Tell us about your business
Band on the Run Pte Ltd is a well-established live entertainment business that customises to client needs. We provide musical and fringe artists for all manners of events, end-to-end event production, and also offer a unique corporate team building product suite that is completely customisable and scalable. We are 12 years old and have established an excellent reputation in Singapore and beyond of meeting clients’ entertainment needs, large and small. Band on the Run is the company behind 10.seconds, the region’s top corporate party and the band that is excited to be the highlight performance at next year’s AustCham Australia Day Ball. In terms of our company the structure, Band on the Run Entertainment is the central vertical within Band on the Run Pte Ltd. Either side of that central “silo”, my amazing business partner, entertainment industry personality Kalliope Coplin, and I run our own business units. I will let Kalli tell you more about what she does, suffice to say that she is the leading early childhood education consultant in Singapore and an award-winning adjunct lecturer at AustCham sponsor James Cook University. On my side, I also run a content creation, copywriting and hosting business. It is why I came to this wonderful nation a lifetime ago. I have written and can write on any business and lifestyle topic, I was managing editor of Asian Legal Business, Human Resource Management, Asian Banking & Finance and helped launch the Singapore Business Review. A completely batsh*t crazy publishing mentor once told me that, “Understanding everything there is to know about the internal details of the commodities market for say Brazilian monkey nuts will naturally come, the talent is in communicating to an audience so as to seduce them into being unable to pull away from an otherwise dry topic.” So yes, if you want me to breathe life into your content – monkey nuts or otherwise – I’m here.
I wear many hats – more since 2020 reared its, shall we say ‘unusual’ head. In addition to what Simon has said about Band on the Run, I’ve been approached by a number of people to mentor and coach individuals in both vocals and stagecraft. I’m also an education consultant, trainer and lecturer at James Cook University and I’ve started a little home-baking business giving Aussies a taste of home with everything from meat pies and sausage rolls through to the newest hit… the Cherry Ripe slice!
What’s your role all about?
I’m am the co-founder of Band on the Run, along with Kalliope. Kalli needs no introduction to AustCham members – if you don’t know Kalli you didn’t get out enough! However, in terms of division of responsibilities within the partnership, Kalli is the celebrity front of the business, she also handles all marketing and social media, as well as the lion’s share of pre-event logistics and on-the-day production management. I handle the corporate finance (oversee billing, client contracts, etc), day-to-day operations and sales. Naturally given the fluid nature of our unique and wonderful partnership, there is a great deal of overlap. We really run the business together taking up slack and supporting each other where needs be.
Within Band on the Run Entertainment I am the company director as well as lead vocalist for our top-tier bands. On the mentoring and coaching side of things, my approach focuses on practical skills and tools to work on songs that people like and want to learn, developing technique as well as coaching performance and confidence so that its fun, meaningful and holistic. My students range from adults who want to work on either singing or speaking to 10 year olds who want to sing their favourite Billie Elish song. It’s great for overall confidence, projection, mental and physical health.
What’s the hot topic in your sector right now?
Hot topic? Cataclysmic disintegration of our economic sector. If we had a “hot topic” that fed into the revenue side of our ledger, we’d be laughing. Having said, Kalliope and I had built Band on the Run into a financially strong and stable business over the course of the last decade part of our BCP (not that anyone can pretend to have planned for this) was that we are able to scale down and indeed scale up operations extremely quickly. This is due to the fact that a normal year is extremely cyclical with several peaks and troughs so scaling and good forward planning is vital to smooth out that volatility in revenue to better match the more even demands in expenditure. Jokes aside, our hot topic is nothing other than when we can get back to stage and rely on the support of our clients in providing any opportunities that they can. We have brought professionalism, great memories and happiness to our clients over the years, and now we need their support more than ever.
The hot topic is when can we get back to work?!!! The events industry is working on alternative platforms to deliver entertainment for clients, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to find a substitute for the energy of live engagement – I really believe we all need this as humans. Having said that, we’ve been doing live-streaming sets for clients and the mentoring/coaching work I do also dove-tails nicely with this as people are looking for ways to feel more comfortable and confident with engaging clients, customers or colleagues on online platforms.
Why are you a member of AustCham in Singapore?
In short, the community. Many Australian expats are long-termers in Singapore. Kalliope and I have been here 18 years, and I can name quite a few members and friends that exceed that. There is a fundamental feeling in the Australian business diaspora that we are self-reliant, adventurous and keen to assist each other and forge partnerships. This sense of community is pure golddust to our business model. AustCham provides an environment where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Band on the Run is a reputational business, we rely heavily on our business matrix within and beyond the Australian community and we remain as passionate as ever about delivering a fantastic experience to our client (as and when we can) so that our clients build our network for us. Word of mouth is the greatest driver of organic growth for us.
I love the international environment and mindset, I have lived overseas for over 18 years now and Singapore is very much my home, my work and my social space. But my heart is still Australian. AustCham gives us the opportunity to engage with familiarity and community, and to support others in doing the same. Some of our best events have been with Australian companies and clients because we can connect with both the Australian culture as well as the international clients. The most amazing musicians and events people we work with at Band on the Run are Singaporean, Korean, Canadian, Japanese, Malaysian, and the internationalism we bring is anchored in our Australian humour and energy.
Where are your favourite places to perform in Singapore?
Our revenue is driven by medium-sized corporate events. These events are amazing, provide Kalliope and I with a great sense of satisfaction and the clients behind these events are long term clients that we partner with each year to devise and roll-out unique entertainment ideas and plans. They are our foundation. Large scale expat and association balls are some of the most exciting annual events – that feeling when you walk into a thousand-person ballroom at noon, shoulders laden with equipment, and the housekeeping aunties are steaming the tablecloths – you shut your eyes and envision the energy of the ballroom at 11 pm. That is why we do what we do. On the other side of the business, we have enjoyed a large number of residencies at all of Singapore’s top bars, clubs and live entertainment venues. A fantastic show at Brix (Grand Hyatt) where we were the house band for several contract periods or at our pre-pandemic residencies including the Le Noir Group, McGettigan’s or Muddy Murphy’s is hard to beat. We long to return to those nights where Kalliope has a full dancefloor in front of her, and the band is in full swing. The energy, connection and sense of bringing happiness to fans cannot be topped.
A highlight was definitely opening for Mondo Rock and Angry Anderson as part of the ANZAC 100 commemorations here in Singapore. It was an incredible night on the beach performing some of the greatest Australian music of all time. Over the years we have developed some true ‘home grounds’ that we love too: some amazing shows for clients at Dallas Bar and Restaurant, a residency at Le Noir Clarke Quay and MBS and of course we are REALLY looking forward to bringing it to the next AustCham Ball!
The restrictions on events would be having a huge impact on your business. How are you coping and how has your business model changed?
As alluded to a little earlier, we are highly scalable, so even though the effects of the Pandemic have been catastrophic on our revenue stream, we want all our clients to know that we are keeping our heads above water, surviving, healthy, happy and mobilised to meet client needs on a moment’s notice. We need you to all believe in us, see that we are edging to work with you and will really rely on your support in any way once Singapore’s entertainment industry opens back up. That’s what AustCham is about, mutual support, community and an understanding that we are strongest when we work together.
What are you most looking forward to when restrictions lift on events and gatherings?
That’s easy: entertaining you. Partnering with you. Developing ideas, and……. Simply…….. performing.
The one thing I miss more than anything else is being on stage. The energy and the engagement of entertaining is something that can’t be replaced or replicated. I am, without question, most looking forward to making music and making people happy live and in-person once again.
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