Artist of the Month: Brett Voss

Where did your band name come from?

Well I used to work under the name Starbug with a range of floating players coming in for sessions or gigs, depending on what was going on. In 2010 I decided to move towards putting out some solo material so hence I started to go under my own name then.

Who’s in the band? How did you meet and when did you get together?

At various stages there have been a number of players involved in my projects. Mostly it’s me writing, singing and playing guitar and producing/ engineering as well. On my last release there was a drummer and bass player involved in the session (Billy Bakos and Alan Smith), as well as keys (Steve Legge) and slide guitar (Ross Williams).

What’s your musical background? When did you start playing?

My parents were both musical running a retail and teaching business, with involvement in music theatre as well. So I’ve been involved in music most of my life. I played in a number of bands in North Queensland before moving to Brisbane in the early 90’s. Then my brothers Craig and Dale and I started a band called Lemola Bust and later Filter playing in the indie grunge scene at the time. In the late 90’s I started Starbug and worked on a number of releases, with a range of different players. These days I work at the Queensland Conservatorium running the recording studios and making music in my spare time.

Has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

Most definitely it has changed a lot over the years. In the early days of Filter it was grunge influenced pop and this moved into a more power pop indie guitar sound with Starbug’s All Over Again EP in 2003. My solo releases seemed to have mellowed a lot, and the collaboration with Steve Legge on the 2010 EP Falling Forwards really completely moved the sound in another direction entirely. Steve’s keyboard skills really changed “my sound” quite a lot. I’m currently working on a track that’s quite country… Though where I head in the future is really a burning question in my mind!

What is your creative process?

I have tended to write material or get ideas down on acoustic guitar and then start working on some pre-production before getting other people involved in sessions where needed. Though in the past I’ve written songs while demoing and getting inspiration for the song that way.

Does your music convey a message?

Sometimes… often they are just reflections of things that have happened to me.

Who are your musical influences?

Well this is tricky… I’ve listened to so much music and had a variety of influences. Being a child of the 80’s all of the pop music from that era… then a lot of indie rock from the Australian scene of that time The Church, Hoodoo Gurus e.t.c Crowded House were inspirational when they were around. These days I listen to Josh Pyke, Coldplay, Gotye, Birds of Tokyo… a whole range of material. Then again in the early days I listened to a lot of Kiss, Aerosmith, The Cult. Then there are the classics like the Beatles, The Stones and Led Zepplin. So you see what I mean?

How do you promote your music?

Mostly through on-line channels like Facebook, Reverbnation, and once upon a time My Space (though I still have a profile there somewhere!)

What live performance experience have you had?

I’ve performed live a lot over the years… Started out in covers bands playing around North Queensland, then started writing more original material and playing that around the country. Lemola Bust and Filter were regular fixtures around the Brisbane scene in the early 90’s playing a lot of shows at the usual venues of that era. Starbug gigged sporadically mostly because there wasn’t a consistent lineup but played a number of shows during that era. After all of that my brother Dale and I started doing a lot of acoustic duo work around the pubs and clubs… These days it’s been less frequent though I have some plans to start doing more in 2015!

Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you have a set play list?

No set play list so it really depends on the show and what the focus is…

What has been your biggest highlight in the music industry?

Releasing my solo EP was a milestone… there have been some memorable gigs over the years. However I feel the best is still yet to come.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s ever happened to your band?

Well I have some interesting stories from over the years. Probably some of the situations that I’ve viewed over the years would be the things that stick in my mind. Sharing rehearsal facilities with the next big thing was interesting… as well as meeting and working with many people in the industry over the years.

If you had a time travel machine where would you go?

I think I’d go to the Cavern in 1963… that would be quite interesting.

What has been your biggest challenge in the music industry?

These days it’s finding the time to write…

What are your long-term goals as a musician?

I’d like to one day find the time to complete an album of solo material and play that material live around the country.

Are you planning to release a new album anytime soon?

Well that’s the question… I’ve just set up a new writing space and my home studio is growing. So watch this space…

Do you have any tips for music marketing?

Momentum is really important for a music career… this involves a lot of planning and scheduling. There are a lot more nuts and bolts in this industry than most of the outsiders suspect. So being organized and having a schedule is really important. You need to be constantly looking at where you’re going to be in 12 months time.

Where can we hear your tunes online?