The music industry is brimming with multi-talented people, like Pete Williamson, who kick start their own businesses that provide services in a diverse range of areas, rather than focusing on just one thing. While you might better recognise Pete from his days in the bands Mammal, Black Devil Yard Boss and Pete Murray’s band, there’s more to his musical talents than playing guitar – he’s also the man behind the multifaceted music company Sabretusk. We had a chat to Pete about setting up his own business in the music industry, and some of the challenges he’s come across.
Hi Pete. Firstly please introduce yourself and tell us your position at Sabretusk.
Hey Folks, my name is Pete Williamson and I am the founder/director of the music company Sabretusk.
What does Sabretusk do, and what’s a typical day at the office like?
Sabretusk is a new music company that has been set up to work across all streams of the music industry. Currently our main business works as entertainment management and also as a record label/publisher for the management clients. We are also involved in publicity, marketing, merchandise and consulting. A typical day at the office will be spent making calls/emails to co-ordinate all the moving parts of the business and make sure we are planning well into the future.
How did you go about establishing Sabretusk? What made you decide to cover a diverse range of areas in the music business rather than specialising in one?
I established Sabretusk to be able to work in a global industry not just focus on Australia. I decided to cover a broad ranges of parts of the business because I really wanted our clients to have the best chance of making a living from being in the music industry and easily expand out of Australia to make more fans. By structuring artist-friendly deals, the acts can sustain themselves a lot better than having to outsource everything and lose control over their business.
What kind of skills, experience or education do you need to run such a multifaceted business?
When I was younger I did a Music Degree, I have been lucky enough though to have years of experience as an actual musician touring and working with labels and other management companies. The hands on experience and education were both valuable. A bit part of the business is also being open to learn on the job and adapt to situations and industry changes.
What bands are you working with, and what made them stand out to you in the first place?
I am developing some new clients as we speak but the main client on our roster is the band Closure In Moscow. I was initially attracted to working with them by their music and was impressed with the hard work they had already put in to build their band.
What are some common mistakes you see bands making in the industry? Have you seen any really innovative ideas lately?
The biggest mistake I see is musicians rushing into spending money to make a product that isn’t good enough yet. Ultimately it is all about the songs and if you don’t have great songs, an expensive recording won’t help you. Take your time, build up one song at a time and get a live following. Just because the producer you hired worked on Metaliica, doesn’t mean you will have any success from working with them.
What are some of the challenges you face in your line of work? And what’s the best thing about your job?
The biggest challenge would be getting enough sunlight! Haha.
Seriously though I think the challenge of the job is that you are dealing with people and so many moving parts. For example you can have a full tour booked and then something else comes up and blows it out of the water so you are back to changing everything and doubling up on the work.
The best thing about the job is watching musicians grow and helping them to have success. When you have an act who takes on your advice and then they do well, it is really rewarding.
We all start somewhere! What were you doing before you started Sabretusk?
After University (Bachelor of Contemporary Music) I was lucky to join the Pete Murray band on lead guitar. This gave me a lot of contacts in the industry and hands on experience. I then formed the band Mammal and managed it under the company Team Trick, where I also worked with Forrester Savell, Dead Letter Circus and Allday.
Do you have any advice for young people who would like to pursue a career in music business?
It is a tough business to get into but you never know where or when your break will come, or if it will be in the field you initially thought. You have to be adaptable and be respectful to everyone you work with, plus work hard!
What’s the one thing you wish you’d learnt earlier in your career?
Work with people who have the same amount of drive and passion as you do. If you are working really hard and the artist isn’t then you won’t be able to break the act, to have success everyone has to be on the same page.
Check out what Sabretusk can do for you at www.facebook.com/sabretuskmusic