Narrative Reflection

Re-membering: The commonly used therapeutic practice that provides “opportunities for people to re-engage with experiences of their life which would otherwise remain neglected.” (Russell & Carey, 2000).

For the past year and a half I have been working with AUD’$, a Hip-hop music publication based in Melbourne, Australia. Reflecting back on when I first started, it was a massive change to the journalistic work that I was used to producing. At the time, I was starting my second year studying a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Communications & Media, so I felt as though I had this pre-conceived, stagnant and somewhat outdated and vague understanding of journalism.

Working with the small team at AUD’$, I began to develop a better understanding of my writing and the nuanced future and flexibility of journalism in the Australian music industry. While this isn’t the main change I’ll be detailing in this narrative reflection, I think it’s important to note that this was the first time I noticed the difference between what I was told working in journalism was like to what it actually entailed.

Prior to spending nine weeks stuck inside my house for lockdown, I was able to visit the AUD’$ team at our studio and office space in Melbourne. On my first day physically working alongside them, we started with a morning debrief where we outline our individual and group objectives for the day/week, say something we’re grateful for or that we recently learnt, and check on everyone’s mental health and personal life. Before this, all of the journalistic work I had done was online and, although we compromised with Zoom meetings, texts and calls, there lacked that physically energy you get when face to face. Starting my morning of work like this really aligned with my constant to-do lists and monthly planners, but also made time and space to talk about important topics like mental health which is something I forget to check on when working independently. Experiencing that change from isolated and independent online work to more interpersonal and physical work is the main change that I’d like to connect to narrative self-development in relation to my professional values.

Michael White’s theory of the ‘absent but implicit’ refers to the meaning we take from experiences, through the comparison and contrast of previous experiences (Carey, 2000). This approach to narrative storytelling allows individuals to reflect on the stories we retell to uncover its deeper and unspoken personal value and meaning. Instead of focusing on the problems, failures or pain of an experience, individuals are able to enter a gateway to the realm of experience where “people’s most cherished hopes, aspirations, and commitments live and breathe,” (Freedman, 2020).

Through this lens of narrative storytelling thinking, I can understand that I value the flexibility that working by distance provides me, however, physically interacting with co-workers and clients is an invaluable experience that cannot be replicated online. Another value that I think I highlighted in my story is the importance of community and family building in a workplace. AUD’$ is a relatively small team so it’s easier to build this rapport, but it’s still something I value highly. Allocating time to interact as friends instead of co-workers and providing a platform to discuss our personal well-being created a welcoming, motivating and comfortable environment for me to work in, and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.

Reflecting back, I can now acknowledge a time when I demonstrated the importance of these values to me in a professional setting. About two months ago, I received a job offer from one of the biggest companies within my field. The reason I chose to decline the role was because I value the experiences I’ve had at AUD’$ and despite the pros to accepting this job, it didn’t align with my professional values.

The process of self-reflection through Michael White’s work has enabled me to understand the importance of storytelling in learning the discussed and implied values of ourselves and others. In regards to my future of work, having an enriched understanding of my professional values has provided me with a clearer roadmap to my career and has proved vital in achieving a deepened sense of professional identity and a balance between a healthy mental well-being and a rewarding and fulfilling career (Carey, 2002).

Frank Tremain.



The Only Skill You’ll Ever Need

“My best skill was that I was coachable, I was a sponge and aggressive to learn.” – Michael Jordan.

For those unfamiliar, my name is Frank Tremain and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Communications and Media. By the end of the semester, I will graduate with my degree and major in Journalism and minor in Digital and Social Media.

Throughout my tertiary education, I have worked in the Australian music industry as a writer, curator and social media manager for AUD’$. There are countless necessary and invaluable skills I’ve learnt throughout my career but the most important one is the skill to consistently adapt, improve and learn.

Possessing the skill of being ‘coachable’ has allowed me to take on new challenges, learn and improve on the go and create opportunities for myself that I initially didn’t think I deserved or could do. What I’ve found most beneficial though, is that this skill has given me an advantage over my competition and it’s inspired by a quote from former MLB star, Derek Jeter:

“There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do – and I believe that.”

The skill of being coachable demonstrates an unwavering obsession with learning that I think is one of the most important values in life. We always hear that we never stop learning, and while this is true, it doesn’t mean we’re always willing to learn. By willing to learn and wanting to improve, I don’t see a ceiling to my ideas or aspirations, and that’s exciting.

