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The New Bosses 2019: Sophie Lobl, C3 Presents

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 month 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 September edition of IQ Magazine.

All interviews have now been reproduced in full online and on IQ Index, but this is not the last you will hear from these promising young execs. The New Bosses will play a key role in the forthcoming edition of Futures Forum, the discussion and networking event for the next generation of industry leaders that debuted at ILMC 31 in March. 

The final new boss is Sophie Lobl (28), global festival buyer at C3 Presents in Texas. Born in London, Lobl made her way to the United States after graduating from Leeds University in the UK. Starting her career at BBC Radio 1, she later went to WME, where she worked her way up from a receptionist to assisting Russell Warby, Ari Emanuel and, finally, Marc Geiger in the LA office.

In 2019, Lobl relocated to Texas to work for C3 in the newly created role of global festival buyer, where she works closely with the European Live Nation team on artist offers for 197 festivals worldwide. (Read the previous interview with United Talent Agency’s Sara Schoch here).

 


What are you busy with right now?
Booking festivals for 2020. We are in the middle of booking all the line ups for next year and about to announce the Austin City Limits schedule!

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Pretty much. I actually initially wanted to work in radio. I produced and presented a couple of shows on my student radio station in Leeds which led me into working as an assistant producer at Radio 1 and 1Xtra – I thought I was going to be Annie Mac! Then I discovered live and booking shows and there was no turning back after that.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Working on Tom Petty’s last tour is one of the greatest memories I’ll ever have. He was a lovely man. Launching Lollapalooza Stockholm is also a true career highlight. We’re very excited for 2020, it looks like we’ll have a great line up.

“I discovered live and booking shows and there was no turning back after that”

How has your role changed since you started out?
It’s changed drastically. I went from working on reception and making coffee, to being (several) agents’ assistants, to now booking and managing my own multi-stage festivals. None of it was planned, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. C3 is an awesome company and I am incredibly excited about the projects I get to work on and also about some of the new projects we have in the pipeline.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at C3?
That’s a big question. I think never being afraid of trying something new is the main one. Launching a festival is terrifying and working in markets that are new to us can be daunting. Luckily, we have incredible partners on our international festivals that save us from losing our jobs.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I think just more inclusiveness generally across the board. It really is getting better and there are now far more opportunities for women and other minorities. But that shouldn’t even really be a thing, should it? C3 actually has a majority of women employees, especially in senior management positions. I think other companies are following suit.

“Never being afraid of trying something new is important – launching a festival is terrifying and working in markets that are new to us can be daunting”

What do you do for fun?
Hang out with my French Bulldog. His name is Francis. You should follow him on Instagram (@francislefrenchie).

Do you have an industry mentor?
[Live Nation vice president fo European Touring] Kelly Chappell has been my mentor, saviour and sister since the beginning of time. She really is the best. I don’t know anyone that works harder or that has such an incredible attention to detail as she has. She is so knowledgeable and wise and deserves all the recognition I can give her.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Work your bum off. None of this is easy and, although it may look glamorous, it really isn’t sometimes. But the hard work pays off and it really is worth it.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Sitting at home with ten french bulldogs? Probably doing exactly what I’m doing now. Maybe just a little better. C3 & S doesn’t really have a ring to it, does it?

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Sara Schoch, UTA

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 month 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.

The next New Boss is Sara Schoch, a music agent at UTA in the United States. California-born, Nashville-based Schoch is a UTA lifer, starting her music industry career in the agency’s post room and eventually becoming an assistant to CEO Jeremy Zimmer.

When UTA acquired the Agency Group, she transitioned into her current role as an agent in the music brand partnerships division, where she works with artists including Hayley Williams, Post Malone, Action Bronson, Big Freedia and Saint Jhn. (Read the previous interview with Primavera’s Pau Cristòful here.)


What are you busy with right now?
In addition to fostering the growth and development of UTA’s Nashville office and championing brand partnerships for our Nashville roster, I am focused on supporting the artist-curated events and festivals that so many of our clients have dedicated themselves to producing.

