- HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Flat white. Keep it easy.
- HOW DO YOU EARN A CRUST?
I’m working on a few things at once right now – a new bar business called Dead East Bar Co, while still selling the odd painting and taking photos.
- HOW DID YOUR CAREER BEGIN?
A few years out of school, after the obligatory stints in hospitality and retail I started a music touring and events company with a good friend, Sam, in Brisbane. We were really passionate about bringing great music to Brisbane. At that time our city felt like a forgotten space. A lot of tours seemed only interested in playing in Sydney and Melbourne. In time, our office space also turned into an art gallery on the weekends and we felt the same when it came to great artists exhibiting in our town. After 5 or so years we went our separate ways – Sam to music management and I continued on the gallery path with Mild Manners, a temporary exhibition space showing work across Australia’s east coast, Tokyo and Los Angeles. Over this time I’d continued to do some work in hospitality too – consulting a few friends on opening venues etc. When my wife Jules and daughter Dee Dee moved back to Northern NSW in mid 2016 I saw a few opportunities for a new business. That’s where the idea for Dead East Bar Co was born.
- WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Morning is for family and ideas. Usually kicked off with an ocean swim, then that flat white. I heard a really great conversation on ABC radio a few years back that touched on most of us having our best ideas and creative flow early morning, I’ve put that into practice and generally keep emails and admin to after lunch. Given the nature of a new business, I’m also working on developing relationships with plenty of new suppliers. If it’s an event day there is a lot of prep too – making fresh syrups and mixes for the night’s cocktails. Didn’t think I’d ever be back on the bar tools but I’ve got to say, I’m loving it!
- TELL US ABOUT YOUR DEAD EAST, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DREAMING IT UP?
It wasn’t until mid last year that we kicked things off, but once it started the business has grown really quickly. Basically, we offer bar and staff solutions for weddings, events, openings, birthdays even bar mitzvahs! We also work alongside a couple of the great caterers in the region allowing them to focus on good food while we push the good drinks!
- WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST EYE-OPENER FOR YOU WHEN OPENING UP SHOP?
I’ve been pushing hard on the networking front, trying to get word out there with what we’re up to. You’ve gotta want it!
- WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO REMEDY WHEN YOU’RE STUCK IN A CREATIVE RUT?
Step away from the work for a while. Go and do something else, have a swim or surf. Crack a wine if you need. Just like those times when you know someones name, it’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t bloody remember it – as soon as you do something else it’ll come to you.
- HOW DO YOU WRAP UP YOUR WEEK?
For most people, the end of the week seems to be the start of mine these days. It normally consists of a whole lotta cocktail prep before working a couple of different events over the weekend. It means weekdays are a little more flexible which is nice.
- WHO ARE YOUR CREATIVE HEROES?
My good pal and incredible artist, Paul McNeil. I’ve never met anyone who has more ideas than him. Paul is responsible for Dead East’s name and also logo/branding. I love what he does, simple but oh so effective. Max Doyle – Rad dad, photographer, director, musician, a jack of all trades really. Tristan Ceddia – graphic designer and branding mastermind. My lovely wife Julia. – her true talent lies in brainstorming the most amazing TV advertisements. I just think for the most part they’d be too controversial to make airtime.
- NEXT ADVENTURE OR PROJECT YOU CAN SHARE?
Tasmania with Paul (aforementioned hero) to do some ‘research’ on new natural wines. Then Spain and Portugal with my wife and bub mid year.
- WHAT IS ONE LESSON YOUR BUSINESS HAS TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE?
I said it once, I’ll say it again. You’ve gotta want it!
Photos thanks to Dead East Bar Co. and Bridget Wood.