Verve Festival is set to take place in Switzerland this May, specifically in the Luzern region and we got to know Omar Rahmann, one of the key figures behind the much-anticipated techno event. Omar discusses his introduction to the music industry, more on the concept of Verve and his role at the Kopflos Agency.
Introduce yourself and tell us how you got into promoting?
My Name is Omar Rahmann & I am 26 years old. As for promoting, everything started at a party on the mountain actually haha. 6 years ago I was at this amazing location on the top of the mountain listening to crazy artists like Adriatique, DJ Tennis, Loco Dice and many others & I fell in love with electronic music. So, I decided to start playing music myself. The next day I made myself a home studio and started learning how to play & mix music on my own. 2 years later, I met my brother and business partner Jan Boesch who was already throwing events in Luzern from a young age. We got introduced through a common friend who believed in my potential as an Artist/DJ & though I had to “audition” in front of Jan and other partners who managed “Harbour Events” and they enjoyed my sound and gave me a chance to perform in one of their events. At some point the guys from Harbour events needed help in international bookings & I had quite good contacts in the scene as I was always going out to big events and clubs to stay behind the dj booth to get to know more people & learn how to mix better. So, I wanted and loved to help out to be a part of the team. Some months later things went South with Harbour Events and the agency had to shut down for some reasons but as a team of 4 djs & Jan we decided to proceed & open up a new agency and came to the name Kopflos Agency, and from there everything started.
Jan my business partner is a visionary with crazy ideas to implement and together with my contacts in the scene we started building up a community in Luzern through our events. We started very small and we saw the improvement every other year.
By now, Kopflos Agency manages and creates over 40 Events per year in different locations, styles & Vibes. Finally, the idea of Verve Festival came up last year and it is now our biggest project next to our 40-50 events which we organise per year.
What is the Swiss electronic music scene like, what differentiates it from other countries?
In Switzerland the electronic music scene is saturated in some specific cities like Zurich, Basel, Lausanne & Luzern. Zurich is definitely the biggest attraction for the lovers of electronic music, it has a huge culture with many amazing locations & different communities who enjoy different kinds of vibes and genres of electronic music. The scene is quite stable, energetic & more or less much better organised than any other place I have been in the world. In Switzerland, everything is done with very high quality, especially at the bigger venues. Guests are mostly very very well behaved and intimate about each other, they are open and nice and that gives the scene a great vibe in Switzerland of one community in a way. The difference between Switzerland & other countries are organisational skills & quality of the audience as well … It’s very rare when you have a problem at the club in terms of deals or organisations with venues as organisers. Also, it’s quite rare to have fights or bad vibes at the events, everyone is super chilled, happy & loving. We usually expect to have a really great time at any place or event we go to in terms of organisation and good vibes.
How did the concept for Verve come about, it’s a brand new techno festival taking place in May (22nd) of this year. A fascinating event which has huge potential!
The concept of Verve has been in Jan’s mind for a very long time, 3 years ago already Jan approached me with the idea of throwing a festival. However, I always thought that the scene is very saturated with so many things and it would have been hard to show up in the scene with a huge event like this with so many competitors and great events around the country & also around Germany & France; there were so many competitors.
Jan initiated the idea one more time of Verve Last year during the Corona Pandemic, and at that moment I also thought it would be the greatest moment to launch a new festival. Everyone was at home, everynone was looking forward to something new, many agencies, festivals, clubs & locations have shut down because of the pandemic & in our opinion it was the perfect timing to come out with something new. It was easier to approach agencies to book bigger artists because they have been out of the scene for a couple of years because of the pandemic, and it was a very calm period to be able to plan something like that big more in peace without having to worry about the competition as nothing anyways was going on.
It was a huge risk as we did not know what would happen with the pandemic and the rules & regulations in one year … but we took the risk and believed that everything would fall into place. And finally, in March 2022 all measures have been dropped to come back to normal life and by the 1st of April Switzerland announced that everything is back to Normal…! It was astonishing in a good way of course, and we are looking forward to our festival to take place soon in May.
You have booked several great artists to perform in Ben Klock, Lily Palmer, The Element and more. Have you had any early feedback from those set to perform and what influenced your bookings mostly?
