Originally from Senegal, West Africa, Bak Zoumanigui has been an Austinite for close to 20 years. As a teenager, he was a dedicated music fan and an avid dancer and went out seven nights a week as soon as he turned 18. This gave him the chance to connect with DJs, bartenders, artists, venue owners, musicians and other local movers and shakers. Eventually, his reputation grew as a nightlife insider and became the go-to guy to find out what is happening around the city.
In 2010, Zoumanigui launched The FeedBak as an open blog for people who partake or work in the nightlife to share their experiences, organized events and fundraisers around town featuring various local talents. In 2014, the blog turned into a weekly podcast featuring talks with local music leaders in the music, art, and entertainment industries. As of today, The FeedBak Podcast boasts 147 episodes, 172 guests and 30,000 downloads.
TODO Austin: What role do you play in the local music industry?
“I consider myself a connector and supporter. I am so fascinated with our local scene that I cannot help but stay on its pulse. With so much happening on any given day, my goal is to help people navigate the Austin scene, from recommending events to strangers, visitors, and friends to giving a voice to the people who make up the Austin scene through my podcast.”
TODO Austin: What about Austin inspires you to work in the music scene?
“I am a strong believer that everybody has a story to tell. I have spent countless hours talking with people who make up the music scene and I find their journey fascinating. Although they have a lot to say, they have no place to express themselves. That’s how the FeedBak came about.
As Austin grows, people need even more guidance on how to navigate the Austin scene. I feel that it is my duty to show them the way. There are people in the city with great talent and have a passion for their art. My passion is to give back to the city that adopted me.”
TODO Austin: Tell us about your most recent or upcoming projects.
“In 2017, my business partner Rob Stuart and I launched AustiNight, a service that provides curated and hassle-free experiences by packaging an exclusive dinner at a local restaurant, VIP access to live music events and door-to-door luxury transportation. We have partnered with some of the most well-known live music venues and restaurants including Antone’s, Empire Control Room & Garage, Cedar Street Courtyard, Péché, Wu Chow and Russian House. Our mission is simple: to make it easy for locals and visitors to experience the best of Austin and support local culinary and music scenes.
After a short hiatus, The FeedBak Podcast has returned and is now taped in front of a live audience upstairs at Native Hostel every 1st Sunday of the month.”
TODO Austin: What kind of initiative or change would you like to see happen in the music industry so it can continue to live up to its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World?
“I think the music scene has a fragmentation problem. There are too many players but not enough teamwork. All music-related information should be centralized and updated on a regular basis. This could take the form of a website that curates a list all the different elements of our scene, from media to venues to tech companies.
I also believe that corporations that choose to be in Austin should contribute even more to its music scene… Also, I think there should be ways (not necessarily monetary) for the City to collaborate or partner with local companies who are thriving to keep Austin the Live Music Capital of World… As a rapidly growing city, Austin should adopt a no-more-free-show policy across the board to change mentalities over time about the cost of live music.”