By Linus Lassus
MXD took the chance to meet a lot of new and interesting people while visiting the Buma Rocks! loud music industry festival in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Buma Rocks! was arranged during the big FortaRock festival, and the event presented a wonderful opportunity to find out more about the Dutch loud music industry. There are over 17 million people living in the Netherlands, so there’s much more to the Netherlands than just Eurosonic. MXD spoke to Lisa Gritter, founder and owner of LaLaLand Promotion & Marketing, in order to find out more.
Lisa loves the music she works with and she says there was never a time she didn’t want to work in the industry. After studying International Music Manegement and working at venues and in production, she got a job as promotion manager at a record label. After five years she felt it was time to set up her own business.
“I started LaLaLand basically to see if I could. The freedom of working freelance is worth as much as – maybe even more than – a steady income. It’s hard work, but it’s fun and you learn so much, every day.”
Lisa works with bands such as Lonely The Brave, We Are The Ocean, The Experimental Tropic Blues Band and The Scrap Dealers. Besides the bands she recently started to work with NMTH.nl (Never Mind the Hype), a promotional platform for loud music in the Netherlands.
According to Lisa, the loud music scene has always been special in the Netherlands, with several Dutch bands gaining international success. Lisa says she can slowly see rock, punk and emo getting popular again.
“I think the UK has been providing us with a lot of great rock bands that get ‘commercial’ success, which paves the way for Dutch and Belgian rock bands to grow. I think ‘commercial’ radio is slowly getting less afraid of blasting some loud guitars.” As an example she mentions the Dutch band John Coffey (a band that has been recently noted for catching flying beer glasses while crowdsurfing). “For them (John Coffey) to be played on the radio it took a few years of them giving their all at every show, working their asses off and just making loud music fun again,” says Lisa. “I think loud music is starting to get its nails back into the popular media and people start playing for bigger crowds and that is a great thing!”
Lisa says there are a lot of great venues and festivals in the country and according to her, the Netherlands should be one of the focus markets that bands who want to play mainland Europe should go for, alongside Germany and Scandinavia. However, she points out that she can see a lot of regional differences in the country.
“Every region has its own festival and its own scene which means you can play different shows in this tiny country, but still reach new audiences. The south of Holland is considered more metal/rock, the Amsterdam area (west) used to be more dance orientated but it’s also the capital, so all the (big) bands play there and a lot of other bands love playing Amsterdam as well, usually very special shows. The north has its own really great music scene and the east part of Holland is especially great for blues(rock), but also hosts the biggest festival of Holland; Zwarte Cross.”
Lisa doesn’t believe in any magic tricks when it comes to breaking into the Dutch market. Her tips are nothing but “play, play, play!”.
“And get yourself a good local team in promotion, bookings, sales and distribution who knows the market!” She does seem to find something intriguing in Scandinavian music however. “Scandinavian artists always have this mystic way about them. There’s a certain sound that I seem to hear in almost all Scandinavian music, wether it’s pop or black metal. It’s hard to describe, it’s like clear icey mountain water… If that makes any sense?”