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So the decision was made; we’re going overseas. Awesome. Just saying it out loud made me excited as all hell. I didn’t wanna come home when we lived in Toronto and travelled for 12 months, so since then I’ve always been jealous of folks saying ‘Yeah, I’m going overseas next month’. Shit killed me. Now I was that annoying prick going on a holiday. Boom. Happy campers, we were.
But this wasn’t just a regular holiday. When the haze of excitement eventually passed, I realised how much work it would be to actually put this together. Not only did we need to arrange the logistics, but we had appointments to arrange. Where the fuck do we even start? That was the first thing that came to mind. So I thought logically. We were only going to visit cities where we had contacts; like I said, this wasn’t no umbrella-in-your-drink vacation. So we knew we had folks in Miami, Toronto, Atlanta (DJ Grain, now part of The Movement Fam, is in the A-Town) and New York that would be worth visiting. That’s a good starting point.
Emailing time. This is where my networking skills (or lack thereof) would really come into play. I hit up damn never everyone I knew to get them to put me in touch with damn near everyone they knew. Now, being that this is the music business and I was dealing with artists, producers and the like, I knew this could take a long ass time. Lucky it was like May and we didn’t plan to leave until September. This was a useful exercise, as it really showed who my friends were. I know that if I had some folks overseas who were coming out here, I’d do my best to put them in touch with everyone possible, so I was hoping for the same.
I gotta shout out Eternia, who probably spent a good hour or two of her precious time (the girl is busy!) putting together a list of damn near everyone she knew in Toronto and New York. That list was one of the most useful tools that I had at my disposal in planning this trip, and I can’t thank her enough. She’s a true friend, big ups! Also, my dudes Kevin Nottingham and Travis Glave (Wake Your Daughter Up! Blog) were invaluable, as they worked real hard to put us in touch with a gang of folks that came through the goods in the end.
So already, after talking with three main friends in the business in the US and Canada, I had things moving. Wow, this wasn’t looking to be so difficult after all. Or so it seemed. I would estimate that in total, I probably hit up around 100-150 individuals in all sectors of the music industry, all over Canada and the US (including Hawaii). I must have spent a week staying up til midnight after work every night sending emails like a crazy person. Not only to the folks I had been put in contact with, but hitting up random radio stations in cities all over the place (which I got a list of from Wikipedia, of all places). Once I had contacted everyone on my lists, all there was to do was wait.
Of course, this wasn’t just a once off activity. This was a constant thing from May until right up to when we left, and even while we were on the trip we were still trying to arrange meetings and stuff. I reckon I probably got a 5-10% response rate, which is probably better than most direct mail campaigns. So I was happy with that. Plus, you can’t really expect random folks to really wanna help out unknown artists from Australia on a whim (or an email); although that was how it panned out at times.
So with the contacting industry heads side of things underway, we had to get the logistics issues sorted (which we couldn’t do much with until meetings, radio spots, etc were locked in), and of course, finalising two mixtapes in the space of two to three months, all the while working full time. Goddamn.
Plug of the week: The homie DJ Hyphen in Seattle has a dope ass blog, The Audacity of Dope, and he featured both our mixtapes after we appeared on his show:
Notion – World Domi-NoTiOn (http://www.theaudacityofdope.com/2008/09/16/notion-world-domi-notion-mixtape/)
Cee & Bekah – The Soul Movement Volume 2 (http://www.theaudacityofdope.com/2008/09/17/cee-bekah-the-soul-movement-vol-2/)
So until next time, listen to Raheem DeVaughn. I am right now. He’s soothing. Pause.
The Movement Fam.
Week #5: The Decision
Aight, first post of the new year (although by the time y’all read this, it’s most likely well into 2009). Happy New Year, folks, hope everyone had a safe and wild entry into the next 365. Now that the niceties are out of the way, let’s get down to biz. So the past few posts, we’ve sorta given y’all some background as to where we came from and who we are, and now you might start to get what we’re doing here.
The main reason you’re even reading this right now is the big ass trip we undertook in September and October, 2008, to the USA and Canada (and New Zealand on the way home) to explore opportunities to extend our music to the other side of the globe (well, for us). So over the next bunch of posts, we’re gonna break down exactly what we had to go through – as Australian artists, particularly – to make this trip happen, and then what we went through on the trip itself.
The decision to actually undertake this trip wasn’t something that was taken lightly. We all work full time, so getting time off work would be an issue. It would cost anywhere between AUD$5000 and $10,000 per person (including all the shopping we planned to do), so getting the scrilla together would be a problem. Plus, Bekah and I have a mortgage, so we had to make sure that was covered. Shit was hectic.
