Errol Antzis ’80
Musician keeps on rocking in the business world
The life of Errol Antzis doesn’t fit into a tidy slot—he’s been a CFO, financier, and entrepreneur, he’s an accomplished guitar player, and he has a black belt in karate. But during his time at MIT, he had one career in mind: professional musician.
“My dad said, ‘Finish your degree—if you want to be a musician after that, I’ll help support you,’” Antzis says. “I took him up on it and moved to Manhattan after graduation and played in a number of bands. But being a musician is arduous—I realized there might be a way to pursue music and have a more stable career.”
Continuing to play guitar as an avocation, he earned an MBA in corporate finance at NYU in 1984 and became a technology analyst at Chase Manhattan Bank. He eventually moved to Chase’s Media and Entertainment Division, a position that gave him the chance to stay connected to the music industry.
“I’ve always found finance stimulating, but my real passion has always been music,” Antzis says. “From a career perspective, joining the Media and Entertainment Division was an interesting way to stay involved with music.” He continued along the finance/entertainment path, founding the media and entertainment divisions at BNP Paribas and GE Capital.
Through more than two decades in the financial world, his passion for music never waned. In 2004, he left banking to become the CFO of OR Music, an independent record label. From 2006 to 2010, he served as CFO and director of Metropolitan Talent, an independent entertainment company that managed Art Garfunkel, Bruce Hornsby, and Little Feat.
During this time he also founded Baden Music, a custom guitar design company, and began publishing Drumhead, a print and online magazine for drummers and other percussionists. More recently, he helped create FanDistro, a social-media app that allows bands to share and sell music on their fans’ social media pages.
“I took a pragmatic business approach,” Antzis says. “I looked at areas of the music business that were underserved. In publishing, it was drumming. In social media, it was fan-based music distribution.”
He has remained an avid musician, releasing three albums under the pseudonym Psychoteria. On his most recent album, I Think I’ll Just Stay Home, he’s featured on guitar, vocals, drums, bass, and keyboards.
In 2011, he returned to finance, managing the media and entertainment practice at the boutique investment bank Gruppo, Levey. Despite an academic career that wasn’t music-oriented, Antzis credits MIT with a part in his success.
“It wasn’t so much what I was taught in the classroom,” he says. “MIT instilled a discipline of how to approach any problem, regardless of the situation.”
A native of Westchester County, New York, Antzis lives in Manhattan with his wife, Deborah Carlson, an actress and acting coach who appeared in The Departed; their three-year-old daughter, Thea; and his collection of more than 170 vintage and rare guitars.
The race is on to define the new blockchain era. Get a leg up at Business of Blockchain 2019.Register now