I spent the first half of 2019 working with Paramore’s Hayley Williams to build and programme her activation, the Sanctuary of Self-Love, at Bonnaroo, which was a great success. I am now helping to execute the partnerships our team has secured around Post Malone’s Posty Fest and HER’s Lights On Festival.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Music has always been an important part of my life but it was never an industry I thought I would be a part of until I found myself in it. I started in the mailroom at UTA with the ambition of becoming a motion picture literary agent and it wasn’t until UTA acquired the Agency Group, while I was working as UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer’s assistant, that I realised I could work in music.

“Music has always been an important part of my life but it was never an industry I thought I would be a part of until I found myself in it”

I recognised that I had the breadth of experience and a point of view that would make me a valuable asset to that team. That inspiration, coupled with my love for the artists and the entrepreneurial spirit I saw in our new music colleagues, drew me into the space.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Working with Hayley Williams and her team to bring the Sanctuary of Self-Love to life at Bonnaroo was an incredible experience for me. Hayley is an amazing artist and human being who is focused on de-stigmatising and starting an open dialogue about mental health. Being part of the team that helped actualise her vision to create a dedicated safe space for self-care at a leading music festival was a true privilege.

How has your role changed since you started out?
As I’ve transitioned across departments and deepened my understanding of the music landscape, I’ve taken on more challenging creative responsibilities that align with my own personal passion for music. I’m now at a place where I’m doing what I truly love – executing brand partnerships and actualising large-scale music events.

“I’m now at a place where I’m doing what I truly love – executing brand partnerships and actualising large-scale music events”

What do you do for fun?
Aside from going to shows, I am an avid runner, practise yoga and love to read!

Do you have an industry mentor?
I am grateful to work at a company that has provided me with so many mentors from different departments and at various levels in their careers. One of my strongest mentors thus far has been Toni Wallace, who is the head of our music brand partnerships team. Toni guided me into my role in music brand partnerships. She has been the ultimate champion for my career and a true friend, supporting and advising me on issues both big and small, personal and professional, every step of the way.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Stay curious. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned was from our CEO, Jeremy Zimmer – the importance of approaching each day as an opportunity to learn something new, think about things differently, and to transcend the processes that dominate our day-to-day routine. As artist representatives in an industry that is constantly evolving, it’s more important than ever to remain nimble and open to new ways of harnessing the opportunities that are available to our artists to break through and share their voices with the world.

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Pau Cristòful, Primavera Sound/MUTEK

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 month 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 ten is Pau Cristòful, a booking agent for Primavera Sound and Barcelona nightclub Nitsa. Cristòful is also head of booking for the Barcelona edition of MUTEK, a festival of electronic music and digital culture.

Born in Vic, some 60 kilometres from Barcelona, Cristòful has been attending Primavera Sound since he was 14. This year, for the event’s 2020 anniversary year, he will book all three editions of Primavera Sound: Barcelona, Oporto and Los Angeles. (Read the previous interview with Live Nation’s Natalia Zabkar here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
I’m doing a bit of everything. Aside from discussing some early ideas for our 2020 festivals, we are now also in the middle of a renewal process for our dance club Nitsa, which takes place every weekend in the iconic Sala Apolo (1,600-cap.). Besides booking the artists that will play its two floors every Friday and Saturday, we are continuing to work on a new graphic design, as well as discussing ideas for optimising the experience.

We are also working on integrating the club into the city’s underground scene and representing different genres and realities in the club context, making it much more exciting than a regular, straight-forward house/techno night.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
I feel as though I had no choice: my passion for music resulted in me getting my first job as a music journalist when I was 14. I was around the same age when I started organising shows in my hometown of Vic, booking artists like 65daysofstatic, The Waves Pictures, Matt Elliott, James Blackshaw or Peter Broderick and putting them up in my parents’ place. For ten years, I mixed making money through journalism with spending my free time organising shows, first in Vic and then in Barcelona as well.

I have never worked on something that was not music-related and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
This year’s Primavera Sound Festival was a clear highlight. I have always been interested in pushing boundaries and in trying to showcase different realities onstage and I think that, in 2019, Primavera Sound presented its most adventurous line-up in this sense. Not only by having a major non-male representation, but also by including J Balvin among our headliners and showcasing Asian artists, among many other examples.