As I now begin to venture into the workforce without university next year, I will continue to place this skill at the forefront of my arsenal.

PSA. My blogs won’t usually have this many sports references/quotes. For that, follow Jed.

Frank Tremain.

The Silver Linings of COVID-19 & Australia’s Music Industry

Image Supplied: Reyko.

In the 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census, the Victorian capital was revealed to house more live music venues per capita than any other city in the world. Better than London (1 per 34,350), New York (1 per 18,554) and LA (1 per 19,607), Melbourne had one venue per 9,503 residents. Not only that, but the study also estimated that the 73,000+ annual live gigs across Melbourne in 2017 had created 18,331 part-time jobs for musicians, DJs, venue staff, production staff and security personnel.

Yet fast forward to today and Victoria has experienced four state lockdowns and contributed to 68 per cent of the countries COVID cases with more than 26,000 jobs lost in the Victorian Arts and Recreational Services sector from February to August. Melbourne, like the rest of the world, continue to endure the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the thousands of Melbourne creatives impacted by the pandemic is artist and producer, Reyko (stylized as REYKO!).

Before the first lockdown, Reyko and his Hip-hop collective New Wave Infinity ambitiously invited 60 local artists and producers to collaborate on their debut project, All CornersRecorded across the first week of 2020, Reyko spent the remainder of the year in lockdown, mixing and mastering the collaborative album and beginning to record his debut solo EP, BEHIND TIRED EYES

Image Supplied: Nick Rae.

The streaming profits from All Corners were donated to The Healing Foundation, a charity that supports Stolen Generation survivors, families and their communities. Though with the inability to tour and gig, Reyko’s livelihood as a musician was severely affected and the Melbourne creative was forced to adapt to the indefinite challenges of COVID-19 and reconsider his career approach.

In the initial stages of Melbourne’s first lockdown, New Wave Infinity member and music video director Nick Rae felt the music community showed unprecedented support towards one another.

“We had some really cool stuff like there was this movement where everyone would start to share each other’s stuff and their profiles and pushing the message of supporting creators. We started to think outside the box on how we can keep this movement going but as we progressed weeks later I think we saw a shift in general people becoming far more isolated and normalised to that concept.”

As more lockdowns followed, and the Australian music industry remained vulnerable, Nick Rae shared his experience post-lockdown in an Instagram post detailing the impact of the pandemic on his mental health and career as a videographer.

“I felt like I fell on my face after lockdown because I had normalised myself to this routine that suddenly changed and there were these expectations to go and now socialise and go work and it took me a long time to adapt back to that,” Rae said.

According to a recent study by RMIT University, the Melbourne lockdowns incited a loss of routine and heavily impacted their mental health issues and opportunities to network. Despite the radical change in livelihood, Rae reflects on his time during lockdown as the beginning of a new chapter in his career.

“Previously, my process was to just film shit that looked cool and smash out videos as much as I could. In lockdown, I got more invested in the art and I looked far more deeper into analysing paintings and visual artwork. I realised I need to be more selective with what I capture, and curate it in a sense that so much more is said in so much less time,” Rae said.

“I feel like I’ve established the seeds of a stronger brand, refined my process and become more open as an artist and that’s what I kind of got from lockdown that I’m still incorporating into my work.”

Outside of their own work, Nick Rae recognises the silver linings COVID-19 presents to the Australian music industry, indicating that the pandemic has reshaped how artists market themselves and instilled a stronger appreciation for collaboration and independency.

“A lot of these artists have home studios that wouldn’t have existed 10-20 years ago and a lot of artists would’ve halted completely. But because we have access to that, a lot of people have created a new catalogue. From what I’ve seen from my bookings and artists reaching out to me, a lot of them have explored different sounds and have tried to drastically tried to increase their sound and branding. They made so much improvement in such a short amount of time.”

Sharing the same sentiment, Reyko believes creatives will approach their future in the industry with a higher regard for time and opportunity.

“People are just realising that the lost opportunities of last year are now facing them directly and they have to take it. It’s really good, as bad as everything was, it’s been a wake up call for a lot of people.”

Frank Tremain.

