ArtDontSleep hunts down inspiration information from the fertile local, national and international arts and music scenes to create multifaceted, multi-genre, specialty, handcrafted projects. Jeff Weiss profiled ArtDontSleep and its founder, Andrew Lojero, “What they do is closer to arranging love letters to music.” Lojero further explains, “what we add to this scene is a variety of abnormal occurrences or happenings. We use diverse and creative venues, and we try to embed our lineups with as many different artists in the city as possible, bridging the gap between world renowned artists and hometown heroes.” ArtDontSleep can call on these friends and heroes because they’ve paid their dues as trustworthy partners in the arts in Los Angeles and beyond since the dawn of the 21st century.
Responding to the cryptic mantra of “Don’t Sleep!” heard on an influential mix-tape by friend and collaborator, J.Rocc, Lojero committed himself to a life of insomnia when he settled on a name for his company: ArtDontSleep. The premise is that “it’s humans that sleep, and art and creativity never shut down and never go away. Its just humans that don’t always catch the frequency in which creativity chooses to dwell.” ArtDontSleep started throwing afterhours happenings in 2004 capitalizing on the dedicated following at a few of Lojero’s favorite local clubs. “It was all just word of mouth. If you knew, you tried to show up to these afterhours and if you didn’t know, you tried to figure it out.” Like a creative sleeper-cell, Lojero apprenticed at dublab (2006-9) and then Mochilla (2007-10) where he was Event and Project Specialist, (2007-10) and most recently Plug Research (2008-2012) where he was Senior A&R Director and Executive Producer. ArtDontSleep went mostly incognito during these stints in name only, as all of these events and special projects embodied ArtDontSleep’s mission of creating culturally relevant one-of-a-kind happenings.
“We’re not trying to do whatever’s currently trending, we’re taking a timeless approach,” Lojero says, making it sound easy, or at least fun with events and concerts like That 70s Soul,The Robert Glasper Experiment, TIMELESS , Azymuth, Roy Ayers, Flying Lotus, Tony Allen, George Clinton and Quantic. While most promoters chase fads or beat the familiar into monotonous ubiquity, ArtDontSleep makes the unfamiliar sound and look welcoming, while exposing new and fresh dimensions to an artist or style you thought you already knew.
ArtDontSleep is known for special events, trouble-shooting difficult projects, curating, creating venues, consulting on special projects and promoting to the good people of Los Angeles and beyond. Music don’t sleep. Visual arts don’t sleep. Film don’t sleep. Performance art don’t sleep, either, but everything has an optimal time and place to maximize enjoyment, appreciation and relevance for any given audience and that’s what ArtDontSleep does best.
written by Allen Thayer
“There’s an urgency to the way we program our events,” Andrew Lojero says about his That 70s Soul Revue. “This is real. Each one of these projects is a dream come true and as an organization, we have more dreams than we have time on earth.” Lojero’s been creating memorable moments, timeless events and underground happenings ever since the first party he planned for senior ditch day, “and shortly after that I realized that I had a knack for coordinating and bringing people together.”
Andrew Lojero’s combination of curiosity for culture and a mastery of logistics make him one of the most compelling figures in today’s music landscape coast to coast, though he’s called Los Angeles home since he was born there, in Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles. “I don’t come from money, my family’s very modest.” Religious too. He wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music until he rebelled at 14 and went off the deep end . . . punk (too angry), rave (lacking substance) and finally Hip-Hop. “Hip-Hop absolutely changed my life . . . It led me to all of the music I now revere. Hip-Hop samples so much that it completely led me to Soul, Jazz, Funk, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Turkish, music and cultures I never would have imagined. I had no idea these sounds existed and when I discovered these different musical traditions for myself, I became a fiend for all things new (to me).”
Lojero’s production company, ArtDontSleep began by promoting and producing afterhours happenings. “In 2004, Los Angeles had a healthy abundance of clubs that fed our community and really helped fuel our appetite for new sounds. As a fresh face on the scene, we decided it would be best to work with these clubs instead of competing. It was all just word of mouth. If you knew, you tried to show up to these afterhours and if you didn’t know, you tried to figure it out. The mystique and mystery is what really propelled those nights to have 500-700 people come out at 3am after they’ve been partying all night.” ArtDontSleep went incognito in name, but not in spirit, off-and-on while Lojero apprenticed at dublab (2006-9), then Mochilla, where he was Event and Project Specialist, (2007-10) and most recently Plug Research where he was Senior A&R Director and Executive Producer (2008-2012).
When asked to describe himself, Lojero says, “I like the word catalyst. I see that the creativity was all there [already], I just added a formula to it so that it could move in the direction it needed to move.” Andrew Lojero’s in the mix bringing artists together, hatching plans, booking flights and venues, the complex, creative and sometimes tedious tasks that transform one-of-a-kind events and projects into once-in-a-lifetime-I-can’t-believe-I-didn’t-go regrets for the unlucky ones. “It doesn’t necessarily make sense to do these projects the way we’ve done them, but what does make sense is that I can see the lives we’ve touched. I can see real heartfelt moments that exist.”
He recognizes that ArtDontSleep has a long way to go, but Lojero’s building on his successes and doubling-down on L.A., both its talent and its adventurous audiences. Lojero’s modest, but he’s also in on the secret that L.A.’s making moves. “L.A. is on it’s own turf, in the sense that it’s one of the only cities that isn’t afraid of deep experimentation, and trying to reach the new heights of real culture, domestic and foreign. There is a climate that is allowing some of the most beautiful musical flowers to bloom and if tended to properly, they will become towering trees.”
written by Allen Thayer
Street promotions can be tricky. If not done right they can be an awkward messy affair that leaves the potential audience feeling chased at best or feeling nothing at all at worst. But when done right, when done with nuance and precision, the individual doesn’t feel targeted, they feel a natural attraction. Eric Herrera has spent a decade mastering this kind of promotion.
A native son of Los Angeles, Eric Herrera was introduced to the Los Angeles music scene at the now-classic Unity hip-hop parties of the 90’s. He grew up around music and played an instrument himself as a child but it was during this time that he fell deeply in love with the culture of music.
Herrera met a kid from Boyle Heights by the name of Andrew Lojero and the two struck a friendship that quickly grew into a brotherhood. With their deep knowledge of the city, they embarked upon successfully reviving the old-school street team formula of the early ‘90s popularized by respected companies like SRC and labels like LOUD Records.
Now the Street Promotions Coordinator for the LA-based creative house ArtDontSleep, Eric Herrera’s extensive experience with promotions includes work with distinguished clientele like The Natural History Museum, Grand Park, The National Young Arts Foundation, Latino Theatre Company and The Hip-Hop Theatre Company to name a few.
He is the quiet hand, unseen but purposeful and effective. He has spent a lifetime learning the language of the streets, gaining skills that are invaluable and a sixth sense that gives him the ability to run a fully staffed street team. You must be in the loop to create awareness, you must be able to navigate amongst different walks of life and gain trust to be most effective. He’s the night owl that is seen everywhere.
Eric Herrera assembles regional teams to carry out tasks or hit the streets for ArtDontSleep and its various projects. A field marketer working out a strategy specific to a client or event, ArtDontSleep creates genuine awareness and excitement through credible peer-to-peer interactions, ensuring a presence in the most trafficked parts of the city as well as key retail locations. ArtDontSleep’s methods are unorthodox, appealing to the rebellious and non-conformist consumers. Eric Herrera specializes in building and executing campaigns that are non-traditional and don’t grab attention—they demand it.