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Welcome to Magnetic’s Industry Focus, a series where we highlight the major players working behind the scenes of the EDM biz. These are the folks running the record labels, representing the artists, promoting the shows and just getting it done.
They may not get the shine of the DJs on stage, but they work just as hard making sure the parties are packed, the music is perfect, and that the artists are where they need to be. We’ve decided to shine the light on the behind the scenes movers and shakers that are helping you making you move and shake.
Today, we highlight Allegra Riggio, the person in charge of Guesting at XS Nightclub in Las Vegas every weekend through the end of September, working exclusively for David Guetta. Altogether, Allegra has 20 years in the EDM business, seeing her work in even more creative areas- like being a light jockey.
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
I was a club kid in Miami and New York back in the grand days of the early ‘90s, when a friend lost his job to me over a game of pool & that’s how I ended up in the intelligent lighting business. It was a total fluke, complete accident, and yet serendipitous. I had a natural aptitude for it, and have never looked back on my earlier delusions of going into politics.
What is the best part of the business?
All of the things I loved as a kid manifest themselves in intelligent lighting. Tinkering, climbing, staying up late, music, dancing, rhythm, hand-eye coordination, imagination, emotion, and the visible energy blasts from the hands of my favorite comic book characters? Those too. When I am operating a fantastic light show, in a massive super club, with a World-class DJ to an up-for-it crowd, I am in Heaven.
What are the biggest challenges?
When you’re flying around doing guest gigs, it can be nerve-wracking, as you never truly know what you’re walking into. Will the fixtures work? Are you familiar with the controller/software? There’s a lot of pressure when it isn’t “your” room, so it’s incredibly important to not only be well-rounded, but also to not panic. Also, in my case, my light show is a direct reflection of my thoughts. If I can’t stand the music, or the crowd, or the management, it reflects in my light show. I’ve been in the business too long, and I love doing lighting too much to do anything that isn’t emotionally & artistically fulfilling. When you have high standards for the music, atmosphere & yourself, sometimes finding work is a frustrating process.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Wear earplugs. Trust me. Also, even though you are just starting out, always have respect for who you are, where you’re going, and the people who have gotten there. Connections are EVERYTHING in nightlife, and it’s an extremely small World. Also, never EVER date a DJ.
What does electronic music mean to you?
I distinguish electronic from dance, and dance from EDM, and so on & so forth. To me, electronic music is cinematic, dance music IS what it sounds like; for the dance floor, and EDM is an unfortunate umbrella term perpetuated by lazy PR people & the media which lumps together all genres of dance & electronic. Encapsulating the vastness of the dance & electronic universe all under “EDM,” is like saying all forms of cuisine from the European continent simply is “French food.” Ridiculous.
What cities/regions do you think electronic dance music is best thriving?
If by thriving you mean where is it mostly being created, I’d say Los Angeles, as it seems like EVERYONE lives here now. I keep running into Pete Tong at parties during awards season, which is hysterical, as my personal life and professional life have always been separate. When I introduced him to my husband, the recognition of each other made me laugh my ass off.
Inversely, if you mean thriving as in club scenes, Las Vegas is KILLING it right now. It took long enough, but now in the United States it’s just THE place to gig, and party.
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
Critic. Of all things. Or, maybe a florist.