Utrecht-based management, booking, label, and event concept agency, The Good Times Co (TGTC), was founded in 2019 by Blaise Janichon with the goal of serving as a catalyst for the development and promotion of Southern African artists across Europe.

“We aim to do this with a collaborative and community-based mindset. We’re focused on building a family within our ecosystem and are eager to see this family flourish, both together, and independently,” says TGTC founder and Cape Town local, Blaise Janichon. 

Jami Gavin, believes that there is a great love and hunger for South African music across the continent of Europe. She stresses that Europeans are generally curious and open-minded and that they have a genuine love and passion for music. “The quality of South African creatives is very high, and the exotic location excites many people,” she adds.

The European market is, however, quite competitive, so it’s a challenge to stand out and educate the public on the fact that South African music is not simply conventional “world” music “We’re seeing the interest translate into sales of records and merchandise on the online store,” adds Jami. 

Blaise, Jami, and the rest of the TGTC crew are doing their best to cement the company’s reputation as a serious and credible business with a compelling offering in the European market.

In 2019, Blaise relocated to Europe, where he was quickly contacted by friends and acquaintances keen to discuss expanding their touring roster to Europe. He recognised a need for more concrete booking options and made it his mission to create such avenues for South African performers.

Jami joined in 2021. She decided to uproot her life and move to London in 2017 for the experience. “Whilst there I [DJed] Reading Festival, Isle of Wight, [Camp] Bestival and TRNSMT in Glasgow. Then, in mid-2019, I moved to Utrecht to do a master’s degree. Surprisingly, Blaise and I had never met until I moved to Utrecht,” she says. 

Life before Good Times

At the young age of 15, Blaise entered the Cape Town music scene. “Along with a friend, we were DJs for hire, playing school dances, socials, sweet 16s, and birthday parties,” he says. After graduating from high school, he launched the clothing and culture label, Circusninja.

The Circusninja light that used to hang in front of The Bin. PHOTO: Supplied/TGTC

“We had a lot of fun with the label, and one of the things we did quite well was to celebrate new ranges with launch parties. We hosted some really special events with awesome bands, including early shows for Lark, Fokofpolisiekar, Soulja, The Real Estate Agents — who we sponsored — and many others,” he explains. 

For the launch of their publication, Public Space, they hosted a sold-out event at The Valve on Parliament Street in Cape Town. In 2004, they opened a retail and exhibition space at 105 Harrington Street called The Bin — which doubled as the band Lark’s studio space, and later also the rehearsal space of Fokofpolisiekar.

The Bin
Blaise and the rest of The Bin team hanging out in front of their shop. PHOTO: Supplied/TGTC

The Bin hosted exhibitions of “low-brow” art, showcasing and featuring young South African street artists and collaborating with international art movements. “We used to host Sunday morning exhibition openings where we’d sell beers at cost price and all hang out in the street — this was a great step for some artists who’ve become well established now, special times,” says Blaise. 

After some success, they expanded into 107 Harrington Street, which was where their offices, a few artist studios, and rehearsal space were housed. It’s funny to think about the history of this building when eating ramen at Lefty’s.

When The Assembly (now District) opened down the road, Blaise saw an opportunity to immerse himself in enticing events by taking over the management — including bookings, marketing, sponsorships, and general operations — of the soon-to-be iconic live music venue.

The Assembly
A collage of some of the shows Blaise put together at The Assembly. PHOTO: Supplied/TGTC

After three years and over 800 shows, Blaise decided to volunteer at Rocking The Daisies for the opportunity to work in the sunshine rather than in a dark club. “I grew with Daisies over the years and ended up heading up the all-encompassing role of entertainment management,” he says. 

In 2012, Blaise started an agency, Your Friends — with Mark “Markie D” De Menezes. This was a chance to start an independent events company, focused on hosting international tours by artists they loved. They put on a couple of fun shows, including The Tallest Man on Earth, which Blaise says will always be very special for him. 

