Steve Einish, known mainly for his role in managing Native hip-hop group Violent Ground, is embarking on a new path in his music career by launching his own event-planning company called Nomad Entertainment.
Based in Wemindji, where Einish recently moved and became a band member, the company’s goal will be to keep the planning and execution of concerts, music festivals and other events – and the money that goes to pay for those services – in Eeyou Istchee.
“It’s a sound and lighting company that offers that extra thing – event planning,” said Einish. “I see a big market there, a lot of people were doing festivals and shows, spending X amount of money and putting that money outside of the Cree economy.”
Originally from Whapmagoostui, Einish is half Cree and half Naskapi – his father is from the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach. After moving to Wemindji to be with his girlfriend, he began pitching his idea to the local band council. He’s confident that his project will be taking off in the coming months.
“I received a band resolution and that’s how I was able to go forward with my project,” Einish explained. “I went for funding in the community and I got approved. I’m still waiting on other funding and the plan is to offer equipment rentals and event-planning services.”
Einish, who studied at Recording Arts Canada in Montreal, says Cree clients will be able to save by having a local event resource: “That way, they don’t have to fly in the equipment or pay a soundman to travel.”
He recently ran the Wildberry Festival in Kuujjuaraapik with his uncle as a test run, an experience helped spawn his start-up. “We set everything up,” he said. “I was operating the front of house and he was my stage manager and light guy. It was just the two of us running everything.”
Another recent coup for Einish was securing an opening slot for Violent Ground ahead of the Wu Tang Clan at a show in Montreal, then bringing that same show to Rouyn-Noranda. His networking in Montreal put him in touch with Rickey D of Rickey D Events, one of the city’s most well-connected and respected hip-hop promoters.
“Those two shows were just sort of a warm-up to show people that I’m able to pull it off,” said Einish. “I’m working with Rickey D and it’s through his guidance that I was able to get those shows. It’s been great to have that relationship with Rickey D, helping me decide what are the right moves to make.”
Einish says his new business would provide a wide variety of live shows that cater to different tastes.
“The kind of shows I want to do aren’t just hip-hop and rap,” he said. “Most of the shows right now are catered to older folks. I don’t see all of the demographics being served, and I want to do what I can to cover that.”
The plan for now, while Einish awaits funding approval from the Cree Nation Government, is to purchase his own equipment and have it shipped up to Wemindji, where he is already hosting occasional events. He hopes to hire a couple part-time Cree employees.
While Einish does have a bit of a checkered past, all things point towards a bright future for the young entrepreneur.
“There’s a chance to grow beyond [the Cree Nation] with the right people on the team and the right mindset,” he said. “I’ve been sober for two years now and since then I’ve been setting goals. Each goal I achieve, I set a bigger one. My mentality is to dream big, the sky is not the limit, outer space is the limit.”