Tommy DeVries spent his four-year GW career trying to land a job working for the band Shiny Toy Guns.
After graduating last spring, he finally got a gig as the leader of the satellite marketing team for the Los Angeles-based rock band. But his application process was not a traditional one.
DeVries discovered Shiny Toy Guns, whose 2006 debut album “We Are Pilots” garnered a Grammy nomination, at a concert near his hometown of Rhinebeck, N.Y. while in high school.
“After I saw that concert, I was like, ‘These people are the coolest ever,’ ” DeVries said. “Every time I’ve been to their concert, I’ve loved their music more. I’ve loved the album they’ve been touring for more, all of their opening bands more and I fell in love with their music, and it became such a big part of my life."
After his second Shiny Toy Guns concert – the one he attended as a freshman – DeVries applied for a position on the band’s D.C. marketing team. He said his application was rejected because of his weak social media presence. So he quickly increased his usage of every platform.
“I kept hitting them up every few months trying to be like, ‘Hey, I have more Twitter followers, or I have a bigger Facebook page and my Instagram is cooler – I would like to become part of your team.’ And they just wouldn’t get back to [me],” DeVries said.
He was then told to promote the band's singles through his social media accounts and took on the challenge, blasting his social media accounts with updates on the band.
Last month, four years after he began pursuing a marketing position with the band, DeVries was added to the D.C. satellite team and quickly progressed to the team leader slot.
He is now responsible for piecing together a team of volunteers and interns to create buzz around the band, specifically among GW students, and promote upcoming performances, such as an Oct. 29 show at the Rock and Roll Hotel to publicize the band's most recent album, “III,” which was released this month.
“It’s fun. I know I’m a psych major, but I like to talk I like to promote things. I like to get information out there. I would literally do anything for these guys,” DeVries said.
He will formally be introduced to the band after that concert.
“I was completely blown away by [that],” DeVries said. “Sheer euphoria is how I feel.”
The job comes with one drawback: It’s unpaid. He supplements his work for Shiny Toy Guns with a full-time job as an executive assistant to alumnus Kris Hart, a local entrepreneur who owns FoBoGro and Relaxed Tanning & Day Spa on F Street.
“One of Tommy’s greatest strengths is marketing. He’s very good at marketing,” Hart said.
DeVries has recruited one student intern so far from GW, and is looking to expand the team. He also hopes to create similar teams at other universities.
“That would be something I would feel good about, because my passion for it is big,” DeVries said. “This is a band that needs to be known by many, many other people.”