Daydreams: Rabbit Radio
Billie Edwards sat down for a chat with Jariah Travan, 24 and Sarah McEwan, 22, the bright sparks behind the Gold Coast's source of independent music, Rabbit Radio.
Billie: So, tell me what you do?
Jariah: We run Rabbit Radio, which is the Gold Coast’s first and only independent station on the coast. Over time we’ve kind of moulded Rabbit into a music hub for all things music. We also run Shark Bar Sundays at Miami Tavern which is all about giving bands a place to play on the Gold Coast local bands the opportunity to connect with interstate bands and giving music lovers like ourselves somewhere to go every week to live music.
Billie: What brought you to the music industry/radio? Was it a process?
Jariah: I first got into the music industry as a writer. My first gig was working for FORTE and then Blank GC. While at uni I was searching for stations I could volunteer for and came across Rabbit. So I went in and became the programmer for the entire station and started my own show with a friend TOP 6 at 6 as a volunteer. This is how I met Sarah. I sat in with her to learn the ropes and we became gig buddies. About 8 months later I became the Music Director and Sarah and I took over the station. It’s been amazing to watch the station grow.
Sarah: I went to a concert when I was 12 called ‘Live Earth’ with artists like Paul Kelly and Wolfmother. From that very special concert I kinda felt like this was my place. I then started my own radio show in my home town of Port Macquarie at the age of 16. I moved
to the Gold Coast after school for uni and came across Rabbit Radio. I initially started off as a volunteer with my specialty show ‘Home Grown’ and then got offered the job as the Manager a year later. This was one huge learning experience that I’m super grateful for.
Billie: Recently Triple J released a study shining light on the gender gap within the Australian music industry in 2016 - considering festival lineups, radio play, music grants and women running record labels. The study shows there is a very long way to go before we achieve
gender equality, but when compared to the 2015 results - it showed some pretty encouraging progress. As women working in the music industry, what is your view? Do you feel like this is a male dominated industry, or can you feel a shift towards equality?
Jariah: I think there’s definitely a shift happening - a lot of people don’t see the women behind the curtain doing to the PR, management and booking like ourselves. A lot of people wouldn’t know on the Gold Coast that (the other venue I work at) Miami Marketta is run by a powerhouse of women. We’ve met so many amazing ladies just through emailing them, and have recently connected with women working in the industry interstate - like Bree from Inertia Music in Sydney and Shari from Secret Sounds in Melbourne. Literally just from chatting over emails and sharing music. It may be male-dominated now but there’s a change coming…You can see it and feel it, and I’m glad to be apart of it.
Sarah: At RR we work closely with a lot of women - a lot of them we have a sweet little email relationship with and they’re all amazing hard working legends! I think there is a shift for sure. It makes me extremely happy that people are noticing it more, and making it a topic of discussion. For people that don’t work in the industry and are just general punters, of course they’re going to think it’s a male dominated industry when that’s what they see first hand - as most line ups are male dominated. I agree with Jariah, that there’s more woman behind the curtain running the show then people might think.
Billie: The study also showed that there is a strong need for female role models in the music industry - as the encouragement and visibility of female artists can be a major barrier for women. I think you two are pretty inspiring female role models in the industry. Did you have any role models growing up?
Jariah: Growing up I didn’t really have a major role model but instead had a lot of people contribute to making me the person I am today. I have very fond memories of my mum dancing around the house to music when I was young. She had this massive massive CD case just filled with music - she loved gospel and blues.
Sarah: I have always had extremely supportive people and women around me - my sister and mum are major support systems. I have always loved Myf Warhurst...she’s one cool lady with endless amounts of industry knowledge. She’s confident in who she is and what she knows.
Billie: Best perk of the your job?
Sarah: I love that we can head along to gigs on a weekly basis and that be our job. Getting to discover new music and hearing it first feels pretty damn special.
Jariah: Being able to meet so many amazing musicians and creative minds. I love being able to bring music to the Goldy and be apart of growing something here. I agree with Sarah - going to gigs every weekend and having the opportunity to discover so much new music.
Billie: You’ve interviewed some pretty great people (my fave being King Gizzy). Best interview you’ve ever done?
Jariah: Aw man, that’s hard. If I had to - Dallas Green was definitely up there for me. I’ve loved City and Colour for years. I was shaking when I was doing it haha!
Sarah: Oh man it’s hard to even remember all of them, but when I got to speak to Peter from The Dandy Warhols I was very excited. We got to chat about his friendship with David Bowie, his involvement with the iconic music venue CBGB’s - which was super rad. He said he really enjoyed
the interview which left me with a cheesy grin on my face for the rest of the day.
Billie: Best gig?
Jariah: Black Sabbath at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre was absolutely insane!!! Tom Clufetos did a 20 minute drum solo. My mind was blown. Seeing the Gary Clark Jnr at Falls a couple of years ago almost brought tears to my eyes. It’s pretty hard to say, as we’ve gotten to go to so many amazing ones. Even King Gizzard and The Lizzard Wizard, who are sweeping the world right now - everytime I see them they blow my mind.
Sarah: I saw Bon Iver at the Opera House in 2012 and it was the most beautiful show and involved a few sneaky tears. And one year at Bluesfest Iggy Pop and Robert Plant played at the same time so I was running between stages to catch both an equal amount of their sets, luckily the stages aren’t too far away from each other at Blues, but man the running around was worth it. Also an honorable mention to Tame Impala, who I just absolutely love love love.
Billie: What inspires you?
Jariah: Being around inspiring people who have accomplished so much helps - like Sarah and the people I work with at Miami Marketta. The people who just want more and are always seeking more. Seeing the change that is happening in the industry around us and knowing we’ve played such a big part, I know we can do so much more and right now I just feel like I cant stop - the ball is rolling haha!
Sarah: Passionate people, it’s really important to surround yourself with people who build you up as an individual. I love seeing people who have a strong passion for something whether it be art, conversation, good food or whatever. Having a passion and drive in life is what I love to see and surround myself with!
Photographs and Interview by Billie Edwards
Sarah and Jariah are dressed in Tree of Life