- December 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm #1046223
From another forum…
Dave the Drummer has had loads of trouble getting payment from a large european festival organizer and after long talks with the promoted finally got paid only for this to happen…Quote:Dave the Drummer – Last set ever November 2008
Earthcore 2008 the truth :
First of all I’d like to introduce myself
My name is Henry Cullen and I perform as a DJ professionally under the alias DAVE the Drummer.
I have been a techno DJ for over 10 years now and I also write tracks for my record label Hydraulix and I remix/write tracks for other techno labels too.
Recently as you may or may not know, the vinyl industry has experienced a massive drop in sales, largely due to MP3’s becoming the peoples format of choice.
And also because of a considerable amount of illegal copying of music.
Therefore DJ’ing has become my most important source of income and I rely on it heavily to pay my bills.
I am 39 and tired of the constant travelling and the late-night lifestyle of being a pro DJ, I have family at home, a 5 year old son, and my ever -patient and supportive wife Justine.
Long distance gigs look less and less appealing to me now, especially because the kind of money they bring in is equal to what I can make in Europe
Which is a stone’s throw away, in comparison to somewhere like say… Australia.
Earthcore: My Story.
Here’s my personal account of my experiences of the 2008 festival:
All Quotes from Third parties have been taken directly from my personal email account and are absolutely 100% truthful.
Complete sentences have been taken out of context rather than transcribing entire emails, purely for length reasons. Nothing has been manipulated or changed in any way.
Copies of the entire emails can be made available if you want to read them.
The quotes I have used are in my opinion a fair and true representation of the full emails they have been taken from.
Earthcore: The Events
Spiro, the head organizer of Earthcore, in an email, contacts me.
Asking me to come and play at the last ever Earthcore on November 28 2008.
I replied: No… thanks, but no.
My reason was that I already had other travel plans for that month
And his gig along with my other gigs would mean me being out of the house for almost a month straight and that’s too long in my book, sorry.
“If I doubled your fee, would that make a difference?”
I think about it, and reply OK I’ll do it, but I want a 50% deposit first.
We agree that in the past he had paid me $2500 AUS.
So this time it will be $5000 AUS,
A Handsome sum indeed!
I must add here that I have played for Earthcore several times over the years since 2000.
And although Spiro himself can be awkward to find on site, and to deal with.
I have always had a hotel paid and booked for me and my fee has been paid on the night in cash in full (until now).
I do have to say though that several times they have relied on the fact that I have friends in Melbourne to save having to organize lifts and drivers and hotels for me.
This has made life a little tricky at times but up until now It’s never been a real problem (and of course I am aware of the stories of countless local people being used and going unpaid over the years).
He promises me in his next email :
“You’ll have the 50 % deposit no later than 3 months before the event”
A couple more emails between us:
I send him my bank details.
I tell him I’ve found flights on Korean Air.
He offers to put money in my account to pay for the flight.
Normal stuff, getting the booking straightened out… It seems.
Spiro sends me another email:
Asking me if I could make it over there for another gig on the Friday night before Earthcore in Adelaide.
For a further $2000.
Wow! I couldn’t believe my luck!
I NEVER usually get this kind of money for my gigs!
But, seeing as this was to be billed as my “Last performance in oz ever!” (due to the travel reasons stated before).
I felt justified in receiving it, and, let’s face it, I didn’t ask, it was being offered to me.
So yes, I agreed.
We continued discussions about the Adelaide gig and flights into August.
The money for Adelaide went down to $1500
“The tight arse promoter in Adelaide is willing to pay $1500 for your fee”.
A few more emails discussing the correct dates : Adelaide Friday / Melbourne Earthcore Saturday to make absolutely sure before I book flights.
Spiro: “I’ll inform the Adelaide promoter get him to sign. Do a contract for both shows to you, book the flight, then pay you the deposit then we do the visas. All good?”.
At this point I also had a gig in London penciled in for Sunday 29th at Fabric (it’s pretty normal to have a back up plan just in case).
I cancelled that, as it would’ve been impossible to make it back in time.
The promoter was understandably disappointed, but cool about it (thank god!).
And the Earthcore situation was looking good.
