Matt Fax & Dezza: “It feels great to find back a real audience, interact with them and make them happy”
The renowned compilation series 'Colorscapes' returns for its third volume, once again featuring three stellar…
Electronic Groove: Hi, Jori, and welcome to EG. To get things started can you let us know how you got involved with Dance Music?
Jori Lowery: Music has always been a powerful form of therapy for me for as long as I can remember. I originally began my journey in the music industry by helping promote raves in my late teens, then moved onto hosting large events in New York City in 1999 at clubs like Limelight, Webster Hall, Sound Factory, and The Tunnel. I was randomly introduced to psy-trance music while promoting one of my events in NYC. This was a pivotal moment for me as this genre then became my true love, my sound, and my people. Psy-trance music will always have a warm place in my heart. These were defining years in NYC and the world for the music industry. I am so blessed to have been a part of the scene before 9/11 happened. When 9/11 hit NYC, it took a massive toll on the music industry and with all tragedies, it forced people to change. I took a 15-year pause from the business side of music and found a passion in the esthetics and fitness industry. I am a creative entrepreneur, I have curated several successful businesses. However, I never stopped being a fan in the music industry, because music holds a special place in my “timeline” and has the ability to be a form of therapy.
Electronic Groove: Where did the idea of opening a talent agency come from? And how does Conflux differentiate from the rest?
Jori Lowery: Great question! A few years ago, I went through life-altering hardships that allowed me to truly reflect on myself personally and professionally. On a professional level, I felt as if I had fulfilled my purpose in the esthetic and fitness industry. On a personal level, I took inventory of my life, all of the people in it, all of my hardships, accomplishments, and decided to reinvent myself. First and foremost, I am a dedicated mother to my two daughters who are my ultimate inspiration and motivation. I love to travel, learn new cultures and I absolutely crave authentic styles of art. I took a solo trip on a whim to Morocco, where I found myself in the middle of the Sahara Desert with incredible humans and electronic music. On my flight home, I was processing my trip and began my journey with Conflux Connect, which is a couture concept, and a mosaic work of art of my life journeys and my true passion for advocating positive change in the arts industry.
Conflux Connect is an ‘active agency’, and more of a ‘movement’ in the Arts and Music Industry. I am an artist advocate, where I actively seek all forms of talent offering them consulting, branding, management, and bookings. I also hold old school values with my business relationships. I like to meet face to face, talk about what talent best serves their event and I also am an active part of their promoting process to ensure a sold-out show. I am naturally competitive, so I like to pave the path with high standards, professional business ethics and I am a woman of my word.
I am not a ‘transaction agency’, where I wait till an artist is at a huge level and then lock them into a contract. A ‘transaction agency’ tends to have a massive roster, with several big named artists where an intern sits behind a computer and pushes emails for gigs. It is 2020, times are changing and so are artists and promoters needs from an agency. There is nothing genuine behind taking an artist who has already worked their way to the top, and then an agency reaps the benefits. This is a two-way street for both, the artist and I, we put in a dual effort to maintain “professional sustainability.”
Electronic Groove: How would you define your roster? What makes it exciting?
Jori Lowery: Conflux is a niche agency, specializing in the underground music industry. I have equisetic taste for genuine authentic talent. I have grown quite fond of melodic techno and deep house genres of music. My roster is considered boutique style, it is elite and all hand-selected. I believe in all of my artists as they believe in Conflux as well. We are family, we all support each other and work together as a team. I specialize exclusively in the United States, and non-exclusively worldwide with bookings. After 9/11, the industry plummeted making it very difficult for foreign artists to come to the USA and tour legally. The majority of my roster is internationally based, so I assist in work visas and help build their brand and fan base in the USA. I wanted to share the positive affects each of my artists have given to me to the United States. Through my travels and journeys, I have been able to connect with these hidden gems and represent them as well. I am extremely blessed to be living my purpose in life, introduce humans to new forms of talent, and employ artists.
