#518 – Josh Simons On Investment & Looking After Yourself/
- November 16, 2019
Josh Simons is back! Josh is the co-founder & CEO of the music app Vampr. We chat about crowdfunding for Vampr, looking after yourself while running a business, and having the confidence to say “I’m not sure”.
On today’s episode of The Daily Talk Show, we discuss:
– Kanye’s new album, Jesus Is King
– Looking after yourself
– Staying confident in yourself
– Appreciating your craft
– Josh’s feature film
– Reframing failures
Josh on Twitter: https://twitter.com/josh_simons_
Josh’s previous episode: https://thedailytalkshow.com/197
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send us mail: PO BOX 400, Abbotsford VIC 3067
The Daily Talk Show is an Australian talk show and daily podcast by Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen. Tommy and Josh chat about life, creativity, business, and relationships — big questions and banter. Regularly visited by guests and gronks! If you watch the show or listen to the podcast, you’re part of the Gronk Squad.
This podcast is produced by BIG MEDIA COMPANY. Find out more at https://bigmediacompany.com/
It's a daily talk show and we live in Burbank, California.
And we've got Josh Simon's
back on the show. And hi
guys. Do you remember what we were doing last time when when we had your choices? Yeah.
Yeah. Not to be mistaken with some of the most,
which is an Indian, which I had yesterday. Yeah, because we have where we take our dog to get you know, health stuff fixed.
There's there is an Indian store, but it's a vegan Indian store next door.
I've actually just gone vegetarian. Yeah. Oh my god, Tommy's being sarcastic because I've brought it up in every interview. It's been three weeks.
Can Yeah, I guess you can say. I mean, this has been challenging for him this trip.
Yeah. Because you can't. Yeah, everything here has cheese. Yeah,
cheeses. Okay, come on up. vegan.
Every other thing has a meat patty or some kind of smoked meat in it. But the
impossible burger is taking off right now. And everyone is it's every restaurant has it. Yeah. So I think you'll be okay. You went to the Cheesecake Factory. And I had, I had the impossible but I had it on like a mac and cheese thing or honesty away from food chat because we're
only in LA for a few days. Can I
just say that I tried going vegan. I announced it on my 365 grateful Instagram, as I did last year as a little year long mission thing. And I did it for a week. And I forgot I forgot that I was doing it just kind of stopped doing I just felt like a burger one day. And that was the end of that. These experiments that you you don't commit to my
life. Can you paint the picture of where we are right now?
Okay, so this is a recording studio. So you guys can't see this. But you guys can see we can pay for watching. And so I guess I work with a company called young ambitious. It's like a management slash publishing company. And so this is one of the songwriter right So you come here to work on material if you're you know, developing a new Act or writing a song for a project. So this is I thought I'd bring you here to show you something other than my apartment.
How do you know what lyrics are cheesy? I'm what a genius. And the reason I bring it up is because we're just listening to the chick fil a song by Kanye. Oh, yeah. been
asking. Have you been Have you listened to the gospel yet?
Yeah, yeah, I like it. I had growing on me. Yeah, I hadn't heard all of it. So can you guys released an album, it's called Jesus is king. And it's a it's basically a Christian album by the biggest rapper in the world. That's right.
I like it. I it's going on a lot, too. I think it's cool that he's working with a whole different group of people. So, you know, in fact, the studio that we used to work at when you last saw me was was his studio, good music and then that was shut down in April. And then he's kind of replaced his whole team since Coachella. He had a bit of a moment and he was already doing this thing Sunday service, which is I'm sure you guys Well, no bit. I'd actually done Sunday services that every Sunday he puts on a mass basically, but they sing gospel tunes, but they also reimagine his old songs and change the lyrics so that it's more a service to God and they get rid of all the blasphemy and all the, you know, swearing and stuff. So anyway, he's been doing Sunday service since January and his he's always had this dream, apparently, of bringing church to the masses. And kind of you can kind of do I mean, he can sell sneakers on as he can, he can sell baggy pants on this, you know, pink shirt. So he's had a history of bringing anything that he wants to make big. He generally can make big so he tried. He's tried it with the church and, and anyway, and then he I think, actually, at some point, he decided Actually, no, I'm dead set serious about this. Yeah. And he really did his whole album that he'd been working on called Biondi at that point. And he worked with a couple of people who, you know, have spent their whole life dedicate to the church and the gospel and rewrote all the lyrics and made a very good focus and it came out recently as Jesus is king.
Well, I put one on Because I said Josh, this song reminds me of you. Because Josh told me Fun fact chick fil a not open on Sundays. And then I heard it was running. I had it in my ears what running around with Hollywood that came on. I was like, This is classic
genius. I was I was rapping I didn't even know it. There you go. The funny thing I was actually drove downtown for the hair on this microphone that I
would have missed him by seven.
That's what he calls them.
