We keep hearing how “rock is dead”, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s alive and well.
Better than that, it’s thriving!
Its in our pubs and clubs on a nightly basis, it’s blasting out of cars at traffic lights, it’s everywhere, and damn, it feels good!
There are more than a few people out there, who help the local Australian scene, tirelessly working in their own time, to shine a spotlight on the music they love – often with little to no financial gain. That’s called passion – raw and unbridled, and only a select few people consistently deliver on that passion. Karen Andrews is one of the true local heroes. Here, Greg chats to Karen about her work with MMK, what keeps her going, and the possibility of expanding outside of Queensland.
When did you get the idea to put the Prince of Wales gigs together?
I came across the POW in 2012, when I first came to Brisbane and was looking for a venue to launch the business model of MMK Music Promotions.
After many years putting events together as a hobby in Far Nth Qld, I moved to Brisbane and I enrolled to do a cert 4 in small business at Toowong, and started running bands in Nov of 2012 out of the Prince of Wales. The shows ran for 2 years before moving on to a bigger premises in 2014 at Indooroopilly Hotel.
I was approached by management at the Prince of Wales in 2018 to run events again in 2019, and have been putting shows together for local and touring artists since.
You put some epic shows. together – they flow really well. How do you go about choosing the bands for an event?
Bands approach me online via social media, and I am also sent many bands from the people that follow the MMK Music Promotions page on facebook. I receive many emails from bands who show interest in playing the shows and then I set about finding the common element that would make for an entertaining night of live music. I always research the music of each artist and then go about putting together a line up.
How do you decide on the order in which they play?
Order is not always about who has been about longer or who has the most likes on Facebook. It’s all about how the music will flow on the night, and I don’t do the status thing that has been around for years making the headline band the most recognized. No status bullshit here – it’s all about the music.
What makes a good live band?
Stage presence is important. Bands who make an effort stand out. Well rehearsed and tight on the night. Attitude is everything in this industry and connection with their audience will set many bands apart from others.
Why do you put these gigs together?
Good question.. I ask myself that a lot when some events are more difficult than others.
I put them together to help out the emerging bands and the debut bands that are out there wanting to play to their fans, and spread their music to others in a live capacity instead of just via apps like Spotify etc. You can’t download the experience of a live performance and the energy that it brings.
What do you see as threats to live music?
When I was a lot younger it was noise complaints and DJ’s and excessive drinking causing issues that threatened the live music in the 80’s.
First it was Poker machines, and the no smoking laws in venues and now the internet keeps people at home where they can access everything they need. You can now order a meal to your door through many apps and stay in and drink cheaper from the comfort of your own couch or bed.
I try to encourage people to get out to a show and experience the feeling of watching a band up close and personal, instead of a festival format or stadium. Attending the shows allows the punter to get to know the local musicians and see how much talent we have here in the South East Qld music scene.
People have become apathetic about going out and that makes it hard to keep these shows viable.
Supporting live music that is local is integral to keeping the local scene a happening thing.
Local bands have a lot to offer and MMK Music Promotions will continue to support Live Local Music.
As a parent of abundantly talented kids, what do you see as the benefits of playing an instrument?
It keeps them off the streets, and connects them with like minded people.
What are your favourite moments amongst the work that you do?
Meeting the many musicians that come through the doors of the POW.
Watching it all come together on the night and looking around seeing smiling faces and happy punters enjoying the music.
What are some favourite moments at concerts that you have attended?
Crowd surfing to Lamb of God at Soundwave and being caught in a mosh pit at the Blackening Tour (Machine Head } at Riverstage.. Alice Cooper was an awesome concert that bought back many memories of times when the music was very much part of my early youth.
Experiencing TOOL live at Big Day Out and Rage Against the Machine last show in Australia.
What advice do you have for folks in up and coming bands?
It can be hard work and bands now have to be skilled in many facets of the industry. Management and marketing your band to get recognized is left for many upcoming bands to do themselves.
Get the music out to as many platforms as possible and never loose sight of the fun element and why you are doing what you do always be true to your music.
What do you see as trends in the music industry?
The industry trends are always changing I can’t even keep up. There is something for everyone out there and trends will always come and go.
What are the chances we will see MMK expand into other states?
I am taking two bands to Newcastle and Sydney in April, and looking forward to getting them outside of QLD. Who knows what could come from this. Newcastle has always been good supporters of Live music.
Has there ever been a time where you’ve considered giving up?
Many times, and I have done so before.
What keeps you going?
The thrill of finding a new band with kick ass music that I want to share to the many followers.
You are flat out a lot. What do you do when you have a moment?
I work a day job that takes all my physical energy and MMK takes a lot of my time when home, downtime is rare and is usually spent sitting on my deck staring into space contemplating how much the times have changed .
I love getting close to the ocean and taking in the salt air and hearing the sounds of nature, hiking with my camera in hand of course.
How can people give you a hand?
People can help by attending a show or spreading the word amongst their friends about events that are happening.
Where can we find information about your events?
All events are listed on the events section on Facebook on the MMK Music Promotions Page.
Events are also promoted on the MMK Street Team page.
And there’s also the website- www.mmkmusicoz.com