Before Melbourne’s annual Face The Music conference kicks into gear next week, we decided to sit down with one of the panel moderators Vader Fame, who is heavily involved in many aspects of the Australian music scene. Vader has worked as a consultant and publicist for a wide variety of firms and artists, while also running multiple industry websites, and working for the music aggregation service Ditto. It probably goes without saying, she’s pretty busy.
After going for a little crate dig at Northside Records, we went to her Collingwood office in a beautiful shared space with loads of natural light, an abundance of plants, a gorgeous exposed wood ceiling and an amazing overall atmosphere. Sitting on a royal blue couch in the lunchroom, we had a chat about her various projects, as well as the panel that she will be moderating at Face The Music. She tells us, “I’ve been asked to moderate the YouTube panel. I don’t think there has been a panel like this at Face The Music before, so I’m really excited. It’s a unique online platform that doesn’t really get much exposure at music conferences. So I’m glad we’re going to be able to open up a discussion and get into the nitty-gritty of how an artist can capitalize and leverage themselves on that platform.”
*Vader Fame in her Collingwood office
One of the many interesting projects that Vader is involved with is a website called One Of One. The overarching goal of the platform is to shine the spotlight on women in the Australian music industry. It’s obvious that Vader holds a deep passion for the subject, as she lights up with excitement while telling us about it. “Women in music is a conversation that has been coming to the forefront for the last couple of years now, which is a really good thing. For me coming into the music industry as a female, there was that age old idea of dudes being everywhere,” she laments. “The girls and I created the website because we wanted to have a platform to show that there are women in music doing amazing things. But we didn’t want to focus on the gender diversity thing, we just wanted to show off some amazing people who are working in Australian music and helping our industry grow and flourish, who also happen to be women.” With the sheer volume of incredible women working in the industry, it should be a given that they get the recognition they deserve, but often this is not the case. Forums like One Of One and the Listen Collective provide an important avenue to expose and champion women in the industry, which is an excellent initiative.
*Vader Fame Crate Digging @ Northside Records
In addition to working at Ditto and running One Of One, Vader is involved with website The Vertebrae, which just celebrated its first birthday. The idea behind this platform is to create an all-inclusive space in music. Vader tells us “we really wanted to create a space where everyone can collaborate with each other and support one another’s passions in music. The Vertebrae has a big focus on the people behind the scenes, the people who contribute to the industry but aren’t necessarily artists or musicians. We’ve got a really great team at the moment, and we’re trying to create an inclusive space for collaboration, which naturally involves being really accessible.” Proudly wearing her The Vertebrae tee shirt, Vader seems rightfully affectionate of the project when she concludes, “it’s a collaboration. It’s all of us together creating something that we can put out into the ether.”
As a publicist, consultant, aggregator and website manager, Vader has an awful lot on her plate and seems to excel on all fronts, having made quite a name for herself in the industry at a young age. We asked her what her focus was, and how she sees her role within the broader scope of the industry itself. “I kind of just look at myself as a creative. Coming into the industry, I didn’t really know what my niche skill-set was because I like having my hands in different pots everywhere.” That much is apparent by her sheer work ethic and commitment to so many varied roles. “I guess I’m a connector. I really champion artists that I’m working with, and even artists I’m not working with that I think are doing really cool things. I’m always talking music and sharing music, so I guess for me that’s what it comes down to – sharing. I’m trying to create a network between these existing poles.”
For industry members and artists alike, a conference such as Face The Music is like Christmas. “It’s one of my favourite times of the year!” Vader says with clear enthusiasm. “Again, it’s that inclusiveness. It’s so accessible. If you’re a music enthusiast, a musician, or a professional in the industry, it’s just a great time to nerd out about music. These sorts of conferences are good to access people that you might not normally be able to throughout the year. Which comes back to that idea of creating and forming networks and connectivity throughout the industry.”
The beautiful thing about Face The Music is that it truly does bring the industry together from all angles, and forms a cohesive picture of the state of music in the country, while simultaneously creating networks, and building on existing ones. Face The Music is taking place on the 17th and 18th of November at The State Library of Victoria, which also happens to be the Melbourne Music Week hub. Vader will be moderating the “Youtube – A Mind Blowingly Big Music Platform” panel, covering the cultural significance of YouTube and the various opportunities that the platform offers musicians and content creators. Panelists include Henry Compton from The Orchard, The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano and Emma Bares from Emma Jane Management. “Youtube – A Mind Blowingly Big Music Platform” takes place at The Queen’s Hall between 11:30 and 12:30 on Friday the 18th. Tickets are available from Face The Music’s website.