CONNECTIVITY AND CHAMPIONING YOUR OWN SCENE
Interviewing Luke Henery of Violent Soho
Progressing through my years at QUT as a Bachelor of Music student, I have realized that my perceptions and thoughts of a musical career haven’t changed much since high school; I still want to be a renowned live performer and a touring musician. What I have come to realize is that in order for this to occur, I need to create connections with established persons within my local scene. After working for two years at Brisbane’s iconic music venue, The Zoo, the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” couldn’t be any more correct having met some of Australia’s favourite performers and personal solely through my association with this profession. What has impressed me most about working in this industry is watching other bands and strands of creativity support and champion each other. I find this aspect very ingenious about the Brisbane music scene and something I want to immerse myself in.
One such performer that has made the most of their from a professional and performer sense is Luke Henery from the Mansfield, Brisbane act, Violent Soho. Violent Soho first formed in 2004 and released their debut EP “Pigs and TV” in 2006. After touring with nationally with groups such as The Grates and Faker, the band was able to fund their debut release, “We Don’t Belong Here”. In 2009, Violent Soho announced they were signed to Ecstatic Peace! Records, a label headed by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, consequently allowing them to tour overseas while recording their debut international release; their self-titled, Violent Soho. Since Henery’s return to Australia in late 2010, he has been married, commenced work as a carpenter whilst being on the books for working at live music venue, The Zoo and independent guitar store, Tym’s Guitars. I was able to contact Luke Henery to discuss the idea of championing a scene and creating connections to your advantage.
CHAMPIONING YOUR SCENE.
Championing your scene in terms of creativity is essentially promoting bands and artists that operate in your area through your own creative work. This idea is not new by any means but has become a more popular format of promotion for independent, underground scenes due to a struggling industry. A currently thriving movement is The Wave; a collection of five bands representing a new breed of post-hardcore promoting each other’s efforts to audiences that wouldn’t have been exposed otherwise. Although Brisbane’s movement is nameless, it doesn’t mean it does make it any less evident.
“It is absolutely crucial for bands to help each other! I can’t tell you how many bands I have found through other bands thanking them or wearing a tshirt. Once you respect a band or a musician you want to know what has influenced them or what they listen and that’s how scenes grow when bands get behind each other and stop thinking that they are the only band that makes good music.”
– Luke Henery. (personal interview August 19, 2011.)
Violent Soho have utilized their recognition to promote their personal hometown heroes, origins and influences to their audiences both in Australia and internationally through their
-photoshoots and live performances
-wearing local band shirts
-social networking (top friends on myspace, sharing on Facebook)
“Violent Soho always try and promote our favorite local bands whether its wearing a tshirt or like on our S/T Album where we have a section that says “listen to this” and then we name all the bands we love.”
-Luke Henery (personal interview August 19, 2011.)
Connectivity between bands is essential, especially when a young band is starting out. Ian Rogers, a studious academic and contributor to the Brisbane music community through his work in Iron On (disbanded in 2008)
and No Anchor states that
– if you don’t go to shows, you can’t get shows
– shows are the central currency of large parts of the music scene.
Luke Henery was able to confirm this through his experiences.
“We got to know them (The Grates) through going to their shows and seeing them at other shows. They are just great people and we always have an awesome party with them.” (personal interview August 19, 2011)
Luke Henery’s band, Violent Soho, are labeled with the term ‘grunge’ by critics to describe their music and image but the band feel this is an inaccurate description. “That was 20 years ago, we appreciate the sincerity and honesty of the music, which draws us to it, but that’s it.” (THEAGE 2011) Soho’s choice in branding came more from their loyal appreciation of their origins than a marketing scheme. Hailing from Mansfield, Brisbane, most renowned for the Christian bible belt, they adopted the 4122 postcode as their own logo.
“We thought it was funny (to adopt 4122) because of the school we went to and the type of people that live where we grew up. We are proud of our past and love our families so it made sense especially after listening to heaps of gangster rap.”
Their pride of origin extends from a merchandising scheme and personal graffiti tag to vocally expressing it at every show in the refrain of their track “Scrape It”. “Thank you very much. We’ve been Violent Soho from Mansfield, Brisbane!”
How This Affects My Career Plan
After studying at QUT, my passion to become a live performer and touring musician is still an option that I can pursue. After talking with Luke Henery, both as a friend and a great influence on how I perform, I have gained confidence and faith in what I am doing and am discovering ways to persevere through the industry politics to follow my passion. His ability and attitude to perform overseas to thousands to come home to a ‘nine to five’ carpentry job is both an example of the state of the industry and the blue collar nature musicians should maintain. The infamous “It’s not what you know, it’s who” cliche is relevant but I feel both attributes are necessary for any success. Through this discussion and my own personal experiences as both a performer and witness to performances and management workings through venue work, I have developed methods of becoming an active and recognizable performer within a local scene.
– Attend local performances with an open mind and confidence to talk to people.
– Go independent. Shop at independent stores where possible.
– Participate and be ‘seen’ in your scene outside of performing.
– Set goals with deadlines for your creativity.
– Organise shows/tours with friends in bands regardless of genre.
Rogers, I. “KMB250 Creative Performer 1 – On the Floor: DIY ideology and performance by Ian Rogers: Lecture week 9 powerpoint” (accessed August 19, 2011) http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/.
THEAGE. “Violent Soho talk Nirvana, Dean Turner and success” accessed August 18, 2011.
Interview –Luke Henery Interview.docx