Interview: UNTITLED Group

Words: Jessica Howard

Untitled Group is the Melbourne-based collective responsible for over 100 events held throughout Australia and abroad.

Featuring partners Nick Greco, Fil Palermo, Mike Christidis, Tom Car and Christian Serrao, the collective is the driving force behind the beloved Beyond the Valley Festival, Pitch Music and Arts Festival, Grapevine, For the Love, Xe54 and the successful Anyway event series.

Upcoming events include Pitch Music and Arts Festival in Moyston, Victoria, Set Mo at the Night Cat (April 6), Solomun at a new secret warehouse (April 14), and Claptone the Masquerade at Coburg Velodrome (May 5) and La Laguna in Canguu, Bali (May 13).

New Rhythms spoke with director Nick Greco about how Untitled Group started, their inspirations, highlights as a collective and what’s in store for 2018.

NR: So how did it all start and what brought you together as UNTITLED group? Tell us the story.

NG: I started in the music/events industry eight-years ago in the final year of my university degree, putting on small events to try and make some money to get over to the US the following year, it was meant to be a short term thing but I absolutely loved it and found a real passion in events, so when I came back to Melbourne I decided to dedicate myself to it.

My other Untitled business partners were out there doing their own events too and we ended up linking up over the next couple years and becoming great mates, deciding to join forces and put some massive shows on together, and it was in the midst of all this that the idea for Beyond the Valley was born and the rest is history!

NR: As a collective, what is your main goal; and since launching the inaugural Beyond the Valley Festival in 2014, do you think your goals, inspirations and capabilities have changed?

NG: Ultimately our goal is to be Australia’s number one events producer, but that’s a very long term goal.  When we launched BTV in 2014, our focus was solely on producing Australia’s best destination festival and we really feel after such a strong year last year we are on our way to achieving that goal, but with all the new brands and festivals that we have created since launching BTV our goals now focus on our company as a whole as well as the individual events that make up Untitled.

NR: Are there any major challenges when producing over 100 annual events through Australia and abroad? If so, what are these challenges and how do you, as a collective, overcome them?

NG: With events as large as BTV and Pitch, the event itself becomes a living, breathing city that we effectively have to manage and keep safe for the duration of the event, and there is constantly different challenges/issues that come up that we need to work through and resolve.  One thing I’ve learnt since our first BTV is there is always a solution to every issue and to not stress out too much!  The good thing about there being five directors for Untitled is that we can always come to a majority on decisions so we’re able to decide on courses of action pretty quickly.

NR: Alongside your flagship events, such as Pitch and BTV, you’ve created a renewed focus on stand-along international tours, can you tell us about this and the additional projects that UNTITLED group have created since its inception? What are some of the biggest highlights on your event portfolio so far and why?

NG: We’ve had a lot of success working alongside Claptone to produce Claptone’s Masquerade events in Melbourne and Bali, our strength has really become producing unique concepts around artists and trying to break the mould.  For The Love is a unique event that we work on that really excites us, we’ve been involved in that event for two years and it’s had such amazing growth and has a very loyal following, seeing the events sell out for the past two years.  We had our first Grapevine event last year at Rochford Winery, which sold out within two weeks and will be back again this year around the country.  BTV 2017 was definitely the highlight of our events career for me, The Presets bringing in the countdown last year was my favourite moment to date and to have a sold out crowd there after a near flawless event made us all super proud.

NR: Who have been some of your favourite artists to work with and represent, and what’s your favourite moment of this whole journey so far?

NG: Oops jumped the gun, The Presets countdown for sure!  Having an artist that I grew up loving back at my festival was very special.

NR: Pitch is only a moment away. Have you made any major changes to this year’s festival? What can we expect?

NG: The feedback we had on last year really blew us away, to walk away from a first year event and see our Facebook page flooded with 600+ 5-star reviews in the days following was a great feeling.  We are continuing our focus on the patron experience for our second installment as well as bringing in a totally new direction on the stage design and interactive art installations, the market stalls have totally stepped it up this year, there’s heaps more that we don’t want to spoil so you’ll have to head down and see it for yourself!

NR: Can you tell us about the dormant warehouse that will come alive this April? What can we expect from the Solomun gig? What’s in store for the warehouse and the rest of UNTITLED events this year?

NG: This space is insane, we can’t say much just yet but this space is going to be huge for the Australian music scene!

For updates on Untitled’s tours and events, see here.