From Music Fan to Music Pro: Juliet John.
Juliet John has managed to turn a life long obsession with music into a career with Caveman! – a music publicity company which also functions as the management company for Schvendes and the Australian record label for Indonesian band The Super Insurgent Group of Intemperance Talent (SIGIT).
“I’ve been obsessed with music since I was a tiny tot. Most of my waking hours are spent thinking, listening, talking about music, so it seemed to make sense to make it my work,” she says.
This obsession lead Juliet and fellow managers Leela Oceans (her former business partner) and Jodie Regan to do two things. Firstly to chase bands around Australia – well one band in particular The You Am I and secondly, to work in the industry themselves. So Caveman! was born and the three ladies started organising gigs and managing bands.
Juliet’s experience in the creative industries however extends beyond music – she is currently working on a movie and has a background in art direction for television and film. In 2003 she retrained through studying the Music Industry Skills course at Leederville TAFE.
During that time she did a few weeks work experience at the office of Phil Stevens Artist Management (home of the John Butler Trio, The Waifs, The Flairz and formerly Little Birdy) which lead to paid work.
“The office became extra busy with the success of John’s album and I was lucky enough to be able to work there for two years,” she says
Part of Juliet’s job was booking advertisements in street press across Australia. The experience lead Juliet to establish the music publicity arm within Caveman!
“I always enjoyed the publicity part of managing bands. The chaps from Street Press Australia asked me to publicise the launch of Drum Media Perth. About a week later Russell Hopkinson asked me to work as the national publicist for his record and distribution label Reverberation, so it all seemed quite serendipitous.”
Like many Perth bands, in recent times Schvendes have made in-road overseas and The SIGIT are based in Indonesia. Consequently travelling away from Perth has been a large part of Juliet’s job.
“I think it’s a myth to think that you can do business and be successful elsewhere without travelling there and making personal connections with people. In the early days of my business I was travelling over east regularly – sometimes once a month – popping over to east to see gigs, establish connections with people and generally stay connected to the scenes over there. I’ve also travelled to the UK and the US where I’ve worked in the music industry briefly and attended music conferences such as CMJ in New York.”
She continues: “In recent times I haven’t had the cash flow to keep that travel up, as I’ve been working to establish my business. In order for my business to move to the next level, I’m trying to plan for regular travel interstate and overseas, because I think it’s vitally important to keep up personal face to face connections with people and scenes you’re doing business with and in.”
Juliet will be heading east again soon however, as she was lucky to receive an Arts WA grant to travel to Sydney and Melbourne as part of a mentorship program. “I love to learn, and to feel like I’m developing my skills, so I hope this trip will give me more skills that I can use to help more bands when I come home.”
Copyright (C) 2008 Christina Ballico.