Exclusive Open Letter from Neo LA Aleks + Interview

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I’ve done a whole lot of interviews here at Echosynthetic. It has been a learning process over the past few years and some have gone well while others haven’t. And then you sometimes are shocked by the responses you get, and this interview certainly falls into that category. This was initially going to be an interview to celebrate the one year anniversary of Neo-LA and all that had been accomplished. It most certainly is still, but I can’t really get into more without taking words from Aleks.Instead, before we get to the interview I’ve got an open letter from Aleks:

Originally I was asked to do an interview on our one year anniversary and at the time I had grand plans about what the next year would look like. I was very proud of what I had accomplished and was surrounded by people I had met through this journey. Things in my life have changed, the feelings have changed, my plans have changed. What I did in a year in this scene was a huge undertaking and some of the work, drama and my personal struggles this past year have told me it is time to re-evaluate my goals and what that means for Neo-LA.

First I would like to let everyone know that I truly enjoyed everything I did, all the relationships formed, all the lifelong friends I have made, all the trips and events and music shared. I am truly thankful for everyone that believed in me and supported Neo-LA events and artists. This was something that took a lot of time, energy, money, sanity, and hard work. Although I had support, I did not entrust anyone to help me with the daily tasks and the upkeep of running Neo-LA and when my life got hectic, I continued to meet my obligations to my artists and the fans, but I neglected myself. Sadly, this has affected me in more ways than just mentally but also physically, and financially.

Neo-LA will be scaling back, what that means right now I am not fully sure. I will not be hosting or planning monthly shows. I will be finishing the shows we currently have on schedule and may do 1-2 shows in 2019. OTS 2019 will still happen and be the main focus for me for 2019.

I will be dissolving my agreements with my current artists aside from Facexhugger. I will continue to represent him in his musical career and focus on his booking and management. I will occasionally assist past artists with booking inquiries or tours, but in a limited capacity.

This was a very hard decision to make, but the scene has changed, I have changed and I cannot justify the time or money put into these endeavors. Our social media will continue to be run by me and help support events or artists in a limited manner.

“Now go to sleep and don’t dream.” -Ripley
— Alex Bonilla / Neo-LA

Alright, now we’re going to get into the 1 year anniversary interview that I mentioned earlier:

One year under the belt! When you started Neo-LA did you have any expectations as to where you’d be in a year’s time?

Yikes! One year...it all went so fast but feels like so much has happened in that year. I honestly thought I would have a small handful of one off events to show for a year of doing this. I wasn’t sure how much time or money I would be able to put into this adventure and I tried not to have expectations. I will say though, that the fans and artists I have met, talked to or worked with were really what kept pushing me to keep topping each Neo-LA event. Without all the support and requests to be a part of this, who knows if Neo-LA would have made it to this milestone. The next year will be a slow one while we recalibrate and decide what role we want to play in this scene in the upcoming year and going forward.

What is the secret sauce to the success you’ve had?

Ha! I wish I knew the secret, to be honest, I don’t see myself and Neo-LA as big as I have been told it is. I mean people all over the world know Neo-LA and ask to play, or be involved or represented by me and I am still shocked.

At the end of the day, what is the most important part of what you do with Neo-LA?

At the end of the day...all I wanted was for this scene to grow and for these talented artists to be recognized. This is why I did shows. Many artists had their live debut with Neo-LA and that is something that can’t be taken away. I wanted to create an experience for these artists, I wanted them to know they are talented and to keep pushing.

Your stable of artists has grown this year? Tell us about who you represent?

Yeah, I mean this last year has been a lot of just booking and helping friends of Neo-LA book shows, nothing was really written in stone. In reality I only managed Facexhugger and everyone else were just friends I helped get events. I decided I could and should do more and make some of these relationships official so I took on the responsibilities of management, booking or PR for Facexhugger, Glitbiter, The Encounter, Watch out for Snakes, Ethereal Delusions, Let ‘em Riot, and Elay Arson, and I truly appreciate them putting their trust in me.

How has the course of the scene changed in your opinion?

Well, the scene is growing! That’s what we wanted, there are more fans, more artists, more movies with synth heavy soundtracks. This scene is getting noticed! This year alone events have been non-stop, festivals have been popping up and artists are steadily releasing music. This year there are or have been 4 American based festivals! That is amazing when last year there were two, and the year before that just 1! We have more reviews coming from places that didn’t talk about synthwave before, we have bandcamp doing more and more reviews and people jumping on this train everyday! This is what we asked for, so lI hope it continues to grow.

Where do you see yourself when we are celebrating year two of Neo-LA?

Year two? Well, I think my open letter has answered that.I wanted Neo-LA to be a staple in synthwave, I wanted it to be known for all the bridges we have built and crossed. I would like to do a second festival, but only time will tell what happens in the future for Neo-LA. 7. What have been some of the milestones for you? Oh man, every day and every event is a milestone! From that first show, to artists asking to play for Neo-LA, being recognized at events and thanked for what I do, having my artists playing tours, opening for big names, playing iconic venues like The Whiskey, throwing the first festival on the west coast, being involved and having my artists play other festivals, being on the Women of synth panel at Neon this year, the list goes on and on.

Any parting words?

I wanna say thank you! Thank you to the artists that have trusted me and my ideas, to the artists that have contacted me. Thank you to the fans for showing up and buying tickets! Thank you to the friends I have made, my synthfam...I did this because of your encouragement. Thank you to all the bloggers and writers that cover us and the music! Thank you to the venues, volunteers, street team and promoters because this job isn’t easy! As one of my volunteers says, Synthin’ ain’t easy! Thanks James for the interview, what you do is amazing and we are all thankful for all the time you take!