Favorite ThisChicago Beat Guide: An Interview with Promoter Cody Meltzer

Published: March 30, 2010


When a DJ takes control of the crowd during a show, it’s easy for concertgoers to forget that there are others behind the scenes doing most of the leg work.  The bartenders pour the drinks, the sound men check the levels, and the club owners make sure the party doesn’t stop.  But, from the beginning to the end, it’s the promoters who put it all together.  Across the country, ambitious music-lovers work long hours booking clubs, printing flyers, securing payments, and giving fans a place to dance into the wee hours of the morning, and yet they often go without thanks.  But for promoters like Chicago’s Cody Meltzer, the opportunity to share their enthusiasm in electronic music is all the thanks they need.

When promoter Cody Meltzer first started his work in Chicago, he was a bit younger than his counterparts.  Meltzer, a Chicago area native who is now a coordinator for Chicago-based promotional company RecShare, was sneaking into downtown bars at the tender age of 16.  Although, initially, he focused on promoting hardcore punk shows, by age 19 Cody’s musical interests had shifted towards the electronic variety, largely thanks to Sound Tribe Sector 9.  For the better part of two years he followed the group across the country, racking up a staggering 36 shows in his first two years.  But during his touring tenure, Cody wasn’t just partying, he was being inspired.

“I was really interested by the late night, after-party aspect,” he said.  With burgeoning artists like, Pnuma Trio, Alex B, Two Fresh, Big Gigantic, and Eskmo, STS9 after parties have become a well known launching pad for new and hopeful artists to introduce themselves to hungry fans.  And as he travelled, Meltzer began making connections that would prove helpful in his future promoting career.

“I ended up getting a tour laminate from the band, and ended up just hanging out with them before and after shows.  That’s how I met guys like Pretty Lights, just hanging out.”

After studying the process, Cody decided to give it a shot back home in Chicagoland.

“I put together a show in my buddy’s basement, and we got around 400 people in there,” he said.  “It was ridiculous.”  Just like that, Cody was off and running...

Along with his friendly and kind demeanor, much of Cody’s success in the Chicago scene can be credited to his astute understanding of the city’s scene as well as its history.  Meltzer explained that while the city is known best for its contributions to house music, the variety of genres has greatly expanded.  Dubstep, electo, downtempo, electro; they can all be found in clubs across Chi.

“I can get 350+ people out to an electronic show.  People are thriving on that crazy bass.” he said.  Added big events like Lollapalooza haven’t hurt the city’s status either, says Meltzer.

“This past year, Lollapalooza was almost like an electro-fest.”

Cody cites groups like Orchard Lounge and Future Rock as current elder statesmen, but doesn’t overlook the heavy contributions to hip-hop.

“Obviously guys like Kanye and Lupe are important to scene.  All the rappers are rapping over electro beats now.”

In a bustling city like Chicago, the music scene can seem crowded and distant.  But with genuine and sincere people like Cody behind the proverbial wheel, fans can rest easy knowing they’re in good hands.  The future, it seems, looks nothing short of fantastic for Cody Meltzer and the Chicago scene.

Tags: Drum and BassLivetronicaBreaksDowntempoDubstepElectroGlitchHip HopHouse