What is your role and how long have you been in the position/doing it for?
Rachel Davison Management has been around for about 10 years now for the artist management and publicity work I do, although I’m often dabbling in other arts-related things too. At the moment I’m writing an Audience Development Plan for contemporary music in Western Australia for WAM.
What artists do you work with/have you worked with?
On the artist management side of things, I’m solely working with Mosquito Coast right now, but back in time I’ve also managed Carl Fox, Husband and The Transients, to name a few. Putting on my publicity hat, this year I’ve worked with the Perth International Arts Festival promoting their Chevron Festival Gardens program, the release of Usurper of Modern Medicine’s second album ‘Everything is Nothing’ and accompanying Augmented Reality App; as well as something outside of music – an activity book called ‘Fuck off & die’ by Sarah Robinson about how to get through the first month of a break-up.
Describe a normal day in the life of Rachel Davison.
It can be different every day depending on what I’m working on, but there could be meetings with clients – usually over coffee somewhere, answering a ton of emails, keeping up with industry news, and either working on artist business or my own. This might include booking logistics for a tour, budgeting and bookkeeping, listening to new music, pitching stories to media, writing media releases, researching, talking with designers, booking agents, production, artists; planning for a release, monitoring and strategizing over social media, building relationships, listening to problems/concerns, giving advice, checking out live bands… there is never enough time in the day 🙂
How do you unwind when stressed?
Try to connect with nature… even if it’s just sitting on my balcony listening to the birds. I try to go walking regularly too – ideally in the hills but also around the neighbourhood. Oh and I’m a bit of a TV addict – watching dramas/thrillers/Sci-Fi at night is good to zone out.
How did you get your start in the music industry – what is your story of how you got to where you are today?
I started writing for inthemix back when I was into electronic music and clubbing. I think after years of being a punter I felt I wanted to contribute in some way and probably justify my partying! That started me on the music journalism path and I eventually earned an income as a freelance music journo and I went on to become editor of the Drum Media Perth (now The Music). One day at a local gig I was reviewing, I met musician Trilby Temperley who had a live drum ‘n’ bass act called The Resonance and he randomly asked me to manage them and I said ‘yes’. I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision to work in the industry, I loved music, and it just sort of happened and I went with it.
Were there any skills that you had to develop in your role that you didn’t originally think you would need?
I guess I’m constantly up-skilling and seeking out facets of the business I need to learn to help progress the careers of the artists I’m working with and myself. That’s what led me to working with touring company life is noise for three years – I wanted solid experience in national touring, and right now I’m dedicating time to learning more about digital marketing.
Have you got any advice for people wanting to start a career in the music industry? Do you feel that higher education is necessary to establish a career within the Australian music industry?
No I don’t think higher education is necessary – I think what’s more important is drive and enthusiasm and to get hands-on work experience. For people starting out, arts organisations, not-for-profits and community radio is always needing interns, and volunteering your time for the art you love is the best way to gain experience and make industry connections.
What tips would you give an artist trying to succeed in Australia? Is there a certain route they should take?
No route – I think it’s different for every artist and success seems to come easier to some than others. It’s a strange industry that doesn’t necessarily reward talent or hard work, so my only advice is to do it ‘cause you love it, and expect back nothing in return.
What issues do you feel the Australian music industry is currently facing and how do you think these could be changed and improved? (any issues specific to the live music/touring realm?)
I think the main issue is the sustainability of live music in the long term – kids in Australia don’t seem to be getting exposed to live music like they were in the past. Kids are streaming tunes from all around the world and they don’t necessarily know which artists are from their hometown and/or seek them out live. School education programs and under-18s shows are vitally important right now, and the legislation surrounding under-18s shows has got to change in most State’s too.
Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so how did you approach them?
My main adversity has probably been how to earn a reliable income working for myself. I’ve often taken on work in other industries to get financially on track to enable me to continue with my business.
Who are your role models in the industry whether they be international/Australia?
If you could go back in time and experience one music moment what would it be?
Can I jump forward in time instead and see what’s next? 🙂
What does the rest of 2017 and into 2018 hold for yourself and your artists? Any exciting things that you can tell us about?
I’m looking to start an online magazine with Kelly Coates aka the illustrator Mekel. We’re in the very early stages of planning, but I’m keen to get back into the editorial side of things. Mosquito Coast is also writing new music as we speak! There’ll be a new record and live show in 2018.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Any 80’s power ballad!