Article by: Jessica Duncan
Robert Frausto is an Inland Empire kid – born in San Bernardino, long before the NOS Center became the epicenter of raving, and raised in Rialto. He stumbled upon EDM by accident when he was younger. While downloading some sprites for a code he was working on, the website he was downloading them from was playing a Dash Berlin song, “Never Cry Again.” From there he dove a little deeper and started listening to Kaskade and Moby.
He took a break from listening to electronic music for a few years and got back into it when he was 18 during the Golden Era of EDM: when Dillon Francis, Kill The Noise, Flosstradamus, and Porter Robinson first broke into the scene. His taste in EDM diversified when he started listening to Zatox, Junkie Kid, and other Hardstyle artists.
While he was at Whethan’s set at HARD Summer 2017, he noticed people behind the stage with headsets and walkie-talkies and thought to himself, “They look important, how do I get there?” When he went home he started researching different ways to get involved in the EDM scene: throwing events, audio engineering, maybe even becoming a DJ, but nothing ever really clicked.
It wasn’t until he realized that artists need help running the business side of their projects that he decided to get into artist management. “Artists are very good artists, they create very beautiful art. When it comes down to the business side of things, they don’t really have the bandwidth to think about stuff like that.”
For anyone interested in getting into the music business but doesn’t know where to start, he recommends to “start volunteering to be an intern or a tour manager. Look for somebody that is already doing what you want to do and pick their brain.” Rob was never formally trained to be an artist manager. He didn’t go to school for music management or work for a management company; it was a combination of learning from his mentor, asking questions, and learning on the ground. His first role behind the scenes was Tour Manager for Schade.
Through Schade, he met Angel and Moose, better known as Tyeguys, when Angel was only 13 years old. This was around the time their remix of Kayzo’s track “This Time” was taking off and sparked Rob’s interest in working with them. He is very selective about who he works with. When looking for new artists he has three main criteria: “Their sound has to be of interest to me, I have to like the brand, and lastly, I look at if the person or persons are good people and easy to get along with.” The rest of his management roster includes Skellism, Odea, and his Drum and Bass side project Vaux, Deathcode, Sky Sky, and NTXC.
The main goal he has for himself is to be “successful at the highest possible level and for my artists, I want to be able to check off any goal that they have in mind.” On a day-to-day basis, he could be talking to labels about terms for releases, advancing shows, or putting together marketing campaigns. One thing he likes to do is to continue to build his artists’ communities through social media by interacting with people and hashtags that are relevant to their genre.
When asked about some memorable moments from his career so far, he couldn’t choose because “every show that we have is always the biggest show” and he’s excited to be at all of them. This was especially true for Tyeguys, who packed out the Wasteland Stage at 7:30 pm on the first day of EDC 2021.
Over the years, Rob has learned how labels operate, how distribution works, and how to run marketing campaigns. Naturally, he thought, “why don’t we just run our own stuff?” In 2021 he worked with Tyeguys to launch their own label, Dyehard Records (check out my article on their compilation here.) It was definitely a learning experience, but they wanted to create a space for up-and-coming hard dance artists in the US outside of Basscon Records and Harsh Records. They plan on releasing another compilation in early 2022.
Rob started his own management company, Alexander Entertainment Group, and is currently expanding his team. He is bringing on a few more people to help with marketing and PR, as well as media personnel. “There is only so much I can do by myself, there are smarter people out there that I would like to work with and have on my team, that’s why I brought them on.”
For anyone interested in getting into artist management, Rob has a few tips. “The best advice that I can give somebody that is starting out is to realize that artists and music are brands first and foremost, and you have to sell them.” The three things that he always tells people to focus on are “community, branding, and the music.” He also says “don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t burn bridges. Everyone needs help and there is enough money and success for everyone.”
When asked what he thinks about the Hard Dance scene in the US right now, Rob feels like “it is still growing and still very new. Europe’s hard dance scene has gone through the motions, they’ve seen a bunch of evolutionary tales of different styles.” The US is just starting to get there and he wants to be at the forefront of it. He believes “producers are no longer getting discouraged because they see other people being successful and making a career out of hard dance.”
In the past “promoters have been scared to put on hard dance shows because they don’t think they’re going to sell,” but artists like Lil Texas have shown it is no longer true and demand for hard dance is growing. What he would like to see going forward is “the smaller acts that have the potential to be something big given the bigger platform they need so they can flourish.”
Outside of music, one of Rob’s hobbies is martial arts. He has practiced Jiu Jitsu for a long time and wrestled back in high school. He is also interested in aviation and was even studying to be a pilot. A fun fact about him is that he has a degree in real estate but he has never used it.
One final thought he wants to leave our readers with: “Listen to more hardstyle!” We couldn’t agree more. Stay up to date with what Rob has going on with Alexander Entertainment Group or with any of his artists by following the links below.
CONNECT with Robert Frausto: