By Glenn Alderson
VANCOUVER — Matt Owchar dedicates his day life to making sure your nightlife is the best it can be. He got his start in the music industry as a DJ and can still be seen behind the decks from time to time, spinning choice cuts late into the night as Expendable Youth. During the day Owchar keeps regular office hours as talent buyer for Fortune Sound Club and marketing manager for Blueprint Events, one of the largest entertainment, lifestyle, and events organizations in Western Canada. This month Blueprint is hosting their annual Seasons Festival, a multi-day/multi-venue electronic music festival stacked with that Blueprint caliber of entertainment we’ve come to expect. As lead marketer and assistant buyer for Seasons, Owchar has been pulling double duty lately but we managed to track him down to pick his brain about music and the Vancouver nightlife community that he has become such an integral part of.
BeatRoute: What does an average day look like for you at the Blueprint office?
Matt Owchar: The Blueprint office happens to be a central location where our team convenes on a daily basis, but we’re all pretty much working on keeping the machine going every waking hour. The music industry never sleeps, so to speak, so neither do we.
BR: Do you ever find it difficult juggling your nightlife with your day life?
MO: Of course. Inherently going out all the time and working a day job are diametrically opposed to one another. After awhile though, the novelty wears off and you begin treating going out like a job itself. There’s obviously still a lot of fun involved—I get to book and see artists I personally enjoy listening to, meet new people all the time, plus I still actively DJ. There’s also a youthful energy in our industry that helps keep us all young in spirit. Also, I’ve discovered in recent years that you basically have to engage in rigorous physical exercise a few times a week to maintain mental and physical health, plus combat the wear and tear on your body from staying out late, drinking, so on and so forth.
BR: What kind of music do you listen to at the office? Is it different from the music you find yourself listening to at the club?
MO: When I can, I usually listen to mellower mixes or rap mixtapes. Recently I’ve been super into Young Thug’s “I’m Up” but I’m a fan of Ben UFO’s mixes, both because he’s an incredible DJ and for track discovery. I also enjoy Derek Duncan’s Leisure series and have been trying my best to dig into the LibraMix.org catalogue as much as I can.
BR: What are some of the best things about your job on a day-to-day basis?
MO: In essence, I really do have a dream job. As someone who dreamed about working in the music industry my whole life, essentially shaping my career path has been a true blessing. Discovering a new artist that you know is going on to great things is very satisfying. Discovering and promoting music and contributing to our city’s culture is just a rewarding experience in general.
BR: Can you tell us a bit about what it takes to pull together a successful festival?
MO: In the case of Seasons—a lot! If you think about the logistics involved, Seasons, compared to say a Contact or FVDED in the Park (both of which are insular festivals taking place in static locations), is a far bigger project in scope. I mean it’s five days, 30 events, 60+ artists, eight venues, showcases, art installations, etc. There’s some commonalities between the events, as they wouldn’t be grouped together as a festival if that weren’t the case, but at the same time, every event within the Seasons sphere has to be treated with its own care and detail.
BR: What are some of the things you are most excited about at Seasons Festival this year?
MO: An overall more cerebral, mature, and experimental lineup—from the main event all the way down to the small club shows. It’s something we’ve slowly been building towards, but it was important for us to learn the ins and outs of running a multi day festival first. Now that we have that foundation, curating and booking more in line with our personal tastes and vision of what we’ve wanted the festival to be has become the priority for Seasons. Also, the addition of very credible curators like Derek Duncan (Pacific Rhythm) and Malcolm Levy (Hybridity) is exciting to me. I’ve been friends with Derek for a long time and we’ve always had this mutual respect for one another despite operating in different lanes as promoters and DJs. We’re essentially using Seasons as a pilot program to bring our collective expertise together to offer something unique that will hopefully open up awareness and discovery from people across various scenes in Vancouver.
BR: When Seasons is over, how are you going to spend your first day off?
MO: Probably in a shallowly dug grave somewhere. Just kidding! I’ll be at home, asleep.
For more information about Seasons Festival, which takes place March 23 to 27 at various venues, visit www.seasonsfestival.com.BC, Blueprint Events, British Columbia, Matt Owchar, Seasons Festival