“I have never worked on something that was not music-related and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else”

Despite some initial criticism due to the stigma of reggaeton in Spain, I would say this edition ended up being the most special one in Primavera’s history. The whole audience seemed extremely grateful and respectful.

How has your role changed since you started out?
Not much – I started by suggesting artists of any kind and size and I am still working with a huge spectrum of bookings. It’s not that each booker organises a specific kind of artist, we all suggest what we like and what we find interesting and then we discuss it with our team.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Primavera Sound?
Bearing in mind that we are such a big team, I felt that I needed to learn how the company worked and how I would work in that assembly line.

Primavera Sound’s reputation doesn’t just come from its line-ups, but mainly from the fact that we have an amazing, passionate team. I think it’s important that we learn how to relate to the other departments in order to exploit our full potential.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
Our industry is extremely intense and stressful. I think we should look into increasing and facilitating our comfort and mental health: from early morning yoga lessons to being more adaptable with working from home every now and then.

Also, considering we work in front of a screen for most of the day, it’s also important to bring colleagues together through leisure activities, talks and informal discussions.

What do you do for fun?
Turning your passion into your job is amazing but it’s also dangerous if you don’t know how to disconnect. I am working on this at the moment, trying to combine partying with friends with doing sport and finding time to read and go to the movies, like I used to do back in the day. I also try to spend a few weekends as far away from music festivals as possible.

“Turning your passion into your job is amazing but it’s also dangerous if you don’t know how to disconnect”

Spending time with your friends and not talking about your exciting discoveries in music but about how you feel instead is another important thing for me. It’s essential to keep some time to slow down and analyse yourself. If not, the fast rhythm of this industry won’t allow you to recognise the aspects of your life you might need to work on.

Do you have an industry mentor?
[Primavera Sound promoter] Fra Soler was already a kind of idol to me when I first met him six years ago. I think he is a perfect example of how you can combine business vision with a really high level of passion, which he maintains after so many years in the industry.

Even more importantly, I think Fra is a great example of how you can reach an amazing level in any industry while still remaining comprehensive and empathic – something I really appreciate.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Follow your passion – even if at some point you need to work on something that is not that exciting for you, keep developing and working on what you love. This way, hopefully, you will end up working in your desired position. Also, learn to keep time for yourself and to take care of your health so you don’t end up getting taken over by the industry stress.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Since I first attended Primavera Sound – in 2007, aged 14, in order to see Sonic Youth – my dream job has been doing what I do now. So, in ten years’ time, I see myself doing what I do now: working with some of the industry’s biggest professionals, and at the same time still digging into underground scenes and figuring out a way to showcase them.

In the meantime, I hope to keep on learning how to optimise my work and how to adapt and react to industry changes and trends, in order to keep on presenting line-ups that are both exciting and challenging.

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Natalia Zabkar, Live Nation

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 month 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.

The next New Boss is Natalia Zabkar, a booker at Live Nation Belgium. Hailing from the Flemish city of Genk, Zabkar studied music management at PXL-Music in Hasselt and started her live music career as an assistant promoter at HeartBreakTunes.

She joined Live Nation Belgium as an assistant booker in 2015, and was promoted to booker the following year. She is also a promoter rep/artist liaison for Live Nation festivals Rock Werchter, TW Classic and Werchter Boutique. (Read the previous interview with Move Concerts’ Melanie Eselevsky here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
The usual mix – evaluating Rock Werchter 2019, going through paperwork for the remaining festivals of this summer and upcoming shows, and hounding promoters for 2020 slots and offers.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Actually no, I’d always seen myself going into law or journalism. I was already into music journalism, writing reviews for a few online publications, when I came across an ad for a new music business school that would start the next year. I didn’t think twice about it. Although I never finished my degree, I met many interesting people, which gave me a start into my career.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Rock Werchter was the very first festival I ever went to when I was 15 years old, it still blows my mind to think I now have a part in it.

