This is Magnetic’s Industry Focus- a series where we highlight those working behind the scenes of the EDM biz. These are the folks running the record labels, representing the artists, promoting the shows and getting it done. They may not get the shine of deadmau5 or Kaskade, but they work just as hard making sure the parties are packed, the music is perfect, and that the artists are where they need to be. We’ve decided to focus on the behind the scenes movers and shakers that are helping you move and shake.
Today, we highlight Justin Kleinfeld President & Founder of Rephlektor Inkorporated, a leading publicity firm. His company represents some of the biggest names in electronic dance music (Tiesto, Oakenfold, and Laidback Luke to name a few), and also brings a steady stream of newcomers to light. Rephlektor's reach goes well beyond traditional print media, spanning into both the radio and digital realms.
Take a read-
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
I actually started out in the film industry and was Scott Greenstein’s assistant when he was the Chairman of USA Films. Of course, he’s now the President Of Sirius XM and a big supporter of dance music.
I left Scott to pursue a job in the music industry with CMJ. In short time I became the dance music editor and had a weekly column where I ran artist interviews and music reviews. I also started freelancing for other publications including Remix Magazine, which was a great production-focused magazine. I was able to interview some amazing artists like M83, Underworld, Jeff Mills, Erasure and James Murphy from a technical point of view and how they created their music.
I left CMJ and was offered a part time job at a PR company where I lead campaigns for a lot of great artists. After a short time, I left to start my own company. Almost nine years later and here we are.
What is the best part of the business?
No doubt it’s that I get to work with amazing artists. Artists like Tiesto, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Oakenfold, Deep Dish and many more have truly inspired me and I used to go see many of them play when I was just a fan. It’s incredible that I can speak with them as a friend and colleague on a daily basis. I never forget that.
What are the biggest challenges?
Coming up with great ideas and angles that will be considered interesting to the larger media. While dance music is huge right now, there still aren’t all that many larger crossover outlets that want to cover it on a regular basis.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Bust your ass, treat people with respect, intern/work for a prominent player in the business, observe, pay your dues. There are only so many of these jobs going around and if you don’t want to get into the trenches someone else will.
As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
I think that with anything, if you want to be a player long term you need to be willing to evolve and see how you can be better. Of course, you should be incredibly responsible and respect that this is a serious business and not some 24/7/365 party.
Did you start off as a fan of electronic music and then became involved on the business side, or did business bring you into the electronic music world?
Yes, I was a fan and that’s what inspired me to leave the film business to pursue a career in music. I didn’t go to school to be a writer or a publicist (in fact I never took a writing class or a Public Relations class) but I was passionate about the music and clearly in the right place at the right time.
What does electronic music mean to you?
Its one of the most influential and life changing things I’ve ever experienced. I used to be big into Metal and industrial music, but then when I heard classic Josh Wink, Plastikman, Acid House, The Prodigy, Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin, Aphrodite, The Orb, Orbital (I can go on forever), my life was forever changed.
What cities/regions do you think electronic dance music is best thriving?
New York and Los Angeles are the easy answers and of course it seems that everyone plays Vegas. But there are so many great scenes all over the country.
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be doing something in the film industry.
Where do you see the most innovation in the EDM industry?
I guess it would be the festival and large event experience. When I was in college I couldn’t fathom something like EDC Las Vegas or Ultra being possible. The scale and production is amazing. Personally, seeing the first Swedish House Mafia show at Madison Square Garden was a pinch me moment. I have such a connection to that arena having grown up in NYC, and to have been a part of that show working with SHM was simply amazing.