We were blown away by the response to the inaugural installment in our Wobble Women series. Clearly there is a demand for profiles of exemplary women rocking it behind-the-scenes in this industry. If you have a suggestion of who we should profile next, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or post it up in The Untztoppable Facebook group.
By: Heather Hodder
Being a good photographer, especially a concert photographer, often means blending into the background. Cultivating the best pictures from your subjects is all about making them forget that you’re even there.
But what if that invisible photographer is also the most important person in the room? The fearless leader, the problem-solver, the head honcho—what does it take to be both a fly on the wall, and the center of attention?
Ally Huber (aka Sally McGruber aka Schmally Schmuber aka Sally Ally), 26, currently resides in Covington, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. Huber is the founder of Salivating Sounds, which hosts the best of the best in underground bass at Madison Live!
Salivating Sounds just completed one of its biggest events to date; a sold out show October 12th with headliners The Widdler, Peekaboo, and Pushloop, with support from Peanutbutter Williams. Salivating Sounds teamed up with Clayton Elkins, owner and operator of DownRight Entertainment. The event featured a powerful Hennessey sound system for the main stage and a second stage with TurboSound, with Mr. Scissors B2B Vusive, BRWN BEAR B2B Shane Gardella, Organtica, and Magnetic.
For Huber, perspective is everything. Rather than a mere promoter and photographer, her goofy personality comes through her self-created titles “Advocate of Musical Moisture at Salivating Sounds” and “Primary Operator of Modernized Camera Obscura at SWIS (See What I See) Media.”
How did Huber break into the Music Industry? “It was December of 2014 when I realized I wanted to do something I really loved and to get really good at it, “ explained Huber, “My two main passions that drive me wild have always been photography and music, so I thought, “Hey! Well, why not both?” Thus I assembled my first business, Psychedelic Indian, which began the following month.”
Starting a new career is nerve wracking for everyone. When Huber first started as a concert photographer, the opportunity came with its own set of challenges. During her first gig, Huber explains how some butterflies in her stomach rose into exhilaration: “I didn't know what to expect, but I did know I wanted to kill this new opportunity. Once I got onto stage and started taking photos of the crowd and energy in that room, I knew it was a feeling I wanted to keep reliving.”
“When I first started shooting live music, often times, I'd be shooting alongside male photographers that looked down on me for being a female playing the same game. Their pushiness on stage got my mood and motivation down from time to time, but once I conquered that, it became humorous and uplifting to me to know that i was actually taking better photos than them at the end of the day.”
What motivates Huber? Huber tells us “The community, 100%. It's the amazing people that I've had the opportunity to meet in this industry that make it worthwhile for me. The people that share the same passion for the music and the art.”
Other promoters that crush it the game inspire Huber, such as “John [Kabakoff], Andra Johnson (whom we profiled in the first installment of this series), Clayton Elkins, and Kirk Siefert definitely inspire me. They all throw the best shows in their scenes and never hesitate to give me pointers when I need them.”
In Huber’s free time, you can find her listening to ambient jam bands or jazz; Huber was a jazz musician and played saxophone for eight years.
Music runs in the family: “My grandfather taught me everything I know about jazz and how to play the saxophone well, so it brings a nostalgic feeling whenever I tune into some Miles Davis or Dave Brubeck. Lately, I've discovered my addiction for FKJ, French Kiwi Juice. The man is a wonderous talent with a heavy jazz influence that I can't stop listening to. My ultimate goal as a promoter one day is to book him, and I've already been in touch with Rogue about the matter (fingers crossed!)” exclaimed Huber .
What’s the music landscape like for women in Cincinnati? “There unfortunately isn't a huge female spotlight on the industry,” shared Huber, “Over time, I hope that's something soon to change, and I am eager to help any woman that wants to make that breakthrough. There's not enough of us doing what we do, and I think more feminine roles would have a huge impact on any scene no matter the location. Let's show these boys what's up!”
Ally Huber’s advice for women who want to break into the scene is to not disregard herself: “Don’t think you can’t make a difference because you’re not as social or so “hip to the scene.” Don't let the mindset of others thinking, “Oh, she's just gonna sleep her way to the top" get in your way.
Huber is her own teacher and learns more each day on how to conquer roadblocks and stay goal-oriented and grounded.
We'll see more of Ally Huber, See What I See Media and Salivating Sounds in the future. She’s not resting on her laurels. There’s already a new show to promote. On December 1st, Salivating Sounds along with DownRight Entertainment bring ill.Gates, Jantsen, beardthug and Vice Ensemble to Madison Live!