Kevin Karlberg, a key head in not only Melbourne’s techno scene, but it’s electronic music & arts scene as a whole since before it was considered an industry. In 2002 he founded Stable Music, an events touring agency & artist management company responsible for bringing out international artists such as Black Asteroid, Dave Clarke, Robert Hood, Speedy J & Luke Slater all within the last year as well as Oscar Mulero, Alexkid, Kyle Hall and many others prior to that.
Aside from Stable Kevin has been heavily involved with countless projects over the years but special mention must be given to Kubik (2011) and Where?House (2012) which were both apart of Melbourne Music Week festivals, both received critical acclaim. His finger is in many pies with parties like INBTWN (Section 8), Summer Series (Revolver), Audrey* (Ferdydurke) and others being added to his CV.
Kev has been around the block more times than you can poke a stick at but remains one of the most down to earth people you are likely to meet. What you see is what you get and he tells it like it is. Enjoy!
How did you first become involved in the industry/scene and what motivated you to do so?
Actually a friend just needed some help to set up one of his events and at the time gigs had more than on genre at every show and Acid Reign events generally were about techno and hip hop so it was a good fit for me.
How did Stable come about?
Karl Stanton, aka Dj Lynt of 33 & 1/3 fame kind of forced me to manage him and he made a joke about stability in what he played so forth cam the name Stable. The ‘Music” component was added as a recommendation by Melle from Mad Heckler to ensure people didn’t get confused with some kind of horse racing thing but I kind of liked that it could have more than one point of view.
What would be the one piece of advice you wish you had when you first started out?
Build templates for everything but keep them flexible. The hardest thing about this kind of work is there is no right or wrong way to do anything, as soon as you realise this, you’re on your way.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced over the years, gig, setup or otherwise?
There is always one or two hurdles at any event. From recently turning up to a venue and realising at 5pm that they had no sound to clubs that run out of water but by far the safety issues at Where?House were the toughest hill to climb. Not to mention airport runs after a bender at your own show, that’s always dicey.
If you could go back and redo something, what would it be?
I would probably rethink the Melbourne Music Week projects, (Where?house & Kubik) I mean they were huge undertakings and both parties went above and beyond to deliver something the city had never seen before but 10 days in a row is tough for any team. Also, I would of started a record Label in the golden age of Vinyl as so much incredible Australian produced music has gone unreleased
Who has been the most pleasant artist you have dealt with?
For big hitters, Flava Flav and Chuck D were surprisingly super pleasant and fun to be around, early nights and lots of coffee. But in general most artists are happy to come to Australia and are pretty nice when they get here. Usually we tour or promote people we know or have met at least once on overseas trips.
Where to next, what is in the pipeline for Stable?
KK: Can’t actually speak about the main project I have worked on for almost 2 years but there is plenty of Capacity shows coming plus our regular shows at Section 8 and soon to be a new home at Howler in Brunswick. There will also be some music production lectures in the pipeline with Dj Kuya and some of the lads from the School of Synthesis but it’s in the early stages at the moment.
You appear to be quite the foody, I always see on your Instagram pictures of the food you are eating. What’s your favourite meal and are you any good of a cook yourself?
I actually take the Instagram food shots for my sister in Scotland so she can see what is on the menu and food trends in Australia, only a hand full of people know I have serious stomach issues so it’ss tricky when I eat out to make sure I don’t get allergic reactions etc. I think its hard to beat a good burger or pulled pork but I love creme brûlée and limit the intake so I don’t get sick of it. Bacon and Eggs are actually the thing i eat most and love good coffee as much as the next techno fiend. I share a house with Safari and we have a few signature dishes, I have mastered crepes with a special recipe and technique I learnt from Circus Company / Karat artist, Le K but Safari is the king of Paella and Gaspacho. Matt Radovich has to get a mention for his epic roasts, the guy could bake a baby elephant to perfection but I’d have to say all the Stable crew can cook, Phoebe Kiddo even kept me alive on a tour of America and Canada with Quinoa.
Aside from all this what are you into?
Sound and art pretty much sum it all up, I’m pretty keen player on Xbox & PS3 but I do love the cinema, especially Imax.
You would have seen a lot of venues and spaces come and go, what have been your favourites?
Its hard to name one or two without upsetting people but Revolver, The Mercat, Liberty Social, Section 8, Howler and Billboards The Venue always take good care of us. The Bottom End, Lucky Coq, Bimbos, Brown Alley, New Guernica and Ferdydurke are regular haunts too and most of our team can be found at them on a weekly basis.
Last year you were heavily involved in the Where?House space for Melbourne Music Week, can you tell us a bit more about how this came about? It was an amazing space.
Before we produced Kubik I had spoken to MMW director Elise loosely about disused buildings in the city and how in Europe you could just hold squatters parties and no one would care, we laughed and said it would never happen and we focused our minds on Kubik – this conversation actually took place at Stereosonic of all places. The name Where?House was an idea Safari and I had late one Sunday night and thought it would be funny to not know where the show was like raves back in the early 90’s. There were actually a few locations for the project but the Argus Building was always a priority and by some miracle it happened and came to life. There is so much more to this including tender process and a million meetings about “if” it could even be done but I won’t bore you with the red tape.
Lastly, who is your favourite Star Wars character and why?
KK: It’s tough one, I always liked Bobba Fett as he was generally out on his own kicking around the galaxy with that weird ass ship, plus he has a disintegration beam that could come in handy. For the Kubik project I was called Lando Calrissian because I was the one that convinced the team working on the project to use Star Wars call signs on the radio, true story.