So I was down. I was driving. I was getting an Uber downtown a couple days ago for a meeting and people multiple cars along the way down to the window down. We're blasting this Jesus is king album. So it's amazing that he's brought the all these people these hardcore people in there, you know, you know, cool cars and it's LA, blasting the church. That's great. Yeah, I think it's amazing, but I don't know, his his spiritual journey and just the idea of transformations and what he's done in a period of a year. fascinates me at the moment because I think I've had personally a year of also like setting some goals and wanting to be a better person and trying, trying to kind of find I don't know not find myself because I never really I didn't lose myself but just, I just wanted to be better frankly, when I saw you last like I was probably living and not so healthy life not as clean as I'm trying to be now and so I kind of I realized it on that level of this like I think it's great when a major mega star artist has a message that's really just try and be better.
Could he be the next like he'll song church like could we say Kanye go all out be a pastor conspiracy Jimmy? friend of the show, he he said to me, oh, I reckon he's trying to. He said I heard that he's trying to create the church tax write off for Jesus. There's actually
I've heard some stuff around that to that. Maybe there's something to in terms of like the merchandise around it and
who I don't know how they're gonna Is that because it's costing him? what it's costing him a lot to put on these shows every Sunday anyway, and that's out of pocket. So that's an expense. I want to get into his taxes, which I don't know, speculating, but I would hazard a guess that there's some sort of clever against that, but again, I don't really want to call it so much.
Yeah. Can you go to the services?
Yes. Like I read recently not not to begin with when it started. It was like celebrities and, you know, Orlando Bloom and people like that. Now, you can usually reserve tickets right on the weekend. I haven't gone. Where are they in? The ones in LA been at the forum, which is in Inglewood, which is on a Sunday, which is like the only day I sleep in. It's just a little bit too far from my house. It's laziness as well. I haven't gone
but probably should.
And you get to see him before.
Yeah, he stands in the middle of this big circle is Jason it's a little bit
it could be perceived as a little bit cultish. Yeah, and I That's if it goes more in that direction. Maybe that's when I step out a little bit. But it's I don't have any issue with like, God and all of that. I mean, my wife's family is totally non secular. Very much. Brothers. I think he's a pastor. I shouldn't I think he's a pastor. Yeah. Anyway, so it's in it's in our family kinda. It's not. It's not 100% me, but yeah, I have no issue with it whatsoever. Yeah. wrestling with a school we went to. We went to church once a week. Yeah, yeah, sang hymns, and yet, you didn't sneak out and smoke cigarettes. But
now everyone just goes to this one wearing geezers so they're much cooler than the Wesley kids. Yes.
easy's and baggy clothes.
And so last year 198. That was the episode I think we're at 198 was when you lost on this one right?
Is few count
might shoot 6 billion.
And so at that time vampire, your tech startup At what point does not become not a tech startup. When do you move out of startup phase? That's funny question because I was liaising with the head of SXSW the other day. And they said in this email very confidently, well, you're not a start up anymore. So we've got to find a different way to get you involved, whether it's speaking and panels where that's cool. And then I went to a conference like a day or two later, and they told me why we were very much still a startup, like this particular VC. So, you know, I think it's it's, people still call Uber, a startup and Airbnb. So I think you're a start up until you lyst. Really, yeah, until you go public. And I don't care about the the title, I don't really care for labels full stop anyway, it doesn't change how we run the company. But wherever we are at that stage, I think, because and we talked about this before the cameras started rolling, but what a year it's been and both for you guys, I'd love to talk about that a little bit, but certainly for us, because I wouldn't I didn't know that and we spoke in early November, I think. Yeah, I didn't know then that two months later, I'd have to become an expert in crowdfund. And it's insane. Like this. If you spoke to me back then and said, What are you an expert in? There definitely would have been a few things like I think I'm an expert in the space of professional networking in music, for example, I understand probably better than anyone how these social networks work in that particular space. I certainly wasn't an expert in crowdfunding, although I had my ideas about what might work what might not work.
What was your perception of crowdfunding at that time? Do you think very ugly view? Well, I guess Kickstarter, a year ago, there was a lot of news around Kickstarter is failing and people not like making a bunch of cash but then not being able to deliver
right and so there was that that was that stigma and then equity crowdfunding is something that just people I knew what it was to equity crowdfunding being you actually selling a piece of your company in exchange for cash as opposed to giving away a coupon or, or you know, a basketball, get a tripod at the end of it, right? Yeah. Or even a pre purchase that some people use kik, funders to fund the development of a product and they get the product at the End of it. So, you know this pen which as you right also digitize it sounds great when we build it, you'll get one. And it's bullshit, right? And so one of those Yeah, I bought some dumb shit. He's got time, but now
I bought a device that would give you 4g anywhere around the world. And the idea was that you just make any sense.
