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Interview with Sophie Reeves: From Fan to Frontlines with Pretty Lights

"sophie reeves" "pretty lights"
Derek Vincent Smith (Pretty Lights) & Sophie Reeves

What is it that you do? What is your job title?

I am Pretty Lights Assistant Tour Manger / Production Assistant and also cant forget that I’m on Vibe Control! Vibe control is me keeping the peace ๐Ÿ™‚

Did you have a vision for how you’d be involved in the music industry? What else are you wanting to do?

I never really knew how I wanted to be involved in the music industry. I grew up in Nashville with my dad in the country music business but didn’t know till I was in my early 20s that I wanted to also be involved in the industry. I changed my major up half way through college to Music Business and started learning more about what I could even do or be involved in. I did an internship at Capitol Records my last semester in College and got to see the jobs inside a record label. Now working with Pretty Lights I have been able to see so many of the different jobs that are out there from the hospitality person to the production manager to daily accounting. As of right now I am really liking tour managing and what I am learning going into bigger venues with Pretty Lights. I would love to get more involved with our Record Label over the next few months that we have off of the road and get to know that side of things. At this point I am really open to learning what is out there and seeing where things take me. I just know I love live music and I love bringing live music to people.

Were you involved in the electronic music scene before your job? In what ways?

I was actually not really involved in the electronic music scene for that long before I got this job. I went to my first music festival (Bonnaroo) in the summer of 2009 when one of my friends had an extra free ticket. That weekend I saw Pretty Lights for the first time and was immediately hooked. The energy that the he and the crowd shared was dope. I spent that summer before getting my job with PL going from festival to festival and got to know the electronic music scene pretty well.

How did you get connected with Pretty Lights?

Like I said Bonnaroo was my first PL show. It was the Friday night and my roommate at the time Bo Cox had been listening to PL and told me I MUST MUST go. So we went, and as most people say when they go to their first PL show, I was hooked! After that weekend I went home and spent some time research PL and Derek (who is Pretty Lights if you didn’t already know). I found some really cool info about him. That he gave his music away for free online, was working on a new album, and that he had INCREDIBLE music! The following month after ‘roo I went to a few more PL shows and was more and more impressed. One day while I was at the computer I found his contact information on his website and decided I would send him an email and see if he had any opportunities for work or internships, I was only a month out from graduating and had no idea where I was going to go with my Music Business Degree from MTSU. I sent Derek an email telling him that I was about to graduate and that I would love the opportunity to work for him and help spread his music. Later that day I was out eating lunch with my good friend Jeremy who I had met at a Pretty Lights show and got an email back from him saying that he was about to go on his first fall tour and he would love to talk. Well to shorten things up he asked for my resume. I sent it to him and he sent back what could be my job description; Merch Girl / Assistant with long hours and a 5 week tour. His question to me – Why do you think you could handle this job!? I remember sitting at home writing the email back (which I still have and could forward to you) basically writing an essay on myself and how I could do this job. The whole thing was very professional from my end and my biggest selling point of myself; that I am extremely passionate about everything I do and I wanted to help bring his music to more people. After that we kept emailing back and forth till I went to one of his shows and finally got to introduce myself and talk to him one on one. We had a quick conversation after his set at King Plow in July 2009, exchanged phone numbers and he left me with saying, “let me talk to my agent and manager on monday and give me a call on tuesday.” Before I had the chance to call him tuesday morning he called me and told me that he would love to bring me out on a week tour and see how it goes. So yea I went on that week tour which was an SUV tour, we had no bus, no semi. Just a box truck and an SUV with 5 of us in it. I went on that tour and did a great job. After my first show with him which was in Tuscaloosa at Bama Theater, Derek asked me to come out to Colorado for the 3 day run of sold out shows and before I could make it to Colorado he asked me to come out for the fall tour with the 8 other guys he was taking.

I understand that you run the PL day to day operations. What kinds of things do you do on the daily?

Well at this point we are running a pretty big operation on the road with 14 people, tour tour buses, a semi and a trailer. The things I deal with daily are forever changing, which is part of the job. Some days I will deal with something that I have never dealt with before. Right now I am “in charge” of the merch, hospitality, catering, runners, daily accounting, being derek’s personal assistant, local opening acts on tour, tour / production assistant, and like I said vibe control. I am like tour mom on steroids i make sure things happen when they should, that people get what they need when they need to and I make sure everyone is happy, feed, clean, and well yea just happy. I would really need to think about this one and take a minute to write out what I do all day.

"sophie reeves" "pretty lights"
Max (stage manager), Phil (Production Manager) and Greg (Lighting Designer) and Sophie in front of two tour buses, one semi, trailer and vespa - Oct 2011

If an artist wanted to get to that level, what kind of work would that artist have to do? (What kinds of things do you see happening on your team everyday that an artist would have to emulate?)

Ya know one of the biggest things is putting yourself out there. We have so many opening acts and the one thing that I notice is that none of them really ever have flyers. When I use to actually sell the merch at our shows I would have people come up to me all night asking who was the opener and I would have to write it down on an index card or piece of scrap paper. I think that one of the best parts about opening for a bigger act is that you are put in front of an large audience that wants to hear music. So play music and put some cards at the merch booth so people don’t forget who you are. Also I think that giving your music away for free digitally is a great way to get yourself out there. These days people are either downloading illegally or getting music from their friends so why not as an artist get the credit for giving it away. I think it is a great idea and a great way to put yourself out there. I also think that you need to think about your business as a whole not just the music. Who you involve, where you want to go. You need a vision!

Does your job enable you to be in touch with lots of different artists/people in different music scenes? Do you see anything cool happening out there?

Yes! My job is amazing. I have done over 250 PL shows at this point maybe more than 300 I would have to think about it for a minute. But yes I am seeing some really cool things happening out here. Derek is involved in a new documentary called Re:Generation.

You can connect with Sophie on Twitter @Sophie_E_Reeves .

Also, Pretty Lights will be in Nashville on Oct. 31. Tickets are still on sale! Click the flyer to get those.

pretty lights; illumination; zeds dead; porter robinson; wick-it; cherub nashville
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