Implications of COVID-19 on the Australian Music Industry

In 2019, Hip-hop in Australia was entering a new era as the perception of ‘Aussie Hip-hop’ began to be more widely challenged by the success of new styles, trends and faces in the scene.

Chillinit and Nerve solidified Grime’s influence on the scene, Drill began to take dominance with ONEFOUR and Hp Boyz leading the way, and The Kid Laroi released his debut label single ‘Let Her Go’, setting him on an unprecedented trajectory for international success.

Image: Danny Howe/Unsplash.

Owner of Melbourne’s Marshall Street Studios, Bennett Ferguson, attributes the success of local Hip-hop in 2019 to the work from artists in the last decade, who gained national recognition and challenged unflattering stereotypes of the genre.

“2019 was when a lot of things started to break out and do big numbers but I think that’s a culmination of what happened in the ten years before it. That’s just when time meets opportunity and the right group dropped the right track,” Ferguson said.

There was no telling the height local Hip-hop was beginning to reach, but on January 25th 2020, its projection was stunted by the announcement of Australia’s first four cases of COVID-19.

By the end of March, community transmission increased significantly and the Australian government shut their borders to non-residents, closed non-essential services and introduced lockdown restrictions. Melbourne in particular, was hit the hardest by the pandemic, with lockdown restrictions being reinstated throughout the months of winter, the start of the new year, and now, during June of 2021, their lockdown has been extended for a further seven days.

Dr Catherine Strong and Dr Fabian Cannizzo from RMIT University investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry in their research paper, ‘Understanding Challenges To The Victorian Music Industry During COVID-19’. According to the study, “the impact of this on musicians, venue owners and operators, road crews and production companies, and associated professionals and personnel from managers to PR to labels and beyond, was immediate and devastating.”

Key Findings:

  • 44 per cent of respondents lost all their music-related work in the pandemic, with those in full-time employment dropping from 34 per cent to seven per cent.
  • 57 per cent of respondents were worried about paying for basics like food and rent
  • More than 80 per cent of respondents thought their involvement in the music industry would be different post COVID-19, with almost three in five considering leaving the industry all together

Source: RMIT University.

Image: Jon Tyson/Unsplash.

AUD’$ editor Matthew Craig describes the “domino effect” caused by the initial cancellation of live music.

“If they’re not having shows they’re not having advertisement and that impacts us. It just impacts down the supply chain. This whole industry is so reliant on the live sector,” Craig said.

Although the full extent of COVID’s impact is yet to be revealed, I Lost My Gig Australia, an initiative by the Australian Music Industry Network and Australian Festival Association, has recorded a total revenue loss of $345 million. In their follow-up survey with 1,556 participants, 66 per cent of respondents had received no other targeted industry support outside of JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

Craig believes the governmental support to creative arts in Australia has always been treated second-rate to sport.

“NSW starting putting on their own lineups competing with private enterprises who are already doing the same thing. So not only was it no shows but now you can return to shows with restrictions and compete with the government who are putting on shows,” Craig said.

WhatsLively is a live music culture and discovery entity dedicated to bringing more eyes on live music in Australia. Co-founder Trishanth Chandrahasan agrees that the support from the government has been underwhelming.

“JobKeeper has kept people afloat but that’s all its really doing, it’s not helping artists. I mean they get some form of it but they’re relying on shows to make money,” Chandrahasan said.

Despite the challenges faced from COVID, there have been a handful of silver linings in regards to the future of the Australian music industry. The innovation of artists has aided Hip-hop in Australia to continue globalising and evolving in diversity and popularity.

From the normalisation of local line-ups and online accessibility, to a greater respect for time and work/life balance, Chandrahasan believes the pandemic has also helped revolutionise live music.

“I think it’s going to play a large role in changing the way we buy tickets, the way we enter and also what happens during a gig. I think the ticket is going to hold more importance, before it was just your pass to get into a venue but I think now it’s going to be more linked to your identity so it’s going to have a bigger link to who you are.”

Frank Tremain.

Digital Artefact Contextual Report


For my BCM325 Digital Artefact, we were required to frame our topic with consideration to the future in the next 5, 10, 25 or 50 years. I wanted to create something of value for me following my graduation at the end of 2021. As I’ve already begun working in the Australian music industry, I decided to craft a five-year career plan that considered the short and long-term implications and the changing landscape of the Australian music industry.

