There are DMV music fans, casual listeners, and those who will go the distance to support the city’s expansive music scene. Matt Jackson and Avery Showell are the latter. The Bowie natives are the founders of The Factory (styled THFCTRY). True to their name, they’ve been in build mode creating opportunities for artists to amplify their voices, namely through their weekly radio show.
Their story of creating a trusted platform for the area’s enterprising music landscape all begins with a blog started while Showell was still a student at Bowie High School. Joined by a common interest in up-and-coming acts, Jackson got involved and together with friends the two started, Thank You For Not Snitching, a college radio show created while students at Salisbury University.
The show allowed them to play the artists they were writing about. “The first episode we started combining everything that we had. We were using the blog as an outlet, created a Twitter, and we employed the services of everyone around us,” Showell says. “We had this sort of hive mindset about it,” he continues.
Their start playing and writing about their favorite songs has evolved into a formative part of the DMV’s music scene. “We were obsessed by the idea that this could be cool,” Jackson says. “One night, we went around campus chalking the school up with our logo, and the next day got called in by the dean of students, then the president got involved, and we had to explain what it was that we were doing, “ Jackson says. “Luckily they loved it,” he adds.
College radio allowed the two to test out their platform before bringing in subjects. “It was kind of like our focus group,” Showell adds.
Their reputation was continuing to grow, and as a unit, they decided to change their name to THFCTRY. “From around 2016-2018 we didn’t tell anyone it was us doing THFCTRY. We would just go and do it,” Jackson says.
Eventually, after the two graduated, they started hosting their weekly radio show at The Line Hotel in Adams Morgan. They went by the catch-phrase “the new kids of Euclid St.” Local acts like WiFGawd and Mavi4Mayor stepped foot inside the studio to share a piece of their story and turn up the volume on their sound. The platform was allowing them to give many artists not just an interview, but their first big break.
Then the panorama hit. Like so many things, their chapter at The Line Hotel came to a close. “You know you’re still on track, but you don’t know where that train is taking you,” Jackson says of their experience learning to pivot.
The two took the unfortunate ending as a chance to birth a new relationship with Audiomack, a music streaming platform. In partnership with Audiomack, they began hosting Instagram Lives featuring D.C.-area up-and-coming acts and curating playlists as a way to stay connected to the artists they serve.
Now, the duo hosts a weekly radio show on Sundays at Eaton Radio inside of the Eaton Hotel. Additionally, as an expansion of their weekly radio show, they host parties at the upstairs venue, Wilddays on any given weekend, packing out the space with artists and fans alike. Places like the Eaton and The Line Hotel have given THFCTRY a catalyst to expand their platform and places to connect with artists.
“You can’t have a jungle just full of just one animal. It’s an ecosystem. We’re all different things and we all add to it in different ways, and the artists benefit from it because they need different things at different points,” Showell says, explaining the value add of THFCTRY to the area’s music communities.
“Our goal has always been to add value and resources to a place that was lacking thereof. I think that we were able to create a system, a machine, a factory that could address the needs of the music community here,” Jackson says.
They’re always on the ground, whether sneaking backstage, introducing an artist on stage, or passing off the microphone in the radio station booth. “It’s a small area and I’m just continuing the legacy of Bowie [High School]. We’re all doing it,” Showell says.