John Gelardi of JT Music discusses the rise of Nerdcore, NPC 2024 and the importance of online streaming [Interview]

Nerdcore began in the early 2000s and has since made a massive impact on not only the music industry but also in the gaming industry. As a rising subculture, fans of this theme based hip hop music have become a thriving and dedicated global community. Two of the most prolific creators on the scene are JT Music and Rockit Music. Together the curators have combined their creativity and influence to begin Nerdcore Party Con. The upcoming festival, now in its fifth year, takes place at The Ritz in Raleigh, NC on July 20th-21st. The event promises to include over 25 live performances from popular Nerdcore artists as well as a dedicated meet and greet with all participating artists and exclusive VIP party.

Earmilk talks with John Gelardi of JT Music on what attendees can expect, the amazing dedication of Nerdcore fans, online streaming and more.

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Why did you all decide to begin Nerdcore Party Con?

Like many other Nerdcore artists, we found our audience and success on YouTube. The trade-off to that is playing into YouTube’s algorithm with consistent content output. This left a situation where ourselves and our peers couldn’t tour. NPC was built out of the idea of consolidating everything for everyone, the fans and artists included, and doing an annual show in a different city each year.

The festival is now in its fifth year, how has the event changed since its inception and what can attendees look forward to this year?

The event has always grown and changed a lot year over year. A huge part of that is that we have scaled very carefully and precisely to what our experience and knowledge with show running and promoting is. The reality is, while we’ve hosted many successful events to this point, it’s not our full-time profession, and so we’ve acknowledged that in how we grow it each year. Since 2018, we’ve more than doubled the turnout from 50 to 100 to 400 to 1200 year over year (COVID-19 disrupts some things in there, of course). The event also started as a one day ordeal and now takes place over an entire weekend, from Friday night to Sunday evening.

Can you tell us more about this year’s upcoming performers?

We have over 20 artists in the Nerdcore space. Almost everyone who’s been a major player in the scene over the last 25 years will be there to perform. The godfather of Nerdcore himself, MC Frontalot, who coined the term Nerdcore will be performing for us Friday night. JT Music and Rockit Music lead the YouTube generation of talent and are the showrunners. We are super excited to introduce The Living Tombstone to the NPC lineup this year as well who have over 7 million followers and had their song featured in the recent box office hit, “Five Nights at Freddy’s”. So many more talented acts fill out our roster, including DIZZY EIGHT, NERDOUT, MEGARAN, DADDYPHATSNAPS, GAMEBOYJONES, ZACH BOUCHER, CAM STEADY, RUSTAGE, THE STUPENDIUM, DAGAMES, CK9C, SHWABADI, CAMICAT, SHAO DOW, DHEUSTA, SILVA HOUND, CHEWIECATT, OR30 and more!

JT Music and Rockit Music are the two companies that are heading the festival. Can you tell our readers more about both JT Music and Rockit Music?

JT Music and Rockit Music came out of 2010 YouTube, when it was the wild west of content creation. We each started our own path parallel to each other with Nerdcore. Both JT and Rockit are two-man teams, which has proven to be a key aspect to sustained growth and success in the space. JT Music focuses on Video Games and Indie Horror music, while Rockit Music focuses on Indie Horror and Internet Cultural topics for its music.

Will there be an online component for fans who can’t make it to the festival in person?

The entire concert is streamed on Saturday. So fans are able to catch the Saturday portion of the event from home. We stream that on Moment House.

The festival is taking place in Raleigh, NC, July 20th-21st. Is there a reason why you all choose this place and timeframe for the event?

This goes back to that we’re learning and figuring out this whole event running business at our own pace. Once we hit the 1,000 attendee mark, we realized we had to do it locally to balance the event’s scaling and ease of logistics. Fortunately, Raleigh is robust enough to host an event and we sold out last year without any issues. People came from all over the US and we had a dozen or so people come in from Europe as well. We like to host the event in late summer as it’s a fun way to cap off summer break for those who are still in school. A lot of families come out to the event together and hosting it in the summer makes it possible.

What makes the Nerdcore fanbase different and unique?

They’re extremely passionate, and it comes at you twofold. They are super into you, the artist, and then they are super passionate about the topic you are covering, be it Super Mario Bros, Dragon Ball Z, or Spider-Man. In some ways it feels as if the music represents them more than anything else on the radio due to this. A lot of these Nerdcore songs explore common and daily themes in life on top of whatever popular culture topic. So again you have a fusion of elements there that connect and enhance an experience for the listener.

Finally, the event is described as an immersive experience. Can you tell our readers how it is different from other festivals such as Coachella, Austin City Limits, etc?

NPC is about providing fans with a unique experience, such as access to meet the artists. The artists are all fans too, and fans of each other. They roam the event building, are always accessible and at times in the crowd right there with the fans. We have a VIP party Friday night that is dedicated to artists just hanging out with our attendees. On Saturday, artists are out and about as I just discussed. And then lastly, if all else fails, the entire day is dedicated to meet and greets on Sunday. NPC is a music festival, but ultimately serves as a means for our fans to interact and meet us. So we prioritize maximizing those opportunities for our fans.

Nerdcore Party Con website