Meagan D'Von Funk
Jencey + Cole Keeton Are Reinvesting in the Business
Updated: Feb 24, 2022
Last December our Podcast host, Cabus, sat down with Jencey and Cole Keeton of the Electro-Pop Duo, French75, and the creative collective behind everyone's favorite immersive art exhibit, Sweet Tooth Hotel. It was evident early into the conversation that there was much more beneath the surface that we needed to hear from this power couple. Read on for what we cover in Episode 22 with Jencey and Cole on the Artist Uprising Podcast. Our new video format is now on YouTube where we take you into the studio for a front-row seat in these conversations. As always the full episodes are available on Spotify and Apple Music.
photo by TA Visuals
"We learned this very early on, that [when we create] I like to be in the process and kind of find my way through, but Cole knows where we're going before we get there."
First things first: Is there anything more inspiring than two people falling in love and diving into a life of making together? We think not. Cole shares that he works as a designer and creative director day-to-day while Jencey runs the business of Sweet Tooth Hotel. Their skills complement one another throughout their process. "We learned this very early on, that [when we create] I like to be in the process and kind of find my way through, but Cole knows where we're going before we get there." Cole sneaks in a humble "well, sometimes".
Their partnership didn't start as a collaborative alliance, though. The two tag-team a recounting of when and how they met over a decade ago through music (they each have varied music industry experiences) and Facebook's insistent birthday reminders. Spoiler: They got married and started making music together. For all the warm and fuzzy feelings listen to the unedited story straight from the Keetons.
In what we can only describe as a miraculous event Jencey and Cole combined their powers to write songs Jencey quote, "doesn't even remember writing", which made up their debut French 75 album and led to an arsenal of music they created in collaboration with Left/Right (DeadMau5, In/Rotation) ready for release any moment now. We can only imagine this means their must-see live shows are to follow with all the blinder lights, haze, and everything we really want in a multi-sensory performance. The duo worked with Lee Duck of Duck Lights in LA (they program lighting for Halsey, Zedd, Justin Timberlake, and others) to create their fully synched visuals. A small taste of Lee's lighting design was also a permanent fixture in the original Sweet Tooth Hotel at Victory Park. This is artist support at its finest folks. Find people that are great at their craft, make a place for them, promote them, and pay them what they ask. Well done, Jencey + Cole, well done. [Hold for applause]
"It's really a platform for local artists, that's what it started as, and not just art like painting or sculptures. We've also worked with musicians... videographers, photographs, we had a fashion show and [filmed] a music video. Sweet Tooth Hotel is meant to be a platform for any type of creative."
In part one of our conversation, Jencey shares that she initially had a personal goal of selling 100 tickets over 30 days at the original "Pop Up" concept for Sweet Tooth. Thankfully for the rest of us, that goal was far exceeded and has since grown into a multi-chapter, ever-revolving immersive setting where we get a look into the imaginations of the featured artists.
THIS JUST IN: There is an all-new Downtown Dallas location (Elm St.) opening soon with a rooftop deck, their own parking garage, and a Calirosa Lounge (Adam Levine's Tequila company). Lord knows Dallas loves anything on a rooftop and what better way to do it than paired with art?! This spot is all theirs for the next ten. years. This is huge, and yes, you did hear this first on the Artist Uprising Podcast, folks.
And we're back.
Jencey explains that Sweet Tooth Hotel "is a platform for any type of creative." The coolest part? What we see on the surface is a unique collective artist spotlight on extremely talented makers, but behind the scenes what naturally happens is that those artists begin collaborating in ways they may not have discovered had they not been invited to take part in the exhibit. "It is cool because it all [the work] gets integrated with the physical art and there are so many collaborations that happen on top of that", she explains.
photo by TA Visuals
"Our artists make us who we are."
The real moment of truth comes as the pair start to talk about their roles in business as creatives. They warn that the biggest thing to be open to is a risk. Jencey advises creatives not to start a business or pursue a creative career if they are not willing to take a risk. In the same breath, she notes how important the "unsexy parts" are like business automation, and payroll solutions. The couple has committed to reinvesting in their business and balancing sustainability with new, rotating installations as they move forward on bringing in new artists. Speaking of new artists, the curators/owners say to start small, create every day, and fully concept ideas out before going big. Cole encourages artists to pursue their passions with everything in them saying, "everybody can do that. You have to make sacrifices."
Be sure to catch all of the gold Jencey and Cole Keeton shared in this wisdom-packed episode of the Podcast, on our YouTube Channel, Spotify or Apple Music.
Check out the Artist Uprising podcast to listen to the full conversation with Jencey and Cole and other interviews with creatives from across the country. To follow Sweet Tooth Hotel follow them on Instagram and website.