Interviews

Behind the Scenes: Polish DIY hardcore booking DoOrDie!

DO OR DIE logo
At a time when many punk and metal acts have folded their booking operations into large booking agencies, a lot of local DIY promoters have been intent on forging their own path with dedicated hard work that manifests the DIY culture of underground music scenes of all kinds. Today, we’re going behind the scenes of the work of Warsaw based booking agency called DoOrDie (est. 2010), whose one half, Radek, was kind enough to sit down with us and answer some questions about Polish hardcore booking crews, the story behind DoOrDie, booking process, and a lot more. See the full interview below.

Upcoming shows from DoOrDie Booking:

April 21st – Pogłos, Warsaw – SxE Fest feat. CUTTING THROUGH + APPRAISE + VICIOUS X REALITY + PROTEIN + INFUSE + SELLOUT CONTROL
May 27th – Pogłos, Warsaw – BREAK AWAY + BELIEF + BRIGHT LIGHT + NATIVE LUNGS
June 14th – Chmury, Warsaw – FUCK IT… I QUIT! + LAXITY + more to be announced
June 18th – Pogłos, Warsaw – H2O + ALL FOR NOTHING + CF98 + SLUG ABUSE
July 10th – Pogłos, Warsaw – SLAPSHOT, HEAVY RUNNER, SCYTHE
August 10th – Pogłos, Warsaw – INTEGRITY + more to be announced

Get your tickets at this location.

DO OR DIE booking

Music by JAD

Hey there Radek! Thanks a lot for joining us and taking some time with IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s 2018 been treating you so far?

Hey Karol, I’m great and I hope you are too. If it comes to 2018, for me it’s perfect so far. My private life is stabilized, recently I have even more time for my family because I resigned from my work to organize more concerts and some other projects. Currently I’m working on opening new coffee shop in my hometown, but we’ll see what comes out from this idea.

Ok, cool, so let’s start off with the inevitable, which is a brief introduction. Tell us about your backgrounds and how deeply you’re rooted in hardcore punk scene? Tell us how you got hooked and how you got involved in the first place?

At first I have to mention that DoOrDie it’s not only me – there are two of us. My second part is Kasia, my coworker and privately – my wife. But let’s start from the beginning. Our first independently organized show was in Sochaczew, in quite survival place. It was in old canoe harbor close to Bzura river, and as I remember it was in 2011 or 2012. There played the Stubs, Drip Of Lies and Hard To Breathe and maybe some others. The event was great, venue crowded, a lot of friends from Warsaw and other cities, integration, having fun, everything what the hcpunk gig should be. It gave us a power to do much more. In this venue we organized only four or five more gigs because the place was owned by moto bikers and when they noticed that the music wasn’t the kind of Dżem, they told me that we can’t continue organizing shows as they’re too aggressive. Fortunately we knew people from samba group who had the great venue for doing concerts. It was an old bakery – good enough for punk concert hall. We built scene, installed lights, painted walls and did few other things so we could start in this new place.

What prompted you to start booking gigs?

We wanted to activate people from our city because for a long time we haven’t had any independent events in our hometown. If you wanted to see some good bands, you had to go to Warsaw or other cities. So, we thought that we will start booking shows and try to animate local underground. We also noticed that on hc scene in Warsaw a lot of people burned out and following this – that there were less and less shows. People who had been booking shows in capital city before, stopped organizing gigs,… they even stopped going for the hcpunk concerts. Even though there weren’t active promotors, bands were still looking for gigs so we decided to start booking shows also in Warsaw.

DOORDIE booking crew

Who influenced you along the way?

Generally my family push me and mobilize me to do different things. I can count on them in every situation. They support me and influence me all the time. I don’t have any other authorities,… maybe when I was young, but not now.

How many prolific DIY bookers do you know in Poland?

