Recently my attention was caught by two promoters out of the US in Denver Colorado. What stood out was not what you would expect to come out of the US, it was a 4 day festival of techno to feast upon with none other than Cnr, Josh Dupont & Eddie Spettro, Jay Tripwire, Manmade, Omid 16b (Alola/Sexonwax), Jewell Kid (Alleanza),Julian Jeweil (Minus/Drumcode/Alleanza), John Tejada and more. I had to know more and was grateful for promoters Shaun and Andy to take the time out to chat.
Hi Guys, thank you for taking the time to speak to us out of your busy schedule before your events. Tell us how you came together to create the DWS and UNstructured Sounds?
Shaun – Well Damion, really this was all Andy’s idea. Andy had a dream of creating something for the underground industry out here in Denver that no one else had accomplished yet. In about October or November of 2012 he had reached out to me asking if I would like to further myself in the industry. Without hesitation, I knew that I wanted to be a part of what would become these three companies because I believed in what Andy had in mind. His ideas in my mind were going to be ground breaking for the city of Denver and his dream of taking this festival to a national and even international level was something I had dreamed of doing as well. When the idea to throw a showcase came up I had already been a part of the company for a few months. I thought this idea was incredible because it wasn’t going to be just a music festival, it was going to be a whole showcase of music, art, and people gathering. It was more of a perspective on what I believe the music should be, which is just good people bobbing their heads to some intelligent productions while enjoying the company of others and great artists. As we gathered for our first annual Denver Winter Showcase his ideas were phenomenal. The “DJ Meet and Greet” was a great way for local artists to come together, make connections; friendships and listen to other artists play what they have created. Once we got in to the first festival I could tell that we were going to make something happen for the city in which we love so much.
Andy – For the last 15 years Damion I found myself in love with house and techno music, in the early years allot of people I knew just didn’t get it. After hearing Amazing stories about Denver and its incredible scene I booked a flight for a brief visit and on arrival instantly knew this city was for me. The people, the weather and the music were all I needed. My drive to want to further my involvement into this industry started after my 1st year of working for the mastermind behind Magnetic Grooves, Melanie Masiello. Her Drive and Passion showed me how much hard work can get you, so immediately after departing Miami that year I Created UNstructured Sounds and our future was born. After a few months of living in Denver I began to notice how much amazing local talent it had to offer and how many separate crews and collectives there were. So I started to develop an idea of how to bring them all together, after speaking with many, securing venues and establishing an amazing team the Denver winter showcase Launched.
Your Denver Winter Showcase is making waves in Europe; can you tell us a little bit more about it and some of your line ups?
Shaun – The Denver Winter Showcase is made to be more than just a festival. It’s supposed to be a place where all musicians, listeners, artists, photographers, business owners, and anyone else that wanted to be a part of the new ground breaking event we were going to throw could come together as one and enjoy each other. This is why we did things in 2013 such as the DJ Meet and Greet and also the first annual Denver Winter Showcase album brought to you by Dustcity Music. We invited artists from all over the world to be a part of the festival, such as Measure Divide and Erphun from Brood Audio and also Patrice Baumel, who was highly anticipated in Denver. These shows (Friday and Saturday) turned out amazingly. We packed the lounge at Beta Nightclub for Patrice Baumel and Saturday was incredible with the boys at Brood Audio and Dela as well. Riding out of the 2013 festival was a complete success and we knew from there on out that the Denver Winter Showcase was going to be a yearly event. In 2014, we stepped up our game a little bit. We continued with the “DJ Meet and Greet” as well as the Friday night and Saturday night shows. Also, we added the highly anticipated Denver Winter Showcase Music Awards for artist in the area. One of the most ground breaking events we’ve added was having an Ableton Master Class, teaming up with Justin James himself from Minus to teach the event. This gave the producers in Denver something to really look forward to. The next addition to the Showcase this year is the Love Vinyl – Vinyl exchange and vendor conference. This is going to be a great place for other businesses to come and show off what they do. We’ve hired numerous companies such as clothing companies and through out this event there will be tons of vinyl for people to listen to and purchase. We’re also adding an extra event for happy hour Friday evening to get people pumped for the main events Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. This year we have brought to you artist such as Jay Tripwire, Justin James, Omid 16B, Jewell Kid, Julian Jewel, Dory, Barem, and many many more. You can also catch the Denver Winter Showcase second VA album coming out March 6th.
Andy – At the Age of 24 I made my 1st visit to Miami for winter Music conference. The whole idea of a week long party meeting some of your favorite artists and the most incredible people in it seemed like a dream. However over the last 5 years of me noticing the rising costs of Miami I knew a change had to be made. The Denver Winter Showcase is supposed to be a less commercialized, less expensive option to Miami. A place were people in the industry can come to network themselves and there companies, all while enjoying amazing music and events. We try to combine label showcases, group collectives, and Global headliners while Offering events this year that are not strictly all about the party, like our Techno Happy Hour, Ableton workshop and vendor conferences, I believe adds allot of diversity to our festival. When planning a Multi day event like this its really like an empty canvas, You as the creator get to add to it in anyway possible, the possibilities are endless, which makes it very exciting. Plus with new talented artists literally coming up everyday it makes it easy to find new Fresh Names.
