Honestly, what can’t he do. Our guest this week is Arthur Tanzi – a creative producer, live music booker, events coordinator, music promoter, artist manager and music programmer based in Melbourne. Originally from France and Monacco, Arthur made the move to Australia in 2011 to complete a Master in Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne. Since then he’s been super busy bringing life to the local arts and music scene, using his ton of experience running festivals, managing artists, and booking gigs.
In 2013 Arthur helped establish Foreign Brothers, an events and promotion collective focused on creating opportunities for young and diverse artists. All the while, he’s been working closely with the West Melbourne artistic community running Flow Festival and working as a Creative Producer for the Footscray Community Arts Centre. As someone with such an impressive and diverse portfolio of projects and industry skills, we’re really appreciative of Arthur for taking the time to chat to us about his work. Thank you!
A job description in your own words:
I am a music promoter, artist manager & music programmer as well as a freelance events coordinator. I co-run Melbourne based collective Foreign Brothers and FLOW festival, I manage musicians SO.Crates and Danika Smith. I also work as a Creative Producer for the Footscray Community Arts Centre and I am one of the live music bookers for Strawberry Fields festival. I am also trying to become a more consistent DJ in order to justify my expe(a)nsive passion for records.
My first day of the week is dedicated to set important weekly objectives and prioritize admin over meetings as much as possible. It is, therefore, a day where I try and prioritize tasks for the week across the various projects I’m currently working on – at the moment essentially FLOW festival and a couple of international tours. It is also a time where I initiate important conversations via email and reach out to a range of people based on those objectives to start conversations, check in or get updates.
There’s lots of important events and organisations spread across Australia to help support the local music scenes. Looking for your local? Try starting here.
Tuesday & Thursday:
Tuesdays and Thursdays are my proper ‘office days’ working at the Footscray Community Arts Centre – the rest of the time I’ll be freelancing here and there like a lot of other music industry workers. My days are split between weekly meetings, community meetings and catch up with the team, working on various projects, including our flagship live music event called Hear Footscray – aiming to make FCAC a new live music hub in the West! Although my role is pretty new, I’ve been involved with the Centre since 2015 and I have the utmost respect for the work the team does here to maintain such an amazing safe, inclusive and progressive space.
Wednesday & Friday:
Both days are currently focused on FLOW festival, other Foreign Brothers related projects and artist management duties. I usually plan my meetings with the FLOW festival team in the afternoon or early night as I’m much more productive on my computer in the morning. Each of those days, I reassess priorities based on outcomes/updates from the team and adapt my game plan for the week. If I am in a very busy period, I’ll mainly focus on what needs to be done for all various parts of the festival. If I have some time in front of me, I’ll try and think creatively (although I best do that in the shower) or spend time planning for other mid to long term objectives. On Friday night, I’ll probably go see a gig or two to keep up to date with the local scene. On several occasions, it will be a gig I’m running, so that’s always a great feeling.
Want to get into artist management yourself? Check out our management course here.
Challenges and accomplishments in your week:
As a freelancer without a proper office, the hardest part of my job is to stay focused and try not to spread myself too thin, essentially. I try and have proper weekends as much as I can in order to come back recharged on Mondays. When work is a passion, it’s also easy to forget your own personal time but overdoing it can have negative consequences after a while. Disconnecting is super important for me in order to keep ideas fresh and the motivation going.
Highlights of the week:
Getting the job done ha! Keeping up on top of all priorities and making sure all various projects I’m managing are moving in the right direction. My mum always told me there’s no point standing and looking at the mountain you have to climb – most of the time, it seems impossible. Best to take a step by step approach, chip away at tasks and all of a sudden it all becomes achievable. I think it’s just a great metaphor for work and my week is pretty much that: not looking at the mountain in front of me on Monday and feeling like I’ve climbed a little higher on Friday (hopefully most of the time!). Same applies to my yearly and longer-term objectives.
Lowlights of the week:
Let’s be honest, promoting events, whether they are local, international, larger outdoor events, tours or even managing artists is really stressful (or maybe I’m just the anxious one!). When you get to a stage where you deal with multiple projects at the same time, it can become daunting and some weeks are definitely not fun. Working as a freelancer (although I’m lucky to now have the best team to work with on FLOW festival) can sometimes feel like a stretch. And finally, unless you’re working for an established label or company, or experience great success in your field, most of us will face a lack of resources at some point – whether it is lack of money coming in, lack of time or a combination of both cause you can’t hire someone just yet. This can be challenging in various ways.
There’s a lot of etiquette when it comes to playing and booking gigs, make sure you’re in the know by checking out our ‘Booking Gigs’ course here.
Words of wisdom for people considering a job in your field:
Passion is key cause this industry can sometimes be very unrewarding. Setting up boundaries is also paramount. I exercise a lot, I try and have nights off during the week, I disconnect as much as possible during the weekend. I have another life aside from music/emails and I love it too. When passion and work combine, it’s a beautiful thing and a privilege to experience. But sometimes, it can also mean burning out very quickly! Everyone is different, obviously, and have different capacities or abilities. Be inspired by your peers and their achievements, but make sure you try and find your own work/life balance in the process – cause that stuff matters in the long run. And while you’re there struggling in this business, make sure you amplify, produce or facilitate the release of GREAT music cause it’s all that matters in the end really. Something to show your kids and be proud later on I guess…
If you’re from Victoria, make sure to keep December 18 free for Flow Festival and head over to Footscray to support Arthur’s great work!