Hannes Tschürtz

Hannes Tschürtz

Ink Music

I run Ink Music, an agency I founded in 2001 that covers management, booking, label and publishing.

Photo by Elisabeth Anna

This interview is also available in German

Hi Hannes Tschürtz, where are you based?

I live in good old Vienna, Austria.

Where do you work? What do you do?

I run Ink Music, an agency I founded in 2001 that covers management, booking, label and publishing. There’s a bunch of lovely people working with me here. We focus on artist development and bringing artists into new areas, geographically and artistically. The label released way over 100 records, our Live Department books tours in and around Austria and also promotes some 300-400 shows a year in Austria. We also do a lot of conceptional work and curation for festivals, communities and brands. Also, we are very active in creating and running educational programmes for the local music industry, which has been growing nicely in the past couple of years. I personally mostly focus on artist management and strategic work for the company. I’m happy to say that I’m also a big fan of the artists I work with – like Leyya, Schmieds Puls (Mira Lu Kovacs) or Lou Asril.

What are you listening to?

Currently I somehow mostly rediscover a lot of old music from 70s soul (Motown Era and beyond) to jazz records (classics really – Coltrane! Getz/Gilberto! Davis! Chet Baker!) from the 60s – which don’t necessarily fit in the company picture. I must admit I find it harder and harder to get excited over new music. If it does, I’m often surprised about myself – for instance, I really enjoy my piece of pop, like Sigri. I also liked Janelle Monae’s recent record and Little Simz new one. Vampire Weekend got me – again, and my favourite new discovery of now is Australian singer Angie McMahon.

How do you discover new music?

There’s this ever-amazing radio station in Austria called FM4 that does such a brilliant job in filtering music of all genres. They have a very dedicated and diverse team. Since their early days, each night is dedicated to a different niche – from HipHop to Indie to Metal. They have a DJ slot in the afternoon that is exciting, the Gilles Peterson Worldwide show… it’s really enriching and colourful.

Some Spotify playlists do the job but I have the feeling it’s harder to fall for something completely new without some story or introduction. And then of course there are a lot of personal recommendations from your circles – and I don’t mean Social Media ones, but personal ones.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?

Pheew. I used to DJ for ages but haven’t touched most of my collection in years. I’m afraid I don’t own a working CD player anymore. Mostly the convenience of Spotify is winning the game; occasionally for an enjoyable and relaxed dinner, I give some of my vinyl a dedicated listen. I’m not a huge collector anymore but love to take some vinyl home, especially from shows I enjoyed and artists I admire.

Where do you do most of your music listening?

My favourite time to listen to music is while doing boring regular household stuff at home like dishwashing, vacuuming or just getting things in order. Both of them then feel like a treat.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?

Ink Music gets loads of demos and of course also a lot of unreleased stuff from our artists, too. Soundcloud is very convenient for this, I don’t really like actual downloads. To actually find new music it’s really often on recommendations, especially at or around festivals, you attend. Also keeping your eyes open to what your favourite channels – be it radio, Facebook or release playlists – say, helps here, obviously.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

Secret download or streaming links that change, or you’ve somehow lost and/or forgotten. Example: Track 1 was uploaded, but the artist then altered, deleted and re-uploaded the song to a different place. Annoying.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

Can you, really? I loved last.fm back in the days to do this for me but it’s not made for the business side of things, obviously. So a lot is pure bookmarking of e-mails and browser pages.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

All the time, and not necessarily on “my” stuff or new music. I really like to talk and play with my bands on their own references and then tip them off to, say, a weird Herbie Hancock (which used to be the trailer music for Austrias “Top Of The Pops” show in the 80s) or Talking Heads record from 1980 when I figure they would probably like it. They often then refer back to something really fresh and new I hadn’t heard before. This is actually great fun.

Anything you want to “promote”?

You would never believe how deep, dense, diverse and amazing the Austrian music scene currently is, so dig in deep. You have to listen to this 19y old whizkid Lou Asril, you will enjoy every single piece that Leyya get their hands on and the same goes for Mira Lu Kovacs who’s is in an amazing band that fits your needs if you’re up for something more experimental. I could easily recommend 50, though. Vienna these days is H.O.T.

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