Founder Interview - Hans Ascrawat
Welcome back to the Founders Series! In the second part of this series, we have a chat with Hans, a music industry expert, oldies music lover, and ex-tour manager.
Welcome back to the Founders Series!
In the second part of this series, we would love to introduce you to Hans, a music industry expert, oldies music lover, and ex-tour manager.
Did you miss the first part of The Founders Series, where we introduced Elias? You can check it out here.
What is your relation to music?
Hans: Music for me is like reading a book. Once you start listening and it hits you with something, you just can’t get enough. The more you dig deeper into it and find other songs from that same artist, the more interesting you find it, and the more it sticks with you because now you have a relationship with it. That’s the magic of music.
I can’t really say I have a specific music genre I listen to the most or one favorite artist because I love too many kinds of music, but there are definitely phases you go through.
In the end, music that tends to stick is music that comes from artists or bands that had long careers. Those that aren’t only great musicians and composers, but simultaneously are visionaries that had a massive impact on the music industry as well.
Give us some examples, please!
Hans: David Bowie, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain are great examples of artists who have this visionary way of thinking about music, which I really like. David Bowie was maybe the first artist that really understood what the impact of the internet would be for the music industry. Jim Morrison predicted the rise of EDM artists already back in the late sixties.
As a matter of fact the reason why I became involved with the music business has a lot to do with The Doors. When I was twelve years old, I got a chance to see Oliver Stone’s movie The Doors in my hometown. It wasn’t even a real movie theater, but a kind of a parish hall where they screened this director’s cut. The experience just left such a big impression on me. I was really attracted to what the music business looked like behind the scenes, the rock ‘n roll,…
Looking back now, that was the moment I just knew I wanted to work in the music industry.
Business - talk time!
Why did you start The Pack?
Hans: With every project I’m involved in, I feel this strong desire of changing the current situation for the better.
As Simon Sinek says “Start with Why”. My big ”why” was that I just knew I wanted to have a bigger impact on the music industry and positively change the lives of people in it. That makes me so excited about The Pack and keeps me moving.
What’s the impact The Pack can make on the music industry?
Hans: I've been working in the music business for a long time now, and I’ve seen the live tours with so many people collaborating: the artists, the tour manager, the sound mixer, the stage manager, freelancers,… just so many people coming together to make live music happen.
They all have certain skills they are really good at, but very often the other side of the business (such as admin, finance, or accounting) is not ‘their thing’ at all.
That’s what we want to solve with The Pack: removing the frictions on that side, so these teams can run their live tours smoothly and easily - and with more financial success at the end of them.
Why are you the right person to found The Pack?
Hans: Well, of course, in contrast to my co-founders, I have already worked in the music business for 20 years. Over the years I have managed and worked together with great artists who achieved amazing things. This gave me many valuable insights in how the business works, but also and most importantly in what the main struggles and obstacles are.
This enables me to see things from a lot of different perspectives basically through the eyes of the artist, artist manager, freelancer, supplier and tour & production manager, because I’ve been in their shoes, and experienced the same struggles.
What’s your unique role in The Pack?
Hans: When you’re part of the founder's team, inevitably you have to split and combine a lot of roles in the beginning.
In my case, with my years of experience in the music business, I’m responsible for “the translation” and connection between The Pack and the industry.
The three of us make each other better. I can bring a lot to them because I have been an entrepreneur in this field for a long time, but they have the experience of working in strong corporate environments and big firms, and they bring that rhythm and that focus into The Pack.
What is your funniest anecdote about starting The Pack so far?
Hans: I would say that I still hold some of my old tour management skills , but I had a bit of a shameful moment a few months ago when we did a Founders summit weekend in Madrid.
It’s the early days for The Pack, so we were working long hours. And for this summit I was responsible for booking the flights, and I found out on the way back that I had booked the wrong flight…
In all my years of managing tours, this had never happened to me… It of course had something to do with the long hours we were working, but to me, that was definitely a moment I’ll remember (and hope will never happen again!).
What has been the biggest challenge so far since starting the company?
Hans: Especially being a startup, you can’t execute every idea you have from the beginning. You have to minimize, prioritize and create a minimum viable product.
The biggest challenge so far definitely has been finding a good balance between idea, execution, and feedback. I think that loop is one of the hardest parts of having a startup and trying to scale.
What has been the biggest lesson you learned since starting the company?
Hans: Sometimes certain features or projects take a little bit longer than expected. The most important part is how you react to those challenges as a team.
I mentioned Simon Sinek's view that it starts with “Why?”, but for me it also starts with “Who?”. And there’s nobody else I would rather create this startup with other than Elias and Jonathan. Because you need a great, compatible founders team first, especially knowing that at times things get difficult...
So, the biggest lesson I've learnt is - “pick the right co-founders” - and I'm happy to say we did this well!
Thank you! Any last words?
Hans: Yes! Just like Elias mentioned in his interview, if you are in the live music industry (or know anyone who is) and are interested in sharing your experience regarding planning and managing a tour, we would be delighted to talk to you! Please reach out to email@example.com.
Do you want to learn more about the third co-founder of The Pack, Jonathan? Then definitely keep an eye out, because very soon we will drop his interview on our blog. You can read Elias’ interview here as well in case you missed it.
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