently writing a memoir about my experiences managing Pet Rescue.

I’ve been playing music the whole time. I started out as a classically trained trumpet player, played guitar in a series of punk bands in my teens, and went on to play garage rock, art-punk, post-punk, shoegaze, powerpop, indiepop, indie rock and psych-pop. I mentioned Safe Houses (formerly Shelter Dogs — we had to change the band name for legal reasons in 2022), a garage rock/powerpop band that records for King Pizza Records. Other bands I’ve gigged and/or recorded with include, but are not limited to, NO ICE, Logan X, The Planes, Dialogue from a Silent Film, Women’s Basketball, The Cavemen Go, Cool Dead Woman, Food Will Win the War, The Eskalators, Marra Barr, FayRey, The Blowout!, and Dr. Device. Beyond guitar, vocals and trumpet, I also play bass, keyboards and drums. At times I’ve moonlit as a DJ (the bar kind, not the dance club kind), digging into my personal collection as DJ Vince Lombardi Rest Area.

At any point in time, I’m quietly chipping away at the draft of a novel and a new batch of songs. If you ever feel like pitching in a little something so I can actually time time off from work to focus on the creative stuff, you can pop over to the tip jar in the right rail. I don’t get paid for anything I write exclusively for this site, and it’s up to you whether you want to hang out and enjoy it for free, or to drop a few bucks in. Either is totally fine by me.

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