Josh Pollack and Dave Sheldon are quite the duo. For those not living in the thriving musical metropolis of Boulder, Colorado you may not know these names. But to the lucky population living here, these two are synonymous with putting on some of the biggest and best shows around. Since 2006, they have brought urban, diverse and eclectic music and cultural events to Colorado’s Front Range. Through the incorporation of various styles of electronic music, professionally-run production and an overall unique appeal, Euphonic Conceptions has been stimulating new vigor in the Colorado music scene. Bringing a fresh perspective on electronic music, the new company has been making waves from coast-to-coast.WAIT... THERE'S MORE STUFF
They sold out four nights of official STS9 after parties in Atlanta, Georgia to ring in the New Year, as well as coming close to selling out a massive Halloween bash in San Francisco. EC Presents has also spawned a monthly residency at Trilogy Wine Bar in Boulder, which is growing exponentially with each event.
On March 20th, Trilogy hosted the latest installment of RE:CREATION, which is the moniker they have given their events nationwide. This show will feature the first ever solo DJ set from Alex Botwin of the Pnuma Trio, with special guests Count Bass D, Phidelity, and Boulder’s own DJ Rootz.
Glide had a chance to catch up with these two young, pioneering minds to get a glimpse into the world of the burgeoning event planners, to see just what it takes to be successful in the world of concert promotion.
First of all, what are the true roots to Euphonic Conceptions? How did the idea come about?
JOSH: Euphonic Conceptions originally began as medium to provide a creative space for our community to be entertained all night, straight through the early morning hours. This idea was put into action after STS9’s first headlining show at Red Rocks in September 2006, as a natural evolution of our burning collective need to continue raging past the rise of the morning sun.
DAVE: When we decided to throw that first late night show in September of ’06, it was pretty much purely with the intention of being able to rage with our friends till the sun came. We were starting to get into Bassnectar at the time, as he had just played the first Sonic Bloom here along with Ooah and Zilla, and I had been listening to Edit’s downtempo “Crying Over Pros for No Reason” album for a while by then.
It was sort of a miracle that we managed to book Bassnectar, Edit, and Ooah for our first show ever. Once that was done, the show virtually promoted itself … we sold it out a month in advance, and the only place we really announced it was to our friends and on STS9’s message board, the Lowdown (www.thelowdown.org). The show ended up being the Colorado debut of the Glitch Mob. A year later they were playing Red Rocks with STS9.
What are some of your influences? Both cultural and musically, as well as business wise.
DAVE: Personally I first started thinking about the incredible potential of late night shows after Camp Bisco in 2005. Simon Posford threw down a Hallucinogen set early in the night, and then went ahead and shredded our collective faces alongside Benji Vaughn until like 8AM or something. It was one of the most absurd sets of music that I had seen, continuing well past sunrise. Camp Bisco was less than a week before I left to travel for about 3 and a half months through India, Nepal and Tibet … which was definitely one of the most eye opening journeys I’ve ever gone on.
It was during that time abroad that I started to really delve into Buddhism, shamanism, and meditation. Strangely, many of the experiences and perspectives that I came across in these contexts of these spiritual experiences seemed to coincide with things that I connected to my own experiences seeing STS9 over the course of few years - and my experience with that particular Younger Brother/Hallucinogen late night set.
After getting back to the U.S, I was firmly convinced of the consciousness raising potential of these kinds of late night shows and events. STS9 had been my favorite band for years and it seemed natural to try and bring that about within their community. The intentions for me have always been on that level, and as we evolve the business elements to this whole enterprise are becoming more and more important – but I feel strongly that it is crucial that we maintain our original intentions with these events if we want this kind of success to continue.
JOSH: We knew that a lot of people shared a similar mindset as us and would be into the idea of an all-night show, but nobody was making any strides towards the creation of this kind of space. This was really the biggest motivation for us to start trying to create exactly that. All of the music festivals we had been to, which often go through the night until the break of dawn, helped inspire us to bring that same idea into a smaller, more intimate setting.
What were some of the obstacles to starting your own business? Describe some of the steps that went into laying the ground work for EC.
JOSH: Our original idea with the first couple events was mainly based on throwing the best party possible. We are always trying to improve our craft, and learning from our previous events- what went well, what didn’t work, how certain things could have been avoided, in order to get the process down to a science.
DAVE: As kids who were really into the music but with little to no technical expertise, there were quite a few obstacles to getting the various logistics together for a show of the magnitude that our first party was. We were also lucky enough to meet the crew at Green Spirit Studios out of Boulder, who provided us with sound, lights, ticketing staff, security, and a kick ass warehouse space in which we could throw an all-night party. It was bizarre how perfectly synchronized the scenario was, and we went with it. The results to say the least were incredible. That space unfortunately was shut down after our second show there, but it was the best possible situation in which to start learning the whole process of concert promotion.
If you didn't start EC here, then where? How has living and working in a town like Boulder helped spawn EC Presents?
JOSH: The growing music scene in Boulder has been a key aspect in the development of Euphonic Conceptions. There is not much of an established local scene, and much of the music that comes through is from out of town and ends up being many of the same touring acts. But there is a revitalizing, almost spiritual, tone to experiencing new music for the first time. Sometimes it hits you so hard that you’re simply left wanting more. That’s what we strive to find in live music, and continually provide for our community here in Boulder, and beyond.
DAVE: As we’ve started throwing these kinds of late night events across the country it has become apparent that this is not something that is unique to Boulder, Colorado. Like minded people all over the nation are looking for this kind of experience, and for the most part are not finding it. For whatever reason though, it seems as though a lot of these like minded people have ended up living in and around Colorado (myself among them).
Other than the two aforementioned events, what else is in store for you two?
