I talked to GQ, who is a California based videographer and photographer that runs HVE Media, short for Half Valve Entertainment.
Jay: Where did the origin of the name Half Valve Entertainment come from?
GQ: I’m a trumpet player, it’s the roots of my music background since third grade. I wanted to do something utilizing the pen or relating to the trumpet. HV is a technique used in Jazz a lot where if you can use it right, it gives it a different emotion when you’re playing solo. I just ran with it.
Jay: Elaborate more on who works with Half Valve Entertainment.
GQ: AI just kind of do it all myself on the social media aspect. For artists, it’s CJ Simmons and we have an engineer/producer C-Wellz. It’s pretty much us three but we have help from additional homies whenever we need extra hands.
It began as a label back in 2008 and started with me, Cam Archer, and another friend of ours. Back then I was big on producing and Cam was rapping. A friend of ours linked us together and eventually, we joined together. We created a trio and from there we did shows and got serious with it. Our friend eventually stopped and it was me and Cam. I was basically a manager of Cam at that point. I did booking and engineering for him pretty much for the first three to four years of his career. We needed to do music videos so I decided to learn how to do film work. At first, I had no idea how to do it. I just did it and figured it out. That’s where it expanded to. Years later, Cam met with Jay, CJ [Westley], and [Tru] Speech. They were called Dying Breed at the time. We already had two other artists with us and then that’s when Cam wanted to merge the two groups together. We tried to build a super team and that’s where the OE (Over Everything) collective comes from. We kind of stopped having artists on it and I focused on artists development and media as HVE Media. I started doing more videos with people outside my group and that’s how it revolves to where I’m at now.
Jay: Some artists you worked with are the likes of Tru Speech, Cam Archer, Cj Simmons, and more. When you are looking to work with clients, describe the process of how that works.
GQ: Album or video?
GQ: For the video, I’ll listen to the song they want to shoot and collaborate on how we can work something out unless it’s CGI, I can point someone to them. I enjoy getting feedback from what they’re looking for and going back and forth to see what the artist want. I love to sit with the song for a day or two and write different ideas. Once I get a specific idea, I’ll make a video treatment to fit what we want to do and send it to them. Such as color tones in the songs, photos, and smaller details such as locations within the treatment. We make proper adjustments and after that’s settled, we can make a date and film it.
For the album process, it’s similar. I love to incorporate the artist and go over what their style is. Let’s say they’re in a trap phase and then try to create a new sound sonically, depending on what they want, we’ll have a listening session and play plenty of beats, see what they like, and narrow our way down to a select few with similar sounds. From there, we record in the studio and then we start talking about video ideas and how to roll out the project with promo. We’ll do photoshoots and plan out the promo. I would love to get more involved in executively producing a project.
Jay: Outside of music videos and music-based events, has HVE worked with any other form of video like short films, comedy sketches, etc?
GQ: We have done concert photography and videos for different artists. We hadn’t done any commercials but we did concerts for Isaiah Rashad, E-40, Nipsey Hussle, Lupe, EDM festivals where we show videos for them. I keep HVE all music-based.
Jay: If you had to give any pieces of advice for a media company on how to broaden their fan base, what would it be?
GQ: As far as a media company... I would say don’t get greedy. Definitely be willing to go out and do free shoots just to get in the door with different companies and concerts. Create your own lane, just go out and do what you want to build your portfolio to present it to employers and those bigger names.
Jay: What were some lessons you learned during the earlier stages of HVE and how did you apply them towards being a better platform?
GQ: I learned would be don’t be too quick. Make sure that the quality is good. Don’t cut corners. Take your time to get it right so you can release it properly. Such as if we need to get extra footage or reshoot something to get it done, I’ll do that rather than cut corners and get it over with. Also, just being consistent. Although you feel like things aren’t moving, that doesn’t mean people aren’t watching. I doubted myself a lot of times and felt like quitting. In the past three years, I’ve been feeling like everything has been paying off by having opportunities come around my way. When it’s your time it’s going to happen. It’s a matter of progressing within your craft.
You can follow HVE media on Instagram, @halfvalveent and watch the visual for one of their artists, CJ Simmons, and his song Run It Up on YouTube.
Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.