Interview with Graham Wood – Director of The Ellington Jazz Club

Located on 191 Beaufort Street, Perth, Western Australia, The Ellington Jazz Club provides an array of jazz and contemporary talent in an intimate environment. Artists/ bands who have performed at The Ellington Jazz Club include

  • Jamie Oehlers
  • Libby Hammer
  • Carl Mackey
  • Helen Shanahan
  • Sydnee Carter
  • And so many more

Having spoken with Graham Wood late last week, he has provided me with incite into owning a business within the music industry. 4 questions were asked and he provided awesome answers for each. Questions and answers are as follows

  1. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of owning The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham’s advantages were that it he wanted an opportunity to showcase local musicians and provide a good environment to do so. His disadvantages were

  • High risk
  • A lot of work and planning
  • Having a benchmark for musician playing standards
  • Keeping an eye on reality versus the music industry
  1. What motivated you to start The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham’s motivation for opening The Ellington Jazz Club was due to a lack of venues within Perth who don’t play non-rock music.

  1. What are the major difficulties in owning The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham stated quite a few different reasons as to what the difficulties of owning The Ellington Jazz Club. These are

  • As a live performance venue Graham is trapped between being close to city and accessibility to the venue
  • Cost of rent versus the location. The closer The Ellington Jazz Club gets to Perth CBD the more rent costs, however on the other hand being to far away from Perth CBD means that traffic in and out of the venue is potentially compromised.
  • Never ends. There is never a night off
  • Always has to be music, audience and staff within the venue
  • The Ellington Jazz Club has to be successful most nights in order for it to continue keeping its doors open
  • Artistically, The Ellington Jazz Club has to occasionally compromise and play commercial music to provide what people want
  1. What do you consider to be key personal attributes required for small business owners?

Graham provides a few great points that are required for small business owners of venues. These are

  • Have to have strategic vision & plan
  • Goal about what you are doing. This goal needs to be communicated to staff and the audience
  • Have good brand
  • Ensure that marketing and business plans are in place
  • Venue owners have to be in it for long hall

Listening to Graham speak about The Ellington Jazz Club, it is clear that he puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring that Perth has an amazing venue for musicians to play at.

Richmond Street Records 2015 Label Launch

Extremely hectic preparations for Diploma of Music Business students go through in order to put on the 2015 Richmond Street Records Label Launch. From confirming the date with the venue, to confirming the line up, to marketing the night Music Business students created a night to remember.

Themed as a Mods Vs Rockers, you did find a person or two who dressed to impress. Taking place on Tuesday 23 September 2015 at The Bird, each band performed to make the night remembered by those who attended. As you can see from the Three Tree Productions film below, the line up is just too good to refuse. With The Shallows opening with their punkadelic style, Wabisabi with their Indie folk tunes, 404 with their Indie sound, Soapy Cactus with their funk, blues and jazz sounds, Bad Habit rocking it out and Occasional Symmetry closing the night with their prog metal sound. Each band, along with Richmond Street Records allowed for The Bird to reach capacity at approximately 9pm, which is an epic result.

Three Tree Productions – RSR 2015 Label Launch

Sarah and Kayleigh pulled together the night extremely well. From getting sponsorship for the $5 beer special, raffle prize and sausage sizzle, to ensuring the bands were on time and had their equipment, ensuring that worksheets were provided and backline was sorted, they did an amazing job at pulling the night together.

Kelly Miglori, Marketing manager for Richmond Street Records worked hard with her team to be able to successfully receive marketing for the event. We got interviews for on Pilerats radio station, an interview on RTRfm, write up on the WAM website.

To view marketing achievements click on the links below

Meg and Dean spent most of the night cooking the amazing sausage sizzle. They were so good that I ended up eating 2 of them.

On the last note, all I can say is thank you. Thank you to the bands for an awesome night, thank you to all students and staff from Central Institute of Technology in putting on a successful night, thank you to the Bird for holding the event and last but not least the sponsors of the night – Mount Hawthorn IGA, Gage Roads, Get Lucky, Flipside Burgers, Lolly Warehouse and Noise Pollution – for helping in providing a successful night.