Much of what we read and hear about the US dance music industry really revolves Vegas, Miami and New York, how is the scene in a small city as Denver?
Shaun – The scene here in Denver is a growing incredibly fast. Denver hosts some of the most talented artists from around the world. We’ve seen artists like Butane, Donato Dozzy, Perc, Patrice Baumel, Mike Servito, Nicole Moudaber, and Troy Pierce. The list is seriously endless I could go on and on. Just this year alone we are going to be seeing Maya Jane Coles, KiNK, Justin Martin, Deadbeat, Dr. Nojoke, Barem, Minilogue, Adam Beyer, and John Tejada; again this list would also be endless. Denver is home. The person, the music, the comfort of living in such a talent filled place is something I wouldn’t change for the world.
Andy – The scene here in Denver is incredible; it’s what brought me to here actually. Any Given night you can go out and find quality house and techno music events here in mile high. With the amount of passionate promoters in this city that are very knowledgeable to the industry the bar is constantly being raised. When Norad Dancebar was founded in June 2012 it was a real game changer as it opened the underground music floodgates. From there 1st event with Stacey Pullen to there next event with Adam Beyer, Norad has built its name to be world renowned and is wanting artists to from around the globe come here. That combined with clubs like Beta, and Soco Nightclub District really offers something for everyone.
One of the things that made you stand out with us is your vision and music direction of techno, not something in Europe we don’t associate with the US and the massive commercial scene of EDM. How do your punters react to the music and your events?
Shaun – Our following is continually growing. The people in Denver love what the underground scene has to offer and a lot of people are travelling here just to see what is involved in it. The commercial scene of the music industry is something we don’t take part in, not because we think lesser of it, but because it’s not where our heart is. We choose music based on what we love, what we want others to hear, and what we think is going to be special for people and for ourselves. That’s what music is supposed to be about right? We take passion and pride in listening to artists that we can connect with emotionally through notes and melodies. It brings everyone together in a sort of friendship on the dance floor and through that we create a special vibe that people enjoy being a part of. Continuing forward we plan to keep bringing top artistic flavor to Denver in a diverse and vibrant manner.
Andy – Since our rookie year with DWS we’ve stayed true to our vision to offer both house and techno artists to the Denver Masses Ranging from up and comers to names that have secured there names on lineups for the last 20 years. This being our 2nd year I feel with the names were bringing in makes our lineup comparable to some of the world’s best festivals in there early years. Just seeing the list of people who are travelling in from around the US for next weekend is very exciting, that means Denver’s scene is now becoming a travel destination all for the music that brings us so much love. Denver Winter Showcase is only going to try more and more things to offer you. We’ll always be evolving, always dancing!
Promoting can be hard work, tell us how you approach each event, what is involved in planning a four day festival?
Shaun – Oh now that list also is endless. Throwing a festival is a full-time job. We work extremely hard and have put quite a great team together to make this event a possibility for Denver. Our team has spent countless hours on the computer, phone and out with people spreading the word of what the festival is bringing. Nationwide we have people spreading the word of UNStructured Sounds and The Denver Winter Showcase. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools this industry can give. If you bring good artists and people enjoy their time, they are more than likely going to be telling their friends who were not at the event that they enjoyed themselves. Also, we have done things like create flyers and lighters all with our logo on them that are being passed around. This is a great tool because it brings up the question of DWS and it keeps it on peoples minds. We also have our website www.DenverWinterShowcase.com. It’s a great place to get information on what festivities we are bringing to the city. As well, we can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud (which is where our podcasts are posted featuring some pretty top notch artists). For the festival this year we are also having T-Shirts made with the logo which seems to be a pretty hot commodity.
Andy – Well first off let me tell you, No One person can ever throw event by himself. It comes down to a dedicated team that stays on task. Words cannot describe the amazing team I have built from around the US. When you’re planning a multi day event, you must really look at what you’re trying to accomplish. Some events might be only trying to market and promote to there area, while others though a slow process hope to build themselves into a Global Festival destination drawing people from all over the world. In todays social media craze it has become the main form of promoting. Were living in a new generation where the Printed material just isn’t going as far to spread the word. So what UNstructured Sounds does is tries to use both word of mouth along with unique promotional material. Between the UNstructured paper fans, which made there way into Peoples in Hands at WMC and Movement in Detroit and the DWS lighters we want people to remember US. The Main thing is securing venues very far in advance so you can start to develop a checklist of what you have to acquire like permits, sound and equipment. Then you can start to reach out to artists and agencies to see who’s available, that’s when the real fun begins!
