Dublin Metal Events are the company that are behind the majority of killer metal shows throughout the year that take place in Ireland. Since its inception in 1999, Dublin Metal events have brought over such legendary acts as Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and many others and the future looks to be just as good with Decapitated, Nile, Melechesh and many other acts being brought over to the our shores. I decided to have a word with D.M.E’s owner, H and take a look at all the effort that goes into running and promoting these shows.
Hi H. How are you?
Hey there. Doing good, thanks. Few weeks break from shows ahead so some time to recharge the batteries is always nice.
So how did you get into gig promotion?
It started for me back in 1999 when I helped the 2 guys that started Emerald Promotions, as it was called back then, with the Morbid Angel show. From then on I became part of it and over time those guys both left the country. I’ve been doing it on my own since 2003 with the help of my loyal show day crew, of course.
Had you played in any bands before starting to promote gigs?
No, I hadn’t. I tried my hand at the bass for a while but didn’t really have the dedication needed for it. My calling seems to have been more geared towards the business side of things.
What were the biggest difficulties you faced when starting to promote gigs?
Well, at the start, the biggest problem was simply trying to get bands to play here. Ireland was a bit of a barren wasteland when it came to metal shows and so most bands never even considered it an option on the touring circuit. Another thing is the extra costs for bands to play here as you can’t just drive to play here the way you can within the UK. That’s still an issue to this day.
Could you describe to us the process of bringing a band over here to Ireland.
Well, at this stage, it’s a pretty standard process for me. Agent mails with an offer of a tour and will look for available dates or ask for a specific date based on routing. Then there’s the usual to’ing and fro’ing on agreeing a fee. Aside from that, there’s the obvious stuff that people see (i.e. the promotion) but there’s also a lot of work in the background – things like pre production between band’s tech people and the venue (via myself), work permits, advance sheets to detail schedules for the day, ferry/flights bookings etc etc. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye, let’s say that. It’s difficult to list everything involved as you can never predict some of the issues that can come up. It’s a lot of work and not quite the ‘book the band and all will work out and then you get to hang out with them’ scenario that some might imagine it to be.
What band were you most excited to bring over?
One that comes to mind was Deicide the first time. Their first album is one of my absolute favourite albums ever so that was pretty exciting. I guess it would be all the obvious ones like Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse etc and then legendary names such as W.A.S.P. would be a highlite too. A band like Nightwish was very exciting too as it was obviously the biggest thing I’d booked at the time.
Have you ever been star struck when dealing with some of the bands?
I wouldn’t say so, no. Of course it’s very cool to have dealt with almost all of the bands I love and to have a lot of these guys now know me by name and get on well with them when they’re over is a great thing but they’re just people at the end of the day.
How do you decide on what bands to bring over?
It varies. Most of the time it’s a business decision because that’s what this ultimately is. That’s not to sound crass and of course I’m a fan first and foremost but, let’s be honest, I’m not going to spend so much of my time working on this and taking quite substantial financial risks if there’s no fiscal reward possible. That said, there are of course times when I’ll book a band I’m a big fan of, fully knowing that they may not pull what I need and I’ll lost a little on it. That’s the beauty of being independent – I’m not answerable to anybody and can do that if I want to. I also work fulltime apart from DME so I don’t depend on it to pay the mortgage, which again gives me some freedom to allow the odd show to lose money if it’s a band I simply can’t resist.
As far as how the bands comes up, it’s mainly via agents offering tours to me. I don’t chase bands very much at all these days. Occasionally, I’ll make the first move, especially if it’s maybe to fly a band in for a one off show outside of their touring cycle, but generally the offers come into the mailbox.
What’s your favourite venue to run gigs at?
— I would say Vicar St. It’s a fantastic venue and, of course, if doing a show there it means it’s a big one. Overall though, I’m happy to work in any of my regular venues (Button Factory, Academy, The Village & Whelans) – I have good relationships with them all and never have any problems anywhere. No venue is perfect and I know everyone has their favourites but it just depends on availability and production suitability as to where a show ends up.
You guys have some great bands on the way over; Exodus, Grave, Misery Index. And before that you guys had brought over Converge, Vader, Suffocation and the mighty Cannibal Corpse. 2010 must have been one of your most successful years?
2010 has been ok, I would say. It’s been a little strange in that the first half of the year was pretty quiet and I then have a packed 4 weeks towards the end of the year. I’ve been happy with it overall though and am looking for it to end on a high with shows such as W.A.S.P., Napalm Death/Immolation and the rest. I would say the most successful year thus was 2008 when I had Nightwish, Opeth and Children Of Bodom all in close proximity.
How is 2011 shaping up? I already see Nile are on their way, thats a great way to start the New Year!
— Yep, that should be a good one. Nile and Melechesh is a great combination. It’s quite likely that that won’t be the first show of the year as there should be something on the last weekend in January. Other than that, there’s already a fair few diary entries upto and including April so, as the cliché goes, watch this space!
Have you guys looked into ever trying to run a festival?
No, it’s not something I’ve really looked into too much, to be honest. I think we have to realise our limitations as a pretty small country in ‘metal’ terms. The costs involved with putting on a worthwhile bill that would allow it to be called a festival (a word that is thrown about these days for any show with more than 3 bands it seems) would be huge and, let’s be honest, why would people from Europe come here for something like that when there’s so much on offer in their own countries and most likely at a cheaper price? So I don’t really see it as something I’ll ever do and certainly not in the current economic climate. You only have to look at the record of the various attempts to do it in this country to see what I mean. I never say never of course but it’s not something on my agenda right now.
What does the future hold for Dublin Metal Events?
Nothing radically different from what’s gone up to now really. Just more shows and keep on going. 2011 is already taking shape nicely and so I don’t see much changing…I’ll just keep trying to book the right shows and hope the beautiful people that buy the tickets share my enthusiasm for it all. On that note, I’d just like to say thanks to every person that hits any of the shows. It might sound clichéd but it’s true that without people buying the tickets and supporting the shows, this wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has.
Thanks for your time H!
Be sure to visit Dublin Metal events.com to check out what shows are coming up.