How has your role changed since you started out?
What was probably a key decision for me was bartending at a local venue called Muziekodroom (600-cap.). There I met my first actual employer in the industry, who hired me as assistant promoter. I did everything from PR to accounting and advancing for over 150 shows per year in the Belgian hardcore and metal scene. A chance encounter got me to Live Nation where I started out as an assistant booker, quickly growing into booking shows myself and then being thrown into the Rock Werchter family. I’m now constantly switching between those three roles, so far so good.

“Never be intimidated by a person, situation or, even, artist – no one is above or beneath you, we’re all working towards the same goal”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Live Nation?
To never be intimidated by a person, situation or, even, artist. No one is above or beneath you, we’re all working towards the same goal.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
Firstly, there’s no room for ego – it’s not about you. Secondly, include more women! I’ve seen a lot of improvement on this over the years but I feel like the industry is still very much run by our male friends.

What do you do for fun?
Go to shows, of course! I try to travel as often as I can and I love eating my way through cities with my friends.

Do you have an industry mentor?
I’ve always been lucky to be surrounded by talented and experienced people who are patient with me and eager to teach.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Always lead with kindness and confidence. Don’t let any opportunity pass you by and don’t be afraid to be impulsive.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I don’t plan or think ahead much. I go wherever opportunity takes me. I’m happy where I’m at now, so who knows.

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Melanie Eselevsky, Move Concerts

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 month 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 eight is Melanie Eselevsky, a talent booker at Argentina’s Move Concerts. The youngest New Boss of 2019, 24-year-old Eselevsky divides her time between studying law at the University of Buenos Aires and working for Move Concerts Argentina.

After starting out producing not-for-profit musical shows – in 2016 Eselevsky, with her friends, purchased the stage rights for Hereafter Musical, which they produced in a 500-capacity theatre for two seasons – she joined Move Concerts, initially as a production assistant, in early 2017. (Read the previous interview with Primary Talent’s Matt Pickering-Copley here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
On the one hand, I am already working on 2020’s agenda. It’s a tough time because it is a presidential election year in Argentina and the exchange rate varies every minute because everything is unpredictable. On the other hand, Move Argentina has more than 20 shows for the third and fourth quarters of this year. I define myself as a “control freak” and I like to keep an eye on everything that is going on with each show. In our part of the world, we look after visas, hotels, production, ground transportation, etc. as well as everything else, therefore, there’s a lot on our plates.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
I’ve been attending concerts and other live events ever since I was a child and I had no idea that these kinds of jobs existed. I remember going to school with the daughters of a Sony Music executive, and thinking their life was so cool because they got to meet Shakira. I only found out later that there was the opportunity to really get involved through being in a concert promotion company.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
The past three years have been really interesting from a business point of view for me. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great artists – Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, Katy Perry, Green Day, Radiohead and Iron Maiden, to name a few.

That said, one of the show confirmations I enjoyed the most was Patti Smith a few months ago. I read she was playing São Paulo and I immediately asked if we could submit an offer because I believed in the show and such an iconic artist. The day of the on-sale all I could do was keep refreshing the sales report again and again. Now we are close to sell-out and I’m ecstatic that my gut feeling was right and I have gained a lot of confidence. I can’t wait until the show.

“I define myself as a “control freak” and I like to keep an eye on everything that is going on with each show”

How has your role changed since you started out?
I started at Move Concerts with a three-month probation period as a production assistant. I was supposed to handle administrative issues like organising vendor budgets and invoices. I remember one of my first work meetings where I was supposed to present all the budgets and just before I got in I had to google the word “forklift”!

During my first year, I was asked to help in a lot of different areas. This gave me a wider perspective of business, from visas, ticketing and merch to show settlements. I never thought I would end up in talent booking. Actually, when [Move Concerts Argentina MD] Sebastian Carlomagno first asked me to do this job at the beginning of 2017, I thought it was crazy. It took me almost a year to feel comfortable, but everyone has been truly supportive. [Move Concerts CEO] Phil Rodriguez and [lead promoter of Move LatAm] Fabiano de Queiroz were crucial in this process.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Move?
To stop for a minute and think. This business is way too dynamic. We need to be ready to make tough decisions all the time. That’s why it is important to be able to put yourself on hold for just 60 seconds in order to see everything more clearly.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I consider myself really lucky because, above all, Move Concerts encourages trust and teamwork. Everyone has a lot of experience, but at the same time they are open to new ideas. The industry would be healthier if other companies worked on this same way.

