As part of a new series, we will be taking a closer look at the electronic music industry heads working behind the scenes in allowing the scene to grow. The unsung heroes that curate the good times for all of us punters.
This first instalment takes a look within the workings of one of Brisbane's most prominent nightspots, The MET. Hosting weekly events and assisting the growth of Brisbane's local scene are just some of the things these legends get up to, so we caught up with Hugh and Zac from The MET to find out more.
Stoney Roads: Hey Hugh! Your official job title is Bookings Director for The MET. What does this job ask of you on a day-to-day basis?
Hugh: As the Bookings Director i curate the music direction for The MET & GPO, and book the weekly line ups for the venues, I mainly liaise with Bookings Agents based in Australia, but also work directly with some of the big agencies overseas to book all the touring and local djs. I work closely with Zac on Marketing, Promoter, and brand strategies, Zac has done an amazing job building and training his team, and is arguably running the best promoter team in the country. I also chase down joint venture opportunities with touring festivals and event brands that might come to Brisbane.
SR: How long have you been working at The MET in Brisbane? When did it all start there for you?
Zac: I've been at the Met since the new ownership takeover in August 2013, starting out as their Promotions Manager.
SR: How was the venue changed over the years? Musically, the punters, everything!
H: Since we took over in 2013 we have seen a few different genres peak and slow down, I think when booking a venue you always have to be ready to adapt and change musically as the market can be pretty harsh if you get stuck pushing one genre. Saying that though when we took over in 2013 we changed our downstairs room 'Coco' into a 'House Music' room, it took about 6 months to pick up and catch on, but has been one of our most successful rooms in the venue, and has seen the birth of our Revival After Hours brand on Saturdays which keeps the room open till 7am most Sunday mornings.
In addition to Revival we have launched other club brands Ransom, Met Saturdays, 256 Wickham, and have a new 'Underground House/Techno' brand in the works to be announced soon. I think our target demographic hasn't changed too much over the years, we still target 18-35 year olds, and when we have the odd 'heritage act' we see anywhere up to 50 years olds in attendance. Production wise the venue has seen significant upgrades to sound and lighting and this is due to having Pete Smith at the helm of our tech team, who in my opinion is the best in the business, not only an accomplished DJ in his own right, there is not a problem he cant fix when under pressure.
SR: What was it that got you into the nightlife industry?
Z: I've always been a massive fan of the nightlife and I bartended at bars and clubs 5-6 nights a week throughout my marketing degree. I went travelling for 6 months after I graduated, and came back to GPO in the months leading up to the owners purchasing The MET and they needed someone to head up their promotions, so was very much right place, right time!
SR: What was your first job in the industry and how did you end up where you are today?
H: I started out as a DJ in Canberra back in 2000 playing house parties, University functions etc., and then started playing in clubs in 2005. I launched my promotions brand 'Pang!' with my good mate Mikah Freeman (Aston Shuffle), as Mikah's career took off and he needed to focus on TAS, I decided to stick with promotions and ended up running a Festival Series in Canberra called 'All Our Friends' and bought a venue down there called Trinity Bar. I had moved up to Brisbane in 2013 as the opportunity presented itself to run all the Entertainment for Revelry as I had close ties with one of the investors Leah Cattanach, I ended up selling Trinity in 2014 and the rest is history.
I love living in Brisbane, I feel the nightlife scene is thriving and its so exciting to play a part in that. Being able to book some of my all time heroes of the dance music scene (Carl Cox, John Digweed, Sasha) but also get in early and help build careers of young artists in Brisbane like Will Sparks, Tigerlily, Peking Duk etc. means I literally have a dream roll in the business and love what I do.
SR: What would enhance the nightlife of Brisbane? Is there something the city needs/that is on the way?
Z: I think the city is in great shape - the progression of club shows, large scale events, and the use of more creative spaces has been amazing to watch over the last few years. There's a lot of talent behind in the scenes in Brisbane and I'm really excited to see how various teams keep pushing the envelope and creating better experiences for the fans!
Be sure to head along and support local nightlife!