It isn’t all hard work and there are usually some funny stories or people that make you stop and laugh. What are some memorable moments for you both?
Shaun – Wow, since joining the UNStructured Sounds team I have met some of the most amazing people in the world. Andy has introduced me to some of the best people I have ever known and to be invited by him to help him with this is something I could never repay him for. One of the most memorable times I had was throwing the Denver Winter Showcase in 2013. That was a real treat. The turn out was beyond what we ever could have imagined but that smile on Andy’s face from ear to ear as we threw a very successful event was probably the most rewarding thing that could of happened. He worked extremely hard in his first year to make this all a possibility and he got so many people involved that once the event was over, there was an incredible amount of respect I had for him. That was probably the most rewarding thing I have gotten from this whole idea is learning how music can bring so many people together on one dance floor for the same purpose.
Andy – Over the years I’ve met some amazing people. Well last year in Miami as I met one of my best friends to this day. Ill leave his name out of it but he offered me some of his vodka and redbull, as I casually sipped down my favorite beverage he asked for it back not realizing I had consumed the whole thing. “no worries” I said Ill get you a new one, which is when he revealed that was no ordinary drink and had an extra ingredient which I happened to have in my pocket. His face when I handed back the identical item was like a kid on Christmas. We became best friends for Life at that very moment. That’s the thing about this music….I bet every one of you reading this has a similar story of someone you’ve met because of this magical music.
You have worked with some of our guest artists as Patrice Baumel and Jewel Kid. Is there anyone you would like to work with in the future?
Shaun – I could go on and on about artists that I love and respect so much that I would want to share with Denver. Some of my favorites at this moment in time that I would really enjoy bringing out to Colorado would be the girls over at HushLamb such as Alicia Hush. I also very much enjoy artists like Sasha Dive, Rodriguez Jr., Ness, Mod2 and many others. I like to keep my mind open when it comes to music and what can be created by artists but someone I would be honored and thrilled to bring out would be Moderat (Modeselektor & Apparat). They are completely phenomenal musicians and it would be an honor to work with someone of their stature.
Andy – Since I’m always discovering new artists so my list is growing constantly. Barem whom we have the honor of booking for this years Denver winter showcase, was a booking that was over 2 years in the making. Some of these artists are very hard to acquire due to limited tour dates or being too late in there planning processes. Some of my favorite artists are Coyu, Dosem, Monika Kruse, Anja Scnheider, Re-you. But were also looking forward to the return of Desyn Masiello to Denver. Stay tuned!
I hear you are expanding into DJ and tour management with UNStructured Sounds Entertainment, what made you want to move towards this role and how are you finding the role?
Shaun – At UNStructured Sounds – Entertainment we want to share with the world some of the artists that we know and love on a more personal level. We have gained a lot of respect for and have found some amazing talent that we could give proper representation to and thought that this was a calling for us. Eventually, we wanted to end up becoming an international business throwing shows all over the world for people to come together and have a beautiful time with one another. I read an article the other day in which an artist said that a DJ is not just someone who mixes music together song after song but is someone that gives a well rounded feeling to a room, setting a vibe that people could enjoy with each other and I think that is what we want to do with USE. We want to give the world what is happening in Denver and we want to be a part of the movement in which music brings people together. It’s really all about the people. We can give them new music that they have not heard yet before and can give them something they can enjoy as one.
Andy – After helping set up US Tours in 2013 for a few Globe trotting DJs, it gave me the confidence and the motivation to start helping artists who were actively seeking an agent. So on January 2014 UNstructured Sounds Entertainment began its chapter in bookings. We’ve added artists such as Omid 16b, Justin James, Michael l Penman, Sergio Santos, Salvatore LoGrasso, Luca Noize, Sebastian Torres, and most recently the Beta Ghosts. Were Very excited for the future of U.S.E. and the artists were adding.
Thank you for taking time to chat to us today, is there anything in the future that we can look forward to?
Shaun – You’re very welcome and thank you for taking the time to acknowledge us to be a part of your already renowned magazine. I think we have a few tricks up our sleeves going forward this year after the Denver Winter Showcase that is going to be quite the surprise for our current and new followers throughout the year and in the future. This year is going to be bringing some big things for UNStructured Sounds, UnSturctured Sounds Entertainment, and future annual Denver Winter Showcases.
Andy – The Pleasure is all on this side of the Pond Damion, were beyond thrilled that Denver winter showcase is really makes waves in Europe! Cheers to the future and thanks for your time.
For more information
March 6-9, 2014: The second coming of the Denver Winter Showcase (DWS) presented by UNstructured Sounds featuring 4 days of electronic music from Denver’s best local talent, collective showcases, and some of the best DJs from around the globe.