Throwing shows is a lot of work. A lot of time, money, and effort goes into it. We here at Flotivity were curious about and want to help our readers understand the job promoters do. See shows don't just come together like magic. People put those shows together and spend a lot of their time, money, and energy on giving artists an opportunity to present their music to an audience. We've emailed and will email promoters in the AZ hip hop scene to ask them the same questions and help us all understand and appreciate what they do for scene. Check it out.
First up is MattX. He runs a company called MattX presents. He's brought artists to AZ like Oddisee, Phife Dawg, Masta Ace, Necro, Binary Star, Ra the Rugged Man, and Blu. Currently, he is promoting tonight's Pharoah Monch show at Last Exit Live in downtown Phoenix. Local artists RoQy Ty'Raid, NomadHipHop, Everyday Affiliates, and Fact135 are on the bill as support. As of this writing, tickets will be available at the door.
Check out MattX's Q&A below:
Why do you throw shows?
In the years I worked for venues, it was my career. Now with Mattx Presents, I only do certain shows. I focus on bands I believe in and artists that have had an impact in the past that still kill live shows.
Artists like Masta Ace, Phife Dawg and Pharoahe Monch are some of legends that people may not have gotten the chance to see back in the day. I have a chance to bring them back and have an intimate show, usually filled with people who know every word the artist is saying.
Shows like that create a certain type of energy from the crowd. That energy is something that has to be curated, and that energy is the only reason I do shows.
How do you select artists for your show?
Local artists? It takes a lot to be honest. I have to see you live and feel you have an idea of how to get people to pay attention to you strictly from a performance aspect. No rapping over lyrics. No yelling at folks to pay attention. Respect for the venue, staff, artists and fans. Professionals only.
You can't pay your way on to my shows, but if you inquire and I can tell you really want the opportunity, I do a little research and add you if you fit.
I take support acts very seriously, and if you are on my stage, I am vouching for you to every show participant. I have to be able to know you can be a pro and handle yourself.
What is the average you spend on a show? (Feel free to break down by costs: venue, artists, promo, etc)
The most I am comfortable with currently is under $2500 for a headliner, but that is the most. While there are offers for gigantic artists that ask 10k plus, I don't do huge shows. I like to keep shows affordable to the customer. $10 - $20 tickets. I only work with venues that don't charge outrageous ticket fees to help maintain that.
Regardless of the money I have to pay the headliner, there is always about $250 - 750 budget per show for venue rental, posters, fliers, hotel rooms, hospitality, buyouts and transportation.
How much do you make on average?
More often than not I work for investors who place their faith in me to create a good lineup, advise which shows to throw and then handle all the footwork for promoting and running the events.
Investors, artists, venues, expenses and all other staff get paid. If anything is left, I get that.
What is the hardest thing about promoting shows in AZ? What sucks about promoting shows? What don't you like about promoting shows?
The only thing I don't like about being a promoter is when the gamble doesn't pay off. The money is one thing, but that's not it. If I book an artist, I am the one getting them from the airport, or if it is a smaller level artist, they stay at my house. Nothing makes car rides as awkward as a show that nobody came to.
Is being a promoter your only source of income?
I only know 2 or 3 people in this town that are successful enough at this to let it be their only source of income. As I do enjoy it, I am not one of them. I have a full time job, manage a band (also a very time consuming effort) AND promote shows.
What is one or two things you’d like everyone to know about promoting Arizona hip hop shows?
If you want to promote Hip Hop in this town you are automatically up against a lot of hurdles. There has been a steady lineage of "promoters" that have not been professional or had control of their shows. Those people have ruined relationships with venues, bars, other promoters and artists. And most of those people that feel burned by the experience have clumped all of Hip Hop together as a burden and won't even let another opportunity happen.
Don't let that frustrate you, if you want to be a part of this realm, do the work and jump in. But be dedicated and brace yourself for everyone that is going to shut you down.
Also, if you think selling tickets is the most important thing, you already have it wrong. Any show you can pay to be on should be seriously reconsidered. There is no focus on talent or showmanship on those types of shows, just money. Call me old fashioned, but a show should be entertaining.
How can people/artists get in contact with you to perform/help promote/etc.
Mattx Presents on Facebook. It's the easiest way. Send music and a link to some things I can check out.