Promoter Interview: Chord

If you don’t know about Chord, you’re about too; the new Birmingham soiree is the latest project to arrive at the illustrious Rainbow Venues.

Rory and Luke Black are the fresh faced visionaries that have drafted in a stellar cast that include Magda, Matthew Jonson, Jane Fitz and Daniel Bell. Here we sit down with the Luke as he chats to us about the aspect and theme of the shindig.

“The best way to get the people to connect is to book the line up and promote to a targeted audience who follow that particular sound, rather than swamp spamming millions of people.”

Who is behind Chord and what do they each do?
Clockwork Music is the promotion company who set up Chord by teaming up with me. I have been in the underground house and techno scene for over 10 years, mostly with smaller more intimate and underground events. I’ve held events all over London and the rest of the UK. Clockwork are a professional events organisation and have been involved in big events, festivals and tours all over the world. Collectively, the team is experienced at the highest level and have worked on all aspects of events, festivals and tours. Everyone has experience of at least 10 years and some have more than twice that, having worked all over the world. They are able to look after all details of a show as required. This includes event management, running and working to budgets, production and artist liaison, management, technical production and site management. They have direct access to most services and infrastructure, with an extensive network of contacts they are usually able to source anything as required.

Where and when was the concept thought up? What is it about?
So I shall speak about us in 3rd person for a second – Luke and Rory Black are brothers and have spent most of their working lives in the music industry but never properly worked together. When Rory and I started Clockwork Music with our partners he saw an opportunity to move into the dance scene as I was organizing some great parties all over the UK and also in Berlin, but was looking to start something fresh. This year we decided to get together and create something they could work on together, merging the expertise of arranging big events with the excitement of the underground dance music scene. This project is about putting quality music and exciting line ups together, getting people talking and vibing about a well programmed event. Chord offers well thought about techno music and visual events which showcase the finest artists and emerging talent within the underground music scene. It’s about carefully selecting artists who will collectively attract a good crowd of people with similar clubbing interests and views.

Who is your target audience, what market gap are you plugging or niche are you aiming for?
Our audience are people who want to be part of something friendly in the middle of something exciting. We’re aiming to bring music heads from all over the Midlands and the North to this event. People who went to places like Fabric or Berlin’s Panorama bar or Club der Visionaere are most likely to be interested. The artists we have booked are all big pullers at underground venues all over the world and I think the UK has a niche for this. It’s not about playing it safe, but instead being original and making something stand out.

What other events, parties or festivals have inspired the night and how?
Berlin has massively inspired this project with venues like Berghain and Tresor banging out super heavy techno to thousands of people with absolutely no worry about weather or whether the music is too underground for the punters who have paid to get in. Fabric in London also played a part in the foundation of this. They booked up and coming cutting edge acts who brought new vibes to dance floors and make waves throughout the scene. Chord fits perfectly into the Birmingham scene where we feel there is a gap; an opening for an event of this size showcasing these artists.

How long has it taken to get off the ground? What has been the biggest challenge?
Chord started planning events in the summer of 2015 and have many other events in the pipeline. I think programming is the most difficult part because you have to judge how people will react to the line up before you have planned or secured. I put endless hours into planning this. It’s also rare that the desired line up falls into place due to availability so you have to switch things around a lot. A whole line up can change just because one of the 10 acts isn’t available. So, due to compatibility other acts have to be changed. It can get really tricky, especially when your running out of time because the longer you leave it the more likely it is that your artists will be booked by another event.

What do you think are the key things to get right for any party? Sound, audience, headliners, all of those things or something else entirely?
The key thing is the people at your event connect with each other. You can have the right sound, right venue etc but at the end of the day, the people have to connect or it just doesn’t work. We want people interacting with each other, not walking around, heads down, not getting on. The best way to get the people to connect is to book the line up and promote to a targeted audience who follow that particular sound, rather than swamp spamming millions of people. We interact with the promotion on social media and being nice to people goes a long way. Good sound and a quirky venue helps too of course.

What influenced the bookings – how do you decide who will play?
Being in Berlin and London you get to see a lot of DJs and some great parties, with underground line ups you get a really intimate vibe. The people are there to enjoy themselves, dance and be part of it, there isn’t any pretence or violence or anything. Its about the music. So it’s off the back of this feeling of love that we want to organize events like this.

What makes the venue right for you – was it suited to your needs?
That’s a tough question with this line up as it’s going to be wicked in every space. The roof terrace has Matthew Burton who is creating a brand new live set of dance floor stuff (definitely not to be missed). Tom Craven has pulled in a proper line up with Nicolas Lutz in the Black Box for Evolve’s thing which will definitely blow the roof off. And then I will play in the Warehouse with Magda, Matthew Jonson Live and Jane Fitz. I will enjoy every last minute of the whole event but I am super looking forward to sharing the warehouse space with these big hitters!

Tell us about the Black Box and who it is hosted by – how did you come to work with those guys?
Tom Craven’s Evolve brand is hosting the Black Box. Tom has gained a good reputation for his previous events which pop up all over the UK and Europe, his record label (Illusion Recordings) also carries weight. I’m very happy and proud to have him and his crew on board with this project. We all get on really well we are constantly bouncing ideas off one another and it’s a positive, solid team. Black Box will host Nicolas Lutz and Daniel Bell. Not to be missed, I think this room is where the music heads will congregate.

Chord arrives at The Rainbow