What do you do for fun?
I would produce independent musical theatre shows with my friends. That’s what my background is in and I really love theatre.

“It is important to be able to put yourself on hold for just 60 seconds in order to see everything more clearly”

Do you have an industry mentor?
Everyone at Move Concerts has “mentored” me in certain way. I have developed the habit of discussing projects with the different departments – ticketing, marketing, logistics, administration – and offices across seven countries. These discussions enrich every single minute.

Betina Canalis has been a role model ever since I started working at Move. She taught me a lot about how to place an offer and how to “feel” the market. I call her every time I need advice.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
When people ask me what my job is about, my answer is “getting what needs to be done, done”. So, be a “doer”. If you are really willing to do this, there are no ifs, buts or complaints. If you are not sure about it, it is probably not for you. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up. It may sound cliché, but if you don’t share your ideas, you don’t get anywhere. And finally – don’t forget to have fun. Working in entertainment is a privilege.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Nowhere far from backstage. The adrenaline of live is something beyond description.

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Matt Pickering-Copley

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 month 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 seven is Matt Pickering-Copley (28), a booking agent at Primary Talent. Cape Town-born Pickering-Copley started booking bands from his bedroom before moving to London aged 19.

After interning at [London music venue] the Old Blue Last, he became a full-time member of the events team for the Old Blue Last, Vice and Birthdays. One day he got a call from Primary asking if he’d like to work with the late Dave Chumbley, and the rest, as they say, is history. (Read the previous interview with The O2 Arena’s Marc Saunders here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
I’m thankful to be able to work on a broad spectrum of artists, most of which are starting out new album campaigns/touring cycles. So I’m busy booking shows into theatres, arenas, clubs and even punk squats. One of my favourite things about my job is that every artist has different wants and needs – I pride myself on being able to cater to all of them.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Yes. As a teen I was obsessed with the DIY sub-cultures in (seemingly, at the time, very exotic places) Chicago, New York and even London. I knew I wanted to be involved somehow, but didn’t know how. Most of my peers were not interested in going to shows, so putting shows on was not an option.

I became friendly with a set of bands that felt the same way and I started booking tours for them throughout Europe when I was still in sixth form. When I was 19 I moved up to London and starting interning at the Old Blue Last which was headed up by Ross Allmark and Russ Tannen at the time. They taught me so much about the way things worked from a promoter perspective and how to deal with real music industry people. It also opened up a whole new musical world to me and I could finally see how things operated outside of my immediate bubble.

“One of my favourite things about my job is that every artist has different wants and needs – I pride myself on being able to cater to all of them”

I eventually became a full-time member of the team and they let me promote shows with some of my favourite artists. I also ended up getting involved in some of the infamous Vice events. The Old Blue Last had a great reputation and we had a lot of fun convincing massive acts to do underplays in the venue. I think Kylie Minogue played there the week I left.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
The best shows are the ones that mean the most to the artists, when everyone teams together to pull off something special. Rufus Wainwright at the Royal Albert Hall on Easter Sunday this year was a very special show. A couple of years ago, Lana Del Rey played a last-minute show at Brixton academy in the summer, it was her first show in the UK in many years. We once had Show Me The Body play in Gillet Square in Dalston, mimicking the guerrilla shows they do in NYC.

How has your role changed since you started out?
It hasn’t changed much, I’m still booking shows and working with people I like.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt at Primary?
To never be afraid to ask for help or advice. No-one benefits when someone thinks they know it all.

“Dave Chumbley really taught me everything I know about being a booking agent”

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
The egos

What do you do for fun?
Obviously I love going to gigs and listening to music. I love cooking, getting out of London and (I think?) running.

Do you have an industry mentor?
Dave Chumbley really taught me everything I know about being a booking agent. I’m sure most people that knew him would agree that he had a unique approach to the music industry and life in general. It was inspiring and terrifying in equal measures.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Be patient and try not be a tosser.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully still doing this.

