On a Friday afternoon, I headed down to Club Der Visionäre in Berlin and was lucky enough to sit down with Isabelle Beese, the head and founder of Belisa Booking. She works with internationally renowned artists like Alexis Cabrera, Barem, Cab Drivers, Ernesto Ferreyra, Federico Molinari, Monika Ross, Mike Shannon and Nekes, booking their world tours whilst also hosting her own parties at legendary venues like Ibizia Underground, Watergate, and here at CDV. With a decade of experience within the industry, Isabelle has worked in a variety of jobs from organizing festivals with Cosmopop, working as an artist host at Tresor Club in Berlin and running events there, as well as moderating a radio show for 2 years. She kick-started her career at just 19 years old at Cocoon recordings and hasn’t looked back since. Her passion for music is apparent with her every word and her excitement for the industry has only grown more throughout the years. Her connections run deep through the underground music scene making her newest project all the more exciting.
warmup.berlin is a video platform sharing insights into the industry. Sharing interviews with well-known artists and the people behind the scenes that make the parties happen. Drawing back the curtains to take a glimpse at the lives of the many talented people. Kicking off the project in October 2020, with an interview with Perlon founder, Chris Rehberger and now four episodes in. From DJ and producer, Mike Shannon, Gregor Kraemer the owner of CDV & Hoppetosse to Basil Martion, the man behind the Martion Audio sound systems.
Isabelle gave Meoko the inside scoop that warmup.berlin will be going on a summer break to give everyone the chance to get back to what was most important – Partying and enjoying live music once again after these crazy times. Leaving space to recharge creativity and produce new shows. They will return in the fall with even more quality content and many exciting things to come.
We discussed everything from Berlin nightlife to her thoughts on the music industry. Her ethos is to do what you love and enjoy every minute of it. She tells us, “people take themselves too serious sometimes. We go out to have fun, enjoy unique moments, music and meeting new people. We just want to live!”
Join us as we get to know Isabelle a little bit better…
Hi, It’s great to meet you here at CDV in Berlin. Let’s get right to it!
Berlin’s open air clubs opened for the first time after 8 months. What’s this meant for Belisa Booking, as well as being a promotor for clubs like CDV, Tresor and Watergate?
It’s crazy that things are starting again, and especially so fast. This last month I was working with other countries, like Ukraine, Russia, South and Central America, US and UK. We have many things going on, but in Germany we still have to work with a lot of regulations. The pandemic is not over! We still cannot party as it used to be and indoor locations are still closed, so we just have to find new ways to work. Doing open airs and checking new locations, which is really nice. You open your horizon a bit so I’m really happy to get the ball rolling again.
How has your job role changed since the pandemic?
We always have to check about the regulations. If people are vaccinated or not? Do you have to be vaccinated or do you need a test? Or you don’t need anything? For example, Albania doesn’t need anything to enter but to come back to Germany, you need to have a PCR test. You really need to inform yourself about these rules, which is the new topic for me and my team, of course. If I am organizing parties, I need to check the current laws which are changing every day. Working out new problems and trying to solve them is exciting. It’s hard but exciting because you grow. Your skills are growing.
Berlin nightlife has changed massively in the past year. Do you think it will have any lasting effects on the club scene here in Berlin or with artists in general? Do you think clubs will survive?
I think we will get back to normal. Of course, I don’t know when because there’s another wave coming. You never know how the government will decide about it or if we will have to fight with the virus more and most important we need our people safe. But of course, we’re coming back to party someday and we will be a free city with a lot of parties and dancing without masks and without distance. That’s for sure! But I think we have a positive change in our scene, because before we just had the main clubs. So, if you, as a promoter would have decided to throw a party outside of Berlin in Brandenburg, nobody would have gone there. Now people are excited to explore new things which is a good thing. Back to the old school! Like going into a forest, checking coordinates to see where’s the next party. This is kind of nice. We are starting now with small parties, which creates a more familiar and intimate vibe. These small parties have a super special and unique feel. I think this is also really good to keep the spirit alive. Since we had this huge break and people want to go back to the dance floor and even DJs have collected a lot of amazing music and want to spread it now. Before I sometimes had the feeling that in Berlin, you had the possibility to go out every day. We have people in Berlin that do go out every day, so of course at some point the vibe was not the same. It was not so energetic. You listen to the same music all the time. I think now, due to this break, people have more energy and energy is always super important for the party.
What’s one thing you would like to share with other people within the music industry?
Booking agencies, labels and DJ’s, etc. shouldn’t stay in competition. At the end, we are all partners working for the same love and passion, and we all should be happy that there are so many lovely people working for the music! So, my wish would be that agencies and others should stick more together and work together instead of working against each other. It’s not a battle! You can learn from others and you can be thankful for that. And we should appreciate everybody working in the scene.
From an experienced veteran in this industry, what’s some advice you would like to share about throwing parties and creating the best atmosphere in the club?
