What is The Push, and what is your role?
The Push is a Victorian based youth music organisation that aims to bring young people and music together through drug, smoke and alcohol free entertainment and professional development opportunities. The Push also works to support the state’s 80 FReeZA Groups; FReeZA being events for young people run by young people.
The Push is also responsible for putting together (alongside a range of industry partners) the Face the Music Conference. I am the Event and Project Manager at The Push which means I run the FReeZA Mentoring Program, Event Manage the Face the Music conference and work on a range of other projects for young people such as training and development for young FReeZA members and so on. I also do all the social media for The Push – so basically there’s always an abundance of things for me to do!
Describe a normal day in the life of Mel Krause.
I am really lucky to be always working on a variety of things at any given time so my normal day can only be described as organised chaos. Each day I could be working on several major projects while advising young people on music careers or running a masterclass with an industry professional.
Tell us about some of the inspiring women you currently work with, or have worked with in the past.
Gosh where do I begin!? I am really lucky to run a Music Industry mentoring program where we match industry professionals with young aspirants. So I’d have to acknowledge my industry mentors who put their hand up to volunteer their time for a young woman trying to navigate the industry, which is simply awe inspiring in itself. Same goes for all the young women out there who are forging careers in music both in the industry and as performers, as they exude passion and commitment which is ever refreshing! I have also been really lucky to have worked with some great women as colleagues too including some wonderful mothers who split their commitment between work and home – something that is clearly not an easy feat and something I admire from afar.
What drew you to the music industry initially? And what makes you want to stay?
I grew up in a small country town in rural Victoria (hello Horsham!) and my older brother went to this festival called Big Day Out which he thought was awesome. I thought he was awesome so decided I really had to go too and went the following year (at the age of 13). It was the best thing I had ever experienced and it started my love affair with live events and music in general. I ran FReeZA gigs in my town until I moved to Melbourne to study music business and the rest is history. I was really lucky to have worked at Big Day Out for several years with the Melbourne site and event team under the tutelage of Susan Forrester and Tracy Wall so that gave me a real sense of achievement as a younger person. Without doubt, I stay for the music. I so wish I was an accomplished musician but wasn’t blessed with those abilities so I contribute to music in whichever way I can.
You provide advice to young up and comers in the industry. What advice can you share with us? For people wanting a career within the industry as well as bands trying to catch a break in the industry.
Volunteer!! Put your hand up for everything you can, it’s a great way to increase your skills and get your face in front of potential employers and meet new people. You’d be surprised with the sheer number of opportunities available to you if you go looking. Network! It is a bonus that in the music industry our networking goes on predominately at gigs/events so it’s always a double whammy as you get to check out a new band/act and meet some new people at the same time.
Don’t be afraid to branch out on your own and start your own thing instead of waiting for someone to come looking for you – find what you’re good at and work with it.
As for bands, if I knew what you should do, I’d be rich (which I’m not). Find a mentor, formally or informally, and ask them to help you navigate the industry!
“Women participate at a much higher level than males as volunteers, program participants etc but we find they are not transitioning through to the workplace.”
What issues/potential issues do you think the current Australian music industry face?
I think there is a distinct lack of gigs in the country. I was really lucky that youth workers in my town were really supportive of me curating and running events for young people in my local community, but I really had to relocate to the city to make it my career – I really admire communities such as Meeniyan (Lyrebird arts council) who really embrace being regional and work together towards enriching the music communities in their area. Through the Push we ran a show at the Meeniyan Town Hall with the help of the Lyrebird Arts Council and it was such a fabulous experience and one I won’t forget.
In my line of work I see a real issue with women’s transition from young volunteers/interns/students and then into employment. Women participate at a much higher level than males as volunteers, program participants etc but we find they are not transitioning through to the workplace. I hope to work with Music Victoria a bit on this and see what we can do about it. I really appreciate the work that OneofOne and Listen are doing in this field as well!!
If you were to change one thing about the structure of the Australia industry, what would it be?
I know this is kind of irrelevant to most of everything else I’ve said to this point, but you know what always gets up my goat? Australian awards nights featuring an American/international ‘headline’ act! Here we are celebrating Australian talent and then shooting ourselves in the foot by saying we’re not good enough to headline our own awards shows/evenings. These awards shows are often broadcast to millions with the international acts always receiving more airplay, sales and attention from the music consuming public as a result. C’mon Australia, let’s celebrate what we’ve got!
“I think there is a distinct lack of gigs in the country.”
Have you had to overcome any challenges/adversity throughout your career? If so, can you tell us about them and how you approached them?
I think with any job in the creative arts there are plenty of challenges and adversity but I’ve been pretty lucky really having been employed straight out of uni and having got plenty of opportunities to make myself known in the industry at lots of festivals/events/internships etc. I have worked extremely hard throughout my career and I sometimes find balance hard to achieve – but all in all I count myself as one of the lucky ones!
What does 2015 hold for you and the Push? Any exciting things that you can tell us about?
Our mentoring program this year is already in full swing and so good. I really look forward to watching the young ladies and men in my program grow and find themselves to be active members of our music industry.
My favourite thing to work on is Face the Music and our conference for 2015 is shaping up to be amazing. I can’t reveal any names just yet, but it will be super informative, interesting and an all-round good few days – come along!
How do you unwind/destress?
I am such a dag.. I am into baking and cake decorating. Nothing better than preparing a chocolate ganache laden cake adorned with sugar flowers for a friend!
I also enjoy swimming and spend plenty of time in the pool!
I also love looking up google images of dogs in costumes, much to the dismay of my partner who is made to look at them all.
Who are your role models in the industry whether they be international/Australian?
Growing up I used to have the biggest girl crush on Myf Warhurst coz she grew up in a town close to where I grew up and really made something of herself and I guess that resonates with me still to this day. I also really admire from afar the work of Jessica Ducrou, Rae Harvey, Anna Laverty, Maya Janeska, Anita Nedeljkovic, Jenny Valentish and Moira McKenzie as all women who are absolutely killing it doing what they do best!
I could go on forever really, but those that inspire me or act as role models are often those that are closer than you think. I am so lucky to have some amazing colleagues who have really guided me throughout my career. I’d also like to acknowledge again my mentor group/s of the last few years who always astound me with their commitment and passion to the industry they’re in! I know I seem to have gone on about it, but I really see mentoring as a real way to work towards sector development leading to a much stronger and cohesive future for our industry.
Who are three Aussie artists you’re really excited about?
Alice Ivy – one of my mentees who has some really interesting stuff going on!
Alpine – Everyone is sick of me playing the new album but it’s just so damn good, Damn Baby!
What’s your go-to Karaoke song?
Georgia on my mind – Ray Charles[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mQgoKNgTmc]