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Interview: Anna Loveys of Saint Lachine – NZ Music Month Summit 2019

Interview: Anna Loveys of Saint Lachine – NZ Music Month Summit 2019

Chris Cudby / Friday 24th May, 2019 9:53AM

The annual Official NZ Music Month Summit is happening this coming Saturday at Auckland's Herald Theatre, presenting four panels of industry experts illuminating the multi-faceted world of live performance, discussing 2019's theme of Discover Live. The day-long event is being presented by NZ Music Managers Forum and NZ Music Commission with 100% of the ticket income being donated to MusicHelps, and will be streamable for those who can't attend via Facebook Live through the MMF page here. UTR editor Chris Cudby caught up via email with publicist Anna Loveys, founder and operator of Tāmaki Makaurau-based independent music and entertainment PR company Saint Lachine, who is contributing to the Marketing & Promoting Live Shows panel and generously shared her insights ahead of Saturday's Summit...

The 2019 Official NZ Music Month Summit

Saturday 25th May - The Herald Theatre, Aotea Square, Auckland, 10am to 4pm

Looking After Yourself On The Road w/ Tami Neilson, Julia Deans, ​​Laughton Kora, moderated by Calvin Culverwell (10.30am - 11.25am)

Marketing & Promoting Live Shows w/ Mel Parsons, Harry Pettit (Nest Fest), Anna Loveys (Saint Lachine), Matt Harvey (Concord Dawn), moderated by Savina Kim (11.30am - 12.40pm)

Production, Tips Of The Trade w/ Chris Tate, Tom Anderson, Carol Harding, moderated by Cushla Aston (1.35pm - 2.30pm)

Festival Bookers w/ Gavin Downie (Music In Parks), Rachel Turney (Homegrown Events), Hamish Pinkham (Rhythm and Vines), Gerry Paul (CubaDupa), moderated by Wairere Iti (2.35pm - 3.30pm)

Chris Cudby: I thought it could be cool to chat about the topic of Marketing & Promoting Live Shows, hopefully to provide local artists with some accessible tips and give readers a taster of this week's NZ Music Month Summit. Can you please tell us a little about what you do, and what a typical day (if that exists) might be like for you? What projects are you currently working on?

Anna Loveys: I’m a publicist (note, a different species to publishers). Our fundamental role working with an artist or promoter is to coordinate media around a release or tour via publicity and / or PR. A typical day consists of emails, logistics, planning, deadline management (us publicists are Siri’s nemesis), scheduling, writing, proofing and keeping across everything. I’m currently working with Bobandii, CHAII, Aldous Harding, Repulsive Woman, Louis Baker, Mermaidens, Levi Patel and a few unannounced bits and pieces coming up.

A scenario I see all the time (and have experienced myself) is artists feeling frustrated, because they're attracting audiences and producing great music, but are still living show to show and doing a tonne of work by themselves. All artists have their specific circumstances, but when do you reckon is an appropriate time for an artist to consider the idea of working with a publicist?

The most beneficial time to engage a publicist is once you’ve formed a core fan base; that loyal audience who will show up to all of your gigs, who may expand your regular friends circles. While you’re still building your audience, it pays to be DIY during this time, to figure out your place in the world. When you are ready to expand outwards into the void, that is the time to get a team around you.

What factors do you consider in working with an artist?

Publicists and managers work pretty closely with artists, so having a good working relationship and deep understanding of the music and artist at hand is crucial. If I don’t ‘get’ it, I won’t take it on because someone else could do a better job in getting that artist’s story and message across. I find it quite difficult to promote something unless I really love it and I’m into it completely. The music has got to move you, and shake your internal processor to its core.

I feel it's a misconception that artists in the world of alternative / punk / underground music don't work with publicists, even artists with a strong DIY aesthetic. What tangible benefits can artists get from working with a publicist?

The biggest benefit is having someone else there, batting for you. A publicist will help communicate your story across, while also giving you the space to speak. We can organise press in a logical way that hopefully engages the public. Publicists can also function as a protective third wall between you and the outside world, and sometimes getting honest feedback is just easier through a third party.

What are some common mistakes you see artists make in spreading word about their work, or pitfalls they should look out for?

Sometimes it’s best to say less about yourself when you’re in your early stages. Leave some mystery and let your music speak for itself.

Here's a tricky one – how on earth can artists get paid more for playing live shows?

A more fundamental problem is at hand, and it revolves around many factors including our overworked, underpaid low wage economy, a cultural shift towards a more introverted world online, and how we consume and value ‘music’ in 2019. I really hope long term, we will give music and the arts the attention it deserves. Over time, whenever times have been troublesome, we (humans) revert back to the arts to find meaning in the world around us. Music also just makes us feel ‘good’.

While it is really easy to get lost in existential worries (me all the time), here are some thoughts I’ve been having on the live music topic:

Earlier shows - our human population is tired and overworked. Why aren’t we doing earlier shows? I’ve seen decent turnout numbers for shows kicking off around 7pm. Catch more human fans as they leave work, before they go home and settle in for zzz.

Ticket and merch combos - your ride or die fans are the ones who will help you have a sustainable career. Whenever my favourite bands put out ticket / merch options, I’m in there.

Streamable concerts - not a revolutionary idea, but another form of ticket that could be offered to cater to stay-at-homers?

Fee hustle - there is where having a team comes in handy if you aren’t naturally into negotiating. Negotiate that fee, while also being mindful of what is fair and reasonable for both parties. It helps to just have an honest and upfront conversation.

Is NZ Music Month a busy time for you?

Yes. I’ve got a cold and am trying to eat an ungodly amount of vitamin C so I don’t infect anyone at the NZ Music Month Summit this Saturday. Sorry everyone.


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