Community Members

The people who have helped make Why Empire possible.

Aidan O'Connor


Aidan is one of the 4 founders of Why Empire. Raised in East Harlem, Aidan graduated from NYU in 2015. Beyond running Why Empire, he also works in education, tutoring and designing curriculum for multiple educational organizations in the city. He handles operations and production. Aidan loves art, knows how to get shit done, and will always spit a freestyle.


James Lambros (Jimmy Lit)


James ignited Why Empire by bringing the founders together (all friends of his) and urging them to combine their skills to create something. James is an experienced audio engineer, producer, DJ, and is in endless pursuit of perfection. You're likely to catch him in our Long Island City studio creating great music.


Tyler Gross


Tyler has called downtown Manhattan home his whole life, growing up at the root of 5th Ave and Wash Sq. Park. Tyler loves music, is a talented multi-instrumentalist, and a sucker for a great chord progression. Outside of music, Tyler focuses on creative thought and philosophy (ask him about his theory of consciousness if you have a spare 3 hours). With one eye always on the big picture, Tyler is a treasure trove of collaborative potentials.


Harrison Perl


Harrison grew up in Greenwich Village before moving to Austin, TX. Across thousands of miles and after hours of Skype sessions with the squad, he earned the nickname "business santa" for his sporadic visits and timely gifts of legal, strategic, and financial advice from afar. A natural entrepreneur, he founded his first start-up at 19 and just obtained his MBA from the University of Texas.


Ashley Taylor

Future Culture

Ashley gives tarot readings at a moment's notice, but pay attention, as she understands our future in ways no psychic could. Currently, she researches how the blockchain will catalyze connections to form a web of cooperative economies at the techtank ConsenSys. She also founded @Future__Culture which works to connect people and movements embodying the future of culture. Previously she worked with data/media artists at the Office for Creative Research. She also worked at the Center for Planetary Culture, developing a wiki to crowdsource viable models for social change. Ashley attended Duke and grew up in the Piedmont foothills of North Carolina.


Louisa Durkin

Future Culture

Louisa is the other main mind behind Future Culture. Focused on sustainability, justice, and transparency; Louisa is a driving force for social impact. Louisa is also a talented writer and sketch artist (you can check some of her work on the Future Culture website). Louisa works at the prestigious Danny Meyer restaurant, Marta, focusing on sustainable food and innovative business practices. She loves to create from art to food, and can always whip something together to bring your spirits up.


Eric Wu

Eric Wu is the founder of the clothing brand (formerly known as Wu & Y). The brand features powerful pastels and a retro 80s vibe inspired by the growing vaporwave movement. Why Empire partnered with Eric to throw a wonderful launch event for his brand at the famous House of Yes in June of 2016. 


Justin Harmond (J-Harmony)

Justin is a creative and adaptable manager for independent artists. His main focus has been his artist, Mari, for the last year. Justin also founded Reckless Abandon, an artist management and event planning venture built for the digital age. He's provided Why Empire with both wisdom and help from the start.