I was actually responsible for all the bookings at our festival… it was one of the biggest challenges for sure… if we don’t have good artists to present the quality of the festival we would like to deliver, then we better not do it. We never had contacts to as big names as Ben Klock or Lilly or The Element.. We worked hard and tried our best to use all our contacts and knowledge to approach the agents of these amazing artists and close good deals with them for Verve. Creating a lineup is something artistic in my opinion, one has to have a musical background to be able to choose the artists who they want to perform at such big stages and in which order. It was definitely a challenge to arrange the timetables of the artists and who is performing when exactly to have the best musical atmosphere all day & night long at the festival. In this regard, what influenced the choices of bookings is the wide variety of great artists who have similar styles who can perform in a timetable which all fit together not to have a mood cut for the people at any point of the day. So, the influence was based on different music genres but fitting together in the same lineup and having a good elevation of sound throughout the whole event… Luckily my musical background as an artist myself & the experience we have had through 5 years of organising Kopflos events helped to realise this and make it happen in the way we wish for.
Tell us more specifically about your role with Kopflos Agency, what is your day-to-day like?
At Kopflos my main role has to do with everything concerning the bookings and artists management. So, I take care of closing deals, choosing artists, arranging lineups in the back end. Also, on the front side I usually host the artists myself and take care of all bookings of hotels, transportations & hospitality for them to create the best experience for our booked artists & also our community at Kopflos. I care the most to give the community the highest quality of sound possible & also the highest hospitality and experience for the artists we book possible too. Through our experience at Kopflos we could build huge networks and make really good connections to all the artists and agencies who have been a part of our events, and that definitely helped us a lot when we decided to have our Verve Festival because everyone already knew the quality of what we usually deliver.
What’s been the most challenging part of organising the Verve festival?
That’s a nice one hahaha, the biggest challenge honestly was on Jan’s side. Jan is responsible for all the artworks that we have created for Verve & for Kopflos as well… he spent a crazy amount of hours to find the best ideas and images that fit our festival. Yet, the challenge came when we had to approve our artworks with all the managers of all the artists. We had to get approvals from everyone and make sure that all management were happy about the flyers and announcements before they were released to the public… I think Jan has changed the flyers and artworks over 20 times in a very short period trying to make everyone on the lineup happy… It was very stressful, time & energy consuming. Sometimes we had to change the artworks a couple of hours before the announcement and make sure that we still make everyone happy and to go online at the specific time we agreed with the public. We have faced many challenges for that and even had to cancel one artist because the management was not happy about the artwork … but as everyone else had agreed and only this artist did not agree and was nowhere to be found to agree the whole day before the announcement we had cut the deal and cancel this artist just to stick to our word with all other artists & to the public… it was a huge challenge, but now we learned how to do it better for the next years.
The location for the festival is Allmend/Messe 1, any specific reasoning behind this location and how is it for party goers to get to?
The Allmend Messe is the best location in Central Switzerland which could hold such a huge event. The event hall is very well equipped, very well known, and easily reachable from everywhere in Switzerland … There is a train stop right in front of the doors of the venue… and the managers of the venue themselves are very professional & supportive and open to all our crazy ideas.
As for party goers, the location is very easily accessible by bus, train or car. Specially most people use public transportation when going to such festivals… at our festival, once you arrive at Luzern’s main train station (which is in central switzerland easily and quickly reachable from everywhere around Switzerland) it is only a matter of one minute train ride to reach the doors of the Allmend Messe, and that is also why we believe that our guests will never face an issue to arrive easily to our festival.
What are you most looking forward to about the event itself?
Personally, I am looking forward to meeting new people, building new connections and providing the best hospitality possible to our artists and guests. Also, I am very excited about how everything will come together as right now the halls in the allmend messe are empty … you step inside the huge halls and hear the echo everywhere… I am very excited to see the construction take place and how this huge empty hall will look like when it’s fully equipped and packed with guests and presented by such great artists which we have invited to be a part of our festival. We have been planning this festival for almost one year, and as close the date is getting now is one month is taking place & I am really looking forwards to see it finally happen.