Vintage Industrial Bar is the best bar in Zagreb. We chat with Matija, their promoter, about organizing exceptional concerts
Hi Matija. Tell our readers something about your activity as a promoter of the Vintage Industrial Bar in Zagreb.
Hi everybody! I’ve been working at Vintage Industrial Bar as a promoter for three years. Immediately as I started the idea was – let’s get bands people like and don’t have an opportunity to see live in their town or country. I think we did a good job for Zagreb. The first band I booked was the Madball and after that there were bunch of them, bands of different genres and style, so I’ll just write some of them: Cannibal Corpse, Sick Of It All, The Exploited, Crowbar, Yob, Black Cobra, Pentagram, John Garcia (who actually recorded two of their songs live last year at our venue and published them on his new album – The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues), Elder, Egypt, Yawning Man, The Cosmic Dead, Ecstatic Vision, Tinariwen, Agnostic Front, Mad Sin, Ignite, Pro-Pain… some regional bands, smaller and bigger…
What kind of band do you usually work with?
It depends, I listen to all kind of music, but when you organize concerts in Croatia you have to try to be sure that people will recognize it. The formatted radio station with 100 same songs that play over and over, TV with bad content are not really educating younger people that there are so many great bands that they could listen. But, there is always a part of the audience that will come so there is still a chance to make things better. We book stoner, metal, rock, world music, blues… really the only thing that matters is that our Vintage team says – this is really good, let’s do it.
When you get in touch a band for the first time, which are the criteria that drive your decision to book them or not?
As I wrote in previous questions, there are a bunch of mindsets and laws in Croatia that make this job harder. Croatia has one of the highest taxes in the EU and this is just one of many things. Government isn’t paying enough attention and giving even less financial help to build up local, national and international cultural scene. So when I book the bands at the Vintage Industrial Bar, the best option is when the band is on tour with its backline cause the costs are lower in the start. Croatian price standards are lower so we have to find a solution that would be okay both for the band and for us. But as you can see in the first answer, we try to do everything to support the bands we book and give them good treatment. It is why a bunch of bands and agents are contacting us after a good word is spread. That’s the healthy way of doing this job.
So, I play in a band, I’m booking a tour and I’d like to play in your venue. Give me your three most important recommendations.
Wrote it few rows up. :) The most important thing is to contact a promoter early enough! We have a club with excellent sound tech Tomislav Zubak who really puts every atom of power when it comes to upgrading the sound. Really hard working and well-respected engineer.
Tell us something about the three best bands you have worked with at the Vintage Industrial Bar… one sentence each!
Cannibal Corpse – a bunch of gentleman/professionals that I first heard in 5th grade and loved them ever since.
John Garcia – he fell in love with Vintage Industrial and we fell in love with the coolness of the stoner rock prince.
Cojones – a Croatian rock band that kicks ass and they are really nice people to know.
Being a promoter in Croazia is an easy or a hard job?
Everything is hard in Croatia but every job like every coin has its two sides. I think the most important thing is to be fair with people you work with (like the guys from Boogaloo Zagreb, Bikers Beer Factory, GBH vintage industrial bar) – both with the musicians and other promoters and clubs in your city and country. Just try to do the best you can and don’t shit in neighbour’s yard if you know what I mean and I know you do. :)
What’s the coolest live act in your city?
I already mentioned Cojones, and we have a really internationally respected Seven That Spells, Chui… and bands mostly known in Croatia like M.O.R.T. that started their label Juda Records to put similar bands under one roof.
What’s the best live music show you’ve seen recently?
Helmet in Ljubljana (Slovenia) at the beginning of March.
Tell us something about your best and your worst memory on the road.
I don’t travel a lot. Besides being a promoter on my so-called nightshifts, I also work at Radio Student – 20-year-old local radio station in Zagreb on a daily basis. First Croatian student radio and still we’re playing music you really can’t hear on any media in Croatia. So gods bless us! :) Check it out – www.radiostudent.hr/
What do you think about LiveTrigger?
Nice site with information a guy like me likes and needs. Keep it going!
Pic by Roberto Pavic