Profiles: Bureau Punt – Joining creative worlds
Every few weeks we interview an inspiring entrepreneur or artist chosen from our online network, Profiles. This week: Bureau Punt.
We meet Ghamte Schmidt (@lentinithatnig) at the blue stained entrance of Maison Descartes at the Vijzelgracht in Amsterdam. He seems relaxed. Phoning someone. We’re greeted like old friends: “Did you know this used to be the French institute for language and culture in the Netherlands?”
Ghamte, cofounder of Bureau Punt – known for organising parties like BBQ and PAINT – and manager for dj sensation Carista (amongst others), is involved in his community: “Over here on your left there’s this company that gives new purposes to city waste and those handmade Moroccan carpets over there on the right are made by old woman in the store owner’s hometown. And my downstairs neighbours from Reconstruct, an Amsterdam fashion collective, they remake clothing and create beautiful collections. You need to know what your neighbours are up to, right?”
After a short tour of the characteristic monumental building we stop in the courtyard where the hustle and bustle of the city seems to have come to a halt: “Do you hear how quiet it is here?”
This is the place where Ghamte finds his peace and where he’s hatching his plans to make Bureau Punt the cultural embassy of the Netherlands.
What are you doing this weekend?
A very good question, haha. I’m doing a shoot with Patta (his brother Guillaume Schmidt’s streetwear brand) with some friends and family. Saturday I’m going to the EP release of one of our artists at the Radio Radio. Also we stopped BBQ at Bitterzoet. We noticed there is a new generation and the whole experience of hiphop has changed. So it’s the first time in a very long time that have a Saturday night off! We still have a great connection with Bitterzoet and we’re working on a new concept.
What has changed in the experience of Hiphop?
Hiphop is actually a person. And it’s alive in the United States ever since 1974, which means it’s about 45 years old. So what’s his life like now? He’s got kids that are gratuaded. Hiphop in the Netherlands is about twenty years old and it’s one of those kids. And once you realise that, you understand that the child is trying to develop his own identity now. That child is flailing about and trying to find itself. But that child also has a history although he might not understand it sometimes. That’s what you see at parties.
A lot of people consider a party as a way to unwind, to let go of all the stress that’s been building up during the week. You’re a party planner. What does a party mean to you?
Well for me it’s not like that. I want to let my self go more – I’m sort of a control freak- eventhough some wouldn’t call me that. But if I’m at a party that I haven’t organised myself, then I’m still checking certain things. And if I’m having a real good night, then that really means something. And it could be anywhere, I can also really enjoy an old fashioned ‘bruin’ café.
What did you want to become when you grew up?
An archeologist. I found history to be really interesting. As an archeologist you can see the world, be outside, explore things. But when I started secondary school I discovered the harsh reality of needing to take biology classes and such. So I wanted to become a journalist. Then I could still explore things.
When did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I believe being an entrepreneur doesn’t have anything to do with starting a company. It’s more about a lifestyle. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I want to do things. Bringing people together has always been the common thread. Music was also a big part of my life. In secondary school I started hosting and MC-ing. I wasn’t a good rapper or a good dj, but I was a good talker. So I did it in a mic. Slowly I got involved in the organisation and I got into the music business.
What are you proud of?
I’m very proud that we (Bureau Punt) have contributed to the career of Carista (dj, managed by Bureau Punt). She recently send me a text saying: “I’m at a festival. The sound is perfect, the people are super dope and I played the music I wanted. This is just what I needed.” Contributing to that is amazing.
Also I’m proud of Lion Kojo (artist managed by Bureau Punt) who’s in Lowlands for the fourth time in a row. And that new talent is being added each year.
How did you and Carista come together?
I already knew Carista for a while. We had some mutual friends, but we hadn’t seen each other in a while. I was at Red Light Radio for a BBQ radio show and after I had been in their office I walked in the hall and heard some hard tracks. Turned out that was Carista. We had just started Bureau Punt. Carista and I talked to each other afterwards and I invited her for a meeting. At first she worked for us about two months and eventually she stayed with us for bookings and management. It’s been almost four years now.
Guiding young, talented artists or managing the big names?
Well I’m a real manager. I can’t take credit for Carista’s talent for instance. She developed it herself. The only thing I can do is enhance what she has. You can look at it this way. She’s the match and I’m the box. Together we’ll keep striking until there’s a flame.
You’re MC, manager, radio producer, party planner, talent coach – what can’t you do?
It’s hard for me to let go. Both positive and negative things. Positive things stay with me for a long time, but negative things as well. I can hold a grudge longer than most, but I’m dealing with that in a better way now. I turn that energy into fuel.
And finally, I can’t do what my artists can. They create such special work from pure emotion. But I do try to translate it and bring worlds together, without artists having to compromise their art. So as much people as possible can enjoy it and be inspired by it.