MOZA, Tina Arena, Paces and CXLOE chat the highs and lows of the music industry

Words by MOZA

Being in music full time has always been our dream, or at the very least part of it. Externally, our career choice is often viewed in the extreme. Either like we’re crazy or that we’re incredibly lucky to be able to do what we love every day.

In truth, it’s a mixed bag.

We wanted to discuss a few key aspects with some of our mates, not about the music, but just about being in this industry of ridiculous highs and lows. To shed a light on the realities for those not in the industry and share ways to cope with those who are part of the scene.

We chatted with Aria Award Hall of Famer and all around Queen, Tina Arena, electronic producer royalty and industry good-guy Paces, and up and coming alt-pop ass/door-kicker CXLOE.

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Hear it from the experts: Sydney duo MOZA chat to Tina Arena, Paces, and CXLOE about keeping your head screwed on in the music industry.

MOZA: How did we meet?

TINA ARENA: In the studio in Melbourne the day of recording the duet of Sorrento Moon with Dannii Minogue.

CXLOE: We met about ten years ago, when I came to your house to record a cover with a girl band I was in at the time! LOL.

PACES: We met at a writing camp in Sydney.

MOZA: Lord knows this industry is a roller coaster. Hectic highs and lows. We’ve played some of our best shows to a sold out crowd to then play covers in an empty pub the next night. What’s your favourite humbling back to earth story?

TINA ARENA: I still can’t believe that people come to my shows… I never really make the distinction between volumes of people attending, or not.

CXLOE: Oh there has been so many! The most vivid one I have would be playing at the Alison Wonderland Scarehouse show in Syd. I had been getting a lot of love from triple j, my song was on the radio and I was just over the moon with how my first song was going. This festival was the first festival I had played and so I wanted to start with a bang. All of my shows have more than just the musical element; we brought lights, dancers, visuals and MOZA was playing for me. Little did I know I was scheduled to play as the doors were opening so the only people in the crowd for my performance were my brother and sister, boyfriend and a few girlfriends. I am so grateful for this experience because not only was it my first show, it grounded me more than ever and showed me that the hard work was just beginning.

PACES: Yeah absolutely. Last weekend I played to 900 people on Friday, and then about 20 people (including my supports) on Saturday. There’s definitely no room for big egos in this job!

MOZA: Mental health hey. What a thing in this industry. We work in a studio with no windows, anywhere from 8-14 hours a day so we reset by going fishing. Sounds lame but it’s so chill and the opposite to a windowless studio. How do you reset and keep your head in check?

TINA ARENA: Get outdoors and back to basics. I’m a mum, so that gets you back to reality real quick… the simplest things in life ultimately matter at the end of the day.

CXLOE: Mental health is a scary one in the music industry. Creatives just feel so much and ride the highest highs and lowest lows. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life, so balance and boundaries are really important for me. I spend quite a bit of time in LA, so to keep my head in check I often go and find dog shelters to visit and walk dogs on my days off. I also try do as many hikes as I can, purely for the mental benefit. And lastly, hang out with my friends and just laugh, watch movies, eat our feelings etc.

PACES: At the end of each tour I go camping on the beach for a week on this island near where I live. It’s quite remote and there’s no reception there so you’re forced to switch off and reset. It’s so amazing. Just surfing, driving around on the beach, and eating burritos in the sand dunes. Also I exercise, meditate, and see a psychologist regularly to help keep my anxiety under control.

MOZA: Toby and I used to play in a folk/rock band together called The Blackbird Collective. We did okay, toured a few times after winning a band comp with a decent bit of prize money. I remember being up on stage with our band mates arm in arm as they announced us as the winners and the room erupted. It’s the favourite moment of my career. Bit random. But I just remember it so vividly. What’s your favourite moment of your career so far?

TINA ARENA: One of my favourite moments was the Arias hall of fame induction in 2015. For myself that moment meant that I could speak freely about the industry, which I obviously love, but feel that there are far too many inequalities. Also the sheer volume of music that is made available to people makes it difficult to financially exist.

CXLOE: I love that! It’s so true, some of the greatest moments can be so unassuming. My favourite moment of my career so far would be playing on Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles and seeing my dad in the audience. He flew all the way from Australia for a few days to watch the show. He has been my number one supporter for so long and I owe everything to him. I even gave him a shout out it was the best!

PACES: Definitely standing on stage at the end of my set at Splendour In The Grass next to Tkay, Guy Sebastian, and my two dancers Tessa and B. There was a blizzard of confetti in the air and I was just looking around at the crowd trying to get my head around it all. Madness.

MOZA: Success is subjective, we all know that by now. Those who work VERY hard in this industry achieve success, but by the time we do, what we call success has changed. Right now in this moment, what is success to you?

TINA ARENA: I’ve been fortunate to have been around pre-the digital world.  My story’s unique, I’m aware of that and don’t take it for granted. How do I define success? I define it by the fact that I’m still around… and that I’ve managed to survive.

CXLOE: I am realising this more and more everyday. I always thought success was to be played on the radio or to be signed by a major label. This couldn’t be further than what success is to me right now. Success to me is being happy. Finding that balance. To be a healthy creative with a sustainable lifestyle and mentality. NONE of that other shit is important. Cause if you don’t have this, you won’t be able to sustain a career in the music industry if your life depended on it.

PACES: It’s changed A LOT since when I started. But right now, success means making a decent living and getting to spend plenty of time with my family by doing the thing I love (which is making fun, weird, pop music).


MOZA’s latest single Right Words is out now.