Q&A :: Indent Presents Feedback

May 30th 2013

When you’re just starting out in the music world – whether it be dabbling in some homemade beats, writing gig reviews, making mixtapes or jamming in your mate’s garage – the next step can be a very daunting one.

How do you get your work out there? Or more importantly, how should you get your work out there, without getting ripped off or watered down?

Good news: the good folk at Indent, Music NSW’s youth network, have created a music conference specifically for young people. Part of Vivid Ideas, FEEDBACK will be a full day of shoulder-bumping with some rad music industry guest speakers – especially for 12-25 year olds.

Held at the magnificent (particularly right nowMuseum of Contemporary Art on Monday 10 June (Queen’s birthday long weekend – you don’t even have to skip class), FEEDBACK will host interactive panels and talks from keynote speakers, including musicians, young aspiring industry professionals and music fanatics alike.

To warm them up, we asked some of the panel members for the best and worst advice they’ve had in the industry. Interestingly, one of the first things we found was that many people feel they never got advice on the music business… so lucky you, because you get FEEDBACK.



(DJ / host of The Drop)

The best advice I’ve ever received is to not limit myself. It’s come in various forms from various mates, “industry peers” etc. and I’ve used it as a bit of a mantra for a while. It’s meant that I’ve done shitloads more in the music world than a lot of others my age and it also means that I’ve learnt a whole lot more about heaps of different nooks and crannies in the landscape, which has been (and will hopefully continue to be) useful to me as someone who does music as their fulltime job.

The worst advice I got was to make sure that I got a tertiary degree. Before I go on though, I have to admit that (a) I haven’t really gotten that much other bad advice (I don’t think…) and (b) I’m not trying to devalue university degrees and the like AT ALL. With that said though, I only went to uni for under 2 months and it had me questioning my path. I’ve found that I am at my most productive when I really believe in what I’m doing, so when I start thinking about back-up plans I lose focus from what I’m trying to achieve right now, which (if you’re doing it right) should mean you don’t need a back-up plan anyway. Shouts to everyone slogging it out at uni though, I’m envious of your work ethic.



(Musician, DIY or Die)

To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten advice about the music industry, I’ve just done what I’ve done with the people I’ve met. I turned down a publishing deal because I didn’t trust or understand it and no one I knew could tell me if it was a good idea… who knows if that was good or bad, but that was due to a total lack of advice.  As a product of the 90s, I was inherently distrustful of anyone in the ‘industry’ trying to help me for a long time. They were some untrusting times, concerned with ripping down the ‘system’, which is great and ridiculous at the same time.

I think the only advice that should be given is to run your own race, keep track of what you believe in and never let your understanding of that slip.  Hang on to your judgement and remember what is shit, because at the end of the day there’s a 98% chance you’re not going to make any real money from any part of it, even if you try to be commercial. So you at least want to look at what you do knowing you are cool to people, make some good friends, make the art you have to make and have a good time.


Nic Warnock

(R.I.P. Society)

I actually can’t remember being given a single bit of advice about the music industry, instead experiences and information have been shared between other members of the independent music community and myself. Eg. “Have you dealt with this freight company, it might work for you…” The established music industry never really reached out to me or wanted to acknowledge the label’s existence until R.I.P Society could have been seen as an alternative, potentially sustainable model of record label, while others labels and distributors were shutting up shop left, right and center. The label definitely would not exist if it’d tried to appease and fit into the standard indie label mould. Instead I created my own mould based on my experiences of playing in bands, working in a record store and most of all being someone who regularly buys music.

The best advice I’ve ever received is to continue releasing music I think is of significance regardless of current trends or commercial viability. No one has actually said this to me but that’s the message I’ve interpreted from the collective supporters of R.I.P Society. Long term this may or may not be the best monetary decision but ya know at least I can sleep at night knowing I haven’t produced another embarrassing chapter of Australian music history.


Adam Lewis

(Goodgod Small Club / Radiant / Sunset People)

Talk to people. It’s simple advice, bordering on cliche, but it’s essential. Throughout all of my jobs, the one thing that I’ve seen make a huge difference in how effective people are is how engaged with their community they are. Music is a social thing, and those who have spent time becoming part of their local scene are almost always more effective than people who work in a vacuum. After all, if you love music enough to want to work in it, wouldn’t you want to start by enjoying what’s going on in your town?



WHAT: Indent Presents FEEDBACK – A music conference for young people
WHERE: Museum of Contemporary Art
WHEN: Monday, June 10 (Queen’s birthday long weekend)
HOW MUCH: $20 from Vivid Sydney

Full list of guest speakers:

Dom Alessio (triple j’s Home & Hosed), Urthboy (Elefant Traks), Jay Whalley (Frenzal Rhomb), Nick Yates (We Are Unified), Graham Nixon (Resist Records), Bec Reato (Deathproof PR), Joey McGahey (Australian Hysteria Magazine), Stu Harvey (triple j’s Short Fast Loud / Shock Records), Spod (musician / video director), Nic Warnock (RIP Society), Adam Lewis (GoodGod Small Club / Radiant on FBi Radio), Emily York (Penny Drop), Nicci Reid (Wing & Gill), Greg Carey (Umbrella Music), Jonno Seidler (The Vine / One A Day), DJ Joyride, Brendan Maclean (singer-songwriter / media personality / actor) doing a keynote presentation, Scott Fitzsimons (Street Press Australia), Samantha Clode (MusicNSW / triple j mag), Sweetie Zamora (Remote Control Records / FBi Radio), Claire Collins (Bossy Music / AAM), Nicole Cheek (triple j Unearthed), Greg Morrow (APRA)


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