“I then worked as Operations Director for Seed Experiences, which owned Rocking The Daisies, and we hosted some incredible headline international tours, including Ben Howard, The Lumineers, Jungle, Of Monsters + Men, Bastille, George Ezra, etc,” he adds. 

A signed LP by Flume when Blaise helped them tour to South Africa. PHOTO: Supplied/TGTC

At roughly the same time, Jami made her DJ debut at Science Frikshun — Jozi’s premier drum and bass night. By 2014/2015, she was a full-time DJ. Being a Joburg native, she was exposed to an incredibly diverse environment from a young age. “Joburg is so special for that,” she says. 

Blaise and a few friends launched the pioneering Jozi Craft Beer Fest, which ran for four years. “[It] was a fun adventure into the more focused world of Food & Beverage, but still a familiar territory within a festival environment,” he comments. 

Because both of her parents worked in the music industry, Jami grew up in a home where music was always playing and interesting musicians were frequently passing through or staying over. Over the years, Jami’s DJ career picked up, and she was able to provide support to a wide range of international DJs across South Africa.

Jami Gavin
Jami Gavin spinning the decks as Ella G. PHOTO: Supplied/TGTC

“My career highlight was closing the RedBull stage at Oppi Koppi in 2016 — still one of my favourite sets I’ve played,” she comments.

After spending more and more of his summers working in Europe’s festival and activation scene, Blaise and his family made the decision in 2019 to make the move across the pond.

“I found the opportunity to use my network in a different way very exciting, and I am so grateful to be able to continue playing a role in promoting and developing artists’ careers through the work we’re doing with TGTC,” he says.

The “The Good Times Co” journey

Blaise, who was intimately versed in the challenges of the South African music scene, understood how important it is for South African artists to expand their fan bases beyond the country’s borders in order to ensure the longevity of their careers.

“I wanted to be more directly involved in developing artists’ careers and finally felt ready to take on artist management again — something I’d been asked many times in the past,” he says. 

However, when the pandemic slowed down their ability to expand bookings, they explored the possibility of launching a label and found that they really enjoyed and understood this space.

“TGTC offers a variety of services that equate to a 360-artist service agency. We’re here to support musicians in developing their careers and to enjoy fitting into their teams to provide strength where it’s needed,” says Blaise.

There are currently six employees at TGTC, and depending on the nature of the project, they collaborate with a “heap of other incredible people”. According to Jami, Blaise is the dreamer, she is the doer, Jay Savage is the brains, and Diane Coetzer is the words. “We’ve also got Hannah [Savage] in support and Maximillian [Goldin] on design,” she adds.

Blaise claims they chose to set up shop in Utrecht, The Netherlands, because it was a beautiful central location not far from a major airport. “It’s the most beautiful, safe, and calm place to raise kids and it feels very old world, whilst equally being quite inspiring,” he adds.

The following is a typical day in their lives at TGTC: For Blaise, it consists of meetings and strategy, listening to music, pre-production planning, pitching for bookings, releases, promos, and events, and time with his kids. Jami, however, fills her day with pitching, planning, emails, social media management, admin, music and podcasts, and spending time with her daughter.

TGTC currently has 25 acts on its booking roster, representing each of them on different levels — from global to country-specific. “Our job here is to introduce them to the industry and pitch them for shows within their tour windows, to develop a route that makes sense, and to get the best possible deals in the right circumstances,” says Jami. 

As many artists are new to the European scene, a lot of effort is required to convince bookers to take a chance on them. “This gets easier as they get further established and our relationships with the industry over here get stronger,” Jami comments.

TGTC also boasts 15 artists on their label — with some more active than others. They work alongside the artists to coordinate release cycles, distribute their releases, and implement promotional campaigns. “We pitch for playlisting and press, and we look for opportunities to grow their exposure, and we work with them to get their admin in order,” says Jami. 

Through its partner, North Park, TGTC is also working in a publishing capacity with some artists — which is a more involved role.

At the moment, TGTC has three acts on the management side: Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys — which is the most active, Chantel Van T, and Umigido. Jami explains, “We work closely with these artists to actively manage, plan and develop their short-, mid-, and long-term careers.”

