Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Mike Quarto, the owner of The Mousetrap music venue southeast of Broad Ripple in Indianapolis. We talked about the venue's history, what kind of shows they book, and a little bit about what it takes to play a show at The Mousetrap. Here’s what Mike had to say.
When did you start The Mousetrap?
The Mousetrap actually started in 1957, but I bought it in 2002. I’ve been in the bar business for years. I began working at a few bars in Broad Ripple, then became part-owner of Chumley's. When The Mousetrap came for sale, I saw an opportunity to go out on my own and start something new, and here we are.
What kind of music and artists do you book?
We have music 6 nights a week, and 3 nights of those are national touring artists. Our original plan was to host jam bands, which is my musical background. Back in 2003, there were only a few festivals going on around Indy. Now the jam band scene is starting to encompass the EDM scene, and experimental-progressive music is what we mostly do now. Drum and Bass also fit into the scene really well that we are creating.
We have all kinds of jam bands, bluegrass and jazz, but electronic music seems to be where we’ve grown. The Mousetrap works closely with Indy Mojo to book shows. We have Altered Thursdays, which have artists like Ill Gates and huge international acts from all over the world. It’s really Interesting to see it all grow. On the weekends we have some national touring acts once or twice a month. Sundays we have Bluegrass. Mondays are Karaoke, Tuesday's are Jazz, Wednesday's are family Jam where some of the best musicians in the city just come play and create new music on the spot. Sometimes there’s up to 18-20 musicians playing on family jam night. Then we get back around to Indy Mojo on alternative nights.
What shows have been some of your favorites?
I’m more of a fan of the jam band type. Melvin Seals of JGB, and Bernie Worrell, the godfather of the Moog synth were fun. It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite. Some of my favorite nights are when local bands can fill the venue and have a great, fun, big show.
How would someone go about booking a show at The Mousetrap?
I let Indy Mojo and Collage Artists & Entertainment take care of booking electronic artists. I get applications and send them on to those guys. Word of mouth is good to get those artists forwarded to those guys, but I do the booking of all the other bands.
Many venue managers including myself often look at social media stats to see how bands are doing, and how much they're growing on Facebook, etc. For example, knowing how many mutual friends are connected to The Mousetrap and the artist's page might tell me how many people might attend a show. It's also good to look at how many followers are local and engaged with the artist's page.
What’s the best way to reach you if someone wanted to book a show
What do you hope to see happen at The Mousetrap in the future?
I'd like to see us grow by scheduling the best quality shows seven nights a week. We want to have the same lineups as do festivals such as Electric Forest, Summer Camp, etc. I used to go to those festivals and reach out to people to get them coming in, but now we’ve gotten to a point that those people reach out to us.
The Lodge Academy sends a special thanks to Mike for chatting with us and sharing about The Mousetrap. For upcoming events and more information, click The Mousetrap links below!