But at the end of the day, the point of taking this trip was much more important than the details. Most of the interest in our music was coming from North America, so much so that we had built up enough contacts to warrant a quick visit to the homies in the northern hemisphere. We had grown fairly discontent with the Australian Hip Hop scene; I’ve mentioned this in earlier posts, but the politics, small-mindedness, tall poppy syndrome (cutting folks down who stand out from the crowd) and minimal market out here made us search elsewhere for an audience. And the interest from bloggers, producers, artists, managers, etc, from the US and Canada essentially made the decision for us.
The one thing that did it for me was my boss telling me around May that I had to take some leave before the end of September (bureaucracy, eh? lol I actually typed ‘bureaucrazy’, which seems even more appropriate) in 2008. So I was like, ‘I’m not gonna waste a couple weeks sitting around Melbourne’ and suggested this trip to Bekah and Notion, which I’d been thinking about for a while. They were initially apprehensive, mainly due to the finances and work pressures, but I persisted (see blog entry #4) and boom, it all came together.
Aside from the reasons listed above that could make taking this trip pretty damn difficult, we had people questioning what we were doing. Our parents (Notion and I are brothers) never really understood what we actually do with our music until they heard Notion mixing all the tracks for the latest mixtapes, so their initial reaction was of concern around money. Others felt we would be wasting our time in such a large, competitive market. Others were probably just jealous that we actually do something we love and are getting off our asses to make things happen for ourselves. But we definitely faced a lot of opposition.
So the decision was made, we were doing this. We were scared as fuck; Bekah and I lived in Toronto back in 2004 and hadn’t been overseas since. Plus we planned to hopefully do radio and live shows, as well as record with folks and network our asses off. This wasn’t gonna be no holiday (vacation, in American terms); it was just fun work. Well, most of the time, anyway.
Plug of the week: Along with a dope interview, Kevin Nottingham did lil spotlights on each of our mixtapes recently – check em out:
Notion – World Domi-NoTiOn (http://kevinnottingham.com/myblog/2008/09/15/notion-world-domi-notion/)
Cee & Bekah – The Soul Movement Volume 2 (http://kevinnottingham.com/myblog/2008/09/15/cee-bekah-the-soul-movement-vol-2/)
So until next time, stick with it, stick to it, stick at it.
And for those in Melbourne, the dude David Icke will be running one of his famous lectures on Saturday April 11th (the day after my birthday, son). If you wanna get educated on how the world really works, hit up www.davidicke.com.
The Movement Fam.
Wooooord up. Big ups to the homies DJ Hyphen and J. Moore out in Seattle, WA, and their Sunday Night Sound Sessions show on Kube 93fm. Myself, Notion and Bekah done rolled through the studio last year in September during our US radio trip, and the boys been had the biggest names in Hip Hop on the show. None other than Slaughterhouse - Royce, Joell and Joe (Crooked was recording with a Seattle artist) - came through and gave a great interview. Check the video, and check out Hyph's blog for the audio and other details.
What it do bloggers?
This is a special treat for you in my eyes, it was graced on my Facebook wall by the one and the only, DJ HYPHEN. If you wanna see the dopest freestyle you've heard in ages, PEEP THIS. 2 minutes of the super dope Tunji from the group Inverse straight outta Cali shows ya how to hold it the fuck down LIVE on KUBE FM yo!
Please leave a comment, coz you know you should.
Damn Tunj, damn!
Once again, shouts to the homie DJ Hyphen for this one. He's hooked up the whole Fam with pieces on his blog (interestingly, the title is a play on a book by Barack Obama called 'The Audacity of Hope'), and the kid Notion got his lil feature on right here.
Check out World Domi-NoTiOn on The Audacity of Dope (download that bitch!); and while you're at it, check out the rest of the blog. It's a heater.
Shouts to the homie DJ Hyphen for this one. Not only did he generously have us on his popular show, Sunday Night Sound Sessions, in Seattle when The Fam was in town, but Hyph done went and posted our mixtapes for DL to show some more love. Respect.
Check out The Soul Movement Volume 2 on The Audacity of Dope; and while you're at it, check out the rest of the blog. It's a heater.
The Movement Fam's US trip in September/October is gonna be featuring a fair bit on this blog, I dare say. So much came out of it, it's crazy. Still trying to finalise everything, but we'll keep y'all posted. Video blogs coming soon as well!
Anyway, we were lucky enough to be able to spend some time with an awesome cat by the name of DJ Hyphen in the wonderful city of Seattle, WA, and he invited us along to appear on his famous Sunday Night Sound Sessions show on KUBE 93 FM, the major 'urban' (for lack of a better word) station in Sea-Town. Hyph and co-host J. Moore had us in the studio all night, played a track from Notion's mixtape and interviewed us all. Check out the link below to Hyphen's blog with all the info, plus a download of the show.
Also, keep checking 'The Audacity Of Dope' as it's a mad interesting blog, with a lotta great music and cool shit. The image is a link to it, and we have a link to it to your right. Holla.