I used Twitter to promote my articles and Canva to format the two YouTube videos that were embedded in Episode 1 and 2. The multi-media element added to both these episodes didn’t regurgitate the information in my blog but instead added an alternative angle to the topic. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to include a video for the third episode, but here’s a brief overview of the three WordPress blog posts:

  • Blog Post 1 used the SMART method of career planning to map out my future at AUD’$ as a music journalist.
  • Blog Post 2 ideated what role my clothing brand Moriboys will play in my career and investigated the relationship between streetwear fashion and Hip-hop.
  • Blog Post 3 examined the future technologies and trends in the Australian music industry.

Background Research

For the background research, I studied some of the work of my peers within the field including Ben Madden and Parry Tritsiniotis. These are two creatives in the industry whose work has demonstrated a strong public utility and who I think, are key players in elevating the Australian music industry through their journalistic work. In addition to examining my peers and their approaches, I also found three of the subject materials to be particularly useful for my project.

After the Singularity: A Talk with Ray Kurzweil (2002)

In Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity, he describes a new era of society that is a “merger between human intelligence and machine intelligence that is going to create something bigger than itself.” Although my DA doesn’t directly focus on this thought, there is a quote in his reflection of Singularity where he states, “We’re kind of like the pattern that water makes in a stream; you put a rock in there and you’ll see a little pattern. The water is changing every few milliseconds; if you come a second later, it’s completely different water molecules, but the pattern persists. Patterns are what have resonance. Ideas are patterns, technology is patterns. Even our basic existence as people is nothing but a pattern. Pattern recognition is the heart of human intelligence. Ninety-nine percent of our intelligence is our ability to recognise patterns.”

The notion of pattern recognition was incredibly useful to my DA that focused on Australian Hip-hop and career plans. By understanding the patterns of Hip-hop’s development in other countries, I was able to make educated predictions on the future of the scene. Similarly, it led me to research the SMART method of goal planning that followed a structured pattern in accomplishing my ideal career.

The Ecstasy of Communication – Jean Baudrillard (1987)

Jean Baudrillard’s The Ecstasy of Communication argues that society’s gaze is changing into an ecstasy of promiscuity, from the world of the object to the start of the hyper-reality, described as “the space of simulation.” Though my DA focuses on the medium-range future, I also detailed plans for both the short and long term. This paper, in particular, allowed me to reflect on the content that I produce for my career and how I should be aiming to create an immersive experience with my work. By doing so, my short-range future will benefit from consistent and quality content, my medium-range goals will hopefully be achieved quicker and the long-range future will feature a hyper-realistic niche of Hip-hop in Australia with a more active and international fanbase.

Making People Responsible – Wendell Bell (1997)

Wendell Bell’s Making People Responsible challenged the opinion I gained from After the Singularity and gave an important perspective on futurists’ roles and responsibilities. Although my DA is a career plan, it also attempted to predict the future of Hip-hop in Australia and its growing appeal to global audiences. Bell states, “futurists not only study images of the future held by various people in an effort to understand and explain their behaviour, they also investigate the process of image-making itself, encourage people to rigorously explore alternative images of the future, and construct images of the future themselves. In so doing, futurists aim to help people become more competent, effective, and responsible actors, both in their personal lives and in their organisational and societal roles.”

This resonated strongly and provided me with a stronger public utility as I began the DA to better understand my career trajectory in order to make more educated predictions on the future of the industry. By embodying Bell’s perception of a futurist, I hope to, for lack of a better phrase, ‘stay ahead of the competition’ and play a key role in the globalisation of Australian Hip-hop music.

Public Utility

Reflecting on my production timeline, I was able to accurately follow the actions accordingly. If I had the chance to re-do this DA, I would have created a more comprehensive production timeline with details on additional content that I should have made. This could’ve included Instagram, Reddit and Twitter posts related to my DA that would’ve increased my engagement and provided me with a stronger public utility.

The public utility of my DA is unfortunately one of its biggest weaknesses. Reflecting on my work, I limited myself to my WordPress, YouTube and Twitter audience that mainly consists of other UOW students. While they are included in my target audience, I recognise that I was somewhat unable to create a strong public utility for a larger audience. The primary utility that my DA holds is to myself, future employers and fans of Hip-hop in Australia, typically aged between 15-25 years old. While my engagement was less than ideal, I did find that my DA delivered on its public utility to myself and future employers as it provided me with a convincing career plan to follow in the final months of university and post-graduation. I recently applied to a PR/Management company in Sydney and managed to secure an interview as well. Though I’m waiting to hear back, my DA provided me with confidence and clarity heading into my application.

