Lorrae McKenna // Remote Control Records // Promotions & Marketing Manager

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What is your role at Remote Control and how long have you in the position for?

My job title at Remote Control Records is Promotions & Marketing Manager although because of the nature of the small indie label setup my actual job encompasses a bit more then just that. I have been at Remote Control for just over 2 years now.

Tell us a bit about Remote Control Records what artists do you work with/have worked with?

Remote Control was set up in 2001 by Steve Cross and Harvey Saward. Remote Control has a partnership with the Beggars Group which is a collective of international independent record labels which includes 4AD, XL Recordings, Matador, Rough Trade, Young Turks and more. We handle the Australian releases for all artists signed to these labels. As well as this, Remote Control also has partnerships with Australian independent labels such as Flightless, Milk!, Barely Dressed & Yes Please. We also have our own Australian imprint label called Dot Dash of which we sign bands and release their albums worldwide.

Given the diverse nature of Remote Control’s business structure I have been lucky enough to work with an incredible list of international artists including Adele, Queens of The Stone Age, Vampire Weekend, The xx, Jamie xx, The National, Deerhunter, SBTRKT, Kurt Vile, Warpaint, FKA Twigs, Daughter, Alabama Shakes, Purity Ring, King Krule, Future Islands and Australian artists Courtney Barnett, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Client Liaison, Total Giovanni, Banoffee, Klo, Teeth & Tongue, Pearls, Methyl Ethel, Sunbeam Sound Machine & more.

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Queens Of The Stone Age

“I tend to work late into the night, I find clarity in an empty office where I can crank the music and get shit done while no one else is around.”

Describe a normal day in the life of a Promotions & Marketing Manager at Remote Control. 

There isn’t really a normal day for me, every day is completely different depending on what projects I am working on and which artists are in Melbourne etc. Having said that a pretty standard day would see me get up nice and early for yoga then come home and eat breakfast in front of my laptop responding to all the international emails that have come in overnight, I’ll then take my dogs across the road to the park for a quick walk then head home jump in the shower and get into the office by 10am/10:30am.

When I get into the office the first thing I do everyday is update my to-do list from the day before, I’m a very visual person and I need to have a handwritten list next to me all day which I add to and cross off once tasks are completed. Then it’s a blur of emails, phone calls, writing press releases and promo plans all whilst listening to new music in my headphones. Some days there will be two or three meetings thrown in there and usually once or twice a week will see me driving artists around Melbourne to interviews and other media commitments.

I tend to work late into the night, I find clarity in an empty office where I can crank the music and get shit done while no one else is around.

How did you get your start in the music industry? Did you choose to work in music or did it choose you?

I studied PR at uni and music has always been such a big part of my life I knew I wanted to end up working within the industry in some capacity. I guess my first real start in the music industry was selling merch for bands and doing as much volunteer and interning work as I could get while I was still studying.

I was also a part of a very valuable government funded program based out of Victoria called the Freeza Mentoring Program setup by The Push. In fact Kate McCabe, Vanja Bezbradica and Georgia Cooke who work with me at Remote Control all participated in this program at various times and Georgia was actually my mentoree when I returned to the program as a mentor last year. It’s an incredible platform for young people interested in learning about the music industry and forming connections and a valuable experience, which can be quite hard to obtain otherwise.

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

Be willing to start at the very bottom and work really hard. You can run around town and make connections to as many people as you like, but at the end of the day it will be your commitment and hard work that makes you rise above the crowd of other people trying to get into the industry as well. The music industry is the type of place where hard work will really shine through and make you stand out which will pay off in the long run. So when you’re at the start wanting to crack in be willing to say yes to a lot of things that sound crazy and just get shit done. Do all the crappy little jobs, because you can bet the person above you started in exactly the same position you are currently in.

People within the music industry work really hard, long hours usually for not a lot of money, so they’ll often expect this from you. Put your head down and give anything a go and you’ll soon prove to people why you deserve their respect and also a job.

What issues/potential issues do you think the current Australian industry face? 

Government funding cuts to the arts, in particular to grant funding through the Australia Council. The effects that this is going have in the next 12 months will be huge especially to touring bands both internationally and locally.

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

I think the best thing an artist can do is just be themselves – don’t try to fit into any mold or trends or be like something else that you think is popular or successful. Just create music that you truly believe in and that comes from a place of sincerity. At the end of the day it’s your art and you have to stand behind it and the quality of what you have created will be the thing that shines the brightest. I’m really lucky to have been able to work with artists like Courtney Barnett and King Gizzard who aren’t trying to be anything but themselves – authenticity is the key.

“Do all the crappy little jobs, because you can bet the person above you started in exactly the same position you are currently in.”

What does 2015 hold for you? Any exciting things that you can tell us about?

I actually can’t believe that we are already half way through 2015! It’s already been such a massive year for Remote Control in regards to releases and we still have quite a few more to come out in the second half of 2015, a lot haven’t been announced yet so can’t say too much. And then before you know it it’s going to be summer again and we will have our normal influx of international artists touring the country for the various festivals – always a really busy time of year for us.

Who are your role models in the industry whether they be International/Australian?

Within my career prior to working at Remote Control I was extremely lucky to work under three incredibly talented, hard working and inspiring women who taught me so very much and shaped my career and work ethic. Kath Davine (Billy Hyde Music/Mushroom Marketing), Rae Harvey (Crucial Music) & Natalene Muscat (774 ABC Melbourne) all continue to be a huge inspiration to me.

I learnt so many different skills from all of them during different stages of my career. I really don’t know where I would be without the professional and personal influence they have all had on me and I am really lucky to maintain great friendships with all of them after our working relationships ended.

Have you had to overcome any challenges/adversity throughout your career? If so, can you tell us more and how you approached them?

One of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career is self-confidence and self-belief. The music industry can be quite a tough game and you really have to put yourself out there to get ahead. I have never been very good at pushing myself out there due to self-confidence issues. There have been social situations that for a person like me I found to be quite daunting and intimidating. I used to shy away from the social side of the music industry for many years because it was all too much for me.

Over time I have learnt not to take things so seriously and that sweating the small stuff really is pointless. Once I broke down those barriers and I realized that things weren’t quite as scary as I thought I was able to come into my own and really forge my own way forward.

Top 3 Artists to watch in 2015?  

Methyl Ethel

Good Morning

GL

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Methyl Ethel

What is your go-to Karaoke song?

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way