Q&A with Matte Projects - Producers Behind Black, La Luna, and FNT

March 16, 2020

Matte Projects is a creative company and entertainment brand based in New York City.

In addition to housing full-service production and marketing divisions, Matte Projects create dynamic, unforgettable experiences like Black NYC, La Luna, and FNT. We spoke with Matte Projects’ Director of Programming and Partnerships, Oliver Diamond, about creating unique experiences, the ups and downs of producing events, and our new favorite term, euphoric effervescence. Check out our interview below!

Q: What drew you into the events industry?

A: In college (Brown University) I was pretty social; I knew all of these different worlds and was sharing music with them in emails, so I started a music blog. It was at the time when blogging was really taking off. I started the blog in my freshman year and then it rolled into doing events on campus. That morphed my interest beyond just listening to music, but also to actually book artists and promote, organize, and produce events.

Q: Matte Projects advises strategy, creates content, and produces events. How do these areas intersect?

A: All of our events are produced and promoted internally, as well as the branding and all the marketing elements. A lot of those assets are pulled and derived from the creatives here. There’s a lot of learning, creative flux, artists, and cultural ties that our events cultivate, that then apply to the agency work. There’s an ecosystem here that plays off of each other.

Q: What defines a Matte Projects event?

A: The production, the storytelling from start-to-finish, and the audience are all key. I think we have done a good job of cultivating a world and a brand around our events rather than just deriving it from talent.

Q: What inspires you and your team to create these events?

A: Inspiration comes from everything we are involved in, our group of friends, fashion, nightlife, film.

We always ask, will the audience find this entertaining? Are they going to be wrapped into the world that we are creating?

Can there be an experience on-site? What’s the story being told? Can the consumer walk away and think wow, that event really pushed the boundaries on different levels? There is an incubation period in our process here that turns into us deciding if something is going to be interesting or if there’s a business model to it.

Q: How do you see Matte Projects events evolving over time?

A: On the social entertainment side, we are doing a lot of A&R in the sense of experiences. We are driven by the concept of building a brand and the brand will sell itself. Book talent that will help build the brand, but don’t just rely on talent like a traditional music festival. Again, we try to build brands around experiences, then build a business model and turn it into something where we bring in partners, or we manage it and bring it to market.

Q: How do you want fans to feel at your events?

A: Our events elicit different emotions. La Luna is your summer dance party. The focus there has always been around love. Actually a lot of people have fallen in love through this event. Black is more about inspiration and pushing different art forms that challenge the consumer to think a little bit differently. Our goal is to elicit excitement, or an emotion, or inspiration. It doesn’t need to be tangible.

There’s a term called euphoric effervescence. It’s the reaction when there’s a large group of people having a euphoric feeling around something.

When a large audience comes together and celebrates that sense of joy, that’s why it’s worth it.

Q: What are the qualities you look for when programming a multi-faceted event like this?

A: It always starts with a theme or direction. There is a very high standard within everything we do. But it always starts with asking, where do we want the project to go this year in art and music and in terms of experience, and then from there everything else falls into place.

Q: Can you reveal any news about the next iteration of FNT?

A: Right now we are planning two or three later this year. I can’t say much yet because the plans are still in motion, but they will definitely be larger experiences held in venues that will push the experience further.

Q: How has Tixr played a role in your events?

A: We were with Eventbrite for seven years, but the biggest reason for our shift to Tixr was for the customer service base. There’s a really good client success team. Whether it’s with questions, help with ticketing strategy and set-up, Tixr has been a really nice partner in helping bring us into a new platform but also helps us with our different needs. We aren’t a massive festival that’s plug and play, we have a lot of requests and questions around what we do.

It’s really nice that Tixr is there to help us and go through it step-by-step or even bend over backward to do certain things for us.

We’ve given them feedback on the layout of certain elements in the fan-facing application, like if there are things we don’t need they are open to making amendments based on aesthetics. As they’re growing we are growing, and it’s good to have a partner who wants to go back-and-forth between that.

Q: What advice would you give to other people looking to get into the events industry?

A: You have to be inspired by the grind of it. It’s not a field that is going to give you straightforward results; it’s going to take time. So don’t give up on it and think the world is ending, even when it feels like that. I would also caution that if you’re trying to get into producing events just to party and have fun, that can’t be the only point of inspiration. There are amazing rewards and those incredible moments that happen from it.

Q: What have those incredible moments looked like for you?

A: A few years ago we had to move a location in three days. We had already sold around 4,000 tickets and it was a multi-room event. It was supposed to be in a warehouse but the warehouse didn’t get their liquor license. We had this moment where we wondered if we had to cancel the event, but we ended up finding this space and the event turned out incredible. We had some new restrictions that we had to follow but for the most part, changing a venue for 4,000 people at the last minute is damn near impossible for somewhere like New York City. I was at my lowest at a certain point and my highest point at another.

There’s a term called euphoric effervescence. It’s the reaction when there’s a large group of people having a euphoric feeling around something. Whether that’s an artist, or whatever, when a large audience comes together and celebrates that sense of joy, that’s why it’s worth it.

Grab your tickets to Matte Project’s next event Black NYC happening this April.