Local band manager Erin Waltz is helping to broaden the landscape of women in music.
By Kaitlyn Wilkes, Photo courtesy of Erin Waltz.
Growing up in Waxahachie, Texas, Erin Waltz found solace in taking the 50-minute drive into Dallas to watch small musicians perform. This gave her high school experience a form of escapism from her day-to-day routine.
Now, outside of her day job in marketing, she finds herself managing local bands Die Spitz and Animals on TV. These rock bands have had residencies at local venues and have been official SXSW performers. Die Spitz will soon embark on a U.S. tour, opening for Amyl and the Sniffers.
“Music has never been something I’m good at or talented at,” Waltz says. “But I knew that I was smart enough and capable enough to help artists and people who actually could make music.”
Waltz found her way into the music industry after she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.
“While I was in New York, my boyfriend and a lot of my good friends were still living in Austin working in the music scene. Die Spitz was an up-and-coming band in the music scene, and they were talking to one of my good friends, who’s a booker, and my boyfriend. They were like, ‘We need a manager. Do you know of any managers?’
“They happened to suggest me, even though I was living in New York at the time. I was like, ‘You know what? Yeah, I’m down. This seems like a cool thing, and I’ve never seen them live. But I really need a band to practice with before I manage anyone else.’ I thought it’d be kind of a low stakes thing.”
A few years later, and the stakes are higher than ever. Die Spitz released their first EP, Teeth, in March 2023.
In addition to helping Die Spitz, Waltz also took on managing Animals on TV. She met the band while making music videos for them as a class project during her time at UT. Since Waltz became the manager, Animals on TV has released a slew of songs.
Even though Waltz manages both bands, her approach to managing them is different because the makeup of the bands is different. “With Animals, I want to emphasize I’m just helping out,” Waltz says. “They are all 28-year-old men, with 401(k)s. Not to say Die Spitz doesn’t know what they’re doing. They’re doing great, but they’re still young and figuring out a lot of other aspects of their lives.”
Having experienced the music scene before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Waltz has seen how it has changed. Before the pandemic, it was a lot easier to get involved in the music scene, whereas now, it’s more exclusive. It feels like you have to have connections to get into the “upper echelon” of the Austin music scene. Otherwise artists run the risk of plateauing at a certain level. Despite these challenges, one piece of advice she received from an agent in Los Angeles has kept Waltz moving forward.
“As much as I hated this advice at first, [this agent]was like, ‘You just have to pick what you want to do and stick with it. Don’t change.’ I hated the idea of that because at the time I wanted to do so many different things, and I had my hands in all these different little pockets. But he was right.”
Since following his advice, Waltz has been especially focused on her journey as a band manager, “having her blinders up to everything else.” This helps her make achievable goals, feel less overwhelmed and have a clearer future.
This future includes increasing streaming numbers for Animals on TV includes and finding ways to keep the band performing with the lead singer moving to New York. For Die Spitz, label shopping and making music their full-time job is the goal. Waltz personally has a similar goal. She insists that if management became a stable, reliable source of income, she would leave her day job.
“I think [full-time management] would take something like maybe joining or starting a management group that has more than two bands under my umbrella,” Waltz says. “But I will say I’m very lucky. I love my day job. It’s really flexible. I love the people I work with. So I hope that whenever that time comes it’s very natural. I’ve done what you needed [me to do]here. I can leave now and focus on management.”