Industry Focus: Louis Diaz Talent Buyer for Space Miami, The Opium Group and SBE Nightlife for SLS Las Vegas

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Welcome to Magnetic’s Industry Focus, a series where we highlight the major players working behind the scenes of the EDM biz. These are the folks running the record labels, representing the artists, promoting the shows and just getting it done.They may not get the shine of the DJs on stage, but they work just as hard making sure the parties are packed, the music is perfect, and that the artists are where they need to be. We’ve decided to shine the light on the behind the scenes movers and shakers. Today, we highlight Louis Diaz, Talent Buyer/Music Director for Space Miami and The Opium Group as well as Talent Buyer at SBE Nightlife for SLS Las Vegas. Partner at AM/PM Presents, The JEDI Kollective, The Pool Parties, LLC. Co-Founder of Strangers+Friends and Backyard Monsters.

Louis Diaz Magnetic Mag

How did you start your career in the electronic music business?

I started in the nightclub business in 2001 doing operations and it wasn’t until late 2005 when I started hosting my own events that I started booking talent. It was a progression of sorts and as DJ’s became “a must” - so did my approach to how to put together events. One thing led to another and I ended on the marketing side of the biz until I got to Space and I inherited the Talent Buyer position. It’s been quite a ride ever since…

What is the best part of the business?

I have to say I enjoy the music, forging amazing friendships within the industry. I take huge pride in creating experiences our friends (clients), fans and the artists cherish forever. I’m not going to lie to you and I must admit that having friends in every country I go to is pretty cool as well. I love that part of my life.

What are the biggest challenges?

Without being controversial I have to say the biggest challenge we face is how to manage Dance Music’s explosion without sacrificing the club experience. I love what I have seen in the last 14 years but sometimes I am scared we are losing perspective on what really matters. Festivals are great for the artists and the fans alike. In fact I am a big fan/supporter myself of many of them. However, it’s all about the club experience for me whether it’s a club or some underground warehouse and truth is that it has gotten a bit out of control lately. The high fees some artists command (and rightfully deserve) inevitably reflect on ticket prices, which has directly impacted many markets to say the least. I think a call to reflection on this and how important it is to keep club shows alive is extremely necessary. In other words we all need to work together, the artists, managers, agents, operators and promoters to maintain club shows alive. It’s where it all started and should remain vital…

What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?

Hardwork and Honesty will always pay off. Be willing to pay your dues. We all start from the bottom and work our way up. I would also tell them to separate personal tastes from work as much as possible. It’s our job to provide amazing experiences to lots of different people therefore we must cater to what the demand is. There is always time to enjoy what one truly likes. We are here to create unforgettable moments and do whatever it takes to make them happen…

As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?

Always stay ahead of the pack. Having a knack for which artists to champion in their early stages and forging relationships at those stages is a must. Always keep on eye on new trends and be able to either pioneer or adapt in proper time to what the market demands will always be necessary to stay relevant and successful in this business.

Did you start off as a fan of electronic music and then became involved on the business side, or did business bring you into the electronic music world? Describe that process.

I was in this business before it exploded but was always a fan. Back in those days it was all about Danny Tenaglia, Victor Calderone for me and my crew. Eventually Morillo, Roger , Deep Dish came into my life and my musical progression began and led me to where I am nowadays. It’s not a secret who my favorite artists are but I can’t kiss and tell as you will understand ;-)

What does electronic music mean to you?

I was born in 75’ so I caught a little bit of it when I was a kid and obviously I am a child of the 80’s. Back then movies will portray music in the future with electronic sounds i.e. Star Wars bar where Luke meets w Han Solo lol… I say this was the music of the future back then and we are living the future. Who would have thought some of the biggest musical stars will be DJ’s performing to thousands of people without a band or live musicians? It’s the present and will continue to grow and become more mainstream than it already is. In a few years it will be the main form of Pop Music is what I am predicting.

What is the most exciting part of being a talent buyer?

The process behind closing a show to the day of the event. The competition which is fierce provides a thrill I must admit. You have to be tough and fearless, taking risks some would not take is gratifying as well especially when they turn out to be great shows. Sometimes they knock you down of course but you get up and go at it again…

If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?

Always wanted to be a chef but as much I love to cook I am afraid being in a kitchen 12 hours a day 7 days a week will drive me crazy… However, that’s possibly where I’ll end up doing one day, which is the food industry… Hospitality is in my veins.

What is Winter Music Conference like for you?

Hell! No life from mid January until the week after WMC or like it is called nowadays MMW. I like to think that I thrive under pressure so it’s all good and the more I say I hate it the more I look forward to it. Last year we did 66 events in 10 venues during that week. It took a lot of me mentally and physically but the rewards out weight the sacrifice. Will probably downsize a little next year but I think we have become addicted to doing shows so who knows…

Where do you see the most innovation in the EDM industry (i.e. Music, experience, nightclubs, behind the scenes, etc) and why?

Technology has changed the industry and the music. I am a simple guy that likes good Ol’ Techno played on vinyl but even that is done with the help of some amazing tech tools artists have at their disposal nowadays. People like to say everything has been invented and/or done and I respectfully disagree. There will always be artists, managers, promoters and operators trying to raise the bar and inevitably innovate. The best is yet to come….