I think longer playtimes would be nice, so that the DJ has time to express him/ herself and to create a nice trip, especially catching the vibe of the crowd and creating unique moments between the crowd and DJ. I think it’s only possible if you give the DJ the chance to play longer. It shouldn’t be only about name dropping and 2-hour sets. The focus should be the quality of the music!
Also DJ’s shouldn’t put their ego on top of everything else. If you enter a club as a DJ, and there is another DJ full on fire and the crowd is going crazy, let him play longer and enjoy the set, too. Maybe enjoy the dance floor instead of the backstage as well.
Also super important, no phones & conversations on the dance floor 🙂
So you have started a new video platform called warmp.berlin, which I love the name as being a warm up to the weekend. It’s perfectly fitting for what the project encompasses! Can you tell me a bit more about it and the inspiration behind starting it?
I wanted to do this for years. I want to keep the spirit and history of our scene alive and there are many things that happened in the 90s. There was a new sound. The message behind was love and freedom and bringing people together and having a good time. I want to keep this alive and there are so many really interesting people behind the scene. It’s not always about the DJs but people only see DJs. There’s so much more going on. For a good club night, you need the people at the entrance, you need to toilet person, whatever. Everybody counts and this is something super important. I just want to share the knowledge about the scene and about their history. For example, the club owner of CDV. Usually people never get to know him if they’re not really working in the scene and he’s always behind everything. He is creating history! All generations now get to experience special and unique moments due to something he created. I think it’s super important to create a platform to share this.
You know a lot of people in the industry. How do you select who you want to work with in regards to warmup.berlin and Belisa Booking?
I have been involved in electronic music since I was 14 years old. I was going out to festivals and exploring the music. And then after my school I immediately started to work for Cocoon [Recordings], so that I never did anything else in my life. Since 18 I was working in the music industry, and of course I got to know many, many people. I am choosing people who really inspired me. I would love to share their stories because for example, Chris Rehberger from Perlon. I know him and we sat together in his living room and I know so many super interesting stories. He is such an inspiring guy. I thought man, I would love to share it. That’s why I chose him, and Perlon is such a unique and important label in our scene. There are many, many different options [for the next guest]. I really decide step by step and whatever is feeling right in the moment. Also I would love to invite people nobody knows.
What do you have planned coming up for warmup.berlin?
What I was usually planning because my idea of warmup became years before the crisis started, I wanted to do warmup.berlin on a Friday in connection with a party where I can invite people. We can have an audience for the interview, and then afterwards we could start into the weekend all together. They could join our interview and the listening session, which would be pretty nice because for now it’s just me and my team behind the scenes. I’m also planning to do a little road show, so that I am also joining different festivals and then doing a ‘warmup goes to Albania’ and interviewing people over there. We will see!
You’ve had a very broad career in the music industry, from record labels, event booking, festivals, and touring and now this video series. Did you always know you wanted to work in music or what was your first experience that you were like this is what I want to do?
Music is my love and my life and there was no way to work for something else. And creating parties! You know you build something from nothing and then you just stay on the dance floor and seeing the people go crazy and my artists having a great time, me included. This fills me with love. This is really special. I also loved working in a record shop and for labels. You know, just being with vinyl’s and music all day. Just working with music!
What has been a highlight from your career or a real pinch yourself moment?
It was my first time at Sonar. It was in 2012, and that’s when I met a few of my artists who are now in my roster. I was at this Diagonal rooftop. And since I was 16, I always wanted to be on this rooftop. And then I made it to work for Cocoon and had the possibility to join. The music was amazing and I met just adorable people. I was 19 years old and things were starting for me. These people I met there, they are some of my closest friends now and even my artists, for example Nekes and Federico Molinari. Due to this moment many things came up and this is just one moment from thousands.
Is there anything else you would like to share to MEOKO readers?
It’s always good to be passionate and it’s such a gift if you realize that you have a passion for something. I think you should always try to use your time for things you really love and you’re passionate about. I know many, many people who have their regular job but they don’t love what they do. You should always have the balance between work and what you love. Or work for what you love. That’s something I think is great advice. That’s really important.
The last Belisa Booking event was held at CDV on August 2nd. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I invited a really young, talented and authentic group from Slovenia (Kosta, Mayell and Mornik from Luckison & Simm from Just Us), also well known Alci from Switzerland and also my artists Nekes & ZKY from Cab Drivers played. It was that kind of parties you will always remember, and the reason why I love what I do! The dance floor was on fire until the morning hours and everybody had their hands up and screaming. The guys smashed it with music I’ve never even heard before. I am just thankful for this night! My colleagues dancing next to me, CDV staff, my friends, and new friends – Sharing good vibes and the feeling for music! Thats what it is all about!
Don’t worry if you missed out because the first live warmup.berlin night will be held at CDV on Friday October 8th. Keep your eyes peeled for the lineup to be announced soon. Isabelle’s passion for music is infectious, so join her on the dance floor with nothing but good vibes and high energy.
Words by Gabrielle Runzer