Continuing a series of interviews with the 2022 New Bosses, IQ speaks to Benji Fritzenschaft, a talent buyer at DreamHaus (DE)
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Continuing a series of interviews with the 2022 New Bosses, IQ speaks to Stella Scocco, club and entertainment manager of Södra Teatern (SE)
By IQ on 09 Nov 2022
The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.
To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Steff James, international tour booker at Live Nation (UK). The series continues with Stella Scocco, club and entertainment manager of Södra Teatern in Sweden.
With a genuine passion for culture and music, Scocco started her career as a restaurant manager as a 20 year old, with aspirations of enhancing the link between the Stockholm music and restaurant industries.
As the entertainment manager at the award-winning bar and restaurant Mishumashu, she focused on embedding art and live music to the culinary experience. She continued her career as head of entertainment at the exclusive club Moon Motel, but when Södra Teatern, Stockholm’s most famous concert and club venue and a part of ASM global, was re-conceptualising their brand, Scocco was asked to lead the process. The ambition was to create a dynamic place where old meets new, respecting the institution of Södra Teatern and its history, whilst remaining relevant and in constant motion. Since then, the venue has hosted several of the most emerging artists in Sweden, as well as international electronic music acts on its old theatre stage.
As the club and entertainment manager of Södra Teatern, Scocco’s team has recently added three additional bookers, and 2023 is looking bright.
In addition, she is in the process of finishing a Masters in law at Stockholm University. She also has a background in business, macroeconomics, and economic history.
You are studying for a law degree. How do you think this will help in your career and your day-to-day activities?
I think everyone would benefit from some law studies! Perhaps a whole degree was pushing it… Law and economics are a big part of the music industry, as it is in almost every industry. When you study law, you study our common set of rules and in that sense the conditions to do something. For a venue to be successful and run in a sustainable way it takes more than me and my colleagues booking amazing artists. We need bartenders and they need to have a good work environment, that’s labour law. We need to create an environment free from sexual harassment for our guests and employees, that’s discrimination legislation. We need to work with agents and booking companies, that’s contract law. The list goes on!
The link between music and hospitality seems obvious, but do you think it’s something that needs more investment and better strategies across the industry?
I think the link seems obvious as well but it is my experience that you are an expert on one or the other. I have worked in restaurants doing live shows but we always struggled with the technical parts; as well as the economy, live is expensive and margins are often tight for small companies. This answer will naturally be mostly based on the Swedish scene, and when I look at the jazz scene in New York or the bar scene in London, I find myself missing small music venues in Stockholm. I would love to see more support from the music industry in creating these small stages; making live music a part of Stockholmers’ daily life.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
That’s a hard one! I think my favourite feeling overall is watching someone do an amazing debut show; club venues are a great place to do such shows! Sometimes you see an artist take the stage for the first time and both you and the crowd just know instantly that it’s exactly where they are supposed to be. I never feel more privileged to have my job than in moments like that.
“If you as a booker feel you lack the competence to book female or PoC artists, it’s your responsibility to get that knowledge”
As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
You will get two things whether you like it or not! Equality and more fair deals for younger artists! We need representation in every part of the industry, and we need to work a lot harder to achieve it. If you as a booker feel you lack the competence to book female artists or PoC artists, it’s your responsibility to get that knowledge, and in my opinion, the best way to do so is to have a broad representation in every office.
I also think we need to look into the deals younger artists get. The power imbalance between an unknown artist and a major booking company will always be the root of unfair deals. The Swedish labour market is based on collective bargaining, and I think we need to support the young artist to do just so, setting some new industry standards for various deals.
Your team at Södra Teatern has really grown under your leadership. How many events are you hosting and what kind of capacities are we talking about?
Södra Teatern, as a whole, hosts around 230 live concerts a year and 100 club nights with occasional live acts. We have four stages varying in capacity from 250 to 1,500 people. The club has a capacity of 1,200 people, three dance floors, and four bars. It’s a big house!
“I think social media in many ways democratised the music industry”
As a young venue manager and promoter, are there any particular events or forums that you visit to try to discover the next big act or where you can grow your network of business contacts?
I learn mostly from my amazing team that constantly sends me new acts they found browsing the Internet or social media. I think social media in many ways democratised the music industry in that way! It’s great that we share knowledge about new talent with peers in the industry but it also risks creating a problematic “if you’re in, you’re in” situation.
Are there any particular events or shows you are looking forward to this year or next?
So many! Next week one of my favourite Swedish musicians, Markus Krunegård, is playing at our big summer terrace, and First Aid Kit is doing an arena tour, and Elton John is coming to Stockholm! But I think that my best show of 2022 will be some show we book for the club on a whim after hearing a debut single and falling in love with it. Last year, I helped a new artist put a band together after hearing his debut single, and within three weeks after releasing it he did his first-ever live show and it was one of the best shows I have ever seen! This summer he played Way Out West (Sweden’s biggest music festival), only half a year after that show!
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
If someone asked me that question five years ago, I would never in my life have answered that I would be doing this interview. I think that’s the best part of life – you never know what comes your way. So, my answer will be: no idea but I’m looking very much forward to finding out!
See the full list of 2022 New Bosses in IQ 114, which is available now. To subscribe, and get access to our latest issue and all of our content, click here.
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