What is your role at Music Victoria and Listen Records and how long have you been in these positions for?
For those who are unfamiliar, tell us a bit about Listen Records – what it represents and why it began, and the response to it so far.
LISTEN Records came out of the LISTEN Project (listenlistenlisten.org) as a hands on way to increase diversity in the music industry. It’s a record label that just works with women and gender diverse artists. I help them with management, release plans, publicity, distribution and more. It’s become a really nice little label family. I celebrated its first birthday this week and it’s been a very busy year! Artists on the roster include: Simona Castricum, Beloved Elk, Stina Tester & Cinta Masters, Hi-Tec Emotions, Shag Planet, Biscotti and Claws & Organs.
Can you also explain what Music Victoria’s role is in the musical landscape?
Music Victoria is the state peak body for contemporary Victorian music. We work with live music venues, musicians, the broader industry and the government to advocate change and protect our amazing industry.
We also run The Age Music Victoria Awards, the annual state awards ceremony and have a monthly professional development program, plus heaps of other projects.
Describe a normal day in the life of Chloe Turner!
It’s usually pretty full on! Long days with lots of different jobs. For example I would wake up at 7am, leave the house at 8am, get to Music Victoria by 9am, do jobs like social media, membership admin, answering the phone, replying to heaps of emails, listening to sweet new Victorian tunes, working on The Age Music Victoria Awards etc. and finish there around 5pm. Then I usually come home, eat a quick dinner and get my laptop and catch up on all my LISTEN or LISTEN Records emailing for the day and listen to demos, schedule some social media for those jobs, update my to-do lists, write press releases, book some gigs. I’d say an average working day with all of the work I have on at the moment is like 9am – 11pm. I’m an admin nerd so I can only get through it all and sleep well if I finish with a tidy inbox, updated calendar and a fresh to do list.
How did you get your start in the music industry – what is your story of how you got to where you are today?
When I was in high school I was school captain and use to book gigs during lunch break. I remember in year twelve trying to decide whether to study pharmacy, or music industry, and I am very glad I chose the latter. So I went to RMIT and studied the Bachelor of Arts (Music Industry).
Through that course I had to do heaps of interning, and interned at Chapter Music, The Old Bar, Inca Roads Music Festival and Music Victoria. I was super lucky with timing and ended up landing a full time job at Music Vic a few months after I finished my internship. I heard of LISTEN through my internship at Chapter Music. Guy and Ben at Chapter really opened my eyes to the realities of the music industry and introduced me to a different way of thinking about issues such as gender equality. It all came at a perfect time for me as I was just about to graduate university and begin working in the real music industry.
Have you got any advice for people wanting to start a career in the music industry, or wanting to start their own record label?
Something that I use to do, and still do a lot is introduce myself to people. For example, when I want to meet someone I want to work with, or someone who I look up to (like a local role model), I will just go up and say hi, and say I love their work or something. No one is ever going to respond to that badly, if anything industry big wigs will take it as a compliment that you know who they are. That really helped me get a lot of connections earlier in my music industry career. Especially when I was interning or looking for work experience.
Another one re: record labels would be to work with acts you’re super passionate about. In the past I’ve tried working with bands that I thought were just OK, but I just didn’t have the same drive to get their music out there or heard. With LISTEN Records I work with acts that I love, whose music I could listen to over and over again (which I totally do). It helps keep me passionate and really try my absolute hardest to get their music out there and to get the best result.
Do you feel that higher education is necessary to establish a career within the Australian music industry?
Yes and no. From my uni experience I gained a lot through the contacts I made, the confidence I developed, and the internships. The course gave me a great background understanding of the music industry, and being able to write well has definitely assisted when applying for grants and writing applications, but if you are a hard worker, passionate, and you can go out and meet the right people you will do well regardless of a degree or certificate.
What tips would you give a young musician or artist trying to succeed in Australia? Is there a certain route they should take in order to be successful?
I think for any young bands or musicians it’s important to support your friends in bands. That’s how communities are created. In Melbourne we have a really strong community of bands and everyone goes to each others shows. It really helps when someone is releasing an album or doing a tour.
I don’t think there is a specific route that anyone should take but it’s important to think about things like your audience (e.g would your audience by vinyl even though you think it’s cool or should we save that money and just release it digitally), timelines and goals, and be patient.
What issues do you feel the Australian music industry is currently facing and how do you think these could be changed and improved?
I think the Australian music industry is facing big issues around diversity. It’s good that these discussions have started about gender diversity and there are some serious actions coming out of that, but it would be nice to see the same response about cultural diversity, or gender diversity beyond just binary male / female genders.
It’s important to keep questioning and keep thinking critically about our industry, because it can always improve. Another issue I think is interesting is the move of music consumption to digital, and the decrease in physical sales. I’m interested to see what the future holds for streaming and how they treat / pay musicians.
Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so how did you approach them?
I am pretty lucky because I’m a very outspoken / confident person and when something is bugging me I will say something which means that situations generally don’t get too bad. Honesty is always the best process when working with difficult people.
When I have had to deal with a conflict head on and it’s been my fault I always find it’s best to apologise / own up to it straight away and talk to people to work out a response. There’s no point having an ego when you stuff up because ignoring or denying the problem won’t fix it.
Have you had to develop any skills/personality traits that you didn’t realise you’d need?
Problem solving, working really quickly, being super organised, proof reading and really good communication skills. Another important one is that I’m a pretty sensitive person, so I’ve needed to learn to not take things personally when a project I’m working on gets criticised or doesn’t quite work out. That one has been a challenge but it’s really important!
Who are your role models in the industry whether they be international/Australia?
Guy and Ben from Chapter Music are my ultimate label role models. I love everything about Chapter and how they run that label. It’s a real inspiration.
Another local role model / inspiration for me is Elly Scrine, who I work with at LISTEN. She is an incredible musician in Huntly, an academic doing her PHD in music therapy and feminism and still finds time to do all of this LISTEN volunteer work. She’s amazing.
I am also constantly inspired by everyone else at LISTEN with their strength, commitment and dedication to the cause. It’s exhausting work but our team is so strong now and there are too many incredible names to list here.
Finally Kirsty Rivers and Helen Marcou are incredible women who just know so much about the Music Industry in Australia and I am constantly learning so much from them.
What does 2016 hold for you? Any exciting things that you can tell us about?
Well there are heaps of events coming up that I’m working on:
The Age Music Victoria Awards & The After Party will be a super fun night. Full of local musicians and music industry. It’s always a really nice feeling working at that event and seeing the excitement when people win awards.
LISTEN Conference 2016: Feminist Futures is a week away which is terrifying but also very exciting. I can’t wait to hear the discussions that come out of that event. So much work has gone into planning every detail on every panel so it will be a very big weekend for me and the team behind it.
The Hi-Tec Emotions album is coming out on LISTEN Records on 4 November at The Tote. There’s an amazing line up for that with Cable Ties, Suss Cunts and Spike Fuck so that will be a really fun night. Plus I love Hi-Tec Emotions, their music is so so great and they are the best people to work with.
There’s another compilation coming out on LISTEN Records in December, featuring 12 tracks from Australia, and 1 from New Zealand too! It will be out on tape with a launch at The Old Bar so that’s another thing to look forward too.
I also work at and will be attending Paradise Music Festival late November which has an incredible line up this year so I’m very much looking forward to that after a crazy busy October and November!
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Definitely Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time. I love a good power ballad.