Tony ‘Jack The Bear’ Mantz is one of the most prolific and respected recording engineers in the Australian music industry, having worked on numerous gold and platinum records, including releases by Silverchair, The Waifs, Kate Ceberano, and many more.

But as he admits in a video blog uploaded yesterday, he’s been left “a little bit wound up” by some of his recent clients. Apparently, some of them have forgotten the whole ‘art’ part of being an artist and are more interested in securing triple j airplay.

“I’ve been coming across lately quite a few clients, artists, people, who ask me a very similar question,” he says in the clip. “I don’t know why it’s come my way, but the question’s been, ‘Do you think this is going to be good enough for triple j? Do you think they’re gonna like this?'”

“Does it really fucking matter?” Mantz continues. “Does it really fucking matter if triple j, our national broadcaster, likes or doesn’t like your material?” Mantz then clarifies that he understands where bands are coming from.

“Now, I understand that you want to get your shit on the radio because it’s great exposure and I completely understand that and certainly having airplay on triple j is a very, very good thing to have,” the industry veteran admits.

“But when you set out making your art in the hope that they’re gonna like it, you’re looking for validation, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. You’re a musician, you’re an artist, that’s what you do.”

“Focus on being a trend-setter, not just being trendy,” Mantz urges. “I really admire and respect people who go out on a limb and say, ‘Fuck you, I’m gonna do it on my terms, my way, the way I want to do it.’ That’s what it’s about.”

As some readers will recall, a 2014 Fairfax article investigated claims that bands were altering their sound to secure airplay on triple j, with several anonymous musicians claiming they’d changed their sound to suit the station’s perceived genre preferences.

making music to try to fit in or make jjj's playlist is akin to pissing in the wind… true to you and your art x

Posted by Tony JacktheBear Mantz onTuesday, January 12, 2016

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