Shelby Ouston // The Beautiful Monument // Artist

You are a touring and recording artist and in ‘The Beautiful Monument’. How long have you been playing music for both personally and professionally?

I’ve been playing bass in TBM since it’s conception in 2013, which is also as long as I’ve been playing bass for. I’ve been playing guitar (horribly) since I was 17, but have always tried improving myself (I’m still bad).

Describe a day in the life of Shelby Ouston

I’ve been a bit of a bore since July, actually. I hurt my wrist at work and needed surgery, which I got in September, so a day in the life of me is generally spent hanging with my dog, reading and researching everything new with bands and the music scene – considering it’s always changing, it really excites me to stay educated and on top of it. When I’m not injured however, I’m a cook at a child care centre. Super exciting stuff

What do you do to relax or unwind?

I’ve been watching a lot of trashy tv shows lately, but mostly I like to sit down with the pooch and drink a lot of coffee. It’s the most relaxing thing for me.  

How did you get your start in the music industry – what is your story of how you got to where you are today?

For us, it almost came out of nowhere. We basically applied for a show supporting an international act in April after releasing our debut album, and we seriously thought we were in over our heads, and we weren’t going to get it. Long story short, we got the show, it was a sold out show at The Corner, and a little under a month later, triple j unearthed gave us the opportunity to open for another international act at a sold out show at Arrow On Swanston. A few weeks later, our track ‘Manifestation’ was added to rotation on triple j. It all felt like it came out of nowhere, but it also definitely feels like that was our start.

What advice would you give someone wanting to become a musician? Did you receive any advice when you first started that has stayed with you?

My advice would be to just do it. No matter what it is, do it. Whether you suck at the instrument you’re attempting to learn, just keep at it. I sucked at playing bass when I first started, sometimes I feel like I still suck at it now, but it’s a matter of perseverance. I was always told by my parents especially that I could do anything I wanted, if I just worked hard enough and really knuckled down; and now I’m living the dream.

If given the chance, what would you change about the current Australian music industry to make things better or fairer for musicians?

“Better access to AA venues would be awesome. I don’t know what it takes to run an all ages venue, but I know it’s so hard to book a show at an AA venue that’s accessible.”

My lead singer Lizi and I always says how it would be awesome if we had a public holiday celebrating music too – if AFL gets one, why can’t we haha.

Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so how did you approach them?

We’ve had a lot of challenges with finding the right line up, and with finding committed musicians to help carry the weight of the band. It’s been one of the most challenging things for us, and whilst we might not be 100% there yet, we’ve been such a strong and tight unit lately and it’s really worked in our favour. We’ve not really faced too much adversity in our career, and I think personally I’ve not really felt that way either. It’s been a long road, definitely, but it’s been a fun one so far.

Are there any skills that you’ve needed to develop as a musician that you didn’t realise you’d need?

I didn’t know I would need to be an accountant. That’s for sure.

What is your favourite gig that you’ve ever played and why?

Our manager Justin Nichol passed away last year in November, so 2 days before Christmas, we drove up to Sydney and headlined a memorial show for him called Justinfest. He was a beautiful and absolutely adored man, and it was incredible playing for his family and the amazing people we’d met through him. We did a cover of My Hero by the Foo Fighters, and a bunch of people from the crowd jumped on stage and we just all hugged and sung along, it was an absolutely incredible feeling.

What is the song you wish you’d written? (but didn’t)

oooooh, I think The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is the Press Coverage by Panic! At The Disco. What a track.

Panic! at the Disco

What advice would you give to your 15yo self?

Don’t beat yourself up, life gets better. I promise.

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

Don’t overplay your city. Spend a lot of time trying to market yourself properly and learning what’s the right way to do so. Do some research, there’s lots of helpful sites that can give you so much info on how to make it. Do what feels right. Have faith in yourself.

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

My role models are essentially – Hayley Williams of Paramore, John McVie of Fleetwood Mac and Kelly of Camp Cope.

The members of Paramore (from left: Taylor York, Hayley Williams and Zac Farro) pair upbeat ’80s sounds with bleak lyrics on After Laughter

Top 3 artists to watch right now?

Ruby Fields, WAAX, Belle Haven.

What does the rest of 2017 and 2018 have in store for you?

We start a tour next week with Tonight Alive, we’re playing at UNIFY gathering in January of next year – then hoping to head straight into the studio to record all the things we’ve been working on lately!

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Well it’s obviously A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton