Meet The Danish Music Bizz: Maja Kring Schjørring, head of secretariat at Strøm
SPOT is much more than concerts: Denmark has also got significant agents in various parts in the music business, and while we are counting down to the festival, we aim to present some of the people you can meet at SPOT in brief Q&As.
This time it is Maja Kring Schjørring, head of secretariat, Strøm (danish organization for electronic music)
What do you work with?
I work as head of secretariat (COO) at the organization for electronic music Strøm, which works for and with electronic music and related genres through four areas of activity; festival, mobile venues, music schools and business organization. The Festival is at Frederiksberg, Copenhagen in August while the other areas take place all over the country and all year round. My job is to be the CEO’s right hand and to contribute to the overall operational, strategic and developmental work in Strøm.
What is your business background?
In the music business part, I’m self-taught but I have a cand.soc in health promotion and health strategies from University of Roskilde. I have been a part of Strøm for five years and I have also volunteered at Roskilde Festival for several years.
What are the most important, exciting, well known, or interesting things in your portfolio?
Strøm has made a four-year agreement with the Danish Arts Foundation, the municipality of Copenhagen and the municipality of Frederiksberg. The entire process behind this deal started with an application to become a state-funded venue, a process which Frederik Birket-Smith (CEO) and I started in 2015. Then a year and a half went by with a lot of meetings, paperwork and negotiations until we landed the agreement we have today. It has been an immense victory on behalf of electronic music and it was a major step towards a greater recognition of the genre both officially and politically. It has also created a more solid foundation for Strøm’s future work and made it possible to make even greater events and activities, because we can start planning much earlier on.
What is the most important thing to happen to Danish music in the last five years?
In the electronic music community, we have experienced a boom in independent event and concert organizers who help enrich the genre with a dedication that can be seen in every aspect of the working process and makes the audience experience better. The number of events with electronic music is growing, which is an indication that the audience for these events is growing as well, which is great. Generally, we experience a more serious approach to electronic music.
What are the most important questions or pressing issues in the music business right now?
It is a challenge that culture and music are two areas which don’t have a high priority on the political agenda, and the public, economic cultural support gets cut every year. This leaves culture to rely on more commercial conditions which often results in the undermining of talent and growth in the business because the economic aspect becomes the sole focus. In my opinion the music business need to become better at stand together and to show people how much value it creates. It can also be value in other areas such as health, where music can be used as a means to reaching a goal for mental patients for example. This is a perspective that may potentially make the politicians pay attention.
Which international business people and lines of business would you like to meet at SPOT this year?
It’s always inspiring to meet people who work in the same business at yourself and exchange great experiences. At last year’s SPOT there was a focus on international business people from the electronic music scene, which was very interesting for us. So I hope to meet a lot of them this year again.
What are you going to do at SPOT/what are your goals for this year’s SPOT?
Strøm has a big program during SPOT this year with a lot of different activities from our different areas. We take over at Radar Friday and Saturday evening/night with a program consisting of both upcoming electronic musicians as well as more establish artists in the genre. We are looking very much forward to it and hope to see a lot of people both days.
Besides the concerts we also have several other activities including a teaching program called Strøm for Kids (Strøm til børn) which is held at Frederiksbjerg School in the days leading up to SPOT. The course is run by two instructors from Strøm, and is meant to teach and guide the students from 5th and 6th grade in creating, making and understanding music, with a tablet computer as the only instrument. This gives the students the opportunity to make and influence their very own sound despite not being able to recreate the notes, sounds, accords or rhythm on a traditional instrument.
In our experience all the students who participate in the Strøm for Kids program have a huge success experience in creating music and everyone gets their work recorded and is able to bring it home as a piece of physical evidence of their creative process.
Finally, we will also conduct a master class called Homework course during SPOT. In this event a hand-picked artist opens up the door to his or her studio to a group of selected participants and has a teaching session with talks about the artistic and musical aspects of creating music, technics and production and small learning tasks. All in all, a big and diverse programme by Strøm at this year’s SPOT.
Which artists are you looking forward to seeing at SPOT this year?
I’m of course very excited and looking forward to our two nights at Radar, especially Saturday with the super dope Regelbau crew, whom I love to listen to.
Even though my work is centered around electronic music, I don’t care much about the genres of the music I listen to, I only care about whether it sounds good. I have a very broad taste in music, which my SPOT favorites also illustrate. I’m looking forward to seeing the very talented pianist and composer August Rosenbaum, who is always great live. He succeeds in drawing the audience in to his dreamy universe and make your mind go to a magical place. I’m also looking forward to the autotune metal band Natjager, who I’ve heard are a huge live experience. I also want to point out the artist Jada. I saw her at the Alive Festival last summer and I was completely blown away. She has the most unbelievable voice I’ve heard in a long time in a Danish context, and she has a huge international potential with her stylish and authentic way of presenting herself.