Jody Lloyd's REAL Guide To Gigging In Melbourne

9th October 2008 - By Jody Lloyd

Jody Lloyd :
electronica and hip-hop musician and record producer Jody Lloyd is a New Zealand electronica and hip-hop musician and record producer from Christchurch. Lloyd is the founder of She'll Be Right Records a Christchurch-based label specialising in natural accent New Zealand music including John White (mestar) Andy Gibson Ragamuffin Children Lindon Puffin Phil Johns Billy Wilson Bazuki Joe Jeremy Taylor Delaney Davidson Tono Jim Christy Le Mot Cafe and Mark Tupuhi. Jody moved to Melbourne in 2008 and shares some of his experiences...   A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW...
If you have lots of cds in your luggage you may have to pay a tax when you arrive. if they find them (or if you declare them) they will charge you a percentage of what they are worth. they may ask if you are going to sell them you will say 'NO they are promotion only' and then they will calculate the duty you are to pay on the cost price not the selling price. If you say you are going to be selling them you will have to pay roughly $1.50 - $2 per cd. cheaper to get them re-printed in Aussie and pick them up on your arrival.     Gigs/Venues
In Melbourne there are well over 100 venues and bars with live music most are in action every night of the week. i did a rough count up in a gig guide the other day and worked out roughly 150 - 200 bands are playing every
Friday and Saturday night. So live music is a very competitive game. Venues want punters thus will try to for the bands they feel have the best or a good following. Some venues book 3 - 4 months in advance. I think the best way for an unknown act to get a gig is to make friends with some local bands of a similar genre and after a while drop the idea of you coming to Melbourne and can you do a gig with them... plus borrow their amps and drums too maybe. If you have no musician friends and no following you'd be best to busk or not even come.   Busking
To busk in the central city you need a busking permit this can take 2 - 3 weeks to get but it doesnt cost you. You do have to turn up to an approval session set up by the council (every tuesday i think). if your act looks dodgy and could harm property or others you may not get your permit. if they approve they will take your photo and post your permit to you. that takes about a week. Melbourne is broken up into areas which are run by different city councils. Imagine Chch Wellington Dunedin and Auckland squashed into one city but all keeping the same local council... each 'city' they call them here have their own busking laws. it seems only Melbourne City (which in fact is only the CBD of Melbourne) has the permit system. so if you have no permit best to busk in St Kilda or Fitzroy.     CDs
Don't charge too much for cds at gigs. most cds in shops are $20 - $25 in comparison to the $30 - $35 they are in NZ. So make sure your cds are affordable for your fans.     Radio
The main stations that most people listen to areCommunity,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations, Fundingstations a bit like student style radio in nz but much more freedom and less ads. the main ones in melbourne are PBS 3TripleR and 3CR. they don't have a playlist and
each dj brings their own music including breakfast and drive shows. So to get on the radio the dj who is on air has to have your cd in his or her hand. To have any impact on the radio you need to suss out what shows and djs will like your music and post them a cd each. you make have to send 5 - 10 cds to one radio station. it's a bit of a killer. If the dj plays and likes your music then likely you will be able to go on their show as a guest when you arrive.     Gig Guides/Street Press
There are two main papers that come out EVERY WEDNESDAY they are called The Beat and Inpress. They are free and get dropped off at every venue/cafe/corner shop. Compared to anything in NZ they are huge... this
weeks Inpress has 106 pages and is the same size as the Harbour News or Midweek Mail type of newspaper. deadlines for anything are the previous Friday. but best to get in earlier as i expect it's actually quite difficult
to get a slot. I don't know too much about hows these work yet.
(Here's a link to more Aus media -     Posters
Another field I know very little about. What i do know is the main size of poster used here is A0. and there are hundreds of places they are pasted. so to have any impact will cost a lot of money. Posters are put up by the 'poster mafia' for $2 an A0. anyone putting up their own will get pasted over. I think thursday night/friday morn is when they do it. if you put up your own after that you may get a few days of exposer time... Sometimes posters stuck in illegal places like private property will result in the owner fining the venue this will trickle down to you and you will never beable to play at that venue again... you can do your own run of A4's or A3's with tape on lamp posts but this is also illegal and could result in a fine if you are caught doing it. Just be quick!     Flyers
Unless you are going to hand them out yourself don't bother. there are so many piles of them in shops no one picks them up.     Accommodation
Best to stay with friends     Money
If you know a few months in advance you are going to Australia keep checking the exchange rates and when it looks good change some money sometimes $1000NZ will only get you $800AU. Other times $1000NZ will get you
almost $900AU that extra $100 will come in real handy!     Transport
Borrow your friends car but don't get a parking fine they are huge and parking wardens patrol some areas til 1am every night. the parking signs also take a bit to work out so don't be too quick when parking. alternatively the trams are okay and go to most places. but don't take video or photo footage of or on a tram you could get arrested for plotting a terrorist attack. Also best to buy a ticket they have random surges of ticket checkers at stops they come in from all doors so people can't leave. $200 on the spot fine for not having a ticket. jumping on trams without a ticket late at night tho should be okay (but you didn't hear that from me!). If there are 2 or 3 of you get a taxi from the Airport to the city. The public transport will end up costing about the same and be a real nuisance to try and find your way around with heavy bags.     ABN (Australian Business Number)
Some venues wont pay you unless yo have an ABN (Australian Business Number) it's like your IRD tax number. Make sure before you play your gig that they know you don't have one and sort out another form of paying you. you may need to fill out a form which is called a HOBBY FORM. which basically states that you are doing this for fun and not for a living.     Time
Nothing happens fast here. Imagine a million people trying to get onto a train... music scene is like that here if you are any good you will eventually have your 15megabytes of fame. But because there is a whole line in front of you it may take 6 - 12 months to get to the front of the line and then the ride could be pretty short. If you are coming here for one or two gigs once a year and think you might get lucky probably highly unlikely. to have any impact you need to stick around for a while. probably a minimum of 1 month... some bands here play nearly every night in a different venue and still can't hit the big time.     In Closing...
Over all Melbourne is full of fun interesting and open minded people. Most bands are very professional tight and unique and most musicians are masters at their instruments. If your band is a bit rough and not so confident and
not so original probably spend a bit more time going around NZ perfecting your craft before you waste heaps of money coming to Melbourne. Good luck!