  • Lucy Kruger & the Lost Boys
  • Athi Umgido
  • Chantel van T

To a small group of artists, they also provide strategic consulting, in which they aid in the completion of specific projects. “As an additional income stream, whilst we develop the business, Blaise does project-based production work. This includes being the festival director for the Dutch festival, Surfana Festival,” says Jami.

Reaching milestones and crossing barriers

So much has been achieved in TGTC’s roughly four years of existence.  According to Blaise, some of their greatest accomplishments include growing the company through the pandemic and finding ways to thrive despite the difficulties they faced, such as organising a globally streamed Bandsintown session in Cape Town, as well as performances that globally showcased their artists. “It’s a strange dichotomy, as while it’s been a couple of years, it really feels like we’ve only been truly active for just under a year now,” says Jami. In January 2022, the Netherlands was in a strict lockdown, which only eased in mid-February. “We hadn’t even gotten out of the starting blocks when the pandemic sucker punched us — and the whole industry,” she adds.

Artists whom Blaise greatly admires and respects have also reached out to them with offers to collaborate. He elaborates by saying that they remain motivated by the positive feedback they receive and the results they see with TGTC.

They also put out their first TGTC-pressed record — Cape Town-based rock band Yndian Mynah’s The Boys Scribbled Like Mad — last month after working on it for over a year.

“When the pandemic started, we began releasing weekly mixtapes to keep the music flowing and our community inspired,” says Blaise. It was just last month that they reached the milestone of releasing their 150th mixtape.

Moving to a new continent, a new country, and learning a new language are just a few examples of the challenges TGTC has overcome so far. “The combination of this move, with the pandemic, has been a challenge. It stopped our network development in its tracks and has added a number of complex post-Covid challenges to navigate in a new and more uncertain environment — with much higher costs,” explains Blaise. 

Financial constraints can also be challenging, frustrating, and even frightening for a self-funded startup like TGTC. According to Blaise, it’s crucial to keep chipping away at the challenges day after day, and to stay confident in the knowledge that your efforts are making a difference.

“Working with inspiring people and being honest and realistic about what we’re able to achieve together is also important,” he adds.

What’s next?

When asked if there are any up-and-coming South African acts they have their eye on to possibly bring on board in the near future, Jami comments that they find new and exciting acts every single day, which is continually inspiring. 

“[However,] presently we’re focussing on consolidating our existing relationships to ensure that we continue to offer quality service to our existing family,” she says. 

In November 2022, they released Cape Town-based Benji Fisher‘s debut single, and this year they’re pumped to continue nurturing his career. “We’re also working with an exciting new talent, Jeannie Arnott, who we’ll start releasing in 2023,” adds Jami.

According to her, TGTC will have succeeded if, five years from now, they can reflect back on this interview and say that the company is functioning well, continues to develop and support artists’ careers, is able to further invest in their projects, and sustainably employs the team. 

TGTC also booked two big names to perform in South Africa in the next few weeks, namely Jacob Banks and Joya Mooi. Jacob Banks will be performing in Johannesburg on 3 March and in Cape Town the next day. Joya Mooi will bless listeners’ ears at the Gorgeous George Hotel’s Pink Room on 25 February.


I can’t play any musical instruments or sing, so this is my contribution to the local music scene — which I love immensely. I can’t touch my toes, but that has held me back only slightly in life. My hobbies include reading, beer, bringing up Let’s Get Local when no one asked, writing, and surprising people with my pool skills. I believe somehow all of this will lead me to Dave Grohl.

1 Comment

  1. How very inspiring – a wonderful story of Cape Town reaching for the stars and South Africa being right up there with the best musicians. Good Times Co has ‘heart and soul’ and are reaching for the stars – music stars. It’s a great story of dreaming, doing, achieving and upwards and onwards – making dreams come true for so many musicians who can bring Africa onto the global stage. Bravo to the team. You are a real inspiration!

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