07-08-08 email from me to Spiro:
I found good flights with Singapore airlines.
And would he like to send me money to buy them (flights are normally cheaper to buy in London, and we have done this before a few times)?
A whole month later! three months before the gig , deposit is now due…
An email from me to Spiro:
“Any news about the flights and the deposit money”?
“Sorry for the delay mate, I’ve have had an accident and hurt my back. I’m back in action now and will be dealing with your payment no later than next week.”
Get well soon I said.
Another email from Spiro:
In which he sent me 2 scans of his partner Peter Suwaras credit card.
And told me to use that to buy the flights.
Adding, if I needed anything else please get in touch.
I told him I’ll need the billing address.
And I asked again about the visa situation and the deposit money.
I start booking the flight and get it all done in a couple of hours
Price of flight : £937 (approx. $2100 AUS).
I ask again for deposit and visa and send them the flight itinerary and invoice.
An email from Mark EG (very well known Uk rave DJ).
Saying he had heard I was playing for Earthcore and warning me that he had problems getting his money out of them a few years ago.
I wrote back and said don’t worry, I know these guys, it should be OK…
Another email From Me to Spiro.
Any news on the deposit and visa?
Email from Me to Spiro.
Any news about visa and deposit?
Reply from Spiro
“Don’t stress. We are still 7 weeks out”.
Hmm… don’t stress… What does he mean by that?
It’s a put down for sure, after all I’m only chasing up what we’ve agreed.
Why does he always turn it around?
So now I’m the one who’s stressed eh?
That’s really annoying.
Email from Peter Suwara (whom I have never met before) :
Telling me to fax through visa documents ASAP!
What visa documents? I wonder.
I reply immediately asking what are they talking about.
Peter gets back same day with the forms for me to download,
They are fairly easy to complete, but do require time and they must not be got wrong.
I tell Peter I am half out the door now to a gig in Italy (it’s the weekend).
And I’ll deal with it when I get home on Monday.
Nevertheless he feels he has to remind me only 2 days later (monday).
With another “URGENT, URGENT” email. I sense panic.
I get it all done signed scanned and emailed back by 03-11-08.
And ask once again for my deposit.
I have to send the visa docs again, they lost them the first time.
No mention of deposit.
I have to send the visa docs again, seems like they aren’t getting through.
I mention that we are very late and why didn’t we do this earlier, like say, July?
No mention of deposit.
I have to re-send the flight itinerary again, seems they lost that too.
Don’t these guys use computers?
Maybe just using the “save” button once in a while would help.
And maybe creating a shared folder called DAVE the drummer would make sense too.
No mention of deposit still.
Visa approval comes through from Peter.
Once again I ask for deposit and I need a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne too.
Peter replies with local flight to Melbourne, no mention of deposit.
I email peter and Spiro.
Asking for my 50% deposit, telling them I may consider not coming if it’s not paid.
And giving them my bank details again, and other possible payment options like paypal and western union.
21-11-08 ( 5 days to go before I fly )
I get this back from Peter:
I understand the fact that you may be concerned about the lateness of the payment for the deposit and the fact that Spiro offered such a high fee. However we will get the deposit to you. Don’t worry about it for now. Understandably if the deposit is not made, you are at your discretion to not fly to Australia and play.”
Whaaaaaat! At my discretion? What the hell is he talking about ?
I still have to fly for 30 hours just to decide I’m not going to play if I don’t get paid!
No, that’s not right, I want it to be paid, Now!
I finally snap!
I’ve sent them polite letters and bank details again and all that but no reply.
And the rumors are getting bad too. It’s not looking good.
So I send this:
It’s Tuesday and I’ve not heard anything, I’m supposed to be leaving tomorrow.
I’ve now heard lots of very worrying rumors that people are not getting paid any deposits and are canceling their appearances.
I’ve also heard the event is going to be cancelled amongst many other things.
And I’m worried that my fee for Adelaide is tied up with Earthcore too so I won’t get paid there also.
So I would like the contact details for the promoters there so I can talk to them.
You have to send me some money to confirm my booking, or I don’t come.
