Benni Windelband works as a main booker for Cocoon. Find out how he managed to get into this position and what insights will reveal as a guest speaker at Pitch Control
Working as a booker for the iconic Cocoon is easier than you think. For Benedict “Benni” Windelband this implied sharing an apartment with a DJ in Mannheim, life changing revelations at Waha Festival and a nail biting 4 months long wait for an answer. No, we shit you not. This was the exact road Benni took from a sales assistant job to managing bookings for the Cocoon artists.
Yet probably the main thing that brought Benni closer to his present job is the passion and dedication he invested in BE9, the booking agency / record label he co-funded a few years with a bunch of friends who think alike. With its epicentre in Mannheim and built around artists like Sedee or Fabe and labels like Malonian or Kusi, BE9 quickly came into resonance with the ever changing house & techno underground. It into a full fledge agency, with showcases in Manchester and Zurich, also with its very first release on vinyl.
And it makes us proud to see how Romania’s electronic culture has become a vital source of inspiration in Germany. Malonian Records was born at Sunwaves and almost all BE9 related record labels feature Romanian producers, from Barac, Cezar and Cristi Cons to Andrei Ciubuc, Funk E or Piticu.
Benni Windelband will personally share this story and a lot more about his experience as a booker as a speaker for Pitch Control, the 5-days program at Atra Doftana, 11-16.05.2019, dedicated to DJs and focused on mixing, music production and self management. There are only 10 spots available. BURN Energy is offering a full sponsorship for one place at Pitch Control, all you have to do is follow these simple steps to claim this place ;)
We asked Benni to share a few insights from his perspective as a booking agent, so make sure you check out the interview below.
Thank you for accepting our invitation :) How was 2019 for you so far?
First of all, thanks for having me. I’m really happy to share my experiences with you.
2019 has started really exciting and uplifting with the changeover in the beginning of the year as I started with the new position as a main booking agent at Cocoon. It was a really stressful time with lots of work and new challenges, but I found my way through all this and I have to say it has really worked out well in the end.
On the other side our BE9 project is getting more and more recognition. We have achieved many great things in the first months of 2019 such as the first confirmed showcases in Zurich and Manchester, as well as the first BE9 label release. I also got the chance to travel with my artist and buddy Fabe a lot. We met so many amazing people and even had the chance to visit Stockholm and Sweden for the first time, which has been on my bucket list for a while. These moments have really pushed me forward. Meeting so many passionate promoters with the right vision in a fresh and young scene as theirs, where our kind of music is just being introduced – was a total success.
You are now working as a main booker for Cocoon. Can you tell us what skills does a booker need to properly fit into the house & techno underground scene?
I think every booker does the job in their own unique style and there is no 100% right way about how to do it.
In my opinion it’s the mix between organizing, timing, connecting, passion, the goals, the music and well being of your artist. It is essential to be an open minded person with a strong desire to connect with people and understanding their behavior. Besides that, you should know which parties and festivals are trending at the moment and which one will be hyped. If you combine all the above – you’re good to go, for sure.
I’m very passionate about music but I don’t have the skills to play it as I would like it to be played. Looking up events, booking flights, vacation or festival trips for the crew has always been my part, so doing this professionally was the next natural step.
How did you end up working for Cocoon?
The whole Cocoon connection came through Fabe, my old flatmate I used to live with at that time in Mannheim, directly near the Water Tower. He was already a Cocoon artist. He knew I was absolutely not happy with my job as a sales assistant and draw the idea in my mind to send my CV over to them. After having a vision about quitting my job in the middle of the dancefloor at Waha festival in Romania – this was the first thing I did when I got home. I directly sent my CV with a short letter about myself and after nearly 4 months of silence my phone rang and I got invited to a personal meeting in their Frankfurt office.
When I woke up the next day after the meeting I already received their offer and started a job as booking assistant.
Bookings for Cocoon and at the same time running BE9, your own. Must be equal as like 2 full-time jobs, right?
Haha absolutely, sometimes it really feels like there’s no end. As I have to travel every day back and forth from Mannheim to Frankfurt, which makes it nearly 1,5h each direction, I don’t really have much spare time. But I’m doing all this with passion. I’m standing 100 % strong behind my position as a booker at Cocoon and I’m always trying to push my BE9 crew forward as much as I can. The feedback and the energy I’m getting back from my friends, colleagues, partners or anyone I meet during my life journey is just crazy. All this just proves I’m on the right path and I want to go this way to the fullest.
My life is nothing compared to it 2 years ago where I didn’t know what to do or how to use my skills right. I’m just happy to have that now, when work doesn’t feel that bad anymore and I’m really thankful for that. I remember exactly how my work life was before this and I never want to go back to it. That said, I will never stop giving everything I can to keep it that way!
Sure, I sometimes have to reserve myself and say no at some point – to keep the balance – But I’m getting better and better at this.
Right now all I can say is everything is working pretty good for me and I’m feeling more alive and healthier then ever before.
How important do you think networking is nowadays for DJs and producers?
It depends what you want to achieve with your career but as I imagine Djs and producers want to make a living out of it or play every weekend in different cities / countries – then networking is essential.
In my opinion you can only get profit by connecting to other promoters and DJs at the events. It is not the easiest thing to constantly be open for everyone. You will surely meet people who will not be that interesting for you in the end, but you always have to see this from both sides. A promoter that booked a DJ who played a good set, made people dance but hasn’t connected with you or was even rude and arrogant to promoters / crew / other artists, compared to a DJ who did his job good as well, has always been kind, nice and open minded at the events, came home with 5 new contacts for 5 new potential bookings. Who would you book again or recommend to friends?
I think this sums it up pretty good – more about that on my panel.
Are you coming at Pitch Control just as a speaker or maybe as a scouter also?
Scouting never stops, so for sure I will keep my eyes wide open at ATRA and I’m already looking forward to meet all these amazing artists and people.
One DJ to watch for in 2019
Ogazón – watch out for this girl and for sure my BE9’ers!