Sonny Moore, who’s much more widely known as electronic artist Skrillex, was part of a fireside chat at the IMS Engage event in Los Angeles last month. IMS Engage is the International Music Summit’s event that bridges music, technology and innovation. To give you an idea of the scope, in addition to this fireside chat with Skrillex and Jeff Rosenthal, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, had a fireside chat with Diplo at the same event.
The interview opened with the usual background story that Skrillex tells, but they spent less than five minutes on the background. Skrillex seemed more impressed with what Rosenthal and his co-founders with the Summit Series have done as entrepreneurs and innovators.
The Summit Series is a series of events created by Elliott Bisnow, Ryan Begelman, Brett Leve, Jeremy Schwartz and Rosenthal. They wanted to create networking experiences for young entrepreneurs, not just run of the mill conferences. Their first event was a free ski trip to Park City Utah and had just 19 attendees.
Now they’ve grown into a global organization with headquarters in Malibu. Tony Hsieh, Russell Simmons, Imogen Heap and Dhani Jones have all attended their events. They were also able to garner support from former President Bill Clinton.
They are now preparing on their next big thing which is purchasing a mountain ski resort to create an innovation city.
Skrillex spent a majority of the interview actually digging this information out of Rosenthal. While Skrillex has also taken on building community and creative space for electronics “in the box” musicians in Los Angeles, he resonated with the entrepreneurial growth inspired by the Summit team.
Rosenthal talked about how he and his co-founding buddies had maxed out their credit cards and gone in debt on their first couple of events. Skrillex said he can totally relate having been in debt $50,000 just 1000 days (three years earlier). Like a true entrepreneur, Skrillex leveraged everything he had to build his artisti base. He had rented a warehouse and lived in it with his buddies. The warehouse space served as studio space and at one point Skrillex was evicted. He finally started making money and had $1 million dollars in the bank and then he made a conscious decision to blow all of that money on production giving his fans “the most incredible shows in the world”.
Skrillex credited Hypem the music blog aggregator and Soundcloud with helping bring him to fame.
Rosenthal and Skrillex both agreed with musicians and entrepreneurs it’s all about a body of work.
Towards the end of the conversation Skrillex asked Rosenthal why they created the Summit Series. Rosenthal replied that at first it was for them, they didnt have a peer group. “We like to connect and inspire the thought leaders of our time” Rosenthal told Skrillex.
Really this is a great interview, Skrillex is so passionately into what Rosenthal is doing, and really this was a fireside chat, not an interview.
Check out the interview video below.