How to foster your local music community, according to an indie label 

“To me and Third Eye Stimuli, networking is just collaborating with the people around you in an authentic way and getting to know people in your community, finding those like-minded people and seeing how you can really help each other.” 

That’s Josh White from Third Eye Stimuli Records, a Sydney-based indie label trading in all things psych rock, garage, and DIY. Last night he phoned into Collaborating and Networking, an online workshop presented by Happy Mag and City of Sydney, to drop a few pearls of wisdom on what it means to collaborate as a young or emerging musician.

josh white third eye stimuli collaborating and networking
Rick Snowden (left) and Josh White (right) of Third Eye Stimuli. Photo: Nick Pont

Everything about running an indie label is about forging a community around your artists. We speak to Third Eye Stimuli for some Collaborating and Networking tips for young musos.

During the workshop White covered a few important topics, from what exactly networking and collaborating is to how best to approach these ideas as a musician.

“For me the most important aspects of networking… there’s probably a few but I’d say my foremost is would be genuity and getting to know people around you authentically. You know, you go to gigs because you love going to shows, and you meet people in bands and in the music industry because you’re really just interested in what they’re up to and who they are.”

“That’s how authentic connections come about, and good things come from those interactions.” 

In the music and arts spheres, the importance of being authentic can’t be understated. This is an industry where the most public figures are spelling out the intimate details of their lives to thousands of fans, so it goes without saying that honest connections are often the most valuable.

One aspect of Third Eye Stimuli many fans admire is how much it feels like a natural community; their shows feel like reunions with a few friends you haven’t seen for a while, as well as a place where you’ll likely meet a few new people you’ll click with.

From those regular shows to more considered events like King Street Crawl, White was able to shed some light on how his label gets it done:

“Obviously community is really important to us and we’re always looking for new ways to engage the community – also to cultivate it and create something new for people to get involved in. For us shows are really important, we’re really public-facing and we love meeting people and interacting in that way. So we put on album launches for bands when we’re putting out records and help organise their tours, and we’ll generally go along to the tours because we just love going… hanging out.”

“Then we also put on an annual showcase every year – well, for the last three years we’ve done it – for King Street Crawl, and that’s always massive and lots of fun, I feel like we meet a whole lot of people every time we do it. But I think overall the way that we’ve created community is really just being friends with the people we meet, just letting that kind of relationship organically grow.” 

Third Eye Stimuli Records
Photo: Third Eye Stimuli Records

Once you’ve nailed down a few friends or other contacts, you’ll want to actually start working with them – often the most rewarding part! According to Josh, and many, many others in the music industry, collaboration is an essential part of any musician’s career.

“I think collaborators are super important for emerging musicians, and I think they’re still important all the way through their career. You know, if you’re just starting out as a band for example, hopefully you’ve got a few friends that are photographers or videographers or graphic designers, or maybe they work in the music industry… I know some band that have friends that have become their manager and that becomes a really great relationship for them. Or maybe they help you book your tours or your shows.”

“And yeah, things might start out where none of you are really making any money, but you do it for the love of it and you trade with each other any way you can, whether that’s just kindness or you know, whatever. And eventually if you help each other out, hopefully you can start generating some money for each other.”

Collaborating is a two-way street, as a golden rule. As a musician it can often feel like you’re the centrepiece of your project – it’s your face on stage, after all. But in reality, most musicians are held up by a close legion of supporters; coworkers and collaborators who help them with the business end of their art, their visual identity, management, or anything in between.

As a musician your collaborators are some of your most valuable assets, so hold them close and respect their work.

“I think most importantly if you’re collaborating with people as a band, maybe you’re working with a photographer or a video maker and they shoot some PR photos for you or a video clip, you want to make sure that you give them a good shoutout on socials. Or if you have any articles online or anything like that, making sure that they get credited so that people can discover them. I think overall it’s just about really being supportive of each other and getting ahead.” 


To find out more about Third Eye Stimuli, check them out on Bandcamp here.

The Collaborating and Networking workshop was part of Building Your Creative Community, a series presented by Happy Mag and City of Sydney. Find out more here.