Despite the lack of engagement, the peer feedback loop from my pitch and beta helped me ideate new approaches to my DA. In particular, Rachel, who also focused her DA on her clothing brand, recommended some marketing articles that while were directly useful to Moriboys, also became applicable to the public persona side of my career as a music journalist. It was also suggested by another user to utilise Twitter more which is something I did for my third episode.


BCM325 has been extremely beneficial to my life after graduation as it has given me confidence in my aspirations and abilities, and my career plan is something I will frequently revise throughout my life. I will be entering my field with a concise career plan, a renewed perception of the future and an understanding of my responsibility as a futurist and the potential technologies and trends that will play a future in the Australian music industry.

Frank Tremain.

Career Planning: Future of the Australian Music Industry (Episode 3)

In this final episode of my digital artefact, I want to take a look at the exciting new technology and trends arising in the Australian music industry.

Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2019. Credit: Bluesfest/NME.

COVID-19 has had an undeniable and severe impact on the industry with a recorded loss of 345 million. Hip-hop, in particular, was on an impressive trajectory to reach new mainstream horizons, and although COVID-19 stunted this growth, Hip-hop in Australia has significantly developed during the pandemic.

To be the best creative I can be in the Australian music industry, it’s important for me to understand the development of future technologies and trends within the field. Here are a handful of the developments that are closely related to my future career plan and the subject materials of BCM325:

Virtual Reality

While virtual reality music videos aren’t necessarily ‘new’, its popularity could see a significant increase in the future of the music industry. The entrancing and immersive nature of VR could have endless possibilities for the future of not only music videos, but live performances as well. One of my favourite quotes from William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer describes cyberspace as “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation.” COVID-19 forced live performances to a halt and has encouraged events managers and artists alike to opt towards online performances. To ideate this to the extreme, the long range future of music festivals could be entirely virtual where even maybe one day, the technology reaches such an immersive point that we’re able to touch and feel things within the virtual reality, similar to what we’ve seen during the BCM325 screening of Ready Player One.

Journalism & Marketing

Journalism and marketing in the future of the music industry is already beginning to change in its format and execution. Speaking from my own experience, COVID-19 made Zoom a more popular tool for interviewing artists and working from home. Although, face to face interviews are still preferred and make it easier for interviewers to create a stronger relationship with their interviewees, Zoom has expanded the possibilities for myself and my peers at AUD’$. In regards to marketing, COVID-19 forced the world to become more dependable on the internet. Apps like TikTok has become a great avenue for artists to market their music through and for publications to broaden their audience. The pandemic has actually inspired me with the ideal approach to my career where I could work from home when needed and still achieve a similar result. Once restrictions are lifted further, I’ll be able to have a mix of online and in person work experiences. The future of music journalism and marketing is something I’m passionate to keep a close eye on to stay ahead of the competition and be able to quickly adapt to new trends.

AI Composers

Artificial Intelligence can be described as “how close or how well a computer can imitate or go beyond, when compared to human being.” AI technology is slowly starting to become utilised in music production with companies like Amper able to allow users to generate original compositions by setting limitations on genre, track length and instruments. Though I do believe AI will play a role in the future of music production, I find it unlikely that AI technology will be able to create music on its own, at least in the medium range future. Even if possible, I think the emotional drive of musicians and producers make it for AI to ever replicate.

Frank Tremain.

Future Career Planning

“People are coming to realise that they must take responsibility for the future, both for their own individual futures and collectively, for the shared future of all humankind” (Bell, 1997).

In my final year of university, I feel a responsibility to begin planning my future career path. Though I have started in the field I am passionate about, I feel a strong responsibility to continue this in a more well-researched manner to help the Australian Hip-hop scene reach an international level.

My BCM325 digital artefact will consist of a five-year career plan that will also investigate the future of music journalism and Hip-hop in Australia. Through analysing the history of Hip-hop and researching academic sources regarding career planning, I will be able to make future predictions and shape my career plan around this.

Frank Tremain.