Ola Melzig


February 5, 2022

Ola Melzig


Production Manager

Your Work:

Yourfirst job after full-time education?

I worked as a store clerk at as port fishing store in Malmoe, Sweden, where I was born and raised. I had an internship there during my high school education and landed a permanent job there once I graduated. A good thing, since fishing is my biggest passion!

What inspired you to get into the world of production?

Well…….I actually slipped into this trade on a banana peel, like many of us. I moved to Stockholm in December 89 and landed a job at a window factory. My brother-in-law worked as a stagehand for EMA-Telstar, which was the biggest promoter in Scandinavia at the time (now Live Nation). My first show was a load in for Iggy Pop, and the day after, I was in the load out crew for Scorpions. I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was like I found something that I didn’t even know that I was looking for. I was home! This was my environment! I worked as a stagehand for several years. Got promoted to forklift driver, then production runner. I’ve done every single job you can do in this trade, and I believe that is my biggest strength as a production manager today. At some point, I decided to get a bit more creative, and went into the wonderful world of lighting! It just appealed to me, more than anything else.

Is there anyone you would describe as a mentor?

Absolutely! Peter Tintin Erikssonis one. He was the crew boss at EMA-Telstar back when I got started, and he took me under his protective wings immediately. I think it was because I had a car, and I passed his house going into the city doing shows, so he can get aride………. Another one is Benny Jansson, who taught me all the values of how to do a good production. They are both very close friends tome to this day.

What’s your favourite touring memory?

We were heading south on the German Autobahn, and I got the tour bus to pull over and do a leg stretcher at the resting area where I’ve decided to meet up with my parents as they were coming back from Spain after being there for 4 weeks with my son who was 5 years old at the time. The expression of his face when he saw me on that parking lot just melted my heart. And it still does.

What's your WORST touring memory?

When I got arrested in Montreux, Switzerland. I was at the Jazz Festival with Yellow Jackets. I woke up early in the morning and decided to take a walk down by the lake before load in. I was strolling along, minding my own business, when two guys in suits came up to me when I was about to cross over a street. They took me gently by my arms and declared that I should follow them to the nearby police station. Once there, I was put in an interrogation room, where they started to question me about my whereabouts. It turned out that they took me in simply because I had long hair, and just assumed that I was a drug-dealing punk without any proper purpose to be in their almighty town. Bunch of clowns! And I missed our load in!

And the funniest?

I was in Vladivostok with Jenny Berggren from Ace of Base. We were headlining a 90’s dance music festival at the local hockey arena. The second to last band was done and it was time forchange over. We had a 20-minute slot. We were set in 10 minutes, and I took a stack of set lists to tape down in the front of the stage. I start with Jenny’s, at the center. So, there I am, on my knees, when four spot lights hits me, and the announces screams - Ladies & Gentlemen - Let me present! Jenny Berggren from Ace of Base!

The 10 000 people in the crowd went bonkers for a second or two, and then they realized that the guy with a stack of papers and a roll of duck-tape was not Jenny.

What people may not know:

What is the trait you deplore in yourself?

I absolutely LOVE planning! I have a plan for EVERYTHING! Often in an Excel spreadsheet. My family gets tired of that sometimes……. Especially on holidays!

Do you think there is currently enough practical encouragement of young production talent?

No, not even close.

What have been the major highlights of your career to date?

The 15 Eurovision Song Contests I’ve done of course. The 150-year anniversary of Cinco de Mayo in Puebla, Mexico. The open and closing ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

What occupies your free time?

I love fishing!

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I buy way too much fishing gear! Way too much!

What’s the most inspiring thing anybody has ever said to you?

It was actually not words! One ofthe hardest shows I’ve ever done was the Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine2017. I was brought in extremely late, me and the new executive producer took over a corrupt organization that had spent the first 5 months achieving absolutely nothing. I managed to turn the ship around and save the whole goddamn show with less than 3 months to go to load in.

Nothing worked as it should during production. We didn’t have enough stage hands, all lifts were too short to reach the top beams of the ceiling. Some days we had shuttles, some days not. Some days we had catering, some days not. It was just fucking hell around the clock for 70 days. I ended up getting B-vitamin shots in my ass every morning for the 3 last weeks, just to have the energy to pull through. And we made it. We produced the three live shows. They aired on time, and they were pretty awesome shows. I got back to the hotel at 3am after the Grand Final and went straight to bed. After twisting and turning for an hour, I gave up and decided to head down to the bar/restaurant at our hotel. I opened the door,only to discover that no one in the crew had gone to the official after showparty. They were all sitting in the restaurant, all 300 of them. It got dead silent when I opened the door, and then I got the warmest, longest and loudest round of applause. No words spoken could have meant more to me. That was just the BEST feeling ever.

Who would be your four ideal dinner party guests?

My family! All of them!

What have you been up to during the Pandemic?

I’ve actually been very busy with pre-production of the upcoming American Song Contest. But also spent a lot of time with the family. And fishing of course! More than in many years!

Your favourite record of all-time (could be an album or single track)?

Number of the beast with Iron Maiden. Best record EVER!

What was the first gig you attended?


What would be your advice to a teenage you?

Do it exactly the way I’ve done it. Don’t rush it. Experience and knowledge doesn’t come cheap nor fast.

What's the best piece of kit you've discovered over the past 12 months (and why)?

The Sous Vide! Just brings cooking to a whole new level of awesomeness!

Closing questions:

What are your hopes for the future?

That we can start our long path towards the new normal. I think we lost our past for good, but I think the new normal can get close enough.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Never lie!

If you weren’t doing this, you’d be?

A cooking, fishing maniac pornstar?

Article By:  

Joel Perry

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