Utah is not the first place most people think of when they think of electronic music culture or festivals for that matter. Zion National Park, incredible powder, Mormons but music, not so much.
Don't sleep on little Salt Lake City, although still a relatively conservative town it has a very hardcore and dedicated electronic music scene and a cultural renaissance that is bubbling just under the calm exterior. New restaurants, guys like the Summit Series just an hour or so away at Powder Mountain, more cool and creative companies moving in. There is a shift happening, and people are finally starting to notice.
Jeremy Moreland and Brandon Fullmer know this, but that's never been their primary motivation, they have been operating in SLC long before any gastropubs and bartenders with exceptional beards moved in.
These guys have been a part of the electronic music bedrock, practically the only game in town and definitely the biggest.
We spent some time with the founders of V2 Productions and took a look under the hood. This is Utah baby, and they aren't messing around.
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
Jeremy - I’ve been a lifelong fan of the music and parties. In ‘97, I relocated to Salt Lake City from Atlanta where I started throwing underground, warehouse, and desert parties (otherwise known as “renegade parties”) under the name “Endless Nights Entertainment” and “Hi Point.”
Brandon - Born and raised in Utah, I’ve also been a fan of the scene as long as I can remember. In ‘96 I began throwing some of the first underground parties SLC had ever seen. I was also manager on and off at the prominent record stores Mechanized & Uprok in SLC from the years 1998 - 2008 and continued to throw events under those names.
After throwing our own events around the valley for a few years, we naturally met and began producing events together from 2003-2005. After a full-fledged legal fiasco that ensued after our 2005 event “Versus 2” in Utah Valley - we officially partnered up and formed the name “V2”.
Basically we started off as a couple of party kids, who had a vision of a bigger and better scene in Salt Lake City. We had been around and seen the potential in bigger markets and wanted to bring those visions to SLC.
What is the best part of the business?
Seeing the real positive change that this music and our events make in people’s lives. We’ve had fans share with us at shows or on social media that they’ve gone through very hard times and looking forward to Das Energi or one of our other festivals has been the driving force that has kept them going and given them something to look forward to when things get rough.
Spreading that positive energy and seeing thousands of smiling faces at our events is what we live for <3
What are the biggest challenges?
Our first major challenge was in 2005 (Versus 2) that involved our event being illegally raided and shut down on private property in Utah County. We were detained, shut down, and harassed by local authorities all under the assumption that illegal activity was happening.
Since then, a challenge of ours has been to win over the approval of the city and state of Utah and work to erase the stigma surrounding the dance music scene and their idea of what a “rave”.
Our only struggle other than that (though a small one) is keeping all of our patrons happy with the style of music we bring to our larger shows. Keeping everyone pleased with the genres of music and types of experiences they want to have. We do our best to build experiences that cater to everyone’s musical and creative taste.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Ease into it and don’t try to take over the world right out of the gates. Humility is everything. Know your place and pay your dues. Learn the business, explore the scene, and observe how things operate before trying to jump to the top.
As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
Learn and work to grasp the process of growth. Understand how things such as music, tastes, and the over industry adapts and changes over time and find ways to adapt with them.
Once you have a vision for something that is a ways down the road, stick with it until it manifests into reality. When there are speed bumps and roadblocks (which there will be), don’t lose sight of where you set out to go. Stay humble and don’t ever stop chasing your dreams.
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? Describe that Process.
We haven’t known a life without this music and this scene. We’ve been apart of it as long as we’ve been old to enough to have a taste in music. There really wasn’t much of a hard transition into the business side of things. Are lives naturally made the turn towards putting on events, and it grew from there.
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
That is a question that we cannot even come up with an answer to. As stated above, this music and this scene have been our entire lives. We believe that we were born to be apart of this. It runs in our veins.
Where do you see the most innovation in the EDM industry (i.e. Music, experience, nightclubs, behind the scenes, etc) and why?
In a scene that’s so oversaturated with DJs and producers all trying to copy each other’s styles and sound the same - the producers who are innovating music and working to expand the boundaries of what defines each genre are the ones who are going to shine in the future.
New methods of marketing and communication paired with new technologies in social media and digital marketing will be a key to continued innovation and continued success in this industry.
With more festivals becoming more the same and more mainstream - smaller grassroots and boutique festivals will continue to rise and in turn, curate dedicated audiences with unmatched loyalty.
In the long run: artistry, creativity, and authenticity will prevail.