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Marc Saunders, The O2

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 month 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.

The sixth New Boss is Marc Saunders (27), programming manager of The O2 in London. Saunders studied music journalism at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Surrey in the UK (but took a different route into the industry to award-winning IQ news editor Jon Chapple, who did the same course).

After interning at Vector Management (James, Il Divo), Saunders spent two and a half years at publisher Hornall Brothers Music, before joining The O2 in London in 2015. (Read the previous interview with HomeComing Events’ Katlego Malatji here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
Finalising 2019’s calendar and looking ahead to 2020 – and 2021 – ensuring that the diary is being filled up with the biggest artists and top events. One perk of always looking so far ahead is that time seems to fly by!

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Being the dreamer that I am, I originally wanted to work in the industry but as a musician, I can play a few instruments and I used to be a session guitarist for various artists. I then had a realisation that it might be a wiser step to head into the business side of the music industry.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
I’d say booking my first event which was Blue Planet II: Live In Concert in March 2019. It was amazing to see everything finally come together after months of planning and watch the incredible shows play out. It was also the first plastic-free event at The O2 which I was really proud to be a part of.

On the other hand, I had the privilege of presenting Post Malone an award to celebrate his first headline shows at the arena. I’m a huge fan, and I hope next time I have a chance to challenge him at beer pong.

“Building and maintaining relationships is so fundamental to what we do”

How has your role changed since you started out?
I first joined the team as programming administrator in 2015, where my primary focus was the coordination of our very busy calendar, and also issuing show contracts. My evolution within the team has culminated in me now focusing on the physical booking of shows, by means of working closely with agents and promoters to ensure we attract the best talent and book the most sought-after events.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at The O2?
Building and maintaining relationships is so fundamental to what we do. One of the main keys to the venue’s success is based on our efforts to ensure that our clients and their artists are the top priority. If you go the extra length to make your clients happy, then the shows will always be more successful.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I would like there to be more focus on grassroots venues in the UK. The amazing fundraising work of the Music Venue Trust this year has shown that there is still a strong belief in ensuring the survival of these venues, and I firmly believe that without them, artists will not have an initial platform to one day reach the level of performing in arenas.

“I feel very fortunate to work at the world’s most popular music, entertainment and leisure venue and I don’t want this adventure to end”

What do you do for fun?
I have a love/hate relationship with running. I regularly go for jogs to keep active, and also finished the London Marathon this year for the Make-A-Wish foundation. But if I’d call running ‘fun’ then I’d be the world’s biggest liar!

Do you have an industry mentor?
Since being introduced into the programming team, Emma Bownes and Christian D’Acuna have been so influential in helping to shape my career. They’ve taken me under their wing and helped to teach me the ins and outs of how to book shows at an arena level, and I have the utmost gratitude towards them for that.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
A music-related degree is always a bonus, but realistically if you have the passion and drive to go the extra mile, then you’ll succeed in this industry. Make friends with everyone, broaden your horizons, and good things will come your way.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I usually don’t know where I see myself in ten days time, let alone ten years! But as it stands I feel very fortunate to work at the world’s most popular music, entertainment and leisure venue and I don’t want this adventure to end.

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Katlego Malatji, HomeComing Events

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 five is Katlego Malatji, chief executive of South African events and marketing agency HomeComing Events.

Malatji, from the township of Lenyenye in Tzaneen, South Africa, is the son of an advocate (barrister) and studied law at the University of Pretoria.

HomeComing Events grew out of a quarterly ‘homecoming picnic’ (still the name of one of the company’s events) he used to throw for friends when they were home from university. The company is black-owned and employs 14 young people from the Tshwane (Pretoria) area. Malatji also runs an entertainment law firm, TailorMade Legal Solutions. (Read the previous interview with DTD Concerts promoter Karolina Hansen here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
Currently I head up the business development unit of HomeComing Events. I am also an entertainment law consultant to some of South Africa’s biggest talents.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
I did not. I was always going to be a lawyer as mentioned above. When the music bug bit by my third year of study, I was hooked.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
My highlights are all the unplanned moments, for example, selling out a venue in 2012 for 9,000 people when we were praying that we could get lucky and have 3,000 attend, or giving a talk in front of corporate people I did not know were in the crowd who went on to become the catalysts for expansion in our business.

