Last summer PR and music connoisseur Alex Jukes flied in for an exclusive interview at our headquarters. Here, the Man of the Festivals revealed us how he turned his passion for music and travelling into a business through his company Jukebox PR.
Founded 10 years ago, Alex’s successful agency led him to travel to 200 festivals in only the last five years in 50 countries worldwide, putting a spotlight on countless rising international music stars and events like Epizode Vietnam, SXM Festival and more.
Jukebox PR currently works with a wide range of lifestyle brands, artists (Solomun, Matthias Tanzmann, Franky Rizardo, Dennis Cruz and more), festivals (SXM Festival, Awakenings, Kappa FuturFestival, Epizode Vietnam, Cocoon In the Park, Mint Festival, Movement Festival, 51st State Festival etc.), labels, clubs, hotels, tourists boards, global travel agencies and many more, promoting them all over the world through press materials and trips, product and event launches, European tours, and a wide variety of coverage across all platforms.
During the interview the London-based entrepreneur talked about the beginning of his career, Jukebox PR’s expansion in Asia, Spain and the USA, his new chapter with Jukebox Management, the newly launched division focusing on artist management, distribution, bookings, content creation, sync, and more!
Hello Alex! Could you tell us how did you start you career, and in particular, why did you get closer to the festivals’ field?
I started my career about 10 years ago. When I was at university I used to be a football player but I ended up getting injured (I broke one of my toe). Thus, I could not play football anymore on the weekend, so I started going out, going to clubs and listen to house music and seeing DJs such as Joey Negro, Ron Carroll and more. That’s how I just really started getting into the scene.
Then, I realized that I really wanted to work in the scene, so I left university, went to London and when I did a work experience in a PR company, I learned everything I needed to learn in three months. After leaving that PR company, I started my own PR company working with clubs and events and helping to promote them. So, over the years we have built up to do artists and labels, and then we have got offered the chance to do festivals and it went on really well. I also have a massive love for travelling, so I said “Right, I like festivals and I’m gonna travel to every side of the world, meet promoters there trying to engage them and tell them what we do,” and since then I have travelled, I think I have been to 350 festivals around the world. I have definitely been to a lot of festivals, but that’s mainly due to my love for travelling, and yeah, we basically created a business off the back of it.
Why did you decide to focus on the world of artists’ management?
Like I said before, Jukebox PR has been going on for 10 years. We work with a lot of festivals and we have a lot of artists promoting them into the media. This is just like a natural progression of us growing up as a company, finding new talent. I found two amazing partners to work with! We sat down and we came up with the idea of this project to help to create new artists and pushed them into the market. So, It definitely seems like a natural progression in the career and I have been doing this since I was 25 in the industry. Now I have a lot of contacts and it can really help new talents to break into the industry.
Which are the services this new company of yours, Jukebox Management, will offer and how is it organized?
There are three partners involved: we have two very great producers, a team of media experts in promotion marketing and a side that looks after all our publishing and syncs as well. They started all the services that we’re gonna be offering, which include of course the artists and how to make their music better, to help to promote themselves. We come up with strategies for them not just for 1 year, but for 5 years, which means we want to work with artists for not just one single album, but we want to develop their careers over like 5 to 6 years. Part of that as well is we help them to get into booking agencies, to get booked around the world, we give them advice and help them to grow up into the industry.
Why did you choose to open up an office in Shanghai? What do you think about the Chinese market?
China and the whole of Asia it is by far one of the most exciting and fastest growing in the world. I think there were 150 festivals in China in the last 12 months, mainly focused on EDM, which is massive over there at the minute. There is a lot of people’s entry into dance music, and mine was David Guetta, then I found Swedish House Mafia, Jamie Jones, Dixon. So, lots of the Chinese crowd first get into big EDM pop, and then they come down a couple levels discovering new artists. Asia is really exciting, and that is why we have opened two new offices: one in Bangkok and one in Shanghai. We will help international brands to connect into the Chinese market as well through doing music, music projects, music nights coming out with interesting activations that people can do as well. It is an exciting market and its is exciting to see that happening.
How do you see the future of electronic music and more in general of big festivals and events?
I think it is quite hard to see where electronic music is going, because it is growing and it seems it is exploding now. Over the last couple of years I have seen EDM exploding massively, but I know the underground is coming back and becoming popular. For example, in Ibiza there used to be mainly EDM events, but nowadays there are loads and loads of techno nights.
So, yeah, the scene has been growing massively and now is global and like I said before about China, the Chinese market is growing, they travel to different festivals around the world. I think there are probably too many festivals but what I really like are the new smaller ones. You basically put these smaller festivals in really cool destinations like in Vietnam, where there is this new festival called Epizode. It can host between 10 to 15 thousand people, it is on the beach and you can see the sunset there. I am also involved in a festival called SXM, in St. Martin, in the Caribbean, which can host like 4/5 thousands of people really intimate, really great. And this is amazing too, because you really get to know people working in this field. So, I think there is a big market for these smaller, independent festivals, but you have to really create a concept, like a USP – unique selling point – for attracting people to come to a festival. It is exploding at the a minute and it is exciting for me because I work with a lot of festivals.
One of the latest trends is artists going live, not only the live involving DJ sets. What do you think about this new way of delivering electronic music?
Yeah, I think it’s brilliant. I think fans and people in general really get an insight into a DJ’s life. Nowadays there is a sort of FOMO, like when you are home and you can’t join an event but you really want to know what is going on, or even when you are in a beef for the right festival with your friends and you can see what they are doing. But now, when a DJ has the best focal point of the party, he can go live and people can listen to his sets all around the world. There are all these amazing streaming services such as Be-At.TV, who help people see what’s going on at an event. I also think it is a really great tool for DJs now, so they can see what tunes are being played, who and what artists are playing a tune, and they can let you watch and see what the crowd is doing, and reacting to their music as well. So, I think it is good. Social media in general are definitely changing the whole game and the DJing world, making it more interesting. Actually, they have helped to grow the career of many personalities within the industry as well.
When there will be the launch of your new company and how will you manage it?
We are looking to launching it over the next two months. We are finalizing all the details that have been behind the scenes for the last two years, so we want to make sure that everything is right, we are working with the right artists, we have everything set up. As I said, we have an amazing team of people who bring all their own secret and special talents, from producing music to promotions, to contacts around the world. So yeah, it is exciting. Hopefully we will be launching within the next few months.
House of Frankie is a digital platform dedicated to Frankie Knuckles, and more in general, a tribute to house music. What do you think about our project?
I think it is fantastic! You can tell from the people who work here have a real passion for house music, a real passion for DJ culture. Your studio is amazing, I really like it, I like your branding, the energy of it. I read some of the contents that you do, you support a lot of the stuff I do for festivals and DJs. I see I really bright future for you guys. Congrats!
Watch the video announcement for the newly Jukebox Management below!