On a bright morning in Collingwood, we went down to Warner Australia’s converted warehouse office. Not only does the gorgeous space hold Warner’s offices, but also offices for the innovative and taste-making Good Manners and Wondercore. The congregation of sharp minds working behind the scenes of local music scene music in this office is truly awesome to behold. This such building also houses Zac Abroms, one of the programmers of this year’s Face The Music conference.
American born Abroms speaks with an accent poised interestingly between American and Melbournian. His enthusiasm for his industry and his work is so clear as he speaks rapidly with passion, and articulates himself fantastically about Face The Music and his role there. We had a chat with Zac about his role cultivating Face The Music, as well as the other puppeteering he does within the wider music community.
*Zac Abroms & Vader Fame
Sitting in his office, Zac explains what’s changed at Face The Music this year, and what he’s been working on as a conference programmer. “We went through a pretty enormous rebranding and revitalising of the summit this year. We changed the visual branding, moved the location from the Arts Centre to the Melbourne Music Week hub at the State Library of Victoria, as part of a new partnership with Melbourne Music Week. We dug deep and started to think about what we wanted to change in terms of the panels themselves, and brainstormed some new ideas that really highlighted some of the innovations going on in the global music industry right now. Once those broad ideas were formed, we started reaching out to speakers. We’ve been promoting the conference, and touching base with all of the individual panellists and moderators and having those preliminary conversations that hint at what we’re going to be talking about next week.”
While a conference like Face The Music is predominately geared toward those in the industry, Zac and his team are making a concerted effort to allow the summit to be as accessible as possible to everyone this year. “We try not to alienate anyone at the student or emerging end of the spectrum. There are many things in the program like music career advice speed-meetings, or a session we’re running called Meet Your Future Boss, which highlights some of the youngest people in the Australian music industry who are doing really innovative things at the moment. Whether you are school aged, tertiary aged or looking for your first job in music, there is something for everybody, which I’m really proud of. The program this year doesn’t alienate anyone.”
In addition to his work at Face The Music, Zac runs an online PR company called Viceroyalty. We asked him to shed a little more light on his role there, and what the company does. “Viceroyalty is a management company and a publicity company. We focus on online and digital PR. With the convergence of all sorts of media in the online space, digital media is really the only media that matters, and having a really strong online presence is really important for an artist. Social media has heaps of advantages for artists and for music listeners as well.”
Online strategy, PR and marketing are obviously hugely important for an artist in the era of social media due to the forefront of music discovery being largely in the digital realm. We asked Zac if he had any advice for creatives starting out in relation to doing their own online marketing and PR, and he told us “I think there is plenty of scope for a young artist to DIY their publicity. I think it starts with putting a lot of thought into the product, and not only the quality of your music and recordings, but also the quality of your photos your artwork, your music videos, your remixes. There are plenty of things you can do on a really low budget by just being clever, having good attention to detail, and sometimes being patient. You can put together some really great content that is going to form a really strong brand. If bands and artists can brand themselves really well, then they can be their own publicist online, by using social media in clever ways to reach people in a meaningful manner and establish connections with their audience. That way, they can begin to build a sustainable fan-base.”
*Zac Abroms Crate Digging with Vader Fame at Northside Records
With so many great events, activities and workshops taking place as part of Face The Music this year, we asked Zac if there were any elements of the summit he was particularly looking forward to. “I think the keynotes are exciting. It’s that wonderful opportunity of getting to see behind the scenes with artists and industry figures that you admire, or you’ve been inspired by. One of my favourite panels we’ve got going this year at Face The Music puts Peking Duk and their entire team on stage to dissect a sold out national Australian tour. It’s not often that you get to see the manager, the front of house, the visual director and the artists themselves to show you how they created the tour from start to finish. It’s those sorts of experiences you get to take away that are really special.”
Face The Music takes place on the 17th and 18th of November at The State Library of Victoria, and if you haven’t done so yet, you can get your tickets here.