Scott Adam

For the love of good music: Scott Adam.

Having worked in the local music industry for the better part of two decades, Scott Adam’s experience has run the full gamut of what it has to offer. He’s held roles as wide ranging as music reviewer, venue booker, band manager and TAFE lecturer. Scott has certainly seen a lot in his time.

“I started off as a cadet journalist [at The West Australian] and I gravitated towards the newspaper’s music section… So while I was a cadet journalist I was I was doing stuff like courts, police and environment stories and then on weekend I’d be out reviewing gigs for the local music section. I suppose that was my introduction to it, getting out into local gigs-ville,” Scott explains.

At one particular show in 1992 – Allegiance’s cassette launch for their ‘Torn Between Two Words’ release – Scott met Botticelli’s Angel, a band he would manage for all of a month.

“They found me because they were one of the support acts and they said ‘Oh you’re reviewing the gig are you?’ and I said ‘Yes’ which I think is why they started buying me beers to try to butter me up a bit. I quite liked the band already and I was going to give them a good review and then they said ‘Oh we’re looking for a manager; would you like to help out?’ and I said ‘Yeah no worries’.”

He continues: “I was only with them for a month because I was totally out of my depth. Those guys actually had a few things going on… I felt like I was probably not the best person for them from the point of view that I didn’t know how to deal with the stuff that was going on for them.”

After a somewhat false start to the world of management, Scott then met up with a friend’s band No Flowers No Wedding Dress with whom he worked with for some time. Wanting to gain as much experience as he could – doing a few stints with WAM and working at the Entertainment Centre – Scott then got involved with the local acoustic scene and set up his first record label.

He explains: “ [I] ran this thing called the ‘Acoustic Songwriters Club’ that morphed into ‘Club Acoustica’ and around that time I set up my first record label, Q-Stick Records.”

The acoustic shows featured the likes of Pete Stone, Jess McAvoy, Carus, Dave Mann and John Butler.

“Every second gig poster has got John Butler on it playing on a Sunday to 20 people. I’m pretty sure we were the first ones to give him gigs outside of Freo… We’d ring him up and go ‘Do you want to do another Sunday for us?’ so he’d come up and do that,” Scott explains.

Set up as a “fan label and a development label” Scott says Q-Stick was established as a launching pad for the acoustic acts he had playing at those shows.

“No one ever took acoustic solo or duos very seriously so I thought ‘Lets create our own space’… And [then] I thought ‘Well what’s next for these acts?’ because they’re wanting to record and have a proper career they’re not the token acoustic act while they’re trying to get a band together.”

As time went on, Q -Stick branched into other genres of music, and became the label The Panda Band would call home. Scott came to work with the band after hearing some of their early demos while managing the Rollerskates, which featured several members of the band.
“In the Summer of 2004, I went over to their [the Rollerskates] bass player’s house and he introduced me to this thing they had going on… [I heard the demo and] thought ‘Wow this is really cool’… we packaged it up and sent it out to a few radio station contacts that I had… Triple j just jumped on it within a couple of weeks of me sending it over there… [They] put it on rotation and I started getting all these phone calls from record companies and booking agents.”

He continues: “It just went ‘boom’ just really quickly. It was funny because I was getting phone calls from these record companies that were saying, ‘So who are you guys? We rang up our people in Perth and no-one’s heard of you?’ And that’s because they hadn’t even played a gig.”

Around this time, Scott says he had started to become cynical about the music scene – that it wasn’t about the songs at all. He says

“I was starting to get really cynical about our music scene… Then The Panda Band thing came along and it was like ‘It’s about the songs!’… It was a shining light because the band didn’t have any money; they didn’t have any gigs to their name. They released a song that everyone thought was fantastic.”

After three years of working with The Panda Band, Scott (who is a self-confessed workaholic) decided to part ways with them so as to spend more time with his young family. He now spends his time working full time at Central TAFE teaching the next batch of music industry professionals. It’s a role he’s held since 1996.

“I’d never done any teaching and I thought it couldn’t be any different than giving bands advice and consultations. I remember walking into the classroom going ‘Oh shit! What have I done? I’m not a teacher!’ and there were 20 students I had to teach… I kind of treat it like a big band but, instead of talking to four people, I was talking to 20,” Scott explains.

In recent years the TAFE courses have expanded – with both a Cert IV and Diploma of Music Business now on offer. In Scott’s time in the industry he says he’s seen it grow and mature.

“When I got into it, it was still ‘cover band city’… I remember ringing up venues in 91 [and] 92, talking about original bands and people said ‘What? What’s that? Do they play Cold Chisel?’… There’s still a lot of people doing the labour of love thing but, [nowadays] there seems to be more going on.”

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Copyright (C) 2009 Christina Ballico.
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