RE:SEARCH Wednesdays is a weekly concert series occurring at Cervantes’ Other Side that is presented by Euphonic Conceptions and Cervantes. The main driving concept is to combine ultra low ticket prices with some of the freshest music out, each and every week. RE:SEARCH is hosted by local heroes and weekly residents Mikey Thunder and Jubee – and each week features a diverse range of music including electro-soul, future funk, glitch hop, dub, reggae, hip hop, and really any kind of fusion that moves minds and bodies.
Four Over Four spoke to owner and head talent buyer Scott Morrill about his influences and what makes Cervantes a staple in the Denver music scene.
How did you find your way into live music?
I fell in love with live music in Lawrence, Kansas at The University of Kansas. Lawrence is a great music town and I started getting to see bands like Widespread Panic, Galactic, Soulive, Greyboy Allstars, The Fugees, The Roots, and so many more at the intimate venues around town.
And what eventually opened the door to your career?
I got a job in commercial real estate out of college as a financial analyst and did that for about four years before I decided that I wanted to turn my hobby of seeing live music all the time to my career.
I met my future partner Jay Bianchi after frequenting his venues and bars and told him I wanted to get into the music business. We found the Casino Caberet building in Five Points that was being run by the name Club Pure and the owners were wanting to sell. I took out a second mortgage on my house and we were off to the races.
As owner and head talent buyer of Cervantes, tell us a bit about your typical day?
There really isn’t a typical day, which is one of the things I love about what I do. Everyday is different. I used to be involved in every aspect of the venue from security to making the posters to bartending, but these days I spend most of my time talent buying.
Our staff is so solid at Cervantes that all I need to do is make sure we have great shows that people come to. I’m emailing and talking to agents attempting to book the best talent I can find as consistently as possible. Then I go out and see a lot of live music and still enjoy it as much as the day I started Cervantes.
What do you enjoy most?
The thing I enjoy most is watching a band grow from very few people knowing who they are to selling out The Ballroom and then onto the next level. Being a part of that process and believing in a band and doing everything I can to help them along the way is my favorite part.
I also love getting people off from live music and introducing them to new bands. Helping them forget about their everyday life problems for a while and experiencing the magical emotion that is felt when music touches your soul. So I enjoy two things the most, if that is allowed.
What is one of the biggest challenges?
There were lots of challenges along the way especially when we were new to Five Points and lots of the fans were scared of the neighborhood. These days I’d say my biggest challenge is to keep the calendar full of the best programming possible. You can always do better which is cool because it makes it always challenging.
Aside from Cervantes, you also manage artists and book festivals such as Arise, Sonic Bloom, LoHi, and The Big Wonderful. How do you balance the work between one job to another?
It can be difficult during certain times of the year when I’m in the middle of booking a festival and trying to keep the calendars full at all the venues. It’s a lot of long hours. I typically set aside a certain amount of time to work on different projects each day and will work as late as I need to try to stay caught up. It’s all worth it in the end.
The festivals tie in with the venue booking. It’s nice to be able to offer agents a festival for their artists as well as a venue play. I love putting together festival lineups and watching the positive impact a good festival can have on someone. Seeing all the hard work that is put into a festival and watching it culminate to make people really happy is one of my favorite things and is the reason I put in all the long hours.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced or seen while working in music?
Naked guy spinning around underneath the disco ball. He was a large man. No one really knew what to do so we just let him be.
Any advice for someone trying to break into the industry?
I’d say try to learn something about every aspect of the business from bartending to managing to talent buying and figure out what you like best and what you are good at. Then it’s just hard work and determination. If you love it enough and keep working at it, you will succeed eventually.
Lastly, what does the Cervantes family represent for the Colorado music scene?
I’d like to think that the Cervantes family represents a collection of people who care deeply about each other and live music and welcome others to join in our magical music bubble. I think it represents a feeling of welcomeness and freedom that you might not get at other venues. That is why we have a large clientele of regulars who come for that feeling Cervantes provides day in and day out.
Go out tonight, and any night. Jukely is a concert subscription that gives members guestlist access to hundreds of music events – for one price. Whenever you want to go out, you’ll always have something to do. Learn more and sign up at jukely.com.