(Original Photo By: Courtesy of Manufactured Superstars)
Throughout different phases of our lives, we each go through significant transitions. You might have recently graduated from college and now have to start “the real world”; maybe you just got married; you lost someone important to you; or you’ve changed your career. These are just a few examples of transitions that a lot of us have already gone through or will endure in the future. These transitions may cause us a lot of stress, both good and bad, but they are necessary steps in our journeys to happiness. One important thing to remember is that we shouldn’t go through these transitions alone. For Bradley Roulier and Shawn Sabo, aka The Manufactured Superstars, change is just a normal part of their lives. Fortunately, they’ve had each other to lean on throughout several big stages (no pun intended) in their careers.
Sabo started his music career as a drum n’ bass DJ in the Denver, Colorado area, while Roulier was a promoter for a few different clubs in Denver as well. In fact, Roulier often booked Sabo to play gigs for different SoCo (South of Colfax Nightlife District) nightclubs, including The Church and Club Vinyl. While still working for SoCo, Roulier was approached by his good friends, Jonas Tempel and Eloy Lopez because they were frustrated with the way DJs had to share music with one another: by encoding each record into an MP3. They wanted Roulier to help them create an online music store that sells MP3’s, specifically electronic music; therefore, Beatport launched in January 2004. Once Beatport launched, the three asked Sabo if he wanted to be a part of the team so he agreed and became the VP of Marketing.
As a promoter, Roulier had very little control over what happened at the nightclubs he worked with. During the 5-6 years he worked with these nightclubs he noticed a few things he just couldn’t quite understand – the staffing…how employees treated one another, how they treated the artists, and just their overall attitudes toward their jobs. He became frustrated and decided he wanted to own a nightclub. For about two years he actually tried to buy The Church, but the owner wasn’t going to sell it to him. At that point he realized he just really wanted to have more control and needed to create his own nightclub. Behold, Beta Nightclub in Denver was born in 2008. He chose the name because he wanted the club to be dynamic and always be in Beta mode (testing out new ideas and evolving). Hence why he also came up with the “Club Culture Evolving” mantra.
Beta experienced success very early on, but this success also posed several challenges. For example, in 2010 the owner of SoCo filed a lawsuit against Roulier for antitrust and trade secret misappropriation. After a few years of back and forth between SoCo’s owner and Roulier, the jury sided with Roulier due to a lack of evidence from the other party. Since the lawsuit was filed specifically against Beatport, it could have negatively impacted both Roulier and Sabo. Fortunately, they overcame this hardship together, which only strengthened their friendship.
The two had actually been working on music together shortly after Roulier founded Beta, producing remixes for the likes of Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Katy Perry, and Bruno Mars under the name Manufactured Superstars. In 2011 they released their debut EP, Freak On You, which featured two of their biggest singles to date – “Take Me Over” and “Drunk Text”. Since Sabo had been DJing for many years, the transition from businessman to artist was pretty natural. He was able to use his past experiences as a DJ to help Roulier adapt to the new change as well. Both of them had an impressive rolodex and incorporated these connections into their musical journey.
Shawn: “Our music is kind of an alter ego of who we are as businessmen. We’ve always been about partying and creating an environment of having fun so our music is just really for the people to listen to, enjoy, and dance to.”
In 2013, they sold Beatport to SFX Entertainment and are no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. Even though this freed up time for Roulier and Sabo, they quickly filled it back up by releasing another EP, Magnetic, and embarked on a worldwide tour. Despite the hectic schedule, the two wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brad: “The thing that’s good about what we do is that we LOVE it. Shawn and I both love performing and being at the club all the time. It’s a lifestyle. It’s definitely work, but it’s not the standard 9-5 job. We don’t really complain about not having enough free time because we get to see some of the most beautiful places in the world when we’re traveling. We have plenty of time to decompress, especially on the airplane because we usually either play video games or sleep.”
When you work with someone for so long you eventually understand and accept everything about them. Brad and Shawn have worked together for almost 15 years so they know each other’s strengths, limitations, when to leave one another alone, and when to push each other. Even though they are two completely different people, they are brothers. While Shawn is organized and detail-orientated, Brad is more of the visionary. This is the perfect combination for the Manufactured Superstars.
Even though these two experience significant transitions very often, they are able to overcome the challenges that arise by sticking together. They work hard together, have always had great timing, hold each other accountable, and have cultivated meaningful relationships with others together. The future looks bright for Bradley Roulier and Shawn Sabo, and it’s because they won’t be traveling on this journey alone.