Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Dave Videka, president of Rooftop Agency

The Venice Beach BBQ
Ever wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, publicists (and even positions you may not have known about) make the music you love come alive! Taking place on June 19th at Honest Ed’s Parking Lot from 4-8pm, Rooftop Agency have teamed up with Jägermeister to yet again throw their annual festival bash, this time being The Venice Beach BBQ which will feature DJ sets by Fucked Up, Real Estate, Tijuana Panthers. With the event right around the corner, A Music Blog, Yea? picked up the phone yesterday to speak with Dave Videka (president of Rooftop Agency) to discuss working with Jägermeister, crazy themed parties, and how he got into the music industry. Here’s what he had to say:

AMBY: Hey Dave, welcome to AMBY! For our readers at home, please give us a little introduction to yourself and how you got into the industry.

Dave Videka: Sure. I’ve been in it for quite a while. Basically, I went to Harris which is a music school in Toronto and from there, one of my teachers worked at Universal Music, so I interned there for about three months full-time without pay. Then I got a job at Universal when I was probably just twenty, so right out of school I got a job there and spent seven years there – first year in radio and then in marketing as a marketing manager. While I was there, I oversaw labels like Interscope and Geffen and a lot of the Canadian independent labels and I spent a lot of time working on sponsorships; I probably sat in a room for close to a year just listening to telecommunication companies who would take about what they were looking for. I took over the sponsorship parts at Universal and some of the acts like Alexisonfire, Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, and Snoop. From there, one day I got a phone call from a guy who worked at Jäger and I told him how I love Jäger. He said how he knew and went to his three biggest accounts in Toronto and all three said my name when he asked who the biggest Jäger lover is who works in the music business. They asked if I wanted to basically leave Universal and work as a consultant for them. I left to start a music division in Canada where our goal was to create an organic and real regional partnership with local artists. It was a really refreshing way to look at music again. I spent the first year or so strictly working on music. Fr year two, things started to fall into place when I took over their digital business, their social business, their design and creative, and brought some other people to work with from my consulting agency. From 2007-2010, we basically worked strictly on Jägermeister and by 2010, we corporated and became Rooftop. Now we’re a full service agency who works with Jägermeister and our clients include Toms shoes, Heineken, Monster. The neat thing about Rooftop is that we’re pretty versatile; we don’t necessarily focus on one area. Now here we are!

AMBY: That’s truly incredible, what a résumé. This Friday, the sixth annual Rooftop Barbecue will take place in Toronto during NXNE. How did these annual events begin?

Dave Videka: Since I spent seven years at Universal, we got spoiled a lot and were invited to a lot of parties and a lot of events during NXNE. It was about connecting and having people in town that you don’t get to see very often, but in an environment to do this in a more laid-back way. The barbeque was such a great way to get to that level. The first one we did when we partnered with Jägermeister had six hundred people and we had a line of seven hundred the whole night. We moved to a bigger venue but were too big for Cadillac Lounge [laughs]. Then we started to do parking lots.

AMBY: It’s a Venice Beach BBQ theme this time around. What can party attendees expect to see or experience this Friday?

Dave Videka: It’s extremely important to us that the theme comes through. You’re supposed to be taken into a world that you’re not used to being in; you’re going to walk into a parking lot and hopefully be in a different world, you’re laid back, and you won’t feel like you’re in the city. We’ve had a lot of really fun things and the best part is that we have pretty open autonomy to make everything look how we want it to look like. Having the Venice Beach BBQ is pretty great because we were looking for something that everyone could relate to. Even if you haven’t been, there’s a mind frame or mindset of what Venice is. We’re looking for something a little trashy that was a little fun but not too much. There’s about fifteen hundred people that we get through there. We’re hoping that they come and have a really chill, awesome time. That’s the goal.

AMBY: I can’t wait. As you mentioned, you’re collaborating with Jägermeister. Tell us a bit about working together, what’s the Rooftop and Jägermeister relationship like?

Dave Videka: It’s really good and really unique. We have a really good working relationship and I’ve known them for a long time. I’ve been on the brand as Jäger for a long time as they changed distributors. I’ve had the chance to spend a lot of time with the people there. I regularly go and do global conferences with them. Our relationship is great [laughs]. I’d be hard pressed to find any closer of a relationship than the one that I have with this brand.

AMBY: I read that Rooftop execute, on average, a total of over one thousand events and activations each and every year. To wrap things up, what’s your favourite part of working on and owning Rooftop?

Dave Videka: It’s very simple. The best part is how every day you come in and there’s something new. We get to choose who we get to work with which is a very rare thing in life, and I’d like to never take that for granted. From our end, it’s great because every day is new and different. This week we’re building a BBQ, this weekend I have half of my team at Rockfest doing an event, and there’s always something fun going on. Along with the Rooftop re-brand, it’s a really nice movement into the summer that we have coming.

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Follow updates from Rooftop Agency here.

Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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