by Michael Fairbairn
You know it’s a good gig when the banjo player’s mother can’t get in. Last Thursday, the Sons of the East played to a capacity crowd at the Moonshine Bar in Hotel Steyne Manly. The three-piece folk band is popular for their lively sets and boot stomping original tunes.
“We formed in 2011, then started jamming out a bit. Our first gig was in March 2012,” said band member Dan Wallage.
Success doesn’t come easily in the Australian music industry, so it is impressive that all three members of the band are also university students.
Chris Johns, founder of the music label Sunday Morning Records, said, “The music industry is not as cut and dry as it used to be. With indie bands trying to make their mark, it’s really 50/50. They have to have focus and know who they are as a band and what they want to be.”
The music industry anywhere is a hard one to crack but in Australia it is particularly difficult; it’s hard to get gigs as a band starting out let alone with the sort of following that the Sons of the Easts has acquired so quickly.
“We realise it’s a hard industry to crack, that there are so many bands, so we are happy with how it’s gone so far. So many people have watched the video clips and listened to the songs,” Dan Wallage said.
The Internet plays a massive role when it comes to a band’s exposure – for the Sons of the East, a simple post on The Cool Hunter resulted in a marked spike in views for the band’s Youtube music video of ‘Hold On’.
“The great thing about online is that it’s cost effective. I believe you need to get street buzz complemented not just with online but also post-print and being very active, for real success,” Chris Johns said.
Having the right people behind the scenes is also important. The Sons of the East decided to source its own team using money from gigs.
“We got a producer and a publisher, and an agent kind of built our own team,” Dan said. “At the moment it’s difficult, but in the long run hopefully it might pay off.”
The band eventually hopes to support itself through its music. “The dream would be to play full time, be able to play overseas and support ourselves through our music,” Dan said.
Chris Johns said a simple and honest approach to music is what’s needed, “The modern era of artists need to spend less time trying to make it, and more time making music and enjoying themselves.”