In the first of a new regular series on Alternative Addiction we’re going to help unsigned bands connect with different services and companies. Our first one is music publicity company Beehive PR. We didn’t just think it would be interesting because more Australian artists are finding success internationally than ever before or because the company is on the rise. We did it because PR chief Sammie Anschau is an insightful professional who champions good music.
Working with artists including The Ruminaters, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, RACKETT and BIRDZ, Sammie has been involved in the rise of some of Australia’s best artists and she’s also helped organize festivals and done several things in the industry. We’ve got an interview with Sammie and her staff, Rebecca Callander – frontwoman of RACKETT – and now an experienced publicist with Beehive, and Sose Fuamoli, a music writer and PR specialist with a wealth of experience on both sides of music promotion.
Sammie, what did you do before Beehive? Why did you decide to branch out and start your own company?
I've worn a few hats, but they have been around event operations and PR. I was lucky enough to spend many a festival season working with Future Music Group in operations on events like Summadayze, Future Music Festival, Parklife, Hot BBQ and more. I was a publicist for Global PR, a Touring Coordinator for Premier Artists and was co-owner of A WEEKEND In The Gardens festival alongside the team at Roundhouse. The opportunity came at Premier Artists to do some PR for some of the roster and I really fell back in love with it, I got a few clients under my wing and knew that's where I wanted to be moving forward.
Sammie, you're in your third year running your company. Is it easier or more difficult compared to the first year?
The challenges change. Early on you are implementing systems and a team. There is a lot of trial and error. Now, the challenges are based around growth, cash flow and time management. A growing team requires a larger office, bigger rent, more time on admin, all balanced with the work you still need to get done. I made peace with the fact that if you’re not constantly changing then you are not evolving as a company and now, I embrace it.
You run Beehive, but who else works in the company?
Sose Fuamoli who is an incredibly talented publicist, writer and radio host, she brings so much to the team, she is our word Queen and resident good time advisor https://www.sosefinafuamoli.com/
Rebecca Callander, who is client, turned teammate. Bec is front women of RACKETT who we have repped for a number for years, whilst the band is in writing cycle she has come on board and we are so thrilled, she has an eagle eye for detail and knows firsthand what it's like to be an artist wanted to get your music out there https://www.rackett.tv/
Sose, how did you start working with Beehive?
I've known Sammie since I was working in editorial and she approached me once I moved to Melbourne, asking if I would like to take on some more work as I began to go freelance.
What about you Rebecca, why/how did you join the Beehive team and decide to start doing that on top of working on new music?
I joined Beehive for so many reasons. Sammie's work ethic is so strong, she is so committed to her artists and she's become a mentor to me, giving me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the industry and how things work behind the curtain. Working with Beehive has allowed me to stay connected to the industry whilst I work on new material for RACKETT. I love music, so getting to listen to new releases by Australian artists is a major bonus. One of my first jobs prior to music was working in a used car lot with my dad, this is where I developed a passion and interest in business development, setting and achieving targets. Working in PR embodies both my passion for growth and for love of music.
You work with a very wide range of artists. Do you feel comfortable not having to specialize from genre to genre?
(Sammie) We thrive off it, The Australian music scene is small and we love that we get to speak to so many of the same editors and MD's day in and out but the beauty of doing different genres is changing it up, chatting with different people and learning what works in one market and seeing if that will translate to the next.
Bec, Is it more exciting working on the other side of someone else's PR?
There is a rush I get from pitching artists to music programmers and publications. I really feel for the artists I'm working with. I empathize with their aspirations and I want the best for them. When I can help an artist reach their goals it's just as exciting as reaching the goals, I've set for myself as an artist. It's a parallel success because as a publicist you have to put yourself out there and step outside your comfort zone on behalf of artists. It's character building and can be applied to anything I do.
Sose, you do a lot of different things in music. What's your favorite thing to do out of all them?
That's a difficult one. Truly I like listening to new music I wouldn't normally listen to, as simplistic as that sounds. Luckily, that's what I get to do a lot of the time across all my jobs, too. I'm a big believer of having an open mind when it comes to music; even if you don't like something, give it a shot.
What does Beehive do best? Online? Radio? Playlists?
(Sammie) It really depends on the music and where it sits, each record is different and needs to be treated as so, the thing we do best is tailoring each campaign giving it it's best chance to attain coverage on these platforms.
What does a typical day look like for you?
(Sose) Generally, I spend a lot of my day listening to music, answering emails and either writing copy or editing work. I find I'm a bit of a hermit when it comes to my workday, I get into a zone in the office and can sometimes find myself drowning in an electronic well of work, so it's good to get out and meet with people, even if it's to talk about new bands or new sounds we can potentially be working with. I still review music and interview artists, so I love being able to work on those features when I can.
What's the biggest challenge you face day to day with your clients and with publications?
(Sammie) The sheer volume of quality music releases in Australia, it's competitive out there and you really need to have a great track, with great assets and a good story.
Aesthetics are important for bands across everything now. What's a mistake you see all the time that bands/artists should avoid or fix?
(Bec) I see people doing the best they can, I don't see a lot of mistakes, just evolving bands learning new things. I would recommend bands and artists to get educated and active in digital marketing. That's where the younger audience is, the future forming audience that can't be reached at the pub.
What's the most exciting part about your job?
(Sammie) Seeing our clients grow, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are such a good example when we started with them they were touring approximately 150 cap rooms, now due to the incredible music they produce they are selling out shows in Oz, touring the UK, Europe and America and have a huge festival calendar this year including Splendour In The Grass, Summersonic in Japan, Desert Daze in USA and a stack in the UK.
In recent years Australia's music has gotten noticed more internationally. Is there more good music coming from there or is it because people are paying more attention to it?
(Bec) This is a really good question, one which I can only speculate is due to the hard work of Australian artists and their teams. Artists like The Preatures, Gang of Youth, Amyl and the Sniffers, CXLOE, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, DMA's and more are out there putting their work onto international stages through touring. I think having these artists holding the space for Australian music in new territories would have an influence on how present Australian music is across the world.
(Sose) Geographical isolation and the expensive nature of touring out in Australia has always been a problem but that isn't to say that Australia and Australian artists have only recently been popping on an international scale. People are beginning to take more notice of our songwriters who have been grafting behind the scenes overseas; the Tames and the Flumes and the Sias are obvious big names, but when you look at the way Sarah Aarons has risen on a global scale, it's pretty damn cool to see how Australians are stamping a larger presence internationally.
(Sammie) A bit of both I think, with the way artists earn money changing and needing to tour, Australia has become a priority market for releases. Also, the music Australians are releasing is of an incredible quality, artists like Flume and Tame Impala have taken off on such a global scale it definitely turns heads back here. - aa