Welcome to our latest Savvy Seven interview featuring Jarrad Rogers. Jarrad’s career as a song-writer/producer has had him work with some of the world’s biggest artists, Charli XCX, 5 Seconds of Summer, Lana Del Rey, Lauryn Hill, as well as the much loved Australian artists Montaigne, Daniel Johns, and Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun). With this much experience behind him it’s no surprise that his latest project, Beachwood, an electronic pop-duo comprised of Jarrad and his partner Angeline Armstrong, has already seen success. The initial single ‘Love Me Or Leave Me Alone,’ has clocked nearly 1 million plays on Spotify since its release in early 2019.
Jarrad’s drawn on his vast experience to provide us with some incredible music industry insights in this Savvy Seven interview, and it is our pleasure to deliver it to you all here on Music Industry Inside Out! Read on below…
1. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
I grew up in a very musical family! My grandfather played a trumpet solo in the 1956 Olympic Games opening ceremony here in Melbourne. Dad worked for Yamaha when I was super young and brought home any and every instrument known to man. Apparently I’d just pick them up and play with them all all the time. I started bands when I was young…as we all did…bad bands. Cringe worthy stuff!! BUT…one of them won a battles of the bands competition and we got to spend 12hrs in a studio. The moment I walked into that studio the direction of my life changed!! It wasn’t instant, but I knew one day that I was going to do music full time!
2. Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?
Haha…this is a funny one. With my ‘I’m going to do music full time’ mentality, I studied classical piano. Like super studied it. Practiced 3hrs a day, did all my exams etc. I auditioned for the conservatory of music at Melbourne University and got accepted!! BUT my parents said ‘you’ll never make a living from music’, you should do Civil Engineering!! Ahhh…ok! Trust me, it wasn’t that simple, but I ended up studying Civil Engineer and a Commerce degree. It certainly had nothing to do with music, however, it had everything to do with the grit, persistence and determination you need to get somewhere in the music game. Oh, the commerce degree has definitely helped now. Today I signed a deal with Sony Music for my own label under the Sony umbrella. NOiZE Recordings!! So excited. Such a dream come true!!
3. How do you approach developing timelines for your career?
Yeah, that’s a tricky one. Having studied business (I majored in project planning) I’m all about developing timelines etc for my career. I still do them, however, I hang on to them quite loosely now. What I have learned over the years is that the creative industry has a time code all of it’s own. Some people experience SUPER fast success and others more of a slow burn. I moved to London in the early 2000s. The plan was to go for 2 years then I was going to come back having taken over the world! I was there for over 10 years and then LA for 4. I’ve learned that planning is great and key to setting the direction you’re heading in. My advice is to be careful holding too tightly to the time frame. There are so many factors outside of your control and if you are too strict on the time lines, you may quite too early. Just before you wrote that big song, or met the next big artist etc. etc.
4. What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?
Being able to move on from a knock back. At first it was so hard. When I first started making music it was pretty rubbish. We didn’t have the technology at our finger tips that everyone has today. You had to go to big studios to get it. So when you’re a kid at home trying to hone your craft it was hectic! Then you started making something that actually sounds good! You show a decision maker in the industry. You’re so excited because it’s the best thing you’ve ever done. They knock it back! In the same meeting they show you something that they actually love, which sounds way better than yours. What do you do with that? You either get super upset and throw in the towel, or decide to learn from it and work even harder. Thank God I did that. To this day, it’s probably the biggest challenge for me. The more I love something I do, the less I focus on it’s success. I’ve come the point where being proud of something I’ve done is the most important thing. Sure I get disappointed when it doesn’t stream well, or the label doesn’t take the song I wrote for that big artist etc. But I move on pretty quick because their subjective decision isn’t my focus any more. I keep my eyes on whether I loved what I did. I will say I have loaded music that I did that sits in my rejected pile. Some of it is 5+ years old. I always get shocked at how proud of it I am. For me that’s the key
5. What will musicians discover from touring and how should they prepare for it?
They’ll discover how much stamina they have! How they can handle nerves and if their music is actually doing what they though it was going to do. For me that’s the most interesting part of playing music live. You get to see how it effects a big group of people. It’s immediate feedback that you can use so effectively to make your music better. I think the best advise is to prepare as much as possible, but be prepared to adjust and change stuff to make it work better. That’s kinda the point of creativity though right! It never stops and you never believe you’re actually done.
6. How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?
I think a subscription to music week and billboard are pretty key. They cover most things going on in the music industry these days.
7. How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?
It’s hard to avoid these days. And it’s incredible for creativity. One thing I try and do is to hold on to some of the techniques from the past when creating today. I sample sounds myself to make them unique and interesting. I record my own claps rather than use one from a sample pack. I make sure I record a bunch of them so they ‘evolve’ slightly. I will say that I think the human brain is amazing at picking up the most subtle differences. When the music is so perfect and exactly repeats section on section, the brain loses interest (this is my theory anyways!!). A drummer never hits the snare the same twice, our brains notice that. Shouldn’t we have the same approach when programming beats for pop or hip hop etc? Beyond the actual music, there’s the social media side of things. I’m not the greatest fan of it. I’ve just never been comfortable with self promotion. But it’s very important these days. Phones, cameras, vid’s etc. Super important. It’s a great time to be a creator. I think more than ever, we need to be unique and use technology to separate ourselves rather than all sound the same. Use the same sample packs, the same beats, the same chords. Time to separate and make your own noise!