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6 Things You NEED To Know Before You Take Your Band To The Big Time With High Tension’s Karina Utomo

Although High Tension is renowned as one of the foremost bands not only of its genre, but indeed countrywide, it wasn’t always that way!

High Tension vocalist and song-writer Karina Utomo knows all about the process of going from the garage to the stadium. In this episode of our series with AustralianSuper, helping you kick start your career, she sets out to impart wisdom on what you need to know before you deal with managers, labels, marketing and how to pick your gigs and when to say no.


Look deep into your intentions and goals

I started a band because I just wanted to play with my favourite hardcore and metal bands. The reasons why you have a desire to play music or start a creative pursuit can be a really simple one.

This really simple intention ended up shaping my overall values when it came to opportunities with the band. Clear values and goals made the band stay on track and keep focus – which was such a crucial factor in the very beginnings of process, and is utterly important for kick starting any creative project.

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Be like Mike, make lists!

Make lists

List all the bands you’d like to play with, all the venues you’d like to play at, your favourite record labels and so on.

Making lists surprisingly helps with staying on track and will lead to you celebrating all the little achievements – giving you and your collaborators a pat on the back every now and then keeps morale high.

Do your research

Find out more about the people behind your favourite bands, who manages them? Or are they self-managed? Who handles all their press? Are they signed? If so, which record label? Who was their sound engineer that time they played that really amazing show?

The people behind the scenes are an integral part behind any successful band and a good way to know the people you should be working with.

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#Squadgoals

Find incredible people to help you

A large part of research is finding talented people who are experts in their field or who have the drive to become experts. Be open to people who are willing to work hard with you, even if they’re still learning, as sometimes a great attitude and willingness to work hard can go a long way and can outweigh actual experience.

Trust the people you work with and be really transparent with your goals, no matter how small they are, and you’ll find it easy to establish your perfect creative crew!

Think outside the box

Yes, the term “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” is more relevant right now than it ever has been. Be creative working with what you’ve got in terms of getting people to know about your band.

Don’t conform to the norm if something doesn’t feel quite right – listen to your instincts but also remember that sometimes pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is a good thing.

Find like-minded collaborators

Surround yourself with willing participants that are on board with your vision and your goals, and in sync with you in regards to all elements of the band’s blueprint such as how much you want to tour and what kind of album art you like.

It means things flow more smoothly – you want to, most of all, be a fan of each other’s ‘work’ and each other as people. Everyone must be willing to put as much effort in and make the same sacrifices, because things will not be easy. Trust me!

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Waterfall optional.

Look internally

Look at your band members. ,They probably have a smorgasbord of different talents and skill sets with a wealth of experience in multiple fields. Most musicians have worked multiple day jobs to pursue their passion – you may not need a manager if you have a natural instigator who is super efficient and happens to shred on their instrument too.

Save the band from parting with that sweet manager’s commission and spend the dollars you’ve saved by treating the band to good tour accommodation for a better night’s rest (and ultimately a better performance).


If you’re just starting out in your career, a few right moves early on can help set you up for life. For more stories in our AustralianSuper KickStart series, click here or go to AustralianSuper.

This article has been sponsored by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788. The views and opinions expressed in any article accessed through Music Feeds are those of the author or Music Feeds and not the responsibility of AustralianSuper. For more information, please visit australiansuper.com

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