This is my first post in a series where I’ll be interviewing Aussie’s who are chasing their dream and working as part of the music industry in the US. I’ll be sharing beers and chatting to bands and performers, managers and agents, journos and music paparazzi, all the while trying to get them drunk enough so they’ll tell me what they really think of the scene in Australia and how they found their way into the US. I decided that the best candidate for my first post was myself, so here’s what happened when I had a few beers while in my Chinatown apartment and got the tape recorder out…
Andrew Green: How long have you been in the US?
Andrew Green: Seven months. In early March I flew into LA for a few days then split to Austin, Texas for South By South West then to NYC before the month finished. A week before my 90 visa ran out I was offered a job so I went to Europe for a month to sort my visa then came back in July with my E3 and I’ve been working since.
AG: What’s work and what’s this visa?
AG: I work for Vice Media doing Digital Marketing. Recently I’ve started writing articles for our music site Noisey.com and I’m also the music supervisor for our upcoming season of Powder & Rails, that’s our Snowboarding show. I’m on the E3 visa, it’s the easiest visa you can get for the US but it’s only available to Australian’s with university degrees who’re offered career related work. It’s for two years.
AG: Vice NYC that must be pretty rad…
AG: It was a huge culture shock for a while, but now I’ve adjusted to it and I’m learning that if you have an idea and put it out there confidently then you can make it happen – it’s a unique concept that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.
AG: About this “confidence” what’s that all about?
AG: Early on when I was here I was chatting to this group of dudes at some little bar next to The Back Room on Norfolk st, in the Lower East Side and I was asked by one of them why I came here, I replied “Oh, I came here to get experience in writing and publishing, but I’m probably not good enough for that yet”. I said it because back in Australia you don’t want to stand too tall among others, over confidence can be seen as being a wanker so you understate things, even if you happen to be brilliant at what you do.
AG: The guy snapped back at me “Don’t ever say that here. Don’t say that you’re not good enough, chances are you’re better than atleast 80% of the people here so act that way, you’re not going to get anywhere unless you do”.
AG: So with that advice I got my “elevator pitch” of why I came here, I got some business cards made, I got a blog/site with a bio and I put myself out there.
AG: What were you doing back in Sydney?
AG: Back in Sydney I did the marketing for MUM at the World Bar and I DJed across a bunch of venues and festivals for the last few years. I was really lucky to know so many amazing people in the music industry, contacts I never set out make but I just wound up befriending some genuine and lovely people who work at radio stations, record labels, venues, touring companies – there’s a lot of good people in Sydney and I’ve been lucky to see a many of them over here at SXSW and recently at CMJ.
AG: You’ve had lots of visitors then, are there many Aussies over there?
AG: Shit yes, we’re everywhere! At least in New York aka The Other London. I don’t think there’s been a day when I haven’t heard an Aussie accent. That may not mean much in a city of 8 million people but to give you some perspective, it can be weeks in between hearing a British, French or German accent.
AG: Who are you going to be chatting with in the next few weeks?
AG: Ilirjana Alushaj who moved over here to be a freelance music journo 7 years ago, Dave Benge who does band and tour management for bands like Violent Soho, Meaghan Washington… and some other industry peeps and that have chosen to push their wares in the US rather than the UK.
AG: Is there anything else that you’re going to be blogging about?
AG: Yeah, I’m going to intersperse the blog with posts about the US scene so people back in Australia can get an insight into how things work here. Some elements of the US industry are intriguing and will inspire you while some elements will hopefully make you look proudly upon what you have.
AG: Anything else?
AG: Check Noisey.com, there’s some cool videos. Watch Powder & Rails even though it’s now summer for you guys. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr and go listen to East Village Radio, it’s possibly the best radio station I’ve ever listened to.
Next week’s interview will be with Ilirjana Alushaj who moved to NYC seven years ago only knowing one person here, Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.