Electronic Groove: What are you looking for when selecting someone from your roster? Any specific qualities?
Jori Lowery: I have a theory that there are two types of artists. You have ‘lifestyle’ and ‘professional’ artists. Lifestyle artists are what I consider, focused more on the lifestyle a.k.a the party more than their craft. In most cases, they are content with low fees, sometimes play for free just to have their name on a lineup, and are able to coast by in life while not too focused on being recognized as a professional in the industry. A professional artist has elevated to a place in their craft where they are ready to invest in themselves, gain a solid team to assist them in reaching their fullest potential. Not focusing on the lifestyle as much and more on being respected as a professional in the music industry. Can you be both? Absolutely. However, we need to remember this is essentially work at the end of the day. If we want to be recognized as professionals, we need to conduct ourselves in a civilized manner and have self-worth. As an agent, I am not as focused on my artists’ hospitality rider, yet more on getting them their worth and selling out the show. This is my full-time job, my business and I take it seriously. I am selective whom I do business with to ensure everyone is happy from the promoter, venue, artists, and most importantly the FANS!
With that being said, I am very selective when it comes to signing an artist today. Conflux is not a ‘one size fits all’ agency. I attract the more ‘professional’ type of artist for my roster. Conflux is impeccable with stellar customer service from my artists to business engagements. Customer service is the number one complaint from promoters and venues. I run a tight ship with my team to ensure accountability on all sides. All of my artists produce a certain number of tracks per year, multi-purposed, this is their full-time profession and we both have a solid partnership when it comes to our future together. We share the same values with professionalism and likeminded goals.
Electronic Groove: Are you excited about Electronic Groove’s Music Weekend, our first digital festival? Which artists felt right for this event and why?
Jori Lowery: I am thrilled to be in collaboration with this gorgeous, diverse ‘female-dominated’ lineup. I love how supportive Valhalla, Electronic Groove, and Bespoke have been in supporting these incredible ladies. Naturally, I choose to include my two fabulous talented females, Miss DANSOR and Miss Malin Linneá. DANSOR is based in Amsterdam, she is a woman of many trades. She is a promoter, producer, DJ, label owner and also doing a ‘Live Interactive Experience’ while on set. Miss Malin Linneá is based in Stockholm, however, she is currently at Scorpios Mikonos for the summer. She is also a woman of many trades. She is a producer, DJ, and does sound healing as well. I am so incredibly proud and thankful to have these two females in my life, they are both truly talented and special to me. I hope you enjoy their sets and indulge in their articles too.
Electronic Groove: Moving into the current situation with COVID-19 and all the event cancellations as well as clubs, the industry has taken a hard hit. What are your thoughts on this and what do you think can be done to make things better?
Jori Lowery: March 2020 thus since has been an emotional roller coaster for me as a mother and business owner. The uncertainty of the music industry’s future has been an eye-opening experience. The first few months were feelings of shock, anger, frustration, and compassion for the industry. We had our entire 2020 calendar planned out for major events, then one by one tours and conferences got canceled. My hands were tied while suddenly social media became a battleground for political propaganda causing a massive divide within our industry. We are all processing these traumatic times differently and at our own speed. Before the pandemic hit, I was preparing to launch a project that I am very passionate about called, SPHERES. I am a huge advocate for education, awareness, and self-growth. The project is a series of workshops and seminars, the focus is ‘resetting the create thinking process.’ Our industry lacks continuing education for artists, a place to take a step back from the party, and dig deep. This pandemic has allowed SPHERES to really grow a special worldwide community where we can listen, learn, gain awareness, vent, and evolve which is so important as an artist. It was created for artists, made to employ artists. It is for all spectrums of art, a place to have human interaction, innovate, and to gently push ourselves out of our comfort zone which in turn allows us to create new ideas and concepts. In order for a positive change in our lives, we must get uncomfortable and real with ourselves. We must face the reality of what was not working, what was not ethical, listen to our fans, managers, agents, promoters, venues, and artists to truly reach our fullest potential.