JOSH: Doing stand alone shows is something that we have begun to delve more into lately, as that is an area that we would like to see ourselves grow more in. Our next RE:CREATION at Trilogy is going to be April 17th – its going to feature Random Rab, BioDiesel, James Christopher, and D Numbers. We have also been working on putting together an all day and night music event for this summer, and are eventually hoping to work towards our own campout festival.
DAVE: A big focus for some time now is the upcoming Younger Brother Live project with Simon Posford, which personally I am more excited about than anything else. This is going to be a massive show, going from 10PM till 4AM straight, at the Boulder Theater.
The lineup is going to be ridiculous – Simon Posford will be throwing down his Shpongle and Hallucinogen projects, while also playing in the live Younger Brother band alongside Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits, Joe Russo of the Duo, Tommy Hamilton of the late Brothers Past, and Benji Vaughn out of the U.K. Conspirator is going to be playing as well, and Benji will also be doing a Prometheus DJ set. Its going to be a really special show; we’re stepping out of the box for this one, trying to expand our vision of a “late night show” as being much more than just an after party.
Tell our readers a little more about your monthly residencies at Trilogy. How do you decide on which acts to feature and how has response from concert-goers been thus far?
JOSH: The Trilogy RE:CREATIONs have given us an opportunity to share some of the music that we’ve personally been listening to lately, and bring in artists that wouldn’t usually play around Boulder. When deciding which acts to feature a lot of it is based on who we personally would really like to see … then we go from there. We’re trying to help expose the growing hub of an electronic music scene here by showcasing local talent alongside a rotating cast of fresh big-time artists from out of town.
DAVE: Mostly we pick who we want to bring in for these shows based on who we want to see ourselves, more than anything else. That has been pretty much the idea since the beginning and we’ve stuck with it … we are trying to avoid as much as possible the idea of bringing in somebody just because we think they’ll sell tickets, or because of politics, or whatever … trying to just keep it to the music that we want to hear ourselves, and if people are down with that then we’re stoked. So far it seems like they have been.
How did the relationship w/ STS9 come about?
DAVE: After our first after party at GSP in 2006 went off so well, we knew that we had to do more the next time that STS9 came to town … which they did, in a big way. When they first announced 5 nights in a row at the Boulder Theater the first instinct was to try and do all five nights, ha. We ended up doing two, coining the title “RE:CREATION” – the first one at Trilogy was sold out, with Eliot Lipp, Bluetech, MFA, and Ana Sia. The second one at the Root Underground was huge – with the Glitch Mob, Pnuma Live PA, Future Rock, and the Walrus & the Carpenter.
JOSH: After those went off without a hitch, we went much bigger for the bands’ return in September ’07, bringing in Bonobo from the U.K and also American electronic legends Prefuse 73 and Telefon Tel Aviv. Again, everybody spoke very highly about what we were doing, and the positive feedback reached them.
DAVE: STS9’s management reached out to us, and we combined forces to make our events “Official After Parties.” Our debut outside of Boulder ironically enough was out in my home town of Boston, with the Glitch Mob, Bassnectar, and Psylab. We went on to do more in New York and Milwaukee.
JOSH: After those went off seamlessly, we put together a Halloween after party in San Francisco, four nights in Atlanta over the New Years run, and seven after parties for the most recent Winter Tour - featuring a fresh lineup every night.
DAVE: It’s been an incredible experience doing this, literally a dream come true … they’ve been my favorite band for quite some time now, and I was perfectly willing to travel long distances to see them. Getting to do what we love on top of running our own business is really an incredible blessing.
In your opinion, what's the ultimate concert-going experience? How are you two trying to enhance that experience for your ever expanding audience?
JOSH: It has to encompass both auditory and visual aspects in order to stimulate the ultimate experience. We strongly believe in the visual aesthetics that go along with the music, in order to increase the crowd’s energy. Whether it be a light show or live projections or both, the visual aspects are really important to us when addressing what we need to put into a show. Having the right sound in a room is always our first priority – with electronic music it is especially crucial, particularly when it comes to bass.
DAVE: I’m really interested in synesthesia and its potential in human experience during these kinds of events, and having top quality sound and lights is definitely an essential element to encouraging that. What is equally important as anything else is the vibe in general of a room. It matters a lot to me how crowded the venue is, and how much dancing room people have. The emotions, expectations, and intentions of the people that come out are also a huge influence on the whole party. If you have the right vibe and energy in a room, it might not matter if the show sounds and looks like crap, it’ll still be fun. If you add top of the line audio and visual to that kind of a vibe, the result can be off the charts.
Out of all the shows Euphonic Conceptions has put on thus far, do you have a particular high point or favorite?
JOSH: I think a definite favorite for both of us was the recent Gothic after party January 27th, when STS9 played a full third set after killing it at the Fillmore for two nights. I may be a bit biased, but I think that was one of the best sets I have ever seen them play. They were really loose, funky, playing what they wanted to play. The STS9 after party we did in New York with Bassnectar and the Glitch Mob was also a highlight, as the crowd was going absolutely berserk (some dancing in cages). The energy in there was off the charts.
DAVE: The recent Gothic late night with STS9 is without a doubt a highlight not only of my career but probably my life. I ended up missing the majority of the show, but what I did catch was incredibly special. When Murph (bass player for STS9) came out onstage at around 3 AM, he said something along the lines of “We just played a couple nights, so we figure we’ll just come out here and play what we want to play … hope yall enjoy it.”
The vibe in there was reminiscent of some older school shows, when things were more intimate and a little wilder – with more improvisation both out of the band and the crowd. That is exactly the energy that we are attempting to “re:create” with each of our shows – compared to some of the kinds of events you might see coming from the more establishment promoters around the country, we want to bring things back a little bit to the roots and do it how we want to do it, rather than being too concerned about what other people do or what they think.
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