Yule Guttenbeil (Yule) is currently living in Australia and took the opportunity to get along to this year’s Aussie music expo, Bigsound 2014, as a delegate. A lawyer and business consultant by trade, he provides some useful tips for those attending such events in the future. Yule has recently opened The Wulf’s Lair recording studio/practice room in Melbourne.
If you come to Bigsound the thing you should bear in mind is that you don’t know who you’re drinking with, and they might just be someone important. The people at the top of some major institutions are just regular unpretentious people doing what they love – and in that regard they are no different from the musicians they work with. They might be important in terms of the impact their assistance might have on an artists career, but I wouldn’t call any of them rich.
I had really great conversations with the programme directors of Glastonbury, The Great Escape (UK), Laneway, Meredith and The Sydney Opera House. I had a yarn to the PD of Triple J about virtual reality, and on the last night I had a crazy time with the A&R guy from Transgressive Records who signed Flume. I didn’t even know who he was.
The other weird thing was that because I was there on business with a Delegate Pass and wasn’t trying to make it big as an artist, I was constantly being approached by musicians who thought I was important, and wanted my help.
“Fly me down to Melbourne.” “Can I send you a track and you can give me feedback?” etc. It was very strange because I realise that there is a demand for my skills. I have a really good understanding of the industry – but to date I just haven’t been able to find my way into a position where I can earn enough from it to get by.
I also spent some time hanging out with part of the Kiwi delegation: Jesse Sheehan, Tono and Marlon Williams. Tono organised a Kiwi showcase on behalf of the NZ Music Commission, but it was a last minute affair and wasn’t part of the official programme. I only found out about it as it was finishing so didn’t get to see it.
Alastair Burns is doing great things as a manager of acoustic/folk country acts including Kiwi Marlon Williams – who is absolutely killing it over here right now. Alastair spoke on a panel about touring Canada.
The programme director for Glastonbury loves Jesse, so I think it is inevitable that Jesse will be playing there next year. We took him to a bar called Cloudland which has the most expensive fit-out in the Southern Hemisphere (it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen – absolutely amazing). He tore up the dance floor at a salsa night that was happening there with possibly the best Latin band I’ve ever heard. Jesse Sheehan is actually a pretty good salsa dancer.
We watched Eden Mulholland’s set, which was predictably solid, though a little under-attended. It was the second night and the crowds had thinned out – or maybe came out later.
I watched heaps of bands – almost all of which were of an exceptional standard. I have to say the days of taking the piss out of Australian music should be well and truly put to rest. Brisbane itself as a venue deserves high praise. The main Bigsound venues are all within a short walk of each other and most of them are beautiful spaces that the owners have spent a lot on to create atmosphere.
We found ourselves at an unofficial after-party of country/bluegrass music at a place called Lefty’s Old Time Music Bar which looked like an old time saloon – except really nice. It was one of my best musical experiences ever. The venue was perfect, every act was excellent and the whole experience felt intensely special.