Creating a Path Forward for Emerging Artists
Sacha Jones, who is busy organizing 100+ events at Montreal's Jardins de la Pépinière and Village au Pied du Courant, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his talent label and agency Good Vibe People, what he looks for in emerging artists, and what his projects are for this year.
Can you tell us a little bit about Good Vibe People?
So Good Vibe People is a talent label and an agency that brings together visual and musical artists, and we cater to live and virtual events. As musicians ourselves, we realized that when you're making original creations, it’s hard to get in front of new audiences. So, we decided to create a platform to make this easier.
One of the ways we’re doing this is by creating events that are so cool that even if you don’t know the artists performing, you would want to attend anyway. This is the backbone of our company’s motto and what drives the creation of our events and motivates our partnerships.
We’re more experience-based than name-based. Most of the industry is the other way around. For example, most events have a headliner that sells the show. How we go on about it differently is that we’re more interested in crafting an all-encompassing, multidisciplinary experience, rather than just a traditional show. That’s where we innovate, a concert is no longer just a concert, it’s many things at once.
The goal of Good Vibe People is to implement a system through partnerships and original productions that artists can go through. We’re interested in working with artists that are serious about branching out, meaning they’re serious about promoting shows and putting effort into bookings. In a way, it’s kind of like a school of independent artists and a way for them to promote their shows, promote live events, and make them better in the process. This is why we keep tabs on these artists, and it’s for us to understand where they’re going in their careers, how they’re evolving and maturing, and then try to propose gigs that are proportional to where they are in their career. As these artists grow, we can offer bigger and better gigs through that specific process.
What are you guys planning for 2022?
We have a bunch of events that are currently in discussion. I can’t start naming these before they are available to the public, but we’re definitely on track to do many bookings this summer. One event I can share is with Hôtel UNIQ, with whom we have several upcoming bookings. Adding to this, is the probable return of the Rooftop Sessions during this summer, and we’re also working on a bigger and better version of our Art Jam, with the non-profit that we work alongside with.
We have other partnerships in the making right now, I’m happy to say it’s going very well and we’re moving in the right direction. Definitely expect a few different events between now and autumn. We’ll be blasting out calls for artists for our new events because I think it’s always good to see who’s new out on the scene.
We’re also trying to get involved in the new digital space because in a few years, events will no longer just be local. I mean, you will physically be present at local events, but with the new technology that’s coming out, any event will have the potential to be an international event. We’re working on that digital experience by partnering with certain entities that are making moves in that space. This is for the long-term, but we’re already putting things together so that the whole experience will be thought through and ready to go when the technology catches up.
For someone who has never heard of Art Jam, Rooftop Events, or even Hôtel UNIQ, how would you describe these events and what can someone expect when they attend?
Our Art Jams have been happening for five years now. They are multidisciplinary events where we have art, music, body art and digital art projections, photography, and other such disciplines, all put together across three different zones of our venue, divided by live creation, exhibition, and performances. Through these different zones of creation, you can basically see what an entire art scene looks like. By being present in the moment, you’d be able to see the Montreal creative scene landscape. What’s cool about it is that you can see so many different things at once, it’s basically a buffet of creative endeavors. Plus, we encourage participation from our guests, through things like the open canvas, or our open calls for art. Any creative person can either showcase their work or simply network and just have a good time. We love the diversity of it, and the fact that it’s open to all sorts of different surprises and initiatives that don’t usually get put on a pedestal or spotlight.
For the Rooftop events, that’s something that we’ve been doing with Le Gite for a few years now. Basically it is a hostel with a rooftop, and that is now an entity in itself called Terasse Teranga, which if anybody has followed a little bit about what we do, we’ve definitely helped them in the past. So, we host concerts on the rooftop while serving food. We’re also working on a slightly different concept, and other possibilities, such as a Sunday Brunch, because the basic idea is rooftop plus live music, plus food!
In regards to Hotel UNIQ, it’s a nomadic village that goes through different places of Quebec and beyond. My good friend, Myriam, is programming different artists in her initiatives and usually it’s on Saturdays, so we usually book one artist per week, and it’s usually more chill music.
How does an artist get in touch with you and what are you looking for in an artist?
I guess the way to go about it is through our trial gigs. Here, we essentially take a shot in the dark by taking a chance on a certain artist. Usually if we haven’t heard about them, they’re probably more or less starting out or their name is still in development, and so we offer trial gigs all the time to musicians and different kinds of artists. It’s quite often for the art jam, and we look at three different things.
Number one is long-term potential, meaning, is this just a hobby or is it something serious?
Number two is, what kind of promotion and how proactive are they in their promotion? This doesn’t just mean social media, but the number of people they can garner up to come to an event - how many tickets can they sell? How many engagements do they have on social media? So digital and on-site, and we don’t only look at digital because obviously those numbers can be faked. So overall, we’re looking for artists to be super engaged in the event we’re proposing, and we’re definitely looking to continue booking them. In these cases, they won’t necessarily have to keep contacting us, because they’ll be in our database and we’ll be able to contact them to build and grow the relationship.
Number three is pretty simple: just having a positive attitude. I think everybody wants to have somebody that they enjoy working with, who is easy going and able to hold their own. I think the main thing is if you’re positive and able to hold your own, that means that we can have more confidence in our relationship and keep sending you places. As I said, we work with partners, and so if we are having a bad experience with you, and even if we can’t quite put the finger on why, then we may not have the same confidence to send you to our partners left and right, because we obviously want them to have a good experience as well.
So those are the things we look for and that’s how we put together the trial gigs, to have a good sense of where the artist stands on these 3 points.
In regards to contacting us, I mean just by going through our website www.goodvibepeople.com, there are a bunch of ways that you can submit yourself to be on our contact list, depending on what you are looking for. The same thing goes for our Art Jam, there are many ways to submit your art.
Sometimes it may take a couple of months to hear from us, but one day there’s going to be that opportunity that fits with that artist, because I mean, we can’t just put a rock band anywhere, it has to fit and be in a certain context.
So if anybody is interested in new events and experiences, definitely look us up on social media, we go by Good Vibe People pretty much where. We are looking to put together a membership for people, and that too is by signing up to the newsletter or website, and this is cool because you can get updated about multiple events, and you get text messages directly on your phone, and it costs less. Overall, it’s an easier way to have access to events because sometimes they’re not public, so we’re not posting it on social media, and so by signing up you’d potentially gain access to these events and even get you on the guest list for free. This membership is so that people can enjoy our events and live experiences, and so that we can provide them with the best value.
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