For more information on each Sponsor, see below

Free MISS (Music Industry Sundowner Series) Session: A Songwriter’s Tale – An Insight

A 1.5-hour panel featuring Sarah Tout as the Moderator and songwriters François Tétaz and Ricky Maymi as part of the panel. Both of these songwriters have provided a lot to think about in terms of approaches to songwriting. I got some good input from this panel that I have listed below.

Why write songs?

Tétaz likes the stories people have. He sees songs as a conversation about emotion and is drawn to them.

Maymi on the other hand is interested in the creative process as he finds it therapeutic. He is ambitious to take over the world with song.

Where do you start?

Tétaz has two ways in which he starts the process of starting to writing. He will write in collaboration with others and write kernels of ideas. The kernels do not necessarily end up in song form.

Maymi collaborates with artists when writing songs. He has the belief in the shared experience with artist

Do you know when you have written will be a hit?

Tétaz doesn’t know if he has written a hit song. He goes on what feels right, feels like a good idea. Thoughts about why the song exists and what the person is trying to express.

Does songwriting have rules?

Rules are kind of like sign posts, according to Maymi. The reality is it depends on the venture. Major record labels do implement rules for songwriting.

How do you deal with writers block?

Maymi believes writers block is a byproduct of rules. He doesn’t have writers block due to the help of collaboration.

Tétaz spends a lot of time on his ideas. As he collaborates a lot he steps into their writing process, which doesn’t allow for writers block. It puts it out of his comfort zone.

Goals to complete by the end of 2016

I have thought long and hard about what I want to complete in my music career journey over the last few months. Everything that I want to achieve or start to achieve to help me is something that has kept me up at night. Extremely frustrating when I want to sleep.

So… in order for me to successfully be able to complete each of these goals I need to be able to plan them. The goals I want to achieve are

  • Complete the Tom Hess Music Careers Mentoring Program
  • Enter songwriting competitions – The ones I have in mind are the Australian Songwriting Contest, The Unsigned Only Songwriting Competition, The International Songwriting Competition and the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.
  • Complete the Advanced Diploma of Music Business
  • Start a music reference library – This goal will need to have at least 100 books for me to deem it having some success.
  • Complete AMEB Theory of Music Written Exams
  • Complete AMEB Level 1 Flute Exams
  • Go to the WAM Conference
  • Go to the Electronic Music Conference
  • Start a publicity/ management company

To help me in ensuring that I complete all these goals I have set dates along side each of them. I came up with the table below:

Goal Date Due
Complete the Tom Hess Music Careers Mentoring Program 31st July 2016
Enter Australian Songwriting Contest 2016 *
Enter The Unsigned Only Songwriting Competition 2016 *
Enter The International Songwriting Competition 2016 *
Enter The John Lennon Songwriting Competition 2016 *
Complete the Advanced Diploma of Music Business 30th November 2016
Start a music reference library with at least 100 books 1st July 2016
Complete AMEB Theory of Music Written Exam First Grade 29th February 2016
Complete AMEB Theory of Music Written Exam Second Grade 30th April 2016
Complete AMEB Theory of Music Written Exam Third Grade 30th June 2016
Complete AMEB Theory of Music Written Exam Fourth Grade 31st August 2016
Complete AMEB Theory of Music Written Exam Fifth Grade 31st October 2016
Complete AMEB Theory of Music Written Exam Sixth Grade 31st December 2016
Complete AMEB Level 1 Flute Exam Preliminary Grade 2016 **
Complete AMEB Level 1 Flute Exam First Grade 2016 **
Complete AMEB Level 1 Flute Exam Second Grade 2016 **
Complete AMEB Level 1 Flute Exam Third Grade 2016 **
Complete AMEB Level 1 Flute Exam Fourth Grade 2016 **
Attend WAM Conference 7th – 8th November 2015
Attend Electronic Music Conference 2016 *
Start a publicity/ management company December 2016

* = Date to be confirmed. I need to find out the dates once published onto individual websites.

* = Discuss with flute teacher before confirming dates.