Being thrust into the role of a booking agent / promoter sucks


I’m severely stressed right now. I am not a promoter, or a booking agent, although I sometimes find myself playing those roles. I don’t like it. I don’t like negotiating fees. I know the realities of my economic situation, but I hate telling an artist I can’t pay them what they think they deserve. I don’t like arranging, hotels, cars, etc. I just like music. I like playing musical recordings for myself and others. I also like seeing live performances and DJs. Unfortunately the musicians and DJs I am interested in will never play Portland unless I bring them. So if I want to see good international cutting-edge musicians and DJs in Portland I find myself playing the role of booking agent and promoter, which as I told you before, is not my cup of tea. It sucks.

We are really excited to bring Tigerstyle to perform for you on Saturday, but it has not been easy. Anjali and I keep telling each other that we never want to do something like this again. A lot of DJs/musicians assume that because we have regular club nights in Portland that we are therefore promoters and booking agents as well. Many DJs/musicians assume that we are interested in booking them because they think they would be a good fit for what they understand of the format of our regular nights. It’s frustrating, because all Anjali and I ever wanted to do is present music to people for their dancing pleasure. If we have a guest that is less time that we have to present music to people, and less money to pay our bills. We are not like many DJs who work high-paying tech jobs during the day and don’t ever have to worry about making money DJing. We need the money from DJing to keep a roof over our heads, etc. At Andaz we only get six hours a month between the two of us to play music for y’all. Only about four of those hours provide the opportuniy to play for a sizable dance floor. That is hardly any time to present the vast quantities of contemporary bhangra and Bollywood we immerse ourselves in, much less the decades of earlier Indian music that we know and love. If we bring a guest in that chops down the amount of time we have even more. Since our time at Atlas is split up between three DJs we each have less than two hours a month to present the whole range of international music that is currently exciting us. I could just stick to ONE of the many genres I am excited about to fill up that time. If we bring a guest to that night we end up with about an hour of time each to present music for the whole month. Hardly suitable to showcase even a slim percentage of all the music I am grooving to in that thirty days.

Sometimes DJs from other cities will approach us saying, “Have me at one of your nights, and I’ll have you at one of mine.” We always tell those people “No” because we are not interested in giving up time at our nights. Sometimes DJs will book us in other cities without any mention of any sort of tit for tat. Unfortunately afterwards if they come asking about playing one of our nights it puts us in a very awkward position. If they had been upfront from the beginning about wanting to play one of our nights in exchange for playing theirs we would have turned them down at the outset. If we have already played their night and only then do they mention their desire to play our night it makes us feel like jerks. Most international DJ nights around the US seem to feature a large cast of different regular and guest DJs. Many parties feature different guests every month. Our parties have never worked that way. Anjali and I tried guests a few times at the very beginning of Andaz, and after realizing how much that didn’t work for our night, we’ve gone four years without any guests. Tigerstyle will be the first. At Atlas we only have a few guest DJs/performers a year (usually if one of the regular three won’t be able to play that night) but that is not the regular format of the night. We all want to play too much to give up what little time we have to play music for you each month.

At Andaz we realized years ago that we would only be interested in bringing guests if they were absolutely stellar international bhangra producers with a live show or DJ set as good as their recordings. We are really confident that Tigerstyle will give you guys something to talk about. We are thrilled to be able to present them to a Portland audience. This is the second time we have tried to make this happen. We are far too aware that Portland will never see this sort of music unless we make it happen. It is frustrating to see that the Tigerstyle show has been completely blacklisted by all the Portland papers (except the Asian Reporter, natch). It is sad that the Portland media shows just how white it is when it ignores a show like this. Much of Portland isn’t exactly xenophobic, so much as just completely ignorant and uninterested in anything outside the world of indie rock or the fads of the national hipster media culture. People diss the magazine Fader for being too much of a hipster rag, but at least they include a lot of Dancehall, Soca, Reggaeton, Funk Carioca, Bhangra etc. features in their magazine. Unlike any paper in Portland, the Fader blog mentioned the Portland show and hyped up the Tigerstyle tour. It is too bad that writers on the other side of the country are more in touch with how important this show is than anyone living and writing in Portland. Portland and its interests are just far too white and predictable for the most part. Thankfully there are plenty of you who don’t fit this stereotype and are up for things outside the same ol’ same ol’ soundtrack. Peace.


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