“You need to be ballsy. I remember one guy saying to me once: “Caro, there are two types of women in the music business in general. The groupies and the ones who look like the bass player of a metal band. You look like a groupie, but your attitude is of a bass player.”
It took Carolin Buttner a few years to find her own way in this male-saturated business, but she made it and now she confesses: ”It’s hard in the beginning and it takes some time for the bands to take you seriously. Things are different when you are a woman. You need to teach them to respect you and set boundaries. After all these years and knowing my work ethics, I earned their respect and they know they can rely on me. You really need to show people you are more than just a pretty face.”
Carolin left her home country, Germany to move to Finland about five and a half years ago, and during her first months here, she worked as a trainee in a photography studio. Eager to expand her knowledge and develop her professional skills, Carolin applied to Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) for a Bachelor degree in Media and Arts. Her focus was on Event Management and Production and she soon found her place in one of Finland’s biggest music agencies, Nem Agency Oy. “I started there as an intern, but I discovered it was completely my field and I was totally in love with my job. The response I got about a further continuation of my work exceeded my expectations. It felt like winning the lottery.”
Nem Agency embraces internationalism in the workplace and a tangible proof is how a small team of 7 people consisting of a South African (Rowan Rafferty, Managing Director), a German (Carolin) and 5 Finns can overcome the cultural differences and work together as a whole to deliver some of the best events on the rock and metal scene in Tampere. “Our team works perfectly and we’re all on the same level of professionalism. Everyone knows what their strengths are and how to bring them together to deliver successful productions.”
Part of her booking agent tasks, Carolin is mainly working with Finnish acts and occasionally, international ones. She adds with a smile on her face that international artists remember Tampere as the city with the red brick industrial buildings and the huge bridge spanning the high rapids of Tammerkoski. “Sauna is also a big thing to international artists. Some of them perform in Klubi and they are amazed to discover there is a sauna in the backstage area. Apart from that, I received a lot of good feedback about the Finnish audience being well-mannered and waiting in a line outside the venue. For some bands, that’s quite unusual. Especially if they have to put up with fans screaming and going crazy most of the time. Everything is super relaxed here and foreign bands can definitely feel it too.”
“Tampere is definitely a rock city."
"Throwback ten years ago, you had Negative, Bloodpit and Lovex which toured some European countries and not just their homeland. Nowadays, the rock ‘n’ roll spirit is still present; just take a look around and you can see guys with cowboy shoes and cowboy hats walking down the streets and looking like rock stars. Tampere offers plenty of opportunities to rock and metal bands. Surely, you have other music genres as well, but since NEM Agency is predominant rock and metal, we concentrate more on finding those specific bands. The city provides absolutely fantastic venues such as Klubi, Olympia-kortteli and Jack the Rooster. What’s missing though, are venues to fit an audience of around 200 people. Because you already have the ones for 100-150 people, Klubi is the size of 400 and then Olympia-kortteli, which can easily fit 600 people. But there’s nothing really in between. It’s a bit imbalanced if you consider those bands who don’t have a big fan base yet and need to improve their performances to later on reach bigger stages.”
Notwithstanding, that raises some questions, but it’s all part of the city development and Carolin’s future plans are worth to follow: “We have lots of new projects and ideas coming in the future which I think people will like. Some concern our festivals, SaariHelvetti and Kiirarock.
Our goal is to make Tampere’s music culture even cooler. Seeing the happiness on people’s faces while singing along with their favourite bands is an amazing feeling and keeps me going on.
I think more people should distance themselves from their phones and laptops and check the cultural event scene of the city. There are many talents out there creating music and bringing a lot of passion on stage. So take your friends out, go to the gigs, enjoy the music and create some great memories!”
Photos by Alisa Komendova Photography: https://www.facebook.com/AlisaKmdPhotography/