“People are the most important commodity you can invest in”

How has your role changed since you started out?
I used to be in the business with my partner, Neo Moela. We were management, employees, kitchen staff etc. I have enjoyed settling into the role of working on the business, as opposed to ‘in’ the business, as you can see the future and opportunities clearer from there. In my legal business, I am still a lot of those things but it is easier to manage.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at HomeComing?
People are the most important commodity you can invest in, from patrons, staff, friends, colleagues and potential partners.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I do not believe artists are coming to the party with their exorbitant prices. Event organisers are not able to hike their prices up at the rate artists do. This makes it harder to book quality line-ups and the industry is suffering because of it.

“In ten years’ time, I will be the most sought-after mind in entertainment law on the continent”

What do you do for fun?
I really enjoy lying on the couch and doing nothing – that and watching sports is my favourite combination. I always feel refreshed and alive when I can recharge like that.

Do you have an industry mentor?
I do. I have a few, but notably Theresho Selesho [CEO of South African event organiser Matchbox Live] is somebody who I look up to in many ways.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Start small and understand your business and your market. Do not rush past the lessons found in the building process.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I will be the most sought-after mind in entertainment law on the continent.

 


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The New Bosses 2019: Karolina Hansen, DTD Concerts

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.

The next New Boss is Karolina Hansen (29), a promoter at Down the Drain Concerts in Denmark. Born in Szczecin, Poland, Hansen has lived in Denmark since she was three years old. She began her career at Down the Drain Concerts (then known as Beatbox Entertainment) as a promoter assistant in 2015, after an early career that saw her working in the punk and hard-core scene in Copenhagen, and interning at UTA in London.

Hansen’s roster now includes the likes of Khalid, Billie Eilish, Little Simz, Steve Lacy, and hard-core band Refused. (Read the previous interview with Melt! Booking’s Florian Czok here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
I’m busy finalising the last headline shows for the fall, booking spring 2020 shows and putting together the festivals [NorthSide, Tinderbox and Haven] with the rest of the festival team.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
I didn’t know you could do this for a living to be honest. I started out doing non-profit punk shows and didn’t think about the fact that you could do this full-time. Later my mum sent me a link to a music management course and I realised that my hobby could become my work. Happy days…

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
I am super proud of presenting artists that I believe are the sound of our generation right now, like Billie Eilish and Khalid – they are both amazing artists. In September I have my first arena show as a promoter with Khalid – that’s huge for me.

“I am super proud of presenting artists that I believe are the sound of our generation right now, like Billie Eilish and Khalid”

How has your role changed since you started out?
Dramatically and quickly. I started out at DTD Concerts as an intern after I finished school in spring 2014 and got the opportunity to start as an assistant. Two years later, I had booked my first show, and since summer 2018 I’ve been working independently as a promoter.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at DTD Concerts?
That it is okay to say “no” and believe in your gut. At first I agreed to promote everything sent my way because I thought I had to in order to keep everyone happy, but it is okay not to do that. However, if you really believe in something, push for it and do everything you can to make it happen.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I would like for everyone to believe in and listen to each other a bit more. We’re all experts in our own markets, and Denmark being a really small one, it is super important that you work on long term plans together.

What do you do for fun?
Right now it’s summer time, so going swimming in the harbours of Copenhagen is a current favourite.

“There are so many different things you can do in this business – find out what you want to do and just start doing it”

Do you have an industry mentor?
For the past four to five years my mentor has been Xenia Grigat, who was a promoter at DTD Concerts, but has now decided to start a new chapter in her professional life. She will be greatly missed – she has taught me a lot about standing your ground in this business.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
There are so many different things you can do in this business – find out what you want to do and just start doing it. You almost can’t have too much experience in this industry, so until you find where you belong, just try different things out.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else other than being a promoter. Nothing beats finding and presenting an artist to an audience, standing in the corner and getting excited about everyone having a great time. I hope that feeling is still there in 10 years.

 


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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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