Best Kept MTL is putting a celebratory focus on one of our favourite production companies in Montreal – a real gem among stones, I Love Neon Productions.

This crew of  promoters have been setting a standard in Montreal for 19 years now – from one-off shows with international and local artists alike to events at their own venues – Fairmount Theatre and Newspeak, to curated stages at Montreal’s favourite EDM festival ileSoniq. I Love Neon has been at the focal point of changing the entertainment landscape for nearly 2 decades.

The Neon crew has been able to adapt and change the industry in their own way, solidifying them as one of the hottest production companies in Montreal. We sat down with I Love Neon’s founder, John Hatz to get an insight on his world, through Neon coloured glasses.

5 Questions with John Hatz – founder of I Love Neon

You’ve been in the game for 19 years now… a feat that is hard to achieve for anyone! How are you able to work hard, and play hard too?

JH – It’s easy when you love what you do! For me, there is no difference between work and play. I don’t go to work, I just live my life and most of it revolves around I LOVE NEON – 24/7.

I Love Neon has been known to use exclusive, unique venues with an ability to a complete transformation to accommodate any given show. Is there 1 of these unique spaces that you feel most proud of?

Without a doubt, Fairmount and Newspeak. There really is nothing like producing your favourite artists in rooms you own and helped create. It;s the most logical next step for us. A close 3rd is SAT, where I Love Neon began in the late 90s, and it still feels like home to this day.

Over the years, I Love Neon has evolved its entertainment repertoire with the changing industry landscape. How do you feel your personal music/entertainment pallet has evolved since the early days?

Sadly, I am focusing less and less on music and more on business development, but change is key. We have to adjust, pivot and evolve. As music and aesthetics change, I Love Neon keeps changing with the music it hosts. Another good trick is to surround yourself with great, young people. We have a very talented and dedicated staff that lives, breathes and eats music. 

I Love Neon has produced some epic large scale events that, at least from the front stage perspective, have looked to us to run perfectly smooth. Has there ever been a nightmare production or instance you recall where there was much more than what met the eyes of the party-goer?

I won’t go into specifics here, but you have to understand that event production is controlled chaos. We do our best to steer the ship the best possible way we can – but it’s often difficult. After producing over 1000+ events, I can say we’ve had our share of disasters. Snow storms, canceled artists, power failures – but thankfully we’ve had no riots or outright meltdowns. It may look like a smooth ride on the surface, but below that, any event is rarely smooth altogether. 

On this, your 19th Anniversary for I Love Neon – what would you list as the top 3 milestones that helped grow Neon to the entity it is today?

My partners, affiliates & staff. This is a people business. People come to events to connect with music & with each other. It’s an escape. We try to create an environment where people lose themselves & find each other. Personally, my top 3 moments were:
1. LCD Soundsystem at SAT 2005
2. Mstrkrft & Boys Noize at Metropolis in 2008
3. Autechre at Fairmount 2015

Where can we catch you and your crew during your anniversary week?

Right in the middle of the dancefloor, where we belong…
I LOVE NEON is celebrating their 19 years in the industry all week long. There is a huge handful of events happening at the Neon staple venues from now until April 18th.
Tales Of Us will be a big celebration, and happens tonight at SAT!