ENLIGHTENED is a series spotlighting women in the field.
For the better part of a decade, Andrea Frey has been at the helm of Las Vegas' most sophisticated productions. Las Vegas is known for its crazy parties, but overseeing the creative direction of a half-dozen day/nightclubs that are entertaining thousands of concertgoers every night of the week is no joke.
After a successful time working on production teams for festivals such as the Global Gathering Festival, Godskitchen, Dance Valley, and more Andrea was asked to lead the (then) new Hakkasan Group in producing immersive experiences for world-renown EDM acts.
HAKKASAN Nightclub, OMNIA Nightclub, JEWEL Nightclub, & Wet Republic are just a few of the spaces Andrea has overseen. On top of managing the production design, personnel, budgets, and strategy in each of the venues, Andrea stayed busy coordinating the residencies of artists such as: Calvin Harris, Zedd, Drake, Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Tyga, Above & Beyond, Kaskade, Lil' Jon, Afrojack, and okay.... we could actually keep going for a while, but I think you get the point.
Bouncing from executive meetings to a venue walk-thru, then over to meet with an artist could be a typical day. That sounds like a lot because it is, however, Andrea makes things look easy. Her admirable work ethic and determination is contagious, and to put it simply: she makes you want to be better.
We are lucky that she spent some time with us. Read the Q&A below.
How did you get started in this crazy world of production?
I started in production due to my love for house music. I was a late bloomer in that respect. Amsterdam at the time was the hub (with Chicago) for house music with the iconic club called The Roxy. Even though I went a couple of times, it wasn't my thing. I was a hardrock/metal girl. When I started working as a waitress in a bar, I caught the bug. I decided to work NYE instead of going out and spending money, and I managed to get a spot behind the bar at an Awakenings event. Awakenings was (and still is) the techno promoter in Holland.
I arrive early (as I always do because I detest being late!) and asked if I could help with anything. They put me with this lovely girl called Reina Schoorl, that was doing the artist production. We clicked, I understood what she needed and I handled some stuff at the venue for her ahead of doing doors. I was quick in sorting for her what she needed so she gave me additional jobs to handle for her. When it was time for the doors to open she looked at me and said, "I want you with me for the night, I am not putting you behind the bar." I kept assisting her for a couple of events, got to know the owner and some other key people running production & artist handling. One of those key people worked at the biggest electronic dance festival in Holland called Dance Valley. He needed an intern for 3 months running a club night in Amsterdam for him and got hired. I worked there for 6 years. Back in those days, the dance industry wasn't professional at all. It was pretty much a cowboy land. I had 4 bosses telling me different things and I work 60-70 hours for years on end and ended up having 2 burnouts.
In my days doing the club night, we had a DJ exchange with UK DJ's. With one of them, I became very good friends. He urged me to apply for a job at the Global Gathering Festival in the UK, basically Dance Valley's equivalent. Because Dance Valley was known for its high design and production level, I was fortunate to get the job and moved to the UK.
Also, did you have any mentors or people you looked up to while coming up?
I looked up to the owner of the Awakening; Rocco Veenboer. Hard person to work for, but what he produces to this day is phenomenal. When I moved to the UK, I had an incredibly hard time. I was put in a very technical role, which I struggled with as I am not technical. I just get shit done. The boss I worked for was a bully. After 3 years I changed into a different position where I would be focusing on all our international shows, which was the best thing that could happen to me at the time. This was when I started working for James Algate, who was the owner at the time and Paul Hugo who did all the sponsored international shows. We were the 3 musketeers! I worked for James ever since until now, and funnily enough Paul Hugo came on board of Hakkasan Group and runs Omnia Bali. These two people taught me everything I know.
If you could go back and tell yourself something when you were first starting out, what would it be?
Ask for help, you can't do everything yourself. If you would even look my way, I started pissing on my territory!