Brynn Davies Interview - My Love For The Industry
Meet Brynn Davies, one of the hardest working music journalists in the Australian scene. Through setting trends, promoting talent and diversity, Brynn champions the Australian, and New Zealand music scenes. We had a chat to Brynn about her experiences with music, her publication LunchBox, and the future direction of music in Australia.
Futuremag Music: How'd you enter the music scene? What's your relationship with music been like over the years?
Brynn Davies: I grew up in a really musical family; Mum was a ballet dancer and Dad was a musician, so I can't remember a time when I wasn't surrounded by music and performing. Some of my first memories are in green rooms, being bored AF and super hungry and probably an all 'round pain for my parents. But I always loved theatres, something about the magic crackle of anticipation in the air before a show, be that Swan Lake in the Opera House or local band at OAF.
After interning in the holidays on various ABC radio stations from the age of 16, I took myself off to UTS to do a BA Comms. As far as I tried to run from music into a regular workforce, my love for the industry prevailed. Now I'm super broke but I have a lot of ticket stumps!
I can find my way around a guitar if the party is really calling for 'Time Of Your Life' at 4am, but I prefer to leave performing to people who actually have talent. I can play a pretty mean harmonica solo if I've drunk enough tequila.
Futuremag Music: What do you bring to events and such?
Brynn Davies: Luckily if I've got a camera person they take the bulk of the recording gear. I'm super short so those massive gear bags dwarf me. In my Brynn-sized backpack I'm never without my mic, spare batteries, portable phone charger, bendy phone tripod (I call it the Demadog because when it's set up it looks like the creature from Stranger Things) Rode Mini Me, earbuds, jacket, sunnies, Panadol and gum.
Futuremag Music: What's the state of the Australian music scene in your eyes? How would you like to see the industry develop?
Brynn Davies: I honestly think we're going through a boom like we haven't seen since the golden era in the '80s. More and more people are rallying behind local talent, and there's this amazing atmosphere of national pride that drives that support. The fact that festival line-ups are overwhelmingly Australian really helps, as does stations like triple j increasing the Aus music quota voluntarily to 40%.
On that note, there's a hell of a lot more to be done in the commercial sector to support local music. The mandatory 25% Australian content quota is rarely met, let alone enforced. So much more could be done to support our Aussie artists with the weight of commercial's influence behind them. Step it up!!!
Specifically to music media industry, it's never been more difficult for music media to generate revenue to support itself, its staff and growth. Unlike a lot of other industry-related businesses, music media is an expected free service, which is especially difficult when you're starting out and growing your model without remuneration. Support the next gen in the arts - read local, read independent!
Futuremag Music: What have been some highlights of your time in the industry?
- Launching the LunchBox site solo in April and by November amassing a team of over 40 incredible contributors who have covered 500+ Australian artists in 7 months.
- A team of five LunchBoxers went to Brissy in September and smashed our first BIGSOUND. We managed to consume about 30 vodka lime and bitters at the afterparty in under an hour... that was a hangover to end all hangovers...
- Having the opportunity to take on young writers and help them refine their skills and get a portfolio of published work under their belt.
- Little things mean the most, like getting shares and thanks from the bands we cover. Whenever I get exhausted I flick back through my diary and take in the huge amount of tasks we've accomplished in such a short period of time, and feel so lucky to have such an amazing bunch of writers on this journey with me.
Futuremag Music: Can you tell us about your publication, LunchBox?
Brynn Davies:I had been observing all the hype building around our local scene for a while thanks to triple j and Unearthed, and simultaneously seeing articles become shorter and shorter. 100-word album reviews, a saturation of native content and standardised Q&A forms replaced feature-length interviews and reviews. As a writer, it wasn't giving me leeway to stretch my creative brain, and as a reader, it just wasn't satisfying.
I was passionate enough (or naive enough, still working that one out!) to go out on my own; I quit my job as Assistant Editor at a big mag, got a desk at a local creative co-working space and essentially married my laptop.
LunchBox was created to do two things: to fill the gap in the market that called for an Australian-centric publication, and bring back the art of storytelling and journalistic integrity through long-form features.
Futuremag Music: What advice would you give to anyone wishing to enter the music industry?
Brynn Davies: Learn patience, humility and how to ask for help. Never let criticism, rejection or a struggling bank account get in the way of your perseverance and self-belief. Above all, don't lose sight of why you started, and where you want to end up. Music is an industry of passion and hard work, so make sure you're in it for the right reasons.
Futuremag Music: If 'Brynn Davies' was a cocktail what would be in it to best describe your work and you as a person?
Brynn Davies: Espresso martini, because I'm like the energiser bunny when in work-mode, I subsist on coffee (... and espresso martinis), I'm strong than you think and also capable of putting you on your ass... With fun. Because you're ROFLing or we're doing the worm or something. I'm not gonna knock you out...