Hardship inspires art for Footstomp

For many musicians the past months have forced a focus on writing and production, and the live music sector’s temporary hiatus has brought many to their knees, compelling some artists to look outside the industry to keep the home fires burning. Innovative thinking in merchandising, online audience growth and quick pivots in production and tour scheduling have been the bread and butter of the successful, building a strong sense of anticipation among fans of artists who have been proactive during the forced down time.

Footstomp Music’s Graham Ashton (Asho) is well known to many, and he reflected on guiding his musicians through the darker seasons of the past months;

“The first week was terrifying for us the same as everyone. We set up strategic zoom meetings with all of our clients and treated each career with the unique response that they deserved focusing on how to emotionally connect with fans whilst unable to play live. Naturally most of this was done via social media but it has an incredibly creative, rewarding and somewhat exhausting experience. I’m proud to say we are thriving more than ever.”

Despite the lockdown, the Gold Coast-based Footstomp finalised major deals during lockdown with Busby Marou signing with Sony Music and resigning with Tourism and Events QLD (TEQ), Tia Gostelow signing with TEQ and Aodhan signing a publishing deal with Communion in the UK.

Footstomp also recently announced a Tia Gostelow collaboration with indie superstars Holy Holy, releasing ‘Always’ on 24 July. Gostelow, who hails from Mackay, was excited about her release.

“I feel like ‘Always’ sums up the whole vibe of the new album and I’m so stoked to have Holy Holy featuring on it. It was really cool to be able to work with Oscar and Tim and I love that you can hear elements of their distinct sound throughout the song, particularly Oscar’s guitar solo at the end.”

Oscar Dawson, guitar savant for Holy Holy and a producer who Blank chatted with recently about his work with a variety of Gold Coast linked acts, was circumspect about the COVID-19 constraints as he talked about this and other recent collaborations.

“COVID-19 has been terrible and serious. But you can’t just stop making music because life, frankly, would just be boring. For us, music is work so we can get together but we have been using Zoom for meetings and writing more often. Bands like Holy Holy, based in different cities since inception, are more familiar with this approach, so it’s not too different.”

Footstomp were recently appointed the booking agent for Gold Coast’s new Home of the Arts (HOTA) and have felt frustration at the moving goal posts when it comes to COVID restrictions for live music events and the need to adapt to almost constant change. Despite this, many share Asho’s optimism about the future for the local music industry.

“Thankfully, this has all come at a time when technology enables us to communicate and create high quality recordings remotely. Overall I am incredibly excited as a music fan to see what comes of this. Historically hardship usually inspires incredible art and early signs are that we are in for an amazing couple of years of new music releases.”

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