Photo: Patiri Photography
Walk into the right place in Provo, be it a basement, gymnasium or after-hours café, and you may find a different crowd. Popped polos give way to tank tops and throwback Nikes, smoke-stained “Kramer” portraits are replaced by graffiti, and the local jazz band becomes a ghost with turntables and Macbook Pros in its place. If you live in Utah and don’t know about its underground, then you are missing an important part of the state’s culture that has become a lifeblood for those of us with a different perspective. For these scenes to sustain themselves, some exposure is required. One man helping to get the word out is Anthony Ambriz with his Urban Media Show, a web-based series of videos, which showcases local artists and musicians.
While attending college in Provo, Ambriz found himself immersed in an unexpected subculture. Opting to stay away from drugs and alcohol, Ambriz found a more positive way to expel his energy and spent time hanging out with an unlikely group of skaters, break dancers and electro DJs. After taking some film classes and working in the broadcast department, Ambriz decided it was time to expose this scene to the masses. “I wanted to show people that Provo had an urban scene. I wanted to highlight those scenes and show people that urban culture exists all over Utah,” he says. With his basic skills developed, Ambriz purchased a Canon XL2 camera and started filming his friends and their subcultures.
In 2009, Urban Media Show became concrete. With his opening sequence built, Ambriz went out and interviewed a local DJ duo known as The Crate Dwellers (his long term friends who are currently sponsored by the show) for his first episode. In the beginning, it was a one-man show. “I produced, shot, edited, designed and built every episode myself,” says Ambriz. To put out a 10-episode season in as little as 10 weeks was time consuming to say the least, with most episodes taking upward of 36 hours from pre to post production. But the show wasn’t always long nights spent editing footage. Sometimes, filming the interviews themselves could get crazy. For the seventh episode, Ambriz went down to Club Edge to interview Muscle Hawk. “The party was insane, filled with drag queens, zombies and black men dressed as Klansmen. It was a Halloween in July party, and it was wild,” says Ambriz. With Season One in the books, Ambriz knew he wanted to continue to improve his show, and with his second season came many changes.
Over time, the pressure of juggling a wife and newborn, a full-time job, studying to complete a degree and producing his show became too much. Ambriz could no longer do UMS solo. In order to take the show to greater heights, he realized that he needed some help from a few friends (13 of them to be exact). With a crew in tow, Season Two churned out another 10 episodes featuring Lindsey Stirling of America’s Got Talent, Sugar Steak Clothing and even SLUG photographer Dave Brewer. By the end of the season, Urban Media Show had gained enough recognition that it secured itself some funding by becoming an official YouTube partner, meaning UMS gets a small amount of money from the Google ads on their videos.
For the upcoming season, the UMS crew plans to do something a little more grandiose, with more production value, more artists, more viewers, more love. Ambriz says that in the near future, Urban Media Show will become an “empire” including a revamped website featuring more blogs and written interviews as well as product reviews and a clothing line. If you haven’t seen the show yet, check it out and tune in (I hear one of the interviews was conducted in the rain in the back of “Tricky” Dick Nixon’s Cadillac!). And if you want to help the B-boys out, drop a buck on a tee or a hoodie and keep the Utah underground alive. Visit urbanmediashow.com to catch up on past episodes or follow Season Three “into infinity and beyond!”