Did you see the Age’s article on Triple J last week? The basic premise of the story was that Triple Js playlist is leading to a homogenisation of australian music. The theory being that bands are writing a particular style of song to fit in with JJJs format and ignoring pure self-expression in favour of manufacturing a sound to get played on the popular station.
As a musician that has been really fortunate to get a lot of JJJ airplay with Gyroscope, I can obviously see just how valuable JJJ airplay can be. With out their support I doubt I would have ever become a full time musician. Heck, who knows if I would have been able to create The Hen House Rehearsal Studios.
This whole debate got me thinking about Gyroscope, and how we eventually got our first song; Doctor, Doctor onto Triple J High Rotation. It was the 3rd time we had serviced the Js with a CD. The song itself was 2 minutes and 42 seconds of screaming, shouting and raw aggressive production. The song went on to do phenomenally well and we still play it live 10 years later. This reinforces a few ideas I have that will hopefully help your band land a coveted track on the Js.
Simply write tunes you absolutely love
I remember that we wrote Doctor Doctor in about 30 minutes and when we walked out the rehearsal room we were so pumped about this new song we had written. We were all laughing and high fiveing each other in amazement about how quick the song had come together. I honestly felt so lucky to be playing in a band that wrote songs I loved listening too and playing. When you’re passionate about your band it feeds into the music you create. It allows you to put 110% into your live show and it makes all the rehearsing and hard work a breeze, because you create music you love.
Play more shows
I have a saying that 1 live show is equal to 10 rehearsals in benefit to a band. (Yes this is a weird thing for a guy who owns a rehearsal studio to say…But its true). By playing so many shows in our early days we were able to improve as a band rapidly. Yes it is hard to find shows and there are less venues than ever but you should be aiming at, at least 50 shows a year. By the time Doctor Doctor hit high rotation we had already played about 350 shows. It’s no coincidence that hard work and improved song writing go hand in hand.
Always be writing new songs
Do you notice yourself looking at your opposite number when you go and watch a band live. I do it all the time. Just the other day I was watching Jaimie from Pat Chow/Rag n’ Bone fame on the drums. Marvelling at his approach to certain drum beats and fills. Take inspiration from other bands you play with and listen too, and then funnel it into your own songwriting. Sometimes you need to write 30 songs before you eventually have that Ah-ha moment and write a songs that is a cut above the rest. Get to that 30 songs quickly by writing constantly. It’s worth noting these things can take time. Gyroscope had been a band for 7 years by the time Doctor, Doctor hit high rotation.
Doctor Doctor is a great example of how a song that sounds like nothing else on the airwaves can break through, stand out and kickstart a career.
Create music you’re passionate about. Play lots of shows and constantly write new songs. Above all else remember to have fun making music with you’re mates. That way you’ll have no regrets about your musical aspirations irrespective of Triple J air play. All the best.
The Hen House Rehearsal Studios