I’m not going to sit on a plane to 48 hours and be away from my family for a week and not get paid anything, that’s just a horror story for me and I would be far better off staying here and working.
Please don’t ignore this
At least send me some form of correspondence and preferably a deposit there is still some time so salvage this situation. Also I have no idea where I am supposed to be staying in Melbourne.
I’ve got the flights, I’m sure you don’t want to waste this money. I don’t understand why we can’t just get this sorted like we agreed in the first place.”
I get this email back from Peter at Earthcore.
“Regarding your deposit, you will get paid before you have to play on stage, if you don’t get paid you don’t have to play.”
Peter also gives me the hotel addresses and a very basic Itinerary.
26-11-08 ( flight to Australia today 22.00 )
I send an email saying I’ll trust them and I’m coming (I figure at this point that something is better than nothing and I really can’t afford to just take the weekend off, as much as I would like to).
Peter sends me a number for a guy Ant who is supposed to be my “minder”.
I never manage to speak to Ant for the entire weekend his number does not work.
Peter phones me during the day at home to assure me all is ok with the money.
And I repeat that I’m coming over and thank him for the call.
The Final Insult:
So, I went, it took well over 24 hours to get to Adelaide.
I arrived at about 5pm on Friday and went to a hotel with Chad the organizer.
He told me he had paid $2750 to Earthcore in total, that included flight costs.
I took that to mean there was $1500 there for me and Earthcore get $1250.
About 50% of the Singapore airlines flight.
I played in Adelaide and because the Earthcore guys had booked me on a 9am flight to Melbourne (thanks very much you bastards!). I had time only to rest for an hour after the gig before I had to get a taxi to the airport!
I arrive in Melbourne and after waiting a good 30 mins or so and calling the numbers I had again which never worked I meet up with Robert Leiner another one of the international Djs booked to play at Earthcore who was with a guy Derek who was our driver.
It’s a 3 hour drive to the site and because I’ve had no sleep I’m pretty keen to get to the hotel and sleep for a bit.
As we get close to the site we’re told not to go to the hotel but direct to the site as Derek is needed to go back to Melbourne immediately to collect other artists.
So we get to the site and Spiro is there in person to meet us.
Flailing his arms around and talking at the top of his voice he tells us to get in his car and he’ll take us to the hotel.
After nearly turning the car over by driving into a ditch (why?) we arrive at the hotel.
And hung about drinking a few beers with Spiro.
He gives me 500 dollars when I ask for some money because I don’t have anything on me.
He tells us over and over again that all the other promoters in Melbourne are all out to get him.
And that’s why loads of other events have been organized around the same weekend.
Ok… possible… but unlikely, and I must admit Spiro is looking a little crazed at this point.
He leaves… I sleep for a bit… finally.
He comes back around 11pm to pick us up (he was supposed to come at 10pm).
It’s getting late for Roberts set and we drive like a bat out of hell to the site to get him on stage in time.
We just make it.
Robert plays, I play at 1am, no turntables working, even though I asked the sound guys to fix them up for me, no-one on stage seems very helpful or aware of what the hell is going on.
I tried to sort the decks out myself while I was playing
But the ground cables seemed to be missing so I couldn’t get them working.
So… the night wears on… and I hang out with some mates from Melbourne.
But I’m worried now about the money.
So I start asking for Spiro… typically he has disappeared.
I find Peter Suwara finally after hours of hanging around, and he says that No-one knows where Spiro is but he should be back in time for Juno Reactor (hmm, I smell something).
This will be around 7am (sunrise).
So we wait, Juno Reactors set passes and still no Spiro.
Now I’m getting fed up, so I talk to Peter again.
And I tell him that I’m pissed off and I don’t accept that Spiro cannot be found.
He must be found and now!
I’m sick of waiting, I’ve done my job pay me now please!
My friends from Melbourne want to get moving too, but kindly offer to hang on for me.
So I can get to the hotel, which is booked for me that night in Melbourne (I hope).
Spiro finally appears at the gate!
We find out from Sun Project, they arrived really late for their set, angry that they have been left at the hotel for 4 hours by Spiro.
They tell me he has given them some money and he is at the front gate.
We wiz up there in the car and sure enough there he is.
