The 20 most coveted Colorado music-industry jobs: The complete list with five new profiles

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Catherine Nguyen (foreground) with husband John Le (aka DJ Dragon).

Director of Marketing and Entertainment (Catherine Nguyen, Beta)

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Catherine Nguyen found herself with then boyfriend, now husband John Le (aka DJ Dragon), passing out fliers and branding an up and coming production company. "It was an endeavor that didn't have an end in mind," Nguyen recalls. "Rather, it was a journey and music was the centerpiece of our actions."

On any given night, Nguyen's fingerprints are all over the entertainment for the evening, but it's not just about throwing an event. "When it all comes to fruition," she explains, "you come to the conclusion that we are in the business of making memories: Memories of a great birthday, or seeing your favorite DJ, or even discovering a new artist -- which becomes part of the customers' lives and they carry that with them forever. It's a powerful thing."

Nguyen has dedicated her life to the music scene in Denver. Starting out with promotions in the early days of Triad Dragons, to being responsible for brand management for the Beta, Nguyen is the person behind all the events at the number one club in North America.

But a job like this only works if the commitment is there, and the success certainly doesn't come overnight. "It is truly a labor of love," she says. "If you're doing your job right and are successful, it's a lot of hard working hours, sleepless nights and loss of hair that are poured into it." Nguyen knows this job is not for everyone, but her dedication over the past five years has landed her in one of the most important positions in Denver's club scene. -- Britt Chester


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Raw Russ (aka Berk Visual, aka Wallace Gibbs III) doing his thing behind the decks.

Boutique Music and Art Collective founder (Berk Visual, Elm & Oak)

Berk Visual (aka Wallace Gibbs III) met Alex Botwin at college in Tennessee, where Berk was in the early years of building Elm & Oak. "I started my first clothing line when I was seventeen," Gibbs explains, "and I've always been into that create and design realm."

Botwin, who really brought the music aspect of Elm & Oak to the table, joined forces with Gibbs in 2009 when the latter relocated to Boulder. The two came together with a vision and the means to create, which prompted the opening of the Elm & Oak storefront just off the Pearl Street Mall on 13th Street. The brand, which includes visual artists, musicians and designers, also uses its presence to promote music, a side of the business that Botwin is more than experienced with. "I just want to back what I believe in," says Botwin in regard to Cherub, TwoFresh and Black Actors, three artists that are receiving serious support from Elm & Oak.

Along with running this brand, both Gibbs and Botwin are music producers, each with respective careers of their own. As Raw Russ, Berk is steadily climbing the ranks as a DJ, supporting local and national acts, while Botwin is set to launch a headlining tour with Paper Diamond.

"As far as I see it," notes Berk, "we are definitely still on the upswing. It's just continuing to grow, and I feel like we got here -- I never had this grand vision -- I just knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to art." -- Britt Chester

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12 comments
Joni Watkins
Joni Watkins

I spy Ghost Pixel Visuals - Tom GhostPixel Ludlow

darrylgarcia303
darrylgarcia303

Chonz is a poor excuse for a dj. He has no skill whatsoever. Yeah he can scratch a little but as far as blending a beat smoothly....go back to the drawing boards buddy...track selection is garbage timing is garbage...He must of gave someone a really really good blumpkin to get his spot on the radio...by the way what exactly is a chonz?

lltt2177
lltt2177

This is great about denver scene, but being someone who has visited Denver a few times, and been to some of these "events" that some of the above names mention has thrown parties in the past.  I will say they are not approachable people. They are not humble. Maybe some should realize that in order to be example you need to act like one and really give back.

tagava
tagava

@lltt2177 

i'd like to disagree with you on that.  Being someone who LIVES in Denver/Boulder I've been to these 'events' more times than I can remember (don't know why you put events in quotations). if you're approaching someone to try and chit chat at an event they're producing and managing, they don't have time for that.  Imagine someone coming up to you at your job and trying to have a conversation with you?  It doesn't work like that - yes the event may seem like a fun time, drinks are being had everyones having a good time - but SOMEONE has to be making sure that these events are running smoothly, and those people usually are the people mentioned in the list above.  If you want to meet the person as they are in person when they're not 'on the clock' - do your best to contact them and meet them at a time that fits both of your schedules.  Being that the music industry isn't a strict 9-5 type of job, this is very important. I intern for Berk Visual (Elm & Oak) and he is one of the nicest and more open people i've ever met, and it's been great working and learning from him.  There isn't a person or even little kid that comes into the shop with their own clothing line or music that he doesn't give his full attention too, he's open to helping everyone and unlike you said, he is a very approachable guy - and Ben Baruch, despite how busy he is, he still found the time to meet a starry eyed college kid like me at a coffee shop one morning just to give me advice on how i should go about pursuing a career in music.  I don't know most of the people on the list, but the ones I do know - have been nothing more than helpful as i'm trying to pursue a life in the cutthroat industry that is modern music.  I think you may need to change the way you present yourself before you jump to the conclusion that these people are just self centered.

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