Klinikens tredje gäst för året kommer ursprungligen från Chicago men har bott i Berlin sedan tidigt 90-tal, och har varit involverad i stadens musik- och kulturliv sedan dess. Att hon kommer hit känns extremt roligt och vi var tvungna att kolla upp lite mer kring vad hon gjort, vad hon gör och hur hon hinner med, hur hon klockar in 40 timmar per dygn. Eller 50. Eller nåt.
Vi tror det kommer bli en sjukt inspirerande presentation och svårt att hålla den på en timma på kontoret den 13:e april. Intervjun är gjord över mejl och vi tränar också på lite engelska då.
Hey Melissa, we got your background clear - but where do you get your ideas and energy from, to keep it all up?
- I guess most of the ideas I have come from being in the bubble of the music world but from different angles. I wear different hats (concert promoter, festival organizer, consultant, supervisor and of course music lover) and I guess that I feed off the energy each different job brings and what it requires out of me. Being surrounded by creative people for your job doesn’t hurt either.
How do you get started then, what brings you to act?
- I like to see the areas where I believe things could be better and that spurs me to jump in the water with new ideas or join someone in theirs. In any case I am inspired often. And not to be forgotten if I did not have such a great husband and family that supports me and what I do, I could not have been as involved or engaged over the years in so many projects that were more passion than career.
What are you focus areas right now?
- Well, since I have just come back from being on maternity leave I guess the biggest focus is the Music Pool Berlin. We (www.musicpoolberlin.net) received the funding for the project right before I was to go on my leave, so although I was one of the founders I was not involved in the daily work last year, so it is nice for me to see that when you have an idea that it can be put out there and grow and and be just fine without you. But I am really happy to be able to jump in this year and see where it is headed. The next funding period starts soon so we cross our fingers that the mission continues.
What is the best about the Music Pool?
- I find it really inspiring to hear all the different stories each musician brings with them to the appointments and of course it feels good when you can help them out in some small way even if it may only entails passing some information or suggesting where they could get help with their questions. That is where the name comes in - we have a very vast pool of experts who we bring or invite to share their knowledge and wisdom with the musicians. It is rewarding but feel like it is just a beginning and that we could eventually do even more given the time and of course the funding to continue.
About Torstrassen Festival, who are you in that area?
-Well, I am part of the organization of the festival (www.torstrassenfestival.de) and I organize this with two colleagues, Norman Palm and Andrea Goetzke. We moved our date this year (usually it takes place in the end of August and now we will be on the 13th & 14th of June.) So we have a lot to do in a shorter period of time, but we have a great feeling about this year and we are going to celebrate our 5th year anniversary! So in the world of things coming and going we feel pretty proud to welcome people to another year of great music.
Regarding working in Berlin, how do you feel about the climate for being in culture and music?
- I guess my experience is a personal one and I can mostly say that I feel lucky to be a part of it. Of course I mostly champion the independent - the underdog so there are the ups and downs, but on the plus side as of recently for musicians and people working in the world of pop(ular) music in Berlin we are fortunate to have a new funding body and office called the Musicboard Berlin which funds and supports the pop music world (here used to describe all music that is not classic) in the city with residencies, stipends, grants and leads a discourse about pop culture and its relevance for Berlin. Two of my current projects are funded through the MB. We have had many changes the last years and being somewhere for twenty years gives you that birds eye perspective of things.
What is it that makes Berlin so special?
- It is a unique city with in its’ own right and perhaps because of its’ history and the many chapters, many which were dark have always had people gravitating to it and the rich cultural life in Berlin. I think that many of the artists I work with have come here because of this - it is a beacon for artists all over the world. We are pretty spoiled as far as culture goes. But we also work hard to maintain this claim.
Have been to Sweden before? What do you expect from the trip?
- Actually I have never been and I am really excited to be coming for these events. I have met many musicians and artists over the years who come from Sweden and some who have become friends so I am most grateful for the opportunity to be invited. I guess I hope to meet lots of interesting folks working in music and other creative sectors who can also share their experiences vice/versa with me making the world feel even smaller. ;) I like getting the chance to find out how much people have in common and what we all have to learn from each other - because sometimes we believe that it is always greener or sunnier on the other side but usually a lot of common ground is there. Coming from U.S.A. but living in Germany for almost twenty years has given me that gift.
What can we expect you to talk about when you get here?
- Hmm…In the larger sense - I guess that having a lot of ideas means finding people who you can work with and bounce each others ideas off and that you always benefit from the skills each one brings. I would not have been able to do so many great and amazing projects over the year’s had I not met the right people. And without sounding cheesy: it's about following your gut and your heart wherever it drives you. I will talk about a few projects I work on but it is really just that I am lucky that I have the opportunity to work in a field I love and that it touches a lot of other creative fields and people.
Puh, det låter som det kan bli en lärorik stund för de som sitter in på Klinikens tredje vända för året. Väl mött!