I ask if I can have my money now ‘cos we want to go.
He says that he still has to collect money from all the stalls and the bar.
And then he’ll pay.
I remind him that I had been asking for money for five months now.
And it’s long overdue just pay up so I can go.
He convinces us to wait an hour and pays me $1000.
I split this 50/50 with Robert Leiner as we are still together at this point.
We go back to site and wait and wait Spiro arrives with a bit more cash.
And I end up with $1900 Final Amount (500 from the hotel, 500 from the door and another 400 and that’s it!).
Remember I should be getting $6500, so that’s seriously short of the mark.
Finally after we have been waiting for hours (it’s now 12pm and Spiro has disappeared and had a shower and come back! (He comes walking in saying I’ve just had a shower now I feel great! We have been waiting for him under the impression he was finding more money for us).
Spiro admits that he cannot sort it all out now and we will need to collect the rest of the cash tomorrow.
Ok I’ve had enough stress, all the other DJs are hassling now, sound people are hassling.
Everyone is realizing they aren’t getting paid and the vibe is getting bad round here.
So we leave…
Back to Melbourne…
Hotel is booked thank God!
On Monday I start calling Spiro again.
He swears he will be back in Melbourne by 7pm that evening and promises to sort me out.
7pm comes… No Spiro… I call… he doesn’t answer.
So eventually I have to leave.
As I’m driving to the airport I send one last text message to Spiro saying:
“You burnt your bridges, was it worth it?”
Telling me to “cut the bullshit mate, as if I would burn you?”.
So I try to remind him he HAS burnt me and he goes silent.
Then while in Singapore I receive a text saying he will send me my fee and $400 extra as compensation.
Back in UK now and I text him to tell him I have sent another email with my bank details.
He replies that he is not back from site yet and he has 2 other events to do first over the coming weekend,
And then he’ll sort me out.
I wait for the weekend to pass, and his 2 other events with it.
And text him again on Tuesday 09-12-08
And say that I have waited for him to get finished up
And could we now sort out the money please.
“I’ve been instructed by my lawyers that I have to cease trading in the interim which includes all payments to creditors until litigation commences against various internet based sites that slandered my company and caused financial loss. I suggest you show patience by not feeding the slanderers who have used and are using your personal email responses as a tool to create more damage.”
What the fuck is he talking about?
My Email responses? To whom exactly?
So I tell him he’s a cunt and to stick it up his arse!
No reply… No email… No Apology… No explanation.
He doesn’t even call me a cunt back, the spineless cunt.
Happy fucking Christmas!
This guy needs taking down legally he really does.
He needs to go to jail for what he has done to me and the other djs , not to mention the public.
And of course he needs a damn good kicking.
So I’m going to post this everywhere I can.
Although Spiro is re-knowned for having forums closed and blogs pulled down.
Fuck it, this IS THE TRUTH 100% there is no rumor mill here.
Or bullshit, this is my absolute experience of Earthcore 2008.
There will never be another for me.
And Anyone reading this should seriously consider not supporting these people in the future.December 24, 2008 at 5:17 pm #1189812
$1900 AU is less than £900
this is precisely why (as a former professional AV engineer) I don’t bother with “dream jobs” in dance music “industry”, too many muppets what don’t pay their bills. At least doing “boring” stuff like networks, telecoms, business databases and accounts work gets the bills paid..December 24, 2008 at 5:29 pm #1189815
thats utter balls man.he’s totally disrespected dave and the other dj’s, bang out of order.hope they all manage to salvage something from that messDecember 24, 2008 at 5:53 pm #1189813
TBH it counts in our favour as Dave himself says he’s better off playing in Europe as its less hassle
dunno what it is but some people what organise festivals seem to think the normal rules of business and commerce simply don’t apply
instead of putting up their own cash reserves to cover any business risk they are passing the risk onto their artists without making this clear to the artists
this happens the world over but such practices can be classed as illegal in many jurisdictions (trading whilst insolvent)December 24, 2008 at 5:56 pm #1189814
Seems they really have pissed a lot of people off. I’m quite suprised Henry trusted them/him in the first place.December 25, 2008 at 7:03 am #1189811
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