STAGEREPORT “What Remains and What Will Come at BBM”

Thilo Goos from Black Box Music on current developments “Nice Expansion”

The event service provider Black Box Music (BBM) of Berlin was able to record an enormously positive development over the last few years. To find out what caused this success, we interviewed BBM executive director Mister Thilo Goos.

StageReport: BBM has so far focussed on the tour and show business. Will you go on this way?
Thilo Goos: Definitely. Tours and shoes will remain at the centre of our activities. So far, the sales share of Corporate Events has been at around 20 per cent. But we are striving to increase this figure. This also applies to TV productions, for that matter. For this purpose, we have just enhanced out team taking in a specialist for TV lighting.

StageReport: Which are the upcoming tours and projects for the last months of the year?
Thilo Goos: SADE, with whom we have been on tour throughout the world, will come back to Europe. With Rammstein, we are set to go on the “Best of Tour” in November. The rehearsals have already started in our rehearsal hall. And with In Extremo, we are set to go on a Germany tour starting on December 9 in Dresden.

StageReport: Did you also have to invest in new equipment for these projects?
Thilo Goos: We have invested even substantially, amongst other things in a second K1 system made by L-Acoustics, with which we have increased our inventory to more than 700 L-Acoustics loudspeaker systems for lease. But we have also purchased Shotlight Wash made by Clay Paky, these are washlights with integrated strobe, Lancelot followspots made by Robert Juliat, radio intercom systems made by, moving light trusses made by Hof Alutec, for transporting pre-equipped trusses including the spotlights, power stations for 110/230 Volt as well as two step-free mega trailers.

StageReport: Were these substantial investments in event technology justified?
Thilo Goos: They were absolutely necessary for our expansion and the many projects commissioned. For instance, we provided the sound for SADE and Rammstein in the USA as well as several festivals and Herbert Grönemeyer’s tour in Germany at the same time. This wouldn’t have been possible with a K1. The one system we have now here with us, the other one is in the USA. The equipment might have been leased instead, but that is not in line with our policy.

StageReport: Where do you take the staff for these many challenging productions from?
Thilo Goos: For the international productions, we rely on native speakers and international staff, being supported by experienced insiders. We of course also ask our regular employees whether they wish to go along on tour. Bur generally they are features of the company’s external image and known as contacts to many clients. This is why we do not wish to burn our regular crews out. In addition, we have been manning the stock on seven days a week for some time and for this purpose are using a three-shift system. This requires a larger staff headcount.

StageReport: How many staff does BBM employ?
Thilo Goos: Currently 34 employees plus freelancer.

StageReport: Does BBM also provide training?
Thilo Goos: We have been for a long time. We provide training for specialists in event technology and office clerks. As we speak we have 15 trainees – both male and female.

StageReport: BBM meanwhile operates two rehearsal studios at the company headquarters in Berlin. Which are the productions and companies these facilities are booked for and by?
Thilo Goos: Currently, the studios have been booked by Rammstein. Soon Knorkator and In Extremo will come. But we also use the two studios for corporate events or video productions, for example for Tape TV. In the foreseeable future we will have even more available capacity in building # 6 – which is right next door. At the moment, we are setting up spaces over several floors which are well equipped for offices, stocks, studios and multifunctional spaces for rehearsals and even six suites. The studios have floor spaces of 100 to 150 square metres and may be rented on a daily basis – for instance for dancers or also string players who desire to rehearse for a production in parallel to the band.

StageReport: Are you happy with this development in the studios?
Thilo Goos: The Studios are an important jigsaw piece of our success and are running really well. This is where our location in a metropolitan city like Berlin pays, with its continual presence of musicians and artists from all over the world and their needs for rehearsal rooms. This business wouldn’t probably run as well at any other location.

StageReport: What kind of economic result do you expect for this year?
Thilo Goos: We are on a very positive track and scraping the 10 million line, which means we’ve had a nice expansion.

StageReport: Will BBM be located exclusively in Berlin also in future?
Thilo Goos: We currently have no other plans, but wish to set up more partnerships with suitable business enterprises in the future.

StageReport: What are your expectations concerning BBM’s development in the next year?
Thilo Goos: I am positive and convinced that our substantial investments will pay within the next two years.

(StageReport “Nice Expansion” of October 2011)

Foto: Stefan Tietz