ulia Ruzicka (Future of the Left / Musician; Prescription Records / Owner, GB/AU) was a speaker at Reeperbahn Festival 2017 for the session “Hit the Fan – Rules of Engagement”.
Reeperbahn Festival: What has been the most important issue for the music (and/or entertainment) world in 2017 and what has been the best strategy to deal with it?
Julia Ruzicka: I find it incredible how many people in the whole entertainment world have come out in a wash, so to speak, in terms of the way they treat women. And not only women, if you look at all the sexual harassment cases recently made public. Gender and sexual power issues have plagued music and the entertainment world for decades. You’ve always heard stories about people in positions of power – unfortunately, all the time, it’s men – who would abuse that power, and young and impressionable people who would find themselves in compromising positions. What’s interesting now is that there is so much awareness. I’m hoping that there is a change in attitude by people in power, that they might think twice before using that power incorrectly.
Reeperbahn Festival: What development/s will shape the music (and/or entertainment) business in 2018 and how do you think this will influence our world?
Julia Ruzicka: I hope that something big next year will be that all the exposure of sexual harassment we are currently seeing will have an impact. I hope we will see more equality for women in music and the entertainment industry. I think there will be a huge impact on the way big entertainment companies and corporations are run.
Reeperbahn Festival: Which problem within the music (and/or entertainment) world should be solved by the time we convene again at the next Reeperbahn Festival Conference?
Julia Ruzicka: I hope we can get back to people making music because they want to genuinely make good music and not because they want to become famous. As a lecturer at a music school, I’m sick of seeing a lot of young people that focus so much on the way they look on Instagram. I’m tempted to say to them, “Look, you study music, you should be spending more time practicing and writing your music, not taking photos of yourself.” I hope people will get a bit sick of that next year and will return to making original, great, exciting new music. I don’t know, but sometimes things seem a bit watered down nowadays. Instagram can be useful, but a lot of young people focus so heavily on their social media following that they forget about the actual music.
Reeperbahn Festival: Do you like being in control of so many aspects of your career, i.e. being a “360-degree independent artist”, or would you rather have a different setup, swapping control for fewer responsibilities?
Julia Ruzicka: People like me are natural control freaks. Sometimes the pressure is a bit much, when you are dealing with so many aspects of your music and your career. But it is really satisfying when you do have full control. There’s always a part of you that would think it’d be great to have the backing of a label. It’s mainly financial: If you had a bit more money, then that frees up time. The other thing is, if you are doing everything yourself, you sometimes find you don’t actually devote enough time to the actual craft or art of music because you’re doing all the administration as well. It’s a trade-off; it’s tricky. I think the luckiest people are those that find the right team behind them. When you’ve got a manager or label that totally, 100%, understands your vision, then that is ideal. But that is very, very rare. And if I can’t have that ideal situation then I’d rather have the 360-degree full control!