If it comes to booking crews, generally in Poland we don’t have many of them. I supposed that there is only one who is booking tours – Robert from Refuse, but he lives in Berlin now. I think that also Ratel sometimes organize small tours, but I’m not sure. On the other hand we have a lot of promotors – many of them are good friends of mine.

Can you recommend some hard working organizers for the bands out there?

I don’t know whether I understand you well, but if you mean promotors I mentioned that there are many good crews. I can list Boredom, Dancin’ Shoes, DIY3M, Winiary, Mad&Loud, Blindman Melodies, and many many more. All of them do really great job and I can recommend them in 100%. I often take part in gigs organized by them and everything always works out.

Back to DoOrDie Booking, what do you look for in artists that want to be represented by DoOrDie? What’s key to selecting these particular shows?

We like arranging gigs for bands which we know and respect. Generally there are from hcpunk scene because there are close to our interests. For sure we never organize concerts for people with racist, sexist or homophobic approach. We have rigid standards if it comes to politics.

Ok, so personally, which of your upcoming shows makes you most excited about?

Really? I don’t know. I’m excited before every concert. Our nearest gig is going to be the Straight Egde Fest. We haven’t had 100% straight edge event for a long time, and now we gonna have six sxe bands and four of them are from Poland. I’m stoked. But off course the rest concerts are also very exciting for me. We will do Break Away and Belief in May, H2O and All For Nothing in June, Slapshot in July, Integrity in August, additionally we have few surprises, but I can’t reveal these secrets now. For sure it will be blast.

SXE fest!

Venues-wise, how are the conditions in general to organize DIY shows in Poland these days?

It depends on the venue. Now, we organize shows often in Pogłos, Chmury, Hydrozagadka and I must admit that conditions are very convenient for promotors. People from that places are outgoing, open-minded and really helpful, generally they are good friends of us. We can always count on them. I can also recommend venues such as: Ada, Znośna Lekkość Bytu and Przychodnia Squat in Warsaw. They hosted us many times and always it was very friendly.

What’s the biggest pain in the ass when it comes to the booking process?

Hmm, sometimes looking for the Polish bands to support bands coming from abroad. It’s not always simple and sometimes I have to search for a long time before I find somebody. Fortunately I have never met mannered hcpunk stars… and I hope that I won’t.

Would you imagine a tool, an app, or a service that could help you out with the process?

My basic tools are social media. This is the best instrument to get to people and to attract them. Of course I promote my concerts through other websites or internet forums but much less than few years ago. The reason is that many of music websites are being closed or they limit their activity due to outflow of users. But if I had a chance to create some new tool? I think tt would be the mix of the best tools from Facebook, Last.fm and Bandcamp, connected into one and the best social and music-oriented portal.

DOORDIE booking pals

Ok, so finally, just to wrap it up: what memorable bands and records have you recently discovered?

Maybe I won’t be original but the last Turnstile and Quicksand blasts. Apart from that I’m listening to Ecostrike „Voice Of Strenght”, Line Of Sight „Dissent”, Candy „Candy Says” and polish new band – Jad „demo”. I could list many more, but maybe on another occasion.

Lastly, considering the last couple of years, what jaw-dropping shows have you attended and what made them special?

I’ve attended lot of great concerts during last years. Youth Of Today gig in Berlin two years ago was a scythe, I saw them few times and it always was really awesome. The last show of Violent Reaction in London was wild, Quicksand in Berlin it was really good show. Last year I organized Battery gig in Warsaw, so I’m stoked with this gig up to now. Fury in Częstochowa and Fury and Freedom in Warsaw gave great shows. Generally, I take part in a lot of concerts and every is unique for me. Throwback to Reminded gig in Pogłos, a month ago, it was small show but energy was amazing. Gig in Warsaw during Youth2Youth tour was blast, and Burn in Warsaw gave me a lot of fun.

Great, thanks so much Radek. Thanks for your time. The last words are yours!

Support your local hcpunk scene!

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