BIGSOUND 2015 was the first one that Robbie Miller had performed at, but it wasn’t his first BIGSOUND experience by any means. As we chat on the steps at Footstomp’s shady office carpark, Robbie tells me he’s been here four times and it’s been an evolutionary process.
“When I came in 2010 and 2011 it was more about how I get recognised, how do I get radio stations to play my music,” Robbie told Blank. “Then I went away to work for AIME and won a Triple J competition, so 2013 was more about how do I get a manager, how do I get a booking agent.”
“2014 I just came for the live music, pretty much,” he said. “And now I am playing three shows, which I think is pretty cool. I’m playing Black Bear Lodge too – which is a place I enjoy going to watch music.”
“I’m pretty excited, because it’s my first time and I guess you can only do it once or twice,” he says of his inclusion in the BIGSOUND Live program. “But I think I have to try and manage my expectations – you know, you don’t get a soundcheck and a lot of it falls onto the sound guy – I’m lucky at Black Bear.”
“I love playing music and now I get to do it three times in three days, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Robbie said.
The last time we spoke to Robbie, he’d just returned from playing the National Indigenous Music Awards as a Triple J Unearthed winner. He says the last couple of years has been a real learning experience – literally going from someone who just played music in his bedroom to actually learning how the music industry works.
“It’s not as glamorous as you think on the outside,” he laughs. “Unless you write a song that gets picked up on radio, it’s a slow process. Things don’t really happen overnight for a lot of artists – there’s a lot hard work and toil that goes on.”
He says that even though he studied music at university, there was still this notion that if you made a good song it would just be played on Triple J – that it was something that could happen overnight.
And he believes things are so different now as he’s got a real team of experts behind him. “I’ve got a manager, got a booking agent. Publicist as well,” he said. “They’re all really supportive.”
“I think the big thing is that when you’re by yourself you have no idea how to manage, how to book, you feel isolated – you don’t know how to make the first steps to get a show, to meet industry people, to get played on Triple J.”
“Those people have those networks and they can help set those plans in motion.”
Robbie has only just released his single The Pain which is off soon to be released EP The Faster the Blood Slows. He acknowledges that the EP has been a long time coming.
“After 2013, I didn’t want to release anything unless I had the right support networks,” Robbie told Blank. “I knew nothing about PR, didn’t have a manager, didn’t have a booking agent. It took about a year for that process to fall into place.”
“Four of the tracks on the EP were finished and recorded last year and then the single was a work in progress between me and my best friend (Nathan Morrison) – he’s a pretty good producer and a solo artist,” Robbie said.
“Then we also worked on what happens after the EP,” he said. “I’ve already got in mind what the next EP will look like.”
Robbie hasn’t played music in Sydney or Melbourne since 2013 so he’s pretty excited about his upcoming tour and is … “really looking forward to taking my music outside of Brisbane.”
“It’s really good to test the waters in other states and see whether or not they like the music I make,” he said.
It seems that Robbie’s done a fair bit of growing in the two years since we last spoke. Not surprisingly, his notion of success has changed during that time too.
“I think for me it’s about releasing music that’s kind of timeless,” he said. “I want to look back on a couple of EPs I’ve released and still feel that they are relevant and still something that I enjoy listening to.”
“Which comes back to that music I listened to as a kid. You know I can put on a Cat Stevens record – Tea for the Tillerman – and still enjoy listening to it – nearly 50 years later.”
Let’s hope The Faster the Blood Slows is a timeless classic for Robbie Miller fans everywhere as well. It will be unleashed for your aural pleasure on 2 October
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Robbie Miller’s The Faster the Blood Slows is out from 2 October and you can catch him supporting Mike Waters at:
- The Workers Club, Melbourne | Friday 2 October
- The Newsagency, Sydney | Saturday 3 October
- Milk Factory, Brisbane | Thursday 8 October