Today our guest is Mo Shafeek, the record label manager at Mondo. If you have ever been inside an Alamo Drafthouse Theater, chances are you’ve seen all of the cool T-shirts, posters and collectibles they’ve created. We hear how Mo transitioned from an unemployed Brooklyn transplant to getting hired full-time at the Alamo Drafthouse, then managing the posters and then record label at Mondo’s and ultimately creating a moving memorabilia empire. We loved hearing Mo’s unique perspective on Austin, as he is a transplant from New York, and how his previous time touring with musicians and filming tour documentaries led to his current success. Mo takes us behind the scenes at Mondo’s eccentric enterprise and their new extension into posters, toys, MondoCon, and soundtracks all housed within one of the best movie theaters on Earth.
[2:23] Mo is from NYU and was a local amongst many transplants. He attended NYU Film School and this put him on the track for an interest and job touring with bands and creating documentaries about their time on the road.
[4:11] Some of the musicians Mo toured with announced they were moving from New York to Austin, and he followed them after feeling like he needed a change.
[8:31] After four weeks of living in Austin he applied to the Alamo Drafthouse and got hired two weeks later as the general manager. They needed to change the focus of the store to include online customer service and shipping posters, in which he had a solid background.
[13:28] Mondo Tees started as an iron-on T-shirt store where people could get quotes, logos, and pictures ironed on their shirts. As the company grew nationally they would do screen printed posters for roadshow events and movie screenings. It evolved and expanded globally and they were getting submissions from artists all over the world.
[16:31] Around 2009, they started securing licenses so they could make official merchandise. The thing that really put them on the map was in 2010 when they did a remake of Star Wars posters.
[16:42] Thank you to our Sponsor, the Papasan Properties Group.
[18:24] One of his career highlights was emailing back and forth with Bob Gale, co-creator and writer of Back to the Future.
[19:08] He was with the company for six months when he heard they were putting out a vinyl record and knew this was right up his alley due to his music industry experience.
[20:23] They do about 25 releases a year.
[21:49] They always use their original art for every release and every reissue.
[24:10] After soundtracks opened the door at Mos department, they got into collectibles like statues and toys and tabletop games.
[25:35] They started MondoCon in 2014 as a way to connect with their fans and community in a small intimate way. It started as a sister event to Fantastic Fest but has become its own thing.
[29:09] Even though he works there, the Alamo Drafthouse is still his top pick for out of town visitors.
Taco Deli — Pollo Adobado
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