Paxahau goes from Detroit passion project to 8 employees

Just about everyone who has worked for Paxahau over the years has started out as a volunteer for it in one way or another.

The electronic music promotion company started as a passion project for techno enthusiasts inspired by the raves in Detroit in the early 1990s. Today it throws parties centered around electronic music in Detroit, including the city’s biggest techno bash -- Movement: The Detroit Electronic Music Festival.

This allows it to employ four full-time people, another four part-timers and a handful of interns (its last intern became its latest hire). And that’s during the down time. Paxahau employs more than 20 people and another 200 volunteers during Movement.

"The big spike for us in 2006 started with the Super Bowl," says Jason Huvaere, president and founder of Paxahau. "The 1-2 punch was the Super Bowl and the festival. It basically went from a volunteer project to a real sustainable business."

A business that is growing, mainly in Detroit. Even though Paxahau is headquartered in Ferndale for the time being (the landlord gave them a deal they couldn’t refuse), Huvaere and his partner hold all of their concerts in Detroit and plan to move it into the general downtown vicinity soon as part of the Creative Corridor project.

The firm is launching a new web site right now that will be fine tuned in the next few weeks. Paxahau will use it as the springboard for broadcasting their music on the Internet 24/7, creating a concert archive, and as the foundation of two new record labels.

Paxahau also is in the midst of starting a nonprofit focused on Detroit-based techno music. The idea is to use it as a way to "promote the music as a regional asset," Huvaere says.

And then there are their concerts, the company's bread and butter. As local techno continues to expand on its already well-established popularity, it will mean more music and more shows. "If we continue to fill up our calendar, we'd be able to hire a couple more people," Huvaere says.

Source: Jason Huvaere, president and co-founder of Paxahau
Writer: Jon Zemke
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