Junzi Arts is a Paris based company that develops acts through the prism of the live performance, focusing on a small roster of 10, which includes Dita von Teese, Woodkid, Chassol, Aaron and Broken Back.
The company’s co-founder and head of booking & creative is Clotaire Buche, a child of the late 70s, who grew up in a small village in Normandy, France. The avid Depeche Mode fan was voted ‘international agent of the year’ at Musexpo 2016 and nominated as ‘best agent’ at the European Festival Awards 2017.
Pollstar asked Buche a few questions about the state of business.
– Clotaire Buche
Co-founder and head of booking and creative at Junzi Arts in Paris
Do you remember the moment you first fell in love with live music?
When I was 12, my older cousin gave me a tape: Depeche Mode’s 101.
What’s your company philosophy?
Our company name defines our philosophy – “Junzi” means “noble person” or “gentleman” in Confucianism. It’s a term originally applied to princes or aristocratic men. We’re doing our best to get close to the “Junzi” ideal.
We are passionate readers: “Happiness according to Confucius”, “The Tipping Point”, “Radical Candor”, “The Miracle Morning” are books that matter to us.
Is the live music scene in France healthy? What are the indicators that make you reach that conclusion?
Yes, it is. The official figures of 2017 – taken from the Centre National de la Chanson des Varietes et du Jazz – show a net increase compared to 2016 in all areas: 65,420 paid performances (plus 4 percent), 26.4 million paid admissions (plus 9 percent), an average ticket price of €35 (plus 5 percent), and €930 million in ticket revenues (plus 15 percent).
Can you talk about some of your current acts, what makes them special?
Here are four acts that you should check out: Woodkid, with whom we’ve been working since day one. He will be back on the road in 2019. His music is unheard-of, as are the visuals. He is a very in-demand video maker, who has worked with Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry, Drake, Rihanna and more.
Some voices just sweep away everything in their path, sending shivers up the spine, chilling the blood and inflaming the senses. Adam Naas has such a voice, and already caught the attention of Sir Lucian Grange, Folkert Koopmans and Guy Ritchie. You can guess why.
Dita von Teese, the Burlesque icon, is touring Europe for the first time with her whole cast and set up in October and November, and most of the shows are already sold out. She’ll be back in 2019 to perform in new territories including Sweden and Finland.
Then there’s Chassol, who has worked with Frank Ocean and Solange, contributing to their respective albums. Chassol is also active in contemporary art, collaborating with artists Sophie Calle, Laurie Anderson and more recently Xavier Veilhan at the Venice Biennale.
His newest project is called Ludi, a musical film inspired by the novel “The Glass Bead Game” by German author Hermann Hesse. It uses documentary film and animation techniques as well as special effects. Ludi is about play, time and music as experienced by human beings and animals. Shot on location around Tokyo and Paris, the project will be released in early 2019.
The internet tore down barriers. People all over the world could suddenly watch intimate street performances by artists from countries all over the world, including France. Has this development helped you with exporting French speaking artist into the world and importing acts from market that don’t speak French?
Of course it has. One of many examples: Solange shazamed Chassol’s music at an Art exhibition in New Orleans, since then she’s been a strong supporter. She tweeted her admiration several times and eventually invited him to support her at Radio City Music Hall in New York, and the
Greek Theatre in San Francisco, and then asked him to record with her.
We use daily Soundcharts as it enables us to check and measure the socials, charts, playlists and airplays of our acts internationally
Apart from digitalisation, what development in the last 10 years has had a major influence on the way you work and do business?
Transportation and aviation. There are more reliable flights at a good cost costs than ever before. It is now possible – and not that expensive anymore – to go surfing in Biarritz in the morning, to have meetings in London in the afternoon and to attend a show in Paris or Brussels in the evening
There’s a lot of consolidation happening in the live events market. Does this bother you?
It does not bother us, it is pointless to bother. We are focused and do our best to deliver 100 percent. Major and indies will keep on coexisting, just as is the case in other industries, such as fashion with H&M and AMI, or watchmaking with Swatch and Richard Mille, or in the restaurant business with McDonald’s and Joel Robuchon’s Atelier.
What’s next for Junzi?
Wherever we go, we go with all our hearts.