An Australian National University student has launched his own record label with the aim of providing emerging artists with an opportunity to share their music with the world, all out of his own pocket.
Twenty-one-year-old Billy Bianchini started the label, warm water. to give up-and-coming local artists some much-needed love but to also help keep Canberra’s music scene afloat.
“If you are a band in Canberra, you either do it just for a bit of fun or you buckle down and work for years to get discovered by somebody or a label in Melbourne or Sydney,” he said. “If you do all this hard work and get really good, you leave Canberra to pursue better opportunities.
“I have always wanted to do something like this and I have a real passion for recording. I just want to help out the Canberra music scene because Canberra has such an incredible music scene but it never sees anywhere but Canberra.”
Bianchini and his friend Steph volunteer their time and energy to help kickstart careers by recording bands’ music in ANU’s recording studio, mixing songs, distributing and advertising music, managing finances, booking gigs, setting up launch parties and promoting music.
Bianchini is studying full time, working two part-time jobs to pay the bills and running his own label, all out of his own pocket. He does not charge his six artists anything.
So why does he do it?
“The more I do stuff with the label, the more I realise how handy something like this is for bands,” he said. “There is this perception that if you sign to a label that you have sold your soul because they will exploit you.
“I think it is very important to change that narrative. At the end of the day, I am here to give musicians more time to do what they are really good at. I just want to team up with good bands and help them get success in this industry.
“I know that if I stand by my morals and do right by these artists, the money will come, and even if it doesn’t, I know I’ve done everything I can to make the Canberra music scene a better place.”
Coming from a very musical background and studying at the ANU School of Music, he loves to perform in front of a crowd but has decided to give up his place to help others receive the attention and spotlight they deserve.
“I was gigging around in Canberra and I loved playing but you are constantly waiting for a bigger stage and you are waiting for someone to come up to you and say they like what you are doing,” he said. “So I decided I would be that person and now I get more joy being the person offering that opportunity to artists.
“And now I can be a part of the band’s success, which is amazing.”
Slagatha Christie, Small Talk, Peach Lane, Nick&Ned + The Boogieboards, Lady Denman and An Inconvenient Groove have all signed with warm water., all bringing a different voice to Canberra’s music scene.
“I want to showcase what Canberra has because it is criminal that to be a successful band in Canberra you have to move interstate,” he said. “I think Canberra can be one of those places where people come for the music, so we just need to create the options here and create something special here that will make people want to come to us.”