What is your current role, and how long have you been in the position for?

I am the Managing Director of The Seed Fund and a Project Manager for The John Butler Trio. I’ve been working with these wonderful folks for over 10 years now!

Describe a normal day in the life of Stacia Goninon.

I wake up very early, definitely not by choice but I’ve got two personal alarm clocks who wake up well before I like to! I try to meditate (if I wake up before the kids) and get everyone ready for school and work and then we head off for the day. I work in Collingwood and try to ride my bike when the Melbourne weather permits – the evenings are now becoming a beautiful haze of lovely meals, warm walks after dinner with the dog and lots of great daylight savings light still left after the working day is done. We had a hard winter in Melbourne so it’s a very welcome change!

Work wise it really depends on what tours are happening and where we are at in the year – at the moment we’re in one of the busiest periods we’ve ever encountered. We’re about to have our first ever fundraising gig next Monday night and have a Pozible campaign on the go*, as well as just announcing our successful applicants this week and on the back end of all that we’re about to run our annual workshop in early November – so there are lots of pots on the boil. Luckily John is off the road right now otherwise steam might start coming out of my ears.

*Update: The Pozible campaign was a huge success!

We started out so fresh not knowing anything about funding but we did know what artists needed. We’ve always been grass roots and independent and I think that is endearing to our key supporters.

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

I had done an early tour with JBT when they needed a helper for something or other, I think that was back in 2004 and then about a year later when John and Danielle were looking for a personal assistant they approached me to come and work for them. It meant a move to Perth which is my home town so I said I would try it for 6 weeks and look at me now.

I originally started out touring around the world which was a great experience but after a few years decided I wanted to be planted in one place and stopped the touring but kept up the rest of the work, which by that time was becoming more off the road than on. I left Perth to move back to Melbourne in 2008 and was fortunate enough to be able to continue working remotely. The Seed Fund grew and grew as did John’s career so I’ve been lucky enough to grow and develop my role over the last decade.

The Seed has such a great reputation amongst the Australian Music Industry. What do you feel has been the elements that contribute to it’s sustainability and success?

We started out so fresh not knowing anything about funding but we did know what artists needed. We’ve always been grass roots and independent and I think that is endearing to our key supporters. That coupled with the fact that everyone involved really comes from such a soulful place in their approach, we are constantly able to be responsive to what artists need. I think when we hold our workshop and people experience the connectivity and sense of community, they are left with this intangible thing that they want more of and that breeds a good feeling about what we do.

What would you change about the current Australian music industry if you could change anything?

I think the industry reflects our current social climate which I feel is sometimes disconnected even though we have more ways to reach each other (without really reaching each other) than ever. In saying that, I’m seeing lots of little artists collectives pop up and that’s inspiring – like Milk! Records – what a great idea, I love what they do and that is what the music industry should be all about – people supporting others in their own communities and getting shit done!

It’s also great to see the conversation changing around women in music – I’ve been fortunate and haven’t experienced any direct prejudice based on gender but there is always that underlying feeling that you don’t mess with the boys, so it’s good to challenge that thinking as a society and as a smaller collective of people within the broader society.

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

Well time and distance is always there for us – with John and Danielle travelling a lot and me being based externally from John’s management office (I worked in that office for a few years when I was based in Perth) there is a constant need to keep the communication flowing. I think we do a fantastic job and that’s why we’ve lasted in this working relationship for so long but it’s a constant challenge we need to work on!

People won’t always remember what you said to them but they’ll remember how you made them feel

What advice would you give to your 18yo self?

Oh lord, I think I would tell myself to shut the fuck up! I was a pain in the ass but ultimately there is nothing that life experience doesn’t teach you when you need to know it. I think life (and the music industry) is all about relationships – learning to navigate the tricky ones is as important as managing the relationships that feel easy and when you’ve mastered both you know you’re doing ok! People won’t always remember what you said to them but they’ll remember how you made them feel. It’s a work in progress for me.

You have 2 children, how do you navigate work/life/family balance?

I have an amazing support team, my husband is a dead set legend who equally shares the parenting responsibilities and I have a wonderful Mum and Mother in Law who also look after my kids (mostly) better than I do. But it is tricky, especially in the weeks where everyone needs everything and work is off the richter, some weeks we struggle and some weeks we thrive and we call in support wherever we can, I’m not afraid to ask for help.

Do you feel that higher education is necessary to work in the music industry?

Yes and no, the constant desire to learn and grow is important in anyone’s life and perhaps some higher education gives you a grounding to acquire knowledge; and gives you the tools to know how to become more resourceful to seek and take on knowledge in a way others can’t but I certainly don’t think it’s the be all and end all – there are so many short courses and amazing resources out there that if you’re someone who is open to learning any way you can you’ll get to where you need to go.

How do you unwind after a busy or stressful day?

Most days I feel like I’m running, running, running, (or perhaps that’s just right now) I have a busy mind so to me meditation is key and just actually doing nothing. I don’t mean the kind of nothing some people think they do when they’re pottering around the house, I mean actually sitting down doing nothing! I don’t have a hammock but that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about! Hammock-nothing-ness = Perfection.

Who do you feel are your role models in the music industry?

I’ve been very fortunate to work directly with many inspiring and amazing people, but the two I work with most closely are incredible; musically, morally and personally. The people I respect the most are those who are great communicators and have clear minds and thought processes and are open to ideas. I love our team and our extended team of Seed supporters – all of the speakers who come to the workshop each year blow me away with their generosity. Ultimately I’m inspired by so many people who work in this community, most of us have a great passion for music and the transformative power of it so that breeds a certain class of people who are doing it for more than the bucks.

What are 3 artists that you’re currently really excited about?

I just went to Big Sound so got excited about a few all over again – they are:

Perch Creek

High Tension

Fraser A Gorman

What is your go-to karaoke song?

I don’t think I’ve ever done karaoke in my life – but I LOVE a sing a long so pretty much anything I know the words to and someone knows the chords to is good for me. Just bring me the mic!

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