“Young Homies Running Shit” — A Conversation with Photographer and Producer Matt Miggz

Matt Migliorelli is a young photographer, videographer, and music producer who grew up in Westchester, New York and just wrapped up his sophomore year at Syracuse University. The young phenom shoots music videos of the duo Aer, concert photos of Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky, Casey Veggies, Asher Roth and he’s the Creative Director of the Hold My Coat, a media management company. In addition, he’s put out two beat tapes — “The MiGGZ EP” and “Rich Off a MiGGZ Tape.” He’s taking a year off of school to go on The Brightside Tour with Aer this fall and plans to spend the spring learning piano and guitar to help with his producing. We had the chance to chat with the ambitious young man about his endeavors.

Getting Started

Photo: I started taking photos in the summer going into 11th grade. I was on a sneaker forum at the time and I was really into collecting SB’s, Jordans, and whatnot. I was pretty much making my money from buying, selling, and trading sneakers. On the site there was a photography thread, where people would post pictures of their sneakers or just random photography. It peaked my interest and I wanted to get a better image quality for the sneakers that I was selling. I watched and learned for a while and then I finally started posting my own stuff.

Video: I’m not sure why exactly I started video. I have a 5D Mark II so I have 1080p video in my camera, I figured I might as well use it. It’s pointless for it to sit there and not be used. I started shooting music videos, I didn’t really have any film training. I was going to school for photography, not film. After all, I had no plan to shoot videos — I just randomly started at the end of freshman year of college.

Production: I started making beats in 11th grade, and I didn’t really start getting serious about them until freshman year of college when I met Guy Harrison and Cartier Sims. Then I started working with them and was like “Yeah, I guess I could do this too.” I just try to keep my options open really.

Working with Aer

It’s actually pretty funny. I was a freshman at Syracuse and I was living on the fifth floor of Sadler Hall. Max Gredinger, who is Aer’s manager now, was an RA in my building. He was managing this group that was called Mouth’s Cradle, who is a Syracuse group. He had contacted me for photos of them before he even started managing Aer. I didn’t do them for any money because they didn’t have any, but we just started talking and built a relationship. Then he started managing Aer a couple months before their mixtape The Reach came out. He was like “Yo, you really gotta check these guys out. I have a really good feeling about this.” They needed photos done and soon we just started doing a bunch of stuff. We kept the relationship and I became really good friends with the guys. I’m still really good friends with Max too, we started a company called Hold My Coat. It was his blog but we turned it into a media management company. So we’re always working together and talking. They’re all really good friends of mine.

Aer’s Music Videos

We’re not trying to force any image, we’re really just trying to translate exactly who we are and exactly what goes down. It’s basically what every normal kid would be doing and I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job of showing that. We just want people to relate to us as much as possible. “What would I be doing at this song?” is the type of question we might ask ourself when shooting. As we go on, it’s not going to be us just chillin’ all the time. We’re gonna have real music videos, real staged stuff, as we both progress. But for now, and as much as we can, we’re just going to be doing what a normal kid would be doing with their friends.

Hold My Coat

Aer is the main artist that is seriously, heavily using us. We’re trying to expand beyond that, but we’re also picky about who we’re working with. Things are going so crazy with Aer right now that we’re trying to just focus on them for the meanwhile. Basically Max Gredinger does the consulting and has been contacted by a bunch of people regarding how to handle releases, help with promotion to blogs, etc. What we try to offer is a package of photos, videos, and consulting. Or it could be more specific, if you just want one of those. It’s nice to have a good team because we can all rely on each other and everyone trusts each other. There’s nothing shady going on. I think it’s real important for any up-and-comers to have a squad. If you keep everything in-house, it’s just more genuine. For example, the artists themselves are more comfortable with people they’re shooting videos with. It definitely helps to an extent.

Beats

Right now, it’s sort of on chill because I’ve been so focused on videos, but I’m about to be touring with Aer and just in the past couple months I’ve networked through them and met artists managers. I’m going to have direct contact with a lot of artists I’d love to work with. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but it’s better to contact someone with work when you already know the person — rather than sending just a random email (because I’m sure many artists get a bunch of shitty beats every day). The way I’m going at it now, I’m building up a bunch of beats and as we all continue to grow on tour — I’m definitely going to start getting beats out to people.

Concert Photography

Freshman year at Syracuse, Mac Miller came to a frat house and my friend went to middle school with him and was friends with Mac at the time. This was when he was sort of getting big, like after K.I.D.S. dropped but not long after it. It was an outdoor concert, around 4pm, which was awesome because it was still really bright. I took photos and I was hanging with him all day. They came out really well, some of my best photos. I’m sure you’ll see them all over Tumblr too, they got posted all over the internet with no credit attached, which really sucks. Anyway, Mac Miller’s mom saw the photos after I had posted them up. She’s a photographer herself so she reached out to me like “Can I please have them? You can send them here, etc.” And of course I agreed. We spoke frequently, she gave me a bunch of photography advice. She said anytime I wanted to shoot a show, she could definitely hook it up. Eventually I just started shooting at Syracuse as much as I could, whenever I could get a photo pass to anything, I would shoot it. I just started from there and I still want to shoot concerts of course, but I also want to do more of portraits outside of the shows with artists. I love concert photography because concerts are so fun and being able to make art of something else is awesome.