Header photo credit: www.deanraphael.com

If incredible success stories of local legends like The Pierce Brothers, BONJAH, Winterbourne or Patrick James are anything to go by, taking your music to the streets can be a very smart career move.

Busking can for many be incredibly important, rewarding and life affirming experience. From BONJAH’s ability to survive as a new band off busking alone, to the Pierce Brothers selling over 30,000 CDS (and numerous tours) off the back of their busking success – it’s clear that if done right, busking can be one of the best career moves a musician can make.

Two relatively new up and comers Amistat and Sam Brittan have decided to follow the trail blazed by the previously mentioned performers. Brother Josef and Jan Prasil who make up Amistat moved after a period of travelling from Europe, to Melbourne to reunite from separate ends of the world in 2013 to rekindle their musical passions and perform on Melbourne’s streets. Talented Barossa Valley local Sam Brittan continues to busk between releasing records and touring nationally.

Gearing up to play a few shows together on Thursday the 18th June at Northcote Social Club (tickets here) and Friday the 19th June and The Wheatsheaf in Adelaide (tickets here) we chatted to the guys about their busking journeys and what busking has given them.

The Beginning

Amistat: “My twin brother Jan and I were born in a small town in Germany. We always had a passion for music but never really thought anything of it. After finishing studying in 2010 we both decided to take a year off and backpack through Australia.

Dad grew up in Sydney so we both have Australian passports and always wanted to visit his family over there. After coming back from Australia a year later Jan decided to become a golf professional. I decided to move to Melbourne and started working in hospitality.

Love Pierce Brothers?

Get the latest Pierce Brothers news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

After walking down the Bourke street mall one day having seen all these bands busk I decided to quit my job to start busking full time. I told Jan about it and a month later he decided to leave his golf career behind and move to Melbourne so we could together follow the passion for music.”

Sam Brittain: “I started out busking when I was about 19 years old. At the time it was just a simple and effective way to reach new people and try out new music on a completely foreign audience and see what’s clicked, and hopefully sell a cd or two and get some new people to my shows.”

Getting Paid To Practise

[include_post id=”419403″] Amistat: “Start of 2013 we began to perform as Amistat. As we didn’t have any connections and hardly any money, busking kind of enabled everything for us! Bourke street mall was the perfect spot for us and with the money we had saved we recorded our debut EP It’s Not Words end of 2013 and our current EP Somewhere Sometime last year.

For us busking is a great way to get your music out there and improve our skills, sort of a paid practise! Sitting at home writing songs, then taking them out there and playing them day in and day out in front of a different crowd quickly shows you what sort of songs are ready and good and which ones need some more work and don’t feel good.”

Sam Brittain: “The people I have met through busking the streets, shopping malls and market places all over the world have show incredible kindness and support for my music.”

How Busking Helped Shape Their Careers

Amistat: “Not speaking English for a first language and growing up in a country where English folk music isn’t really respected much it was very hard for us to find our own style and start writing our own stuff in English. Busking was a massive help in developing our sound and style.

It’s a very unique busking scene in Melbourne and we have met a lot of great people that have helped us to get to where we are now which we are very grateful for. Having never really busked anywhere else apart from Australia and Munich we can’t wait to be heading over to Europe end of June for our first tour over there.

Our plans for the rest of the year are coming back to Melbourne to record out debut album, which we will be realising and touring start of 2016.”

Sam Brittain: “Honestly I don’t know how I would ever sustain touring, writing and recording music without this simple, grassroots medium of connecting with new people everyday who love music. It had become a way of life, my passion and something I hope to do for a long time to come”

Sam Brittain & Amistat Shows

Thursday the 18th June
Northcote Social Club | Melbourne
(tickets here)

Friday the 19th June
The Wheatsheaf | Adelaide
(tickets here)

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine