What It Takes: tips and tricks from some of your favourite regional artists
09.12.2020

What It Takes: tips and tricks from some of your favourite regional artists

The Spaghetti Stains by Chelsea Sienna
Words by Benjamin Lamb

You heard it here first.

Sometimes it can feel like making a name for yourself in a regional town can be hard, with less venues, and less opportunities than our neighbours in the cities. But it’s not all doom and gloom, some of your favourite acts have banded together to show that pursuing your musical passion in country towns isn’t hard, and if you commit to it, you can become something great.

Yergurl

Bendigo-bred electropop stalwart Yergurl has toured with the likes of G-Flip and Wafia, and was a Triple J Unearthed Finalist in 2018. She gives some great advice on what type of person you should be to lead a successful musical career in a regional town.

“I think above everything, you need to give yourself the time and space to experiment and get to know your sound and who you are as an artist. I think it’s really tempting to show off what you’ve created as soon as you’ve created it, and sometimes that’s not a bad idea, but I also think it’s really valuable to work without onlookers and without the influence of other people’s opinions. I just think that means that when you feel ready to launch, you know your mission, your sound is strong and you have a bunch more songs that you’re proud of, ready to go when it’s time to follow up from your debut single.”

“Labels, managers and agents gravitate towards artists that don’t need to be told who to be or what to sound like, so you’re much more likely to garner attention and praise if your vibes are potent. Plus, the longer you hold off from showing people your stuff, the more space you have to make bad music that nobody has to see, and you can really perfect your craft behind closed doors, making your debut even stronger!”

Libby Steel

Indie star Libby Steel has supported acts such as San Cisco and Taylor Henderson and has garnered a lot of attention for strong, ‘versatile’, voice, which has led her to play shows across the country. Growing up and starting her career in a regional town, she has some great advice on making the most of the opportunities.

“As any young rural musician, I spent so much time fixated on the bright lights and city life that I forgot how remarkable my own backyard was. I grew up in the tight-knit community of Cobden and now live in Torquay. The beautiful thing about these small towns is they want to support you in any way they can.”

“Living rurally can open up a lot of opportunities if you are willing to put yourself out there. Most local festivals and touring bands want to have local musicians support, which can be an amazing foot in the door. I encourage any rural artist to network with local venues and festivals and put your name forward for any upcoming opportunities.”

The Spaghetti Stains

Hailing from Braiakolung, Gunai Kurnai Country (Gippsland), keep an eye on this group, they keep going from strength to strength. Playing shows in some of Victoria’s most iconic venues, they’ve shared a stage with such acts The Grogans and Barefoot Bowls Club. They also recently won triple j Unearthed’s Level Up Grant – helping them record their debut album – which is out soon. They give some great advice on companies that give regional acts a good starting point.

“Coming from a regional area, it can be difficult to break into the Melbourne music scene. Our saving grace was our involvement with FReeZA and The Push, which allowed us to make genuine connections with bands and industry professionals who have helped us later on.”

“Having dinner with the band you’re playing with later that night, or just spending time with them forms connections; it is not only wonderful to gain some new friends, but also to book gigs with them later on!”


Chelsea Manor

Punk trio Chelsea Manor has gotten a lot of attention across the globe for their unique blend of punk and Aussie rock. Playing a bunch of shows across the country, this group love playing live – their first show together being triple j’s massive One Night Stand festival in 2019. They give us great insight into the dedication and devotion needed to make your mark in a regional town.

“First things first, start right now, start this second, in fact, stop reading this and start, don’t wait until you have the “right” gear, the sooner you start putting in, the more you’re gonna get out of it.”

“Regional towns are the perfect place to practice and master your craft but when you’re ready, get out as much as possible, play in different towns, meet new people, support other musicians, make connections. Connections are one of the most important parts, oh and don’t be a dick.”

Tiarnie

Rocker Tiarnie has kept going from strength to strength – growing up on a Cattle Farm to playing with acts like Ali Barter, and getting a lot of airplay on triple j. Her heartfelt lyricism mixed with some great hard rock makes for some pretty awesome music. She gives some great advice on making the most of what’s around you, no matter how small it is.

“My biggest piece of advice is to have a plan – short term and long term goals, write them out with dates to be completed by, and hold yourself accountable to them. Immerse yourself in your local music scene. Spend time wrapping your head around your passion – social media is such a powerful tool to find out what’s happening and which artists are up and coming. 

Make as many meaningful connections as you can and surround yourself with positive, passionate, encouraging people who genuinely believe in you and your work. Speak your truth and the world will fall in love with your authentic self.”