Talking with Martin Könnigsmann
Martin Könnigsmann is the co-owner of German booking and artist management agency Swinque, working as the booking agent for the roster alongside co-owner Marco Völkel (who runs the management side of things).
Together, the pair are responsible for a diverse range of talents from Virtual Riot—one of the fastest-rising names in dubstep in the world right now—to techno titan Felix Kröcher. Martin was also instrumental in elevating MOGUAI from a well-known European name to a global dance music star, and he also promotes an up-and-coming festival in Germany.
Martin takes us through his history and recounts the dark times of Excel spreadsheets and excessive manual labour for booking requests.
What’s the history of Swinque?
I started on my own 17 years ago, taking care of MOGUAI and Phil Fuldner, doing the bookings, management and starting to create their labels. It was a full one-man show, doing contracts on Word documents or Excel sheets, changing addresses and numbers on every one, printing them, faxing them to people. If I look back now I think — hey, how did you do that on your own?
10 years ago my now-business partner Marco Völkel joined the team. There was a lot more to do, like all travel, and general organisation of the business. I was thinking, shall we get more staff on board just to take care of contracting, invoicing and all that? I think it was Ante Perry, who told me about System One six years ago.
How does System One help your agency?
I'm a typical German: I love to do things right and have control. When I first checked System One it was just—"wow!". But like everyone, I had my own way of organising. Once I got familiar with the system it was great.
Recent features were added for registering flights and train journeys. That saves so much time! Nowadays if a promoter asks for another artist, I add all information into System One and in five minutes I can send out a contract.
What does your typical working day look like?
That doesn't exist! Talking and e-mailing with promoters is the core of my day. The more time I have to communicate with them, the better. Luckily I have supporting staff, one girl, who takes care of contracting, invoicing, travel and so on. With her help and the help of System One, I have the time to talk about bookings and artists.
Any good stories about touring with your artists?
The most special thing happened to me whilst on an Asia tour in 2009 with Moguai: five shows in five days. We had a seven-hour flight each day, so you fly, hop off, walk around the city in wonder like a little kid, have dinner with the promoter, trying to get a feeling of the culture. If you do this in Seoul, Bangkok, Jakarta, Tokyo you're in a different world every stop. The last show was in Tokyo. I remember seeing the dark city through my hotel window from the 23rd floor and I was just lost. There were just too many impressions, too much travel. All good, all great; but I just stood there and thought - who am I? Where am I? What am I doing? It was really one for the books.