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Promoter Profile : A.G.R.O. Dave
By: Jessica Grajczyk
Date: 2006-02-14 15:39:34
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Promoter Profile : A.G.R.O. Dave Interview by Jessica Grajczyk

A.G.R.O.c.u.l.t.u.r.e. (A.LL G.ENDERS R.ACES O.RIGINS c.ultures u.nited l.iving t.ogethor u.sing e.nergy)

Dave from AGROculture got into the business of promoting by accident - now he’s putting on massive parties such as KISS and revolutionizing the intimate hip hop show. What’s his secret to keeping things fresh and his customers happy? Read on?

What was the first party you ever threw?

The first party I ever threw was all a big fluke. I could probably write an entire article on that itself, but I’ll make a long story short. Back in 1996 there was a trippy looking dude on the street, he wouldn’t talk to me no matter what I said. And he stood completely still. So I pulled out my camera and took a picture with my friends in there smiling and sticking their thumbs up. 4 years later my boys and I started going to these rave parties. We actually hated raves and that weirdo house music they were playing (it was all house music to us at the time), but we loved the girls and had a lot of fun going to them.

Just as a joke we turned that funny picture into a missing poster and each week we added funny new captions to them and handed them out all over the place. For months people were collecting these Where’s Wendel posters. Some knew it was a joke, some believed it, most were just really confused! There was one dude who claimed he was on to us, he kept calling us geniuses. "Where’s Wendel is a party isn’t it!" he said. Right away I was like "Yeah man, wanna buy a ticket?" Before we knew it the rumour spread like wildfire that Where’s Wendel the party was coming soon! A few months later we threw the show and it sold out beyond capacity. All promo was word of mouth that Wendel was going to be there.

Have your promoting skills evolved since then?

Well since I didn’t know anything about anything since then I’d have to say yes. Naturally after throwing 50+ shows big and small over 6 years I’ve learned the business side of things. However I’m still down to earth and I see things as a consumer rather than a promoter. I’ve learned that there’s a lot of promoters out there have poor people skills. They don’t seem to care about individuals, while I see that as the secret to my success. Any skills I use now with promoting, I use generally in life itself. That is to be honest, keep promises and be empathetic. I try to get to know everyone I come across at my events as people rather than treating them as customers.

If you could put together one last dream event with your favourite artists, venue, music, etc ? what would it be?

My dream event is constantly evolving. In the beginning throwing any sized event would be a dream. I grew up with not a lot of money to throw around so after I threw parties my dream would always be to throw a massive 3000 person+ show, it seemed pretty much impossible at the time. When I accomplished that my dream was to bring in famous hip hop rappers, especially ones I grew up listening to. Now that I’ve accomplished that, my dream is to move into the next level of event production. Mixing DJ dance events with live theatrics, acrobats, story lines, dancers and props in classy venues. Everything taken care of with professional choreographers and writers behind the story line. I’m hoping to accomplish this within a few years.

I was at your Naughty By Nature show and honestly I thought it was one of the most professionally put together club venue hip hop shows I’ve seen in this city. What puts you apart from the rest?

What sets me apart from the rest is I strive to be different. I get bored with the same old thing. I like to be innovative and take risks by doing things that are different that others aren’t doing. I also like to diversify. Not to many promoters can make the switch over from throwing House and Trance shows one week to live hip hop the next week.

With the Naughty by Nature show my good friend Dan at Masterplan and I came to the conclusion that Vancouver needs to see a small scale show with a big scale production. A production that simply can’t be done by many other promoters out here. I think that is a whole element that is missing nowdays. I also strive to bring out DJ’s and acts that are exciting to the general audience. I keep the audience in mind when making bookings and what they like while I think a lot of promoters (that are also DJ’s) are over critical and think what they like themselves.

How does Vancouver’s nightlife compare to other cities you’ve been to? Anything you’d like to change?

I’ve only really partied in Toronto and Seattle. I love the Vancouver scene and the people, however I find that it’s easier to get things done in other cities. I find Vancouver is over regulated with out of date bylaws and needs to wake up, especially with the Olympics coming. We’ve come a long way but have a long way to go.

Any skills I use now with promoting, I use generally in life itself.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a party?

Sex! And lots of it! Haha! I also once saw this naked man covered head to toe in mud, screaming and jumping on people, grabbing them and humping the ground. Just when I thought I saw it all! The craziest DJ I ever saw was Mark EG from the UK. I booked him for a show I threw in Seattle. He pushed the preceding DJ off the decks, started spinning some crazy music. He did a huge line of coke off the record and then started punching himself in the face. He must of broke 10+ records over his head. Picked up a turntable and bit the arm (that plays the records) off. And ate and swallowed a 1 dollar bill........haha wow.

What’s the best show or event you ever attended in Vancouver (could be yours or someone else’s) and what made it so good?

Shambhala. It’s not in Vancouver, it’s in Salmo, BC. It’s a 4 day, 3 night electronic music festival that has a production level, professionalism and hard work that is just awe inspiring to me. If I was put in charge of that show I wouldn’t know where to begin. Every little aspect of the show is done with exceptional quality and detail. They do almost all their advertising through word of mouth, and are getting 10 000+ people per year to their show. They do it all without any form of cooperate sponsorship. Everything I can do with money such as renting a few big screens and projectors, they will make screens by hand and wood they get from their land making the screens 4 times and big and making 4 times as many.

Who do you look up to in your field?

GMAN. I actually don’t know him that well. But I really respect what he does and how he gets it done. He’s very professional, very consistent. Isn’t a greedy guy and is willing to work with a variety of promoters. I respect any promoter who thinks win/win. A promoter that isn’t territorial (but still stands his ground) but rather would work together to make a better scene. He’s been around long enough to see many promoters rise and fall.

Do you have any strange talents or hobbies?

I don’t think I have any strange talents or hobbies. But one of my hobbies I enjoy is hiking and getting into the mountains. BC is a beautiful place and there’s so much to see that is in our backyard. It’s also a great escape from all the hecticness out here. My new hobby is travelling. I would like to travel the world and see it all. Some people think it’s strange that I’m not interested in the party destination vacation spots. But it makes perfect sense to me!
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