I sat very quietly in an empty boardroom at 236 King Street East, as I collected my thoughts and prepared to meet the curious cumulative that is, Eggplant Collective. I spent the past week browsing the internet for bits of information on their achievements and body of work. After viewing a slew of mouth-watering images of plum-rendered eggplants, I uncovered a growing list of motion advertisements and TV shows – all graced by the creative minds at Eggplant Collective. As my interviewees joined me in the boardroom one by one, I asked them all about their growing presence within the industry, their passion for music and their eternal love for Toronto. Introducing: Dave Conlon (Partner/CFO), Steve D’Angelo (Partner/ Composer), Adam Damelin (Partner/Director/Composer), Rocco Gagliese (Partner/Director), and Terry Tompkins (Partner/Composer).
As I studied their credentials, I couldn’t help but ask a question I’m sure they have each heard time and time again: Why Eggplant? Each reply was preluded with contagious laughter, but Rocco finally set the record straight: “We had opened our doors already and we didn’t have a name yet. I was reading a magazine about a guy who had a farm and he sold eggs. He kept referring to it as an egg factory and I thought it was kind of bizarre….it was just so unusual.” In that moment, Toronto got its own “egg plant” – a place where ideas are hatched and sequentially applauded. “We started with about four people and now we have about 25 people here in the office.” Dave explained, “We do everything in-house except for the shoots. It really is tons of fun!”
Since establishing themselves within the entertainment production industry, Eggplant Collective has reeled in talented musicians for over a decade, to create “original music compositions and production, music supervision, sound design, casting, and voice direction.” Their scope of work stretches far and wide into the industry; and it is this idea that I find most admirable. “Our goal is to be fully vertically integrated,” Dave shared. And it seems as though they are right on track with that ambition, considering that when they first started the company, they mainly provided music production for commercials. Eggplant Collective has cemented itself as a positive force in the industry, allowing their artistry to drive them to increase their body of work and continue to challenge themselves. “We now have a video company called Optics, the restaurant downstairs [Pacific Junction], and another [eatery] called Belong Café at Evergreen Brickworks,” Dave reveals.
With their roots in Toronto, these men are ecstatic about contributing to our culture, thus creating their own empire. Although they gather inspiration from everywhere and everything, Adam notes that “home is home” and it is this reason that the Eggplant has incubated their company here, in the city of Toronto. As the group continues to pave the way for television production, we can look forward to more Canadian content in hopes of continuing to enrich Toronto culture. No matter how successful their careers have been thus far, Steve adds, “We always want to be very hands-on. The job is too great not to [be]!”
WORDS: JONATHAN BRODERICK
PHOTOS: TARA NOELLE
VIDEO: BRAD SILVERBERG