Beatrice Lewis and Alice Ivy talk starting out, career highlights and The Push
Over three decades, Australian youth music organisation and registered Naarm/Melbourne charity, The Push has engaged with more than 700,000 young people across Victoria. Forming the connection between the music industry of today with the music creators, professionals and audiences of tomorrow, the charity offers programs which act as entry points for young people looking to make careers in the music industry. Some notable artists who have been involved in the program include Courtney Barnett, Alice Ivy, Alex Lahey, Angie McMahon, Alexander Biggs and more, proving its vital place in the music industry ecosystem as it provides all-important nurturing those early stages of people’s careers.
In late 2020, The Push announced its newest program, dubbed the Electronic Music Accelerator. Made specifically for young women and gender non-confirming music makers, producers and engineers in the early stages of their careers, the term-based learning program will be delivered by Beatrice Lewis (one third of Haiku Hands, one fourth of Kardajala Kirridarra and exceptional producer under her own moniker as well). She’ll be teaching practical skills, and will act as a mentor to all program participants.
Applications are now open for the Electronic Music Accelerator, and close tomorrow, Wednesday 25 March at 5pm AEDT. To dive a little deeper into the program, the vital services it provides and gain some insight into what participants might gain from their involvement in the program, we are thrilled to present a conversation between Lewis and Alice Ivy. Check it all out below!
What have you been up to during the last 12 months? What’s been happening in your career?
Alice Ivy (AI): Despite the pandemic (and having to postpone more than 40 shows) this year has actually been pretty busy for me! I put out my second record, “Don’t Sleep” back in July and it’s been fairly non-stop ever since then. On top of the album I’ve been keeping myself busy co-writing and producing over Zoom as well as pumping out a few remixes for Thelma Plum and George Alice and others. Living in Melbourne, I barely left my house for months but to be honest it’s felt like the busiest year of my career so far.
Beatrice (B): Haha I know it’s crazy! Haiku Hands had a similar story, in March we had 9 months of touring cancelled overnight but we also released our debut album last September. It’s been busy but a different type of busy, I’ve particularly enjoyed the opportunity to be in the studio more, it’s such a nice change to be able to really sink into projects and have much more time to write.
What have been some career highlights for you this year?
AI: The obvious answer here would be releasing “Don’t Sleep”, a body of work that I spent nearly three years making all around the world. My single “In My Mind” feat Ecca Vandal was featured in a global Apple ad in August, which still feels surreal and I also received my first ever ARIA nominations for ‘Best DanceRelease’ and ‘Best Engineer’, which was a pretty amazing honour too.
B: I am honestly not surprised, it’s such an awesome thing to watch you smash it left, right and centre. You deserved all those nom noms!!!
Did anything surprising or unexpected come up while you were spending more time online?
AI: One of the main things that surprised me this year with everything moving online was how fluid Zoom writing sessions can be. At first I was super reluctant to do them but in the end I got into a bit of a rhythm and did heaps of new work during lockdown. It was amazing realising that things don’t have to slow down even if you can’t leave your house and go into the studio to write.
B: Yes, for me also, I have written more this last 12 months than ever. I know everyone is saying it but there is definitely going to be a big shift in the way the world works with zoom and working from home. It’s such a cool thing as an artist, especially from Australia to know that International collaborations online is becoming more normalised and accessible.
What good things have come out of this year for you?
AI: Without live touring or writing trips or anything like that to distract myself with, lots of cool opportunities came from different areas of the business that I haven’t really had the time to properly explore before. I signed my first publishing deal, an international joint venture with Concord Music Publishing and Native Tongue which was super exciting and has provided me with loads of networking opportunities with other writers, artists and producers and I’ve been working on a bunch of branded partnerships, which I’d love to mention but I shouldn’t until they’ve been released, but that’s been really fun!
B: Yes!! Mad. I feel lucky to be a part of an industry that is creative and is able to pivot and work so hard to make things happen.
I know you’ve been collaborating with people online a lot did anything surprising or unexpected come up while you were spending more time online?
AI: I kinda realised that Zoom sessions can be really good! Especially because it gives you the opportunity to work with people overseas, which in the past I would typically only do in person when I’m travelling. So despite the world slowly opening up again I think I’ll continue to do them and work like that more often.
B: Yes me too! It’s a really exciting development, I’ve also been using software like ‘audio movers’ which hardly has an latency so it’s real time collaboration which is so great. The other thing I realised I quite like is being able to turn the camera/sound off and go into your own little world to create for a little bit before bringing your work back to the collab. It gives you time to experiment in privacy which I really liked.
When did you first get involved in electronic music / production? What was happening for you at the time?
AI: At the time when I first was introduced to music production I was playing guitar in a bunch of bands which weren’t really going anywhere. What I loved about music production was that you could create such a large sound and have the freedom to collaborate with anyone from your own DAW. I think it just gave me a sense of independence and allowed me to explore doing my own thing without having to rely on anyone else to make music.
B: I moved to Melbourne from regional NSW, when I got here I was introduced to Hiphop which completely flipped my world around. I then heard Dj Shadows ‘Entroducing’ which took me down a big trip hop journey and landed me in all sorts of electronic music worlds. I wanted to start making it from the minute I heard it, I meet a bunch of really good friends in Melbourne who helped me get started producing.
Was there a particular moment, activity or event that made you realise you wanted to pursue a career in music?
AI: Growing up I was obsessed with playing guitar, going to music festivals and shows and playing in bands so I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
B: I think from the moment I heard electronic music I wanted to make it. I don’t think there was a particular moment but it’s nice to feel that my passion for music is always evolving and just keeps growing stronger.
When were you involved at The Push?
AI: I was really involved with the Push between 2015 and 2017.
What activity(ies) or event(s) were you involved in?
AI: I participated in the Push Mentoring program back in 2015 which was such a valuable experience. The Push also gave me the opportunity to play some festivals and shows in Singapore via a band exchange program. Those were my first Alice Ivy shows in Asia, so I’ll never forget them!
And what did that time / experience teach you about pursuing a career in music?
AI: The main thing I took away from being involved in the mentoring program was gaining more of an insight into the different roles with the music industry. Ainslie Wills was my mentor, and she gave me the rough breakdown of what the role of a publicist, a booking agent and manager was from her perspective. It was really valuable insider knowledge.
B: Ainslie is the BEST! We went to High School together; this is a great combo. That’s some really good knowledge to get, I also remember learning about this side of the industry and also that once you look beyond the veil of the industry and saw the people in all the roles that they are all really kind people who just love music. I liked learning that aspect of the industry too!
What are some words of advice or encouragement you would share with a young person looking to start a career in electronic music production?
AI: Pave your own path and be patient. Growing organically is far better in the long run than blowing up overnight. Also be kind and stay true to yourself!
B: Yes, to all of this!!!
Applications to The Push’s Electronic Music Accelerator program are open now until 5pm Wednesday 25 March. For more information and details on how to apply, visit: thepush.com.au/news.
Or follow @thepushinc on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Introduction by Emma Jones
Image: Tanya Volt