Exclusive SACC-LA Interview with Daniel Hellsten CEO of Westridge Audio

Avicii Tribute concert, one of Daniel Hellsten’s most recent projects.
Photo Courtesy: Daniel Hellsten’s website.

Daniel Hellsten is a creative director, content creator, and production designer in the entertainment industry. Daniel is also the CEO of SACC-LA member Westridge Audio and co-founder of the event agency Event Group. With over 20 years of experience Daniel has become well recognized and respected in the world of entertainment technology and design as he has designed the production for some of the world’s biggest events, festivals, and concerts. For example, Daniel managed the production of the Avicii Tribute Concert to honor the memory of Tim “Avicii” Bergling, who Daniel knew personally. Westridge Audio’s HQ is in Sweden but recently the company expanded its presence to Los Angeles.

A SACC-LA Exclusive Interview with Daniel Hellsten

1. How did you start your career within the live entertainment industry?
I started out early, I was 13 or 14 years old when I began working for free at a jazz club in Västerås as a sound engineer.

2. Have you always aspired to pursue a career in this industry?
According to my parents, I started talking about being a sound engineer when I was 8 years old, so yes.

3. How does the business differ in LA and Sweden?
The biggest difference is quantity. There is so much more stuff happening in LA at the same time, but I would say both places are really ahead in live entertainment.

4. Do you have a specific project that you take extra pride in? 
 For sure, I would say the Avicii Tribute concert that we did in 2018 when we saluted Tim and his music.

5. What do you like most about your job? 
The audience, of course, the feeling of giving feelings to others and that we can have a huge impact on a large number of people at the same time.

6. What is the most challenging part of your job?
To balance private life and work is the toughest part of it all. I think everyone involved in my industry struggles with that balance.

7. Do you have a dream project you would like to be a part of in the future?
Not a specific project, but I would like to be more involved in stuff that makes a big difference. We can use live music in the concert format to change stuff as we did through the Avicii concert.

8. How does a normal day at the office look?
If I’m back at the office it is usually producing content since that is a business our company does. We do live industry productions as well as streamed productions and filmed and recorded content. My day usually starts off with editing in different ways or writing itineraries for productions.

9. Do you have a favorite spot in LA?
I have two favorite places; Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and a restaurant called “Plant Food and Wine”.

10. What music do you listen to when you’re in a good mood?
Tough question, I listen to everything, but I’d probably say country music.

11. What makes a good live event? 
It’s about timing and creating feelings. If you keep those two things in mind you cannot fail. You need to make people feel something in everything you do.

12. What have you learned throughout the years working in this industry?
If I should just mention one thing it is to be humble.

13. Three tips for someone longing to pursue a career in the live entertainment industry?
Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who works professionally in the industry. There are lots of work, maybe not right now due to covid, but otherwise, there is always a chance to work for free on a tour for example so don’t be afraid to reach out. 
Tip #2: Work hard and then work even harder, because it is a really tough business but it is also the most fun business you can work in. Prepare to work a lot.
Tip #3: Stay humble

Five Fast Ones

Big concert or Small gig

Techno Music or House Music

Morning Person or Night Owl

Swedish Tacos or American Barbeque

Skiing or Hiking

Daniel Hellsten

Photo Courtesy: Daniel Hellsten.