A "Complex" Family Tree
Platinum-selling duo Karmin (Amy Heidemann ’08 and Nick Noonan ’08) released its full-length debut album Pulses with Epic Records on March 25. The lead single, “I Want It All,” was produced by Ryan “Rykeyz” Williams and released earlier this year and followed by the duo’s first headlining tour in February. With support from fellow alumni Bryce Vine ’10 and DJ Dave “Skizz” Sack’12, Karmin played to a sold-out crowd at Boston’s Paradise club.
Both Karmin and Vine are managed by the Complex Management Group, a music management company founded by Nils Gums ’06, Matt Maltese ’04,and Eric Zimmerman. Their success with Karmin is an exciting example of alumni collaboration in Los Angeles, but it’s just part of a larger story about a broad network of alumni behind the scenes. “It feels like a family tree that we’ve developed around Berklee talent,” Maltese says.
Here’s a look at alumni found among the branches of the “complex” family tree. Vine, who grew up in Los Angeles, returned to L.A. following his studies at Berklee to audition for the Fox hit TV show Glee. His debut EP, Lazy Fair, released in April, was produced by Nolan Lambroza ’11, and cowritten by Vine and Lambroza, with mixes created by Serge Courtois ’11 and Andrew Maltese ’08. These connections began at Berklee, where Vine, Lambroza, and Sack were members of the Crush Club band. Vine’s song “Where the Wild Things Are” was chosen as the theme song for the 2014 X Games and his recent music video for Sour Patch Kids premiered on VEVO.
Songwriter/record producer Nolan Lambroza, better known as Sir Nolan, joined the Messengers, a Grammy Award-winning team currently based in Los Angeles, in 2011. Apart from producing Karmin’s song “Try Me On,” Nolan’s credits with the Messengers also include recordings by Justin Bieber, Pitbull, the Wanted, Cody Simpson, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown.
Karmin’s Pulses includes “Try Me On,” as well as the first single “I Want It All,” which was engineered by Maltese. In fact Maltese engineered about half the album at his Speakeasy Sound Recording Studios in Burbank. Another client of the Complex Management is the Elev3n, an all-Berklee, New York-based production team made up of James Morales ’06, Matt Morales ’08, and Dave Rodriguez. They produced three songs on the Pulses album.
The release of Pulses follows the success of Karmin’s 2012 hit EP Hello. That EP featured two huge hits for Karmin, “Brokenhearted” (Recording Industry Association of America-certified double platinum), cowritten by Claude Kelly ’02 and “Acapella” (RIAA-certified gold). Kelly also cowrote the songs “Night Like This” and “Geronimo” for the new album. Complex Management continues to expand and just moved into new offices in Burbank. It is developing several new artists, and all are Berklee alumni. Gums currently serves on Berklee’s board of trustees. Both he and Maltese have created several jobs and internship opportunities for the Berklee community in Los Angeles. So many of their undergraduate friendships have evolved into a tight professional network that feels like a family tree—and one that is definitely thriving.