All In The Name of Family Unity: The Three Star Bakery
Matt McMullen is a busy man. He juggles a day (or rather night) job managing a bar while also working at the helm of Three Star Bakery (TSB) – the company which manages The Scotch of Saint James (formerly The Slim Pickins, The Belle Ends, Long Gone Midnight and the most recent addition to the ‘family’, a man by the name of Gilroy.
It all started a few years ago when he was working at Mojos Bar along with Paver Pickins, who incidentally is now a member in each of those bands – in fact it’s quite an incestuous line up all round.
“We started to talk a bit about the need for a springboard/ developmental label here in Perth as every week we would see so many awesome bands come through, but they would seem to do nothing as they didn’t quite know how to take charge and push ahead. Then we kinda looked around at the family [regulars at the bar who also happen to be musicians] and realized that pretty much everyone seemed to be in the same boat – i.e. incredibly talented bastards playing in some pretty damn cool bands, yet not really going anywhere with it. It was kind of a case of fuck it, [it’s] ‘bout time we got a bit more serious.”
He continues: “Paves had been at me for ages to manage the Pickins [the Scotch] and at some point in that year I did. To be honest I felt quite awkward about it at first as I didn’t really know what it was that I was supposed to be doing…but over the past couple of years it has become something that blurs the line between work and pleasure and something that I am quite happy to let consume me -and it really has.”
With the ultimate goal to set up TSB as a label, Matt is currently taking it one step at a time, concentrating on managing and promoting the bands.
“I seem to spend most my time booking shows, doing artwork [and] PR – although we have just started working with the irrepressible Juliet John [from] Caveman! which takes some of the load off. [My time is also spent] researching other bands, organizing tours… I seem to spend a lot of time on the Internet researching and ‘networking’ and just trying to keep on top of opportunities.”
He continues: “I’m only just getting around the idea that a band is actually a business too and am currently getting on top of the financial side – we are spending so much money that I guess you really gotta think in terms of maximizing your investment and recouping some of that as well as having a fucken awesome time …each band is very involved in their own outcomes as well as the organisation of recordings and so on.”
Late last year, Matt went over to the US and UK to promote the ‘family’. He says: “As we don’t know what goes on, on the other side of the world, I figured I better head over and canvas a few places out, see who I could meet with, that sort of thing – pretty much anything that would help us get over to the US and the UK. I bluffed my way into a whole bundle of appointments before I left with as broad a spectrum of people as possible.”
He continues: “But to be deadly honest, most of my luck came through random encounters, like meeting an A & R [Artist and Repertoire] dude from Def Jam, blind drunk playing darts in some really weird bar on Hollywood Boulevard, or meeting a pretty cool producer on a plane from London to Dublin after he overheard my conversation with the lady next to me and asked for a copy of the sampler, that sort of thing.”
He continues: “I came back with a bunch of people in different fields who are interested in one or all of the bands, and who I keep in regular touch with, working towards a couple of things. Nothing is for certain yet, but we have a starting point, a decent base, that I can work with on a variety of projects, which is better than not knowing anyone at all and being left totally in the dark.”
Back at home Matt has been busy organising the Three Star Bakery showcases which are being held every Thursday night at the Norfolk Basement in September as well as the Movember for Canteen fundraiser which is coming up soon.
“This is WA’s original campaign, one which I have run for the past five years along with Paver Pickins, Phil Cooker, of the Norfolk and DJ world, and Benn Newby. There’s quite a few aspects to the campaign, but other than the actual gimmick of growing mo’s, the crux of it centres on the WA music community’s involvement in a series of benefits which helps us to raise funds for CanTeen, an organisation that helps support young Australians – 12-25 years – living with cancer.”
He continues: ”It’s a bit of a personal involvement for us, but we do ask folks just to come down and enjoy the benefits, which feature pretty much the best in Perth music – and to buy a limited edition tee – this year designed by ground breaking new artist Twenty Eleven.”
Three Star Bakery on MySpace
Copyright (C) 2008 Christina Ballico.