Bank Of Melbourne’s Jac Phillips On Helping Musos Get Their Break In A Notoriously Difficult IndustryWritten by Zanda Wilson on September 19, 2016
ORIGINAL STORY: The Melbourne Music Bank is a fantastic community initiative offering up-and-coming Victorian musicians the opportunity of a lifetime; with a prize pack including extensive mentoring from a panel of industry professionals.
2016 sees the competition is back for its fourth year, this time seeing the most entries in the four year history of the competition, more than doubling the 2015 intake. Last week, the final round of twelve finalists was announced by the Bank Of Melbourne.
We had a chat with Jac Phillips from Bank Of Melbourne about the origins of the competition and how BOM have become an integral part of this community initiative since it began.
Music Feeds: The Melbourne Music Bank will be back again this year. Tell us about about the initiative and how it began?
Jac Phillips: The Bank Of Melbourne is a local bank that is absolutely all about helping people make it. Of course there’s a burgeoning arts industry in Melbourne, and Bank Of Melbourne really wanted to make a commitment to supporting the arts industry – and build a really clever and creative initiative that really supported the music makers of Victoria. Anyone who is involved in the music industry or who has tried to get in to the music industry will absolutely appreciate how very tough it is. So we created the Melbourne Music Bank three years ago, and it really is a program that provides a platform for musicians in Victoria to be recognised and also to try and gain some exposure – and give them a break in what is a notoriously difficult industry.
MF: It’s back again after three successful years. What does it mean to you guys to be supporting up and coming musicians in Victoria?
JP: It means an immense amount, because at the end of the day this is about action and not words. So I think banks traditionally are really good at talking a lot, and tell people what’s good for them. This initiative, and the way Bank Of Melbourne operates, is to provide what’s actually going to be helpful and useful to people in Victoria; for the music makers. The program is something that we actually go out and ask people to get involved with, because it’s in their best interest to do so if they’re trying to break into the music industry. So it’s demonstrating action not words.
MF: This year’s prize is looking pretty incredible; tell us about what the winning recipient will take away?
JP: I’m proud of the team and our partners that every year we continue to work hard to continue to over-deliver on the prizes. It’s really important that the prize is about action, not words, so rather than just hand out money – because if you’re trying to make it in the music industry you actually need more than money. You need networks, you need a board of advisers, you actually need public relations, radio play, you need an opportunity to actually perform at a music festival so that people can learn about your brand and who you are – and the music that you’re passionate about. So we’ve got an incredible prize, worth over $60,000. It includes studio time to record an EP, and that comes with a producer so you’re actually led through that process. Two music videos, a spot at Beyond The Valley, and importantly this whole entire team of industry professionals. As I mentioned before we’ve got partners such as 123 Agency, Varrasso PR and On The Map PR – and they’re going to work with our terrific team of finalists and then the winner; so that we can not only get them to perform but to become really successful.
MF: It’s a great coup for you guys to have Ella Hooper on board again as ambassador. How did you manage to get such a great Australian musician like Ella involved?
JP: Ella has actually been supporting the Melbourne Music Bank since we started, and that’s because we made sure that before we went and created the program that we had advice from some experts. One of my team who is obviously a music lover and part of the driving force behind the Melbourne Music Bank, Simone, actually knew Ella – so we approached her. When she saw what we were doing she said she would be absolutely honoured to get behind it, and if something like this had been around in her early days Killing Heidi might have become more successful sooner.
MF: The finalists have just been announced. How can the public get involved and vote for our favourites?
JP: So we’ve got a fabulous website; it’s www.bankofmelbourne.com.au/melbmusicbank – if you went on there the twelve finalists from all over Victoria are on the site, ready and waiting to be heard and then voted for by the public. It’s terrific because the finalists are from all around Victoria, there’s a number who are from within a 25km radius of the CBD of Melbourne but then we’ve also got finalists from Dandenong, Lake Gardens, Faulkner, so we’ve gone broad. We’re covering alternative, country, rap, garage, folk, hip hop and rock. So there’s some terrific talent amongst this year’s twelve finalists.
MF: 2016 has seen the most entrants that the competition has had to date. Why do you think this competition is growing so well?
JP: So we received almost double the entries from last year, and we received 330 entries last year. So it’s getting incredible momentum, I think for a couple of reasons. One, it’s an industry that actually needs support, and anyone in the industry that actually knows about the Melbourne Music Bank and the equity that we have in this program from the last couple of years – are actually telling others. I also think we’ve got the right partners around us and they’re able to go out there and amplify why we’re doing it and to help spread information to people who might not necessarily align a bank with a fantastic creative program. So those are some of the reasons for the success we’ve seen.
The 12 finalists for the Melbourne Music Bank competition have been announced and now the power is in the public’s hands to help decide the winner. Head to the Bank Of Melbourne website to see the finalists and cast your vote for the chance to win double passes to this year’s Beyond the Valley festival and subscriptions to music streaming service Pandora.