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Bridget Hustwaite scored what is considered by many as one of Australia's dream jobs. As the host of triple j's Good Nights program, Bridge interviews musos, travels to endless festivals and gigs and gets first dibs on some of the world's newest tunes. But that's not to say getting there was easy. She chats to Abby all about juggling radio with a full time job, the loosest interview she's ever done and her dream to be the next John Cena.
When you were little, what was your dream job?
Well, in my grade 6 graduation book I said I wanted to be a WWE Wrestler when I grew up.... But that dream wore off pretty quickly! Then in Year 9, I watched Super Size Me and the dietitian's name was Bridget so I thought, that'll do! Unfortunately, I only lasted a few weeks in my nutrition course, but it was DEFINITELY a blessing in disguise as I am very happy where I am now.
Where did your interest in music begin?
I watched a lot of Channel [V] growing up, so I definitely owe my interest in music and presenting to that. There's always been a pretty strong music community in Ballarat as well, with lots of underage gigs that I could go to. Plus music was big at my high school. I played a bit of trombone and drums, and in year 10 my friends and I started a band for fun (we weren't very good). So music was always around me in some way!
What has been the hardest part in carving out a career in radio?
It's pretty challenging to pursue a job in music because the main way to get experience is through volunteering or interning, so staying financially afloat was difficult at times. Particularly so when you are from a regional area and all the opportunities are in the capital cities. When I first started out, I was renting in Melbourne, working as a travel agent by day and then rushing to my community radio shift at night.
Then I started working the gruelling overnight shifts at triple j, while I was still working full time in travel, so that was quite exhausting. Eventually I decided to move back to Ballarat and make myself fully available for any extra shifts that may pop up for triple j, and luckily it paid off when some great opportunities did come up, which I would have had to turn down if I was still working full time. But it's definitely one of those things that you have to give 100% to and I'm really grateful that my commitment paid off in the end.
What do you love most about the Australian music scene?
The sense of community. So many of the people driving our scene are doing it in unpaid roles. I'm talking music bloggers, photographers, community radio presenters and producers. Even the artists themselves and their management, when you're starting out you are completely independent. Passion is what drives a community and I'm really lucky to know a lot of genuine people in this field.
Have you ever faced any hurdles being a young woman in music industry?
Fortunately, I haven't. I've always felt supported throughout my presenting endeavours and I wish that that all female identifying members of the music industry could have that same experience. There's still a lot that needs to be done to eliminate sexism and discrimination in music, and I try to be as vocal and supportive as I can when it comes to helping young women in the industry
Do you have any awkward interview stories?
No, actually! But I can tell you that the loosest interview I have ever done was with Bluejuice back at Falls Festival at the end of 2014, their final Victorian show. They’re renowned for their hilarious banter so, naturally, I just threw my notepad away, handed the mic to Stav and Jake and the result was 7 extremely colourful minutes of video content!
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the Australian music industry over your time in it?
I'm so proud to see that people are really putting a foot down when it comes to toxic culture within the scene, from calling out anti social behaviour/harassment, to creating safe spaces at music venues and events. I feel like if something happened a few years ago, people were too scared or uncomfortable to speak up, but it is getting easier now, with venues, bookers, artists and managers who are vocal about making the industry a safe and inclusive field. There's still a long way to go but I have definitely noticed this kind of stuff starting to be addressed accordingly.
I read an interview where you spoke about what you describe as a ‘sisterhood’ of fellow female music enthusiasts that you’re apart of. How important is that kind of solidarity in the industry?
Super important! I really value having my small network of music ladies, we all started out in unpaid roles and we all want the best for each other. Having a little crew who want to celebrate each others wins and want to make positive contributions to the music scene is really nice.
If you could compile your own festival lineup of five acts, living or dead, who would you pick and why?
Ben Howard, because he's my favourite solo musician. Foals, because they're my favourite band. Jeff Buckley, because I never had the privilege to see him perform. Spice Girls for 8 year old Bridget and Beyonce, because Beyonce!
What’s the best gig you have ever been to?
My goodness, incredibly hard question! I'm not sure if I could name one as the sole best as I've been to so many, but there are definitely a few memorable ones. I will never forget seeing The Presets headline the Boiler Room tent at Big Day Out in 2007. It was my first music festival, everybody was dancing and it was such a euphoric atmosphere to be part of!
More recently, I really loved seeing Canadian outfit The Franklin Electric at The Workers Club in 2016. It was super intimate and my boyfriend and I were blown away by their frontman Jon, who jumped so effortlessly between vocals, guitar, keys and trumpet. Beautiful alternative folk - definitely check them out.
Who is a female, trans or non-binary artist that the Sisterhood should add to their playlist now?
I'm really loving UK artist Laurel right now. Her new song "Lovesick" is one of my favourite releases of 2018 and I'm super keen for her debut album in August. For fans of early Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey and London Grammar, you’ll love Laurel.
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