The New Bosses 2019: Florian Czok, Melt!
The New Bosses 2019 – the biggest-ever edition of IQ‘s yearly roundup of future live industry leaders, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 85 last week, revealing the twelve promising agents, promoters, bookers and execs that make up this year’s list.
To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2019’s New Bosses, to discover their greatest inspirations and proudest achievements, pinpoint the reasons for their success and obtain advice for those hoping to be a future New Boss. Snippets of the interviews can be found in the latest IQ Magazine, with all interviews being reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.
New Boss number three is Florian Czok (30), an agent at Berlin’s Melt! Booking. Czok got his start booking DJs and throwing parties in Hamburg. At Melt!, his roster includes electronic artists such as Manuel Fischer, TRP, Myss Keta and RIP Swirl.
Czok is also the artistic director for the annual Melt! Festival, which this year featured performances from Bon Iver, Stormzy, Four Tet and Jorja Smith. (Read the previous interview with Solo’s Charly Beedell-Tuck here.)
What are you busy with right now?
Starting to book and collect ideas for Melt! 2020 already; working on some hosted club nights in Germany for artists like the Black Madonna, Denis Sulta or DJ Seinfeld to name a few; and also working on tours and hard-ticket shows for Q1 for the artists from my Melt! Booking roster. It does not get boring!
Did you always want to work in the music business?
I always wanted to work in the entertainment sector, because I knew that this would be the right thing for me. When I was younger, I thought I might play football as a professional. Football and sport in general is also a form of entertainment in my opinion, but I gave that up when I discovered going to club nights and enjoying alcohol at the age of 16.
When I started DJing myself after graduating school, I began to throw parties and booked some other artists – it was a logical step, I guess, to get to where I am right now.
What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
That is a tricky one, because I have worked in so many different fields within the music business over the last few years. I think it’s a highlight every time I do something for the first time and it works out: like doing the first live show with an artist and it selling out; throwing a new event series and seeing it grow; or curating stages at events or festivals to now programming a whole festival like Melt!, which is definitely one of my highlights so far.
“I think it’s a highlight every time I do something for the first time and it works out”
How has your role changed since you started out?
I started booking DJs myself when I was 20, throwing parties with friends, as well as selling merch (that we printed ourselves). That was ten years ago in Hamburg, since then I have worked in a couple of booking agencies where I learned the basics of being a booker and promoter, leading to Melt! booking where I started three and a half years ago.
Since then, I have been booking and promoting around 200 shows per year – from hard-ticket or festival shows to club nights – and also acting as artistic director for Melt! festival.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Melt!?
Be as accurate as possible when it comes to making offers and don’t get dazzled by Facebook, Instagram or Spotify numbers.
What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
Sometimes the whole live music industry is a bit too much of a business for me nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, it’s how I pay my rent as well – but I have the feeling sometimes that it’s just about numbers and money, which is going to a level where the passion for the music gets lost.
“We have excellent people in our company who have a lot of experience in the industry and are always willing to help when needed”
This passion is why I started to work in the music business in the first place, and when I hear that some people are looking at statistics nowadays and sometimes don’t know how an artist is playing, it makes me sad.
What do you do for fun?
I always loved that I was able to combine my work with my hobby – so going out with friends a lot, whether it be to concerts, club nights or to (new) festivals is still – most of the time – a lot of fun for me.
Besides that stuff, things that most people my age like: Netflix and chill with the girlfriend, travelling, doing fun things. I went to an arcade game hall recently and really enjoyed it, if you know of some good places in London, let me know!
Do you have an industry mentor?
There are a few people in my close working environment that I have a really high opinion of. Whenever I am not sure if I’m doing the right thing, I know I can ask them for their opinions, because they are experts in their field.
“Don’t get into this business if you are scared to talk to other people, or don’t like going out…”
We have excellent people in our company who have a lot of experience in the industry and are always willing to help when needed. These people have also given me a lot of space and freedom over the years, which has been perfect for my personal development as well.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Don’t lose your passion for music and get out as much as possible to get a feeling of what the people want. A Spotify Premium account is helpful as well.
Don’t get into this business if you are scared to talk to other people, or don’t like going out, or are not willing to work more then 40 hours a week, or if you want to have your weekends off… You should also be up for getting on planes and travelling around the globe from time to time.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully I’ll still be in the music business, loving what I do and working on a lot of different and great projects. I have always been the kind of person who is interested in creating new and exciting stuff, so let’s see what we have to talk about in ten years’ time.
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