Dear Drum: "How do I get played on the radio?"
In the mould of our contemporaries - Dolly Doctor, Agony Aunt, Where Wallace and Ask Abbie – Dear Drum is a mailbag from triple j Unearthed’s Green Drum to give you the inside track on the Australian music industry, triple j, and a whole heap of other stuff. If you’ve got a Q, hit us up for an A. Just like these fine folk did:
You wouldn't have any advice on how to have my songs played on the radio would you? - Tom. M
Thank you for writing to me! I actually have heaps of advice but the main piece of advice is this: write and record the best songs you can. It seems obvious, but the best thing to do in all circumstances is to make original music that’s true to who you are and reflects your interests and creativity as a musician. You shouldn’t ever set out to make music to get played on any radio station - just set out to make the best songs you can, and when you’re happy with them, upload them to Unearthed. The true beauty of Unearthed is that it is entirely democratic, because we listen to every song, and every song has a chance to get played based on its individual merit. You can hit up @triplejunearthed on twitter and ask nicely for some feedback too. Often you’ll get it from someone in our team!
Go make music that you love and that you’re proud of, and let everything else come to you,
If you're trying to book a gig for your band and the venue operator stops replying to your emails, is it a bad idea to keep hassling them? - Fiddleclass
It’s a tough one but luckily I know the exact right answer. It’s this: maybe! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being passionate and resilient when it comes to your music, and if you desperately want a gig at a venue, it’s worth exploring until you’re satisfied you can’t explore it any more. On the other hand, if a venue are not replying to your emails, it might be worth considering that maybe it wouldn’t be the ideal place for your band to play; the relationship between venue and band is a partnership, because you bring them patronage and they provide you with a place to ~ rock out ~ in front of your many adoring fans. Think about what your partner is bringing to the table, and decide whether what they have to offer is worth your persistence.
What ever you do, don’t use the phrase “giant caterpillar” in your email because everyone i know is scared of it,
Yo big drum I have a bit of a situation, I'd like to make music and have a hella good time doing so, but I don't have anyone else around me who wants to as well, how do I find people like me who are not yet 10/10 and would like to form a group to get better and for a bit of classic banter? - Jasmine
We feel Unearthed Angel Steph Hughes is best positioned to answer this one:
Firstly CONGRATS on your decision to make music and have a hella good time! Great decision-making demonstrated here. Secondly, I think this is good – you're putting it out there. I think that’s what Oprah would say is the right thing to do, and im trying to channel Oprah a bit tbh. Now, If there is any friend AT ALL around you who knows nothing about playing music but who you think would be great in a band and who you have a sweet time with, we’re off to a good start, because ~shockkkk~ you really don’t need to know much about music! You just need a gung ho little buddy. Musical ability can be secondary!
Beyond that, I think you’re going to need to keep your antenna up, listen out for some kindred keen beans. Internet randoms *not creepy ones*, mystery school mates who you don’t know that well yet, your mum’s friend’s kid that lives in another suburb but who you’ve met once and wears a Grimes tshirt. FOLLOW these leads. It's just a matter of widening that mate zone and gasbagging about music a lot.
You’ll get there! If you're keen enough its just a matter of time. It's totally science. In the mean time, work up some riffs as some pre jam homework! Good luck, and cannot wait to slap a Green Drum on future songs by Jasmine and Frenz.
What's the best way to go about getting into the music industry — not as a performer (i ain't talented lmao) but like, as a roadie or someone that helps with the setup of shows? - Isla
I'm gonna handball this one to Unearthed angel Steph Hughes, or at least I would if I had hands and were not a smol green drum.
Shhhh I'm sure you’re a very talented person! This is so exciting that you're into setting up shows, shows, how good are shows?? The best reason to leave the house ever.
So to begin with, you gotta learn what makes a good show. Attend as many shows as you can and soak up the sounds (and smells). Go right up the front and start a circle pit. Bring a pack of chips and offer people chips (good way to make a new friend, how good are chips??).
From here you could ask how you can help – maybe the bands need a door person to take the money at the door, or maybe the band need some help finding the tambourine lost down the annoying crack beneath the driver’s seat of the van – all real life situations where help has been needed! Lugging help is always appreciated. After your show attending binge, you might have an idea for a line-up. Maybe you have a school hall or a local hall or a local pub that would be a good place to have a gig? If you come up with an idea and a little plan, these places will be happy to listen. You can work out a cover charge, and a sound person and how many people you will need to attend in order to pay the bands etc. It’s a bit of an initiative based thing, but all very achievable! There are also some great local initiatives like FReeZA (in Victoria) which are all about teaching young people the ins-and-outs of the music industry and are great ways to meet like-minds.
Good Luck Isla! Cant wait to attend a show of yours, I’ll be the one standing next to the Green Drum in the front row.
Dear Drum is an initiative from the triple j Unearthed team. All advice is general, and you should seek further consultation before making any huge life decisions. If you’ve got questions you want answered, hit up Green Drum on firstname.lastname@example.org , with ‘Dear Drum’ in the subject field.