Electronic Groove: From the artist’s point of view, what is your advice on how to handle this, and how can they take advantage of the situation?
Jori Lowery: We are all essentially artists at the end of the day, living the ebbs and flows of life. As artists, we can create our finest work during our darkest times. I encourage artists to take a pause, dig deep, and let go of the past. Be open to this time, allow yourself to evolve as an individual and a professional. Right now, we have the opportunity to truly love ourselves and not worry about the stresses of the industry. Ask yourself this one question, when the pandemic is behind us and we can move forward, when you look back at how you spent your time, “did you truly nourish your soul, mind and body to give yourself the reset you truly deserved as an individual and professional”. Get inspired, learn a new craft, get educated, fall in love, and get out of your comfort zone. Love wins!
Electronic Groove: There has been a lot of controversies lately surrounding the surfacing of videos in which we can see some of the biggest names in the industry playing for big crowds that do not seem to abide by social distancing and safety measures. What are your thoughts on this? What impact do you think this has on the rest of the industry that chooses to ‘play by the book’?
Jori Lowery: Twenty years ago, the underground music scene didn’t have social media. Social media is a double-edged sword, it can be so incredible for networking, pushing your brand and events worldwide. However, it has also truly destroyed the underground scene because people are sharing their every move making it literally impossible to do anything without even one person shaming another person publicly or simply getting the event shut down. As a professional in the arts and music industry, I am not in favor of booking my artists at events now as it is not worth the risk on all levels. For every action we take, there will be a reaction. Ultimately, I tell them to do what makes you happy. Own your truth and be happy with it. For anyone who is not taking this pandemic seriously to make a quick dollar, well I believe everything works its way out for the best in the end. I do not judge anyone for any decisions they choose as an individual and professional. I believe we are all doing our best to get through these times and should support each other as a community and not create a divide in the industry. What makes our industry so beautiful is how we are all so unique and our feelings towards specific topics are valid, we need to have more compassion for humans and focus more on building a stronger community for our future. At the end of the day, it is not about ME, it is not about YOU, it is about US.
“I encourage artists to take a pause, dig deep and let go of the past. Be open to this time, allow yourself to evolve as
an individual and a professional”
Electronic Groove: How do you see the future for dance music mapping out?
Jori Lowery: The ‘human experience’ with dance music will always thrive, artists will continue to evolve, music will shift with the times and the fans will crave a more ‘interactive Live set’ event experience in the future. With that being said, nothing will be the same when it is time to move forward. The industry will have endured a massive ‘reset’ which will force everything to change. This needed to happen, as hard as it is to endure. I have compassion for everyone, but we need to stop with the unethical behavior of over-charging fans, underpaying artists, and also seeing artists being compensated for their music production. I know one thing, that is when the time allows us to move forward it will be better than ever, and we will thrive. Some of us will have shifted to other areas of art, some of us will have reinvented ourselves into our best work of art and some of us will simply accept it for what it is and enjoy the gift of music. I truly look forward to this moment in time.
Electronic Groove: Thank you for your time and all the best to you and your artists.
Jori Lowery: Thank you so much for all that you do in the music industry. I truly appreciate this EPIC collaboration and giving me the respect to talk about Conflux Connect, SPHERES, and debuting DANSOR and Malin Linneá. A huge thank you to the entire Valhalla Team, Mauricio & René at Electronic Groove, Rocky at Bespoke Musik, and ALL of the fabulous female artists who put together their sets and interviews! A special thank you to Cassidy @Duhonphotography for an incredibly fun photoshoot! ALL of my artists for staying strong during these hard times! I am focused on our future as a community, as a leader in the industry, and as a positive advocate to my artists. I love you all dearly, thank you for believing in me. I believe in you!