Sunday, May 31, 2009

Interview with Babylon

Without a doubt, Babylon has the main role of Asmalimescit’s transformation from being once upon a time’s one of the neglected back streets of Taksim to today’s one of the most popular cultural, entertainment, food and drink spots of Istanbul. Babylon has never left us alone especially in lonely winter eves with its year-round vigorous concerts and parties just like a festive feeling since it had been launched in 1999 by Pozitif Group. Now the team is getting bigger, Babylon is keeping us fed by Babylon Lounge and gives us a great company also in the summer time by Babylon Alacati. Friendly team of Babylon has not refused our interview request and we had the chance to ask whatever we were curious to know to General Coordinator Elif Erdost on behalf of Babylon. Thanks to this pleasurable talk with her, we also got to get some astonishing news such as some hints about upcoming events next season for Babylon’s 10th year and about a project of a concert hall with 6000 people capacity. We suggest you guys to read enjoyable talk that we had with Elif Erdost. Thanks again to her for keeping us time .

Success of Babylon Istanbul where is one of the most mutual event places of youth is being verbalized by everyone. Can we get to know the team behind this success a little?

The name behind Babylon is actually POZİTİF. Therefore as far as the team is concerned, we need to start with the Pozitif team. The major subject, the program, is organized by the team which is leaded by one of the partners, Ahmet Ulu. Booking department creates Babylon’s program. We first check out our sponsors and 3-4 months ahead of time, we start shaping our major program with setting the foreigner groups as the bigger pieces of a puzzle. Pozitif team supports us a lot also in production part. After technical team is set up, it’s Babylon team’s turn. We can actually summarize this big family : The main frame is the Pozitif that makes the festivals, Babylon is the club and Doublemoon is the recording firm and we all work side by side.

What makes Babylon Istanbul different than the other places?

Above all, we are the first in this concept and in this region and we constantly keep on being the pioneer. Last April, it has been 10 years and we will be celebrating our 10th age all together next season.

For this reason, we will be publishing a book in which Babylon is portrayed by its regular guests, local and foreign artists, media and recording companies. This book will not only narrate Babylon’s 10 years but also Asmalimescit’s. In the beginning of this adventure, we used to call people and explain them how to get here, then Asmalimescit has gradually been grown up just like our team. Everything has time, you just have to be patient, put effort and reach the success.

“Having said that guys, we should also reveal that at Babylon there is a real carrier planning. Elif told us many success stories like about an accountant manager who first started working at Babylon as a ticket salesperson.”
We should also mention that stuff makes Babylon different, too. Everyone including bar and café stuff have been working with us for 7 years.

We are different because we have a leading role in this field as I mentioned before. We keep on saving this role with our unique program, with our sponsors, with our marketing tools. We try to create a distinction by innovative marketing and advertisement alternatives. Due to being to create something new all the time, we are never able to live today. We always think of next 3-5 months from today.

The last but not the least, we need to point out that our mechanism is customer driven. We just work hard to satisfy our customers. Any tiny problem which makes our customer upset is a huge problem for us. With this reason, we make weekly meetings to criticize the week before as well as the coming week.

Music has its own trends like fashion. Without a doubt, Babylon is much more able to perceive these trends than us, listeners, and more responsive to them to be able to reflect these effects to its program. In a nutshell, will you share your secrets about how you find these “never heard of it” groups with us?

Our friends who work at booking department frequently travel to abroad to join many fests, fairs about music. Additionally, Pozitif has a background of 20 years. Ahmet Ulu is already considered as one of the best radio DJs in the world. All the music albums released all around the world would surely be delivered to Pozitif. Thanks to today’s communication means, we are able to connect with people related to this business more efficiently, and get to know what’s happening in other parts of the world.

One of Babylon’s important missions is introducing the new and future’s successful groups to Turkey. For instance, second concert of Gotan Project was held at Babylon. We did not many options in the past but festivals. We did not have any other options to get to know the upcoming groups, music trends etc except fests. But now, Istanbul is like Amsterdam, London or Paris. I believe Babylon took a big role in this positive change.

Major brands have their blogs apart from their web pages? Do you have such plan?

Sure, we are planning to have a blog as well. Babylon has a large background and has new updates to share with its followers all the time, blog will feed this need, we believe. Facebook is a very important communication tool for us, but with blog we will be able to share much more as well as being able to control what is being posted.

What qualifications are you looking for to host an organization under the roof of Babylon?

Apart of the ones we select via fairs and festivals we attend, we also evaluate the applications made to us. First of all, it is vital that musician’s style fit with ours. Secondly, it’s important that he/she has an album. But we don’t close the gates to the young musicians who don’t have an album yet but have already participated to festivals. It‘s important that the musician has a listener, too. Because organizing the event at Babylon isn’t enough by itself. Every event requires a lot of marketing cost, so to be able to survive, we really have to select the ones who would fulfill this place.

How about Babylon’s guests?

Babylon’s guests generally have a music culture, age between 20-35. But I need to add the fact that every concert has its profile. At a DJ night, majority is male ages between 18-25, whereas women are majority at Oldies but Goldies nights. It’s good to know that we have a dynamic background that is capable to make everyone enjoy.

What message would you give us as Babylon?

Always be ready to discover.

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