Michael Chugg, Executive Chairman of Chugg Entertainment x Vinyl Mag
Michael Chugg has been called many things. Some of his most flattering titles portray him as a pioneer in the Australian music industry. He is admired, loathed, feared, and respected. One thing Chugg cannot be called is boring.
As Executive Chairman for Chugg Entertainment, he has toured such acts as Elton John, Keith Urban, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, St. Lucia, and countless others. Chugg’s musical career began back in the 1960’s. At age 15, he organized a dance in Tasmania. 300 people showed up, and he made a profit.
Today, Chugg is one of the most powerful men in the music industry, and a lot more than 300 people are dancing to the tunes he enlists for the stage. We recently got the incredible opportunity to talk with him about his upcoming showcase at SXSW 2014 and his illustrious career in the music industry.
VM: What can we expect from Chugg Music’s Official SX Showcase?
Michael Chugg: Some great music from Oz, Canada and Vegas, and lots of partying to celebrate my 50 years in Rock and Roll and the launch of our US label.
VM: Other than your showcase, what are you most excited for at SXSW 2014?
>MC: Seeing the thousands of people who I have gotten to know over the years and finding some hot new bands to take down under.
VM: You’ve coordinated a lot of festivals. What’s that like?
MC: We are lucky that we have involvement in some great festivals: Laneway, West Coast Blues n Roots and CMC Rocks the Hunter; it’s an intense experience covering all the bases and making sure both the fans and the bands have a great time with no stress.
VM: If you could do a festival right now with any artists living or dead, what three artists top your headliner list?
MC: Jimi Henrix, Janise Joplin and Nirvana.
VM: What’s your most memorable live performance experience?
MC: Too may to name one – Coldplay’s last stadium tour, ACDC last Australian tour, Robbie Williams in Sydney 2006, Bob Dylan Byron Bay Bluesfest.
VM: Can you tell me a little bit about your label expansion into the United States?
MC: We started Chugg Music two years ago and have had great success with Sheppard, The Griswolds, both of whom have just finished recording their first albums and will be around the Northern Hemisphere this summer; with Lime Cordiale, we decided to release the record ourselves, as we have built a great team of people who love working with us in the States, and the record is getting great reaction; they are wonderful live and should cause a stir at SXSW.
VM: You seem to have worked with every aspect of the music industry, from representation to promotion. What job was hardest? What was most fulfilling?
MC: Growing up doing something that is not a job far outweighs some of the downers you receive; my message is learn about every facet and then do what you love to do.
VM: Do you have a current touring act that most excites you?
MC: Lots. John Mayer is coming down to OZ soon, Robbie Williams is coming in September, Keith Urban this year…looking forward to some of the young acts we are bringing…Kodaline, the Temples, St Lucia.
VM: What genre of music tends to draw in the most crowds in Australia?
MC: All genres do well on varying levels in a market of 22,000,000.
VM: What’s the biggest difference in the music industry in Australia compared to the United States?
MCL It’s at the bottom of the earth, but the internet has really put us in real time; Australia is a great place to hone your trade.
VM: What excites you and keeps you motivated on a daily basis?
MC: Being alive and being part of an industry that continues to amaze.
VM: You’re a veteran in the music industry. What are your opinions on Spotify and some of the new ways music is now being consumed?
MC: I think any way you can get music to the people so the bands get known and get paid is a grand thing.
VM: Where do you see the industry in ten years?
MC: God knows, everything is moving so fast I don’t even know where it will be next year, but wherever it goes, we will be there.