Fast Track Fellowship: Amy Chapman & Tom Fraser

We spoke with Amy Chapman of Wantok Musik and Tom Fraser of Pieater, two recipients of the 2018 Fast Track Fellowship (in conjunction with AIR). With the 2019 applications now open, they shared their insights, experiences and key learnings.

Could you give us a brief summary of your role at Wantok Music and the acts you’re currently working with?

Amy: I am the Label Manager for Wantok Musik, a not-for-profit record label and arts organisation that releases, tours and promotes music from Indigenous Australian and Melanesian artists. In my day to day role at Wantok I handle anything from artist management and delivery of our releases to tour management and booking. We have over 35 releases under our belt and are currently working with Emily Wurramara, Frank Yamma, George Telek, Radical Son, Black Rock Band and many more.

Tom: I started Pieater with my friends Joanna Syme & Tom Iansek, they're way more creative than me (ie. play in incredible bands) so I look after the business side, from band management to album rollouts, touring logistics & even some garden maintenance at our music studio BellBird. Our family includes Big Scary, Airling, No Mono, Christopher Port, Slow Dancer, #1 Dads. 

As a previous recipient of a Fast Track Fellowship in 2018, could you summarise your experience (outline the company you worked with, your day to day experiences on ground etc)

Amy: As a recipient of the Fast Track Fellowship I worked with the good people at GLP Austria. GLP are an artist management and tour booking agency based in Vienna that acts as the European representatives for artists such as Grace Jones, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Horace Andy and Toumani and Sidiki Diabate, among many others. With GLP I had the opportunity to play a role in organising tours and festival appearances across Europe and the UK, meet with promoters involved with many of the major Summer festivals in Europe, coordinate tour and travel logistics and assist with marketing and promotion of artists and events. I was there from April so it was very busy in the lead up to Summer festival season in Europe. I also had the opportunity to attend the Midem conference in Cannes, France at the tail end of the fellowship, where I was able to connect with delegates from the USA, China, Japan and the UK.

Tom: I worked at PIAS America, they are the US home to global distribution company PIAS (who know owns Inertia, our Aus/NZ distributor) thus a perfect place to expand the Pieater catalogue into North America. A day revolved around local meetings with different managers, labels, agents, publicists, publishing in the morning, PIAS office in the afternoons and shows in the evenings. I probably saw enough shows in 2 months, to amount to a years worth in Australia, but seems like that's just what's on offer for LA and NYC. The trip was timed to spend a week at SXSW, in-between LA and NYC office stays. 

What were the benefits of your Fast Track Fellowship?

Amy: My host company took good care of me during my residency and made sure to put me in front of the right people, whether that be promoters, booking agents, distributors, like-minded artists and managers, and connected me to potential funding opportunities within the EU. I met so many interesting people and made connections that I know will be integral to us breaking into the European market, with many of those conversations and connections continuing today. I also went to a lot of shows locally and experienced some fantastic productions in interesting venues and repurposed spaces so it was all very inspiring! Experiencing first hand how it all works behind the scenes, particularly in the German, Austrian and Benelux markets, really helped to shape my plans and ideas for future tours and distribution of our releases in Europe.

Tom: The ability to spend a lengthy period of time in the US to enable networks to expand more organically and help further our Pieater artists. Being in a US office working on Pieater releases, but having local people directly around to help build and implement US rollouts was a huge help. The market has many similarities to Australia, but even more differences and learning some of these nuances first hand, will allow us to implement them from Australia.

If you could give one tip to future Fast Track Fellowship applicants, what would it be?

Amy: Find a host company that has genuine interest in what you do, the artists you work with and your strategic plans in entering the market you are aiming towards. Working with people who are motivated to help you improve on your knowledge, learn new skills, make important connections and achieve your goals will make a huge difference to your experience.

Tom: Make the most of your two month trip by preparing as much as possible before you depart (book meetings, research ultimate catchups, intros), every meeting will further lead you to somebody new. Then keep going back each year to further those relationships.

Amy will be joining us on Tuesday 4th December at our Networking Breakfast, in conversation with Maria Amato from AIR. Head here to apply for a Fast Track Fellowship.  

VMDO