Ashlea O’Loughlin // The Venue Collective

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What is your role at The Venue Collective and how long have you been in the position for? Do you also have other positions/roles outside of this?

I’ve worked with the great team of people that make up The Venue Collective for the past 5 years or so now. I work across both venue bookings, liaising with agents/managers/promoters/bands in sorting and contracting upcoming shows at the venues; as well as assisting with the publicity side of things.

Outside of this I’ve also worked across a handful of festivals, and spend a few weeks every year hitting the road with Groovin The Moo to work on their Backstage/Artist Liaison.

Tell us a bit about The Venue Collective and some of the artists and tours you’ve worked on.

The Venue Collective is actually a fairly new entity, formed in 2014 by former staff of Way Over There and the Corner Hotel. We’re an independent venue programming entity and we look after the bookings for venues in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – the Corner Hotel, Northcote SC, Newtown SC, Shebeen, 170 Russell and Woolly Mammoth. We also help to promote shows booked across the venues through our large social media platforms and database.

We’ve had the pleasure of hosting some truly incredible artists from all over the world – some of the shows that have really stood out for me have included Lorde, FKA Twigs, Vance Joy, Flight Facilities, The Kite String Tangle, Little Dragon and so many more.

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Flight Facilities

What does a typical day in your role at The Venue Collective involve?

There’s no one typical day in our office, but around liaising with bands/agents and the venues to sort and contract upcoming shows I spend a lot of time chatting with bands, managers and agents about the upcoming plans for their artists, as well as listening to and discovering new acts and building relationships with them.

We have regular meetings in our office where we all step away from the computers and spend an hour or two sharing any new bands or songs we’ve come across that week – those are really invaluable sessions.

Days will often be rounded out with heading to a gig or two to see some of the new bands I’m excited about around town.

Have you got any advice for people wanting to start a career in the industry?

Work hard; be proactive, approachable and nice. Meet as many people as you can and build good relationships. Know your product! Listen to as much new music as you can, go see as many new bands as you can, immerse yourself in the music. And be open to new opportunities and challenges, they always come knocking.

What issues/potential issues do you think the current music industry faces?

I’d say the main challenge at the moment would have to be the changing nature of how people discover, consume and share new music, and how we as an industry need to continually adapt to best keep up with those changes. The shift from physical to digital/online and the ease with which bands can directly share new music and connect with fans has created a lot of change and will continue to evolve, but through that we’re constantly being presented with new and exciting opportunities for connecting music makers with music lovers.

If you were to change one thing about the structure of the Australian industry, what would it be?

“Bands are breaking way faster than they have before…”

I don’t know that there’s much that I would change right now. It really feels like such an exciting time in the Oz scene at the moment. Fans are focusing on home grown talent and there seems to be a real hunger to discover and engage with new and exciting local bands. Bands are breaking way faster than they have before and on a live music level fans (particularly here in Melbourne) are going out to lots of shows, any night of the week.

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Courtney Barnett

The standard of music coming out of Australia is exceptional and on the international front it certainly feels like eyes (and ears) seem to be turning towards Australia and what we’ve got coming out here. We’ve got super talented, hard working artists like Courtney Barnett, Vance Joy, Alison Wonderland, Peking Duk, and many more landing spots on US late night talk shows, international festival lineups and scoring rave reviews for their songs and live shows across both local and international media. It all feels pretty good.

What tips would you give an artist trying to succeed in Australia? Is there a certain route they should take?

There’s of course no one route, but the key thing is to write great songs! They’re the foundation of all successful bands. Everything else comes after the songs. And make sure you’ve got your online/social media game strong – sharing your music, and interacting and engaging with fans is essential.

Who are your role models in the music industry and why?

I’m in total awe of the amazing team I get to work with every day. Ben Thompson, Erin Lyall, Rich Moffat, Anita Nedeljkovic and Jason Moore – they’re the hardest working, most intelligent, creative people in the game, who above all else are the biggest music fans I know.

Top 3 Artists to watch in 2015?

Right now, I’m really loving Slum Sociable, Boo Seeka and Pearls.

What’s your go-to Karaoke song?

Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill. My sister and I always team up and whip this one out as a duet. It’s a really good number to pair up with a little interpretive dance (all dance moves are inspired by that amazing video clip for the song of course!)

#NowPlaying

Boo Seeka – Kingdom Leader