I know. But the way that the way that it would work
was they had all these deals with telcos around the world, and you'd pay a flat 10 buck fee, but it was fact
it sounds like movie possibly heard about
12 bucks, it was at 12 bucks a month. It was
basically 12 bucks a month and you can go to any cinema in America and watch as many movies as you want. Anything that business model works, and then they had no deals with any of the cinemas. So you got this credit card. I think it's like a Visa or MasterCard and you swipe to the US bought tickets the normal way we can charge it's a movie pass. So you just use putting it on a tab
What was the model? We get so many people most people won't go
to gym, gym membership, but fat cats are going
to save the company is it was dying. What they started doing was like okay, well you can't go to Batman or the Joker. Yeah, you know you want to go to you can go see you know that indie flicks at 4pm on a Thursday. And so they tried all these different ways. And then they announced they were going under, but they didn't cancel anyone subscription. So then they start I mean, it's just it's just a comedy of errors in fantastic. It's a great story and how not to run a startup and ironically, all the cinema has to go well, there's actually something here and most of them they have their own version of it, but they control it because it's their own cinema. So they have control the margins and all that kind of stuff. I could pick
days right? And so
so any equity crowdfunding,
you selling an actual slice of the company, a security in the company, so I had to become an expert in that Because we had some funding to challenges so much as that we couldn't raise as much as we needed in short enough amount of time. So we said, well, we're still going to keep up with the private raise, which we've nearly closed, I think. But let's try and tap into our user base and also, for the first time ever will be actually going and saying, will vampy geezers actually spend money on vampire? Because that was the question. I think that was the problem that a lot of VCs had with the company was, you've done a great job bringing all these people on? Excuse me? Dry mouth for some reason. So yeah, seriously, bits. The one issue I always had was like, Can you guys actually get people to pay money? Well, now I think something like 700 of our users in the last three months have spent $400,000 or something amazing on this crowdfunding campaign. So I think we've answered that question. We're also raising money. And I've had to become an expert in tax law in like, different states, different country,
because it's open to anyone from anywhere in the world.
It's really Really scary how much you have to learn and understand and be careful about. Yeah.
And so, vampire, if people hadn't listened to the early one had you should? Yeah, definitely. How do you find the concept of vampire? And what what what you guys what the platform is,
I suppose back then it was it was dedicated social professional music network, which is, you know, in layman's at LinkedIn for musicians, and we're now actually opening it up and it's we're kind of calling it we're not calling it this, but we're sort of pitching or pivoting them. The crowdfunding campaign around LinkedIn for creative. So we've been adding categories, filmmakers, fine artists, graphic artists, 3dr. Yeah, basically anything that's in the creative field that's complementary to one another, we're trying to find a way to accommodate because we see that the more people on the platform, the bigger the value for all because you have more people to tap into. And we looked at LinkedIn a little bit more ahead of the crowdfund prep, and we said, we really You know, only 4% of everyone on LinkedIn is in a field that would be deemed creative. So so that's a real opportunity. Because more than that there's more people working in creative fields and just 4% of the population. It's just that it's kind of in some respects, it proves our hypothesis that LinkedIn is hopeless for creatives doesn't really help you. He doesn't have the Sharia. It doesn't allow you to demonstrate the type of work. No, I mean, yeah, there's no you can, I guess you can attach one video in one picture, per resume listing, but that's, it's very banal, you know, it's a lot of scrolling. It's a lot of clicking. Vamp is very audio visual. And for those who haven't seen it, it's a Tinder style sort of UX UI. So you can flick through and quickly watch how people you know, interpret, sorry, perform and, and and display themselves that image they have their vibe. So it's it's very out as as a guest. It's very much a professional network, but it's audio visual, and it's gamified. And because I think networking probably The most boring thing in the world and may may have touched on that last time. I still believe that it's it's most people don't want to have to network. You know, it's kind of an unfortunate thing you have to do in order to get ahead. So how can you gamify that and how can you take something that might take seven years to do like for example, Baz and I, it took about seven years to find our bandmates in the projects that ended up making us money. How can we do that in seven seconds? And that's Bamba. Now we're trying to do that for more creative fields. And we've just started so I can't really comment on the success of that I can't say what helps introduce a filmmaker with an actor or anything like that. But well, that's that's kind of where we're going. But yeah, music is still I suppose in our DNA as musicians and we're going to studio right now. How's being in LA dictated feature within Vampyr? It's certainly helped us map out features we want to do.
There's some really exciting stuff we're starting to look at, around content from from our users. We have we get right now we tell our user stories on Instagram. And you know, they get a decent number of hits like a few thousand people watch how someone else has used them. But we realize that these people are really rich stories to tell about their experiences on the platform and, and the experiences of meeting someone from the platform. And then they've gone on and toured the world together. And I think we did a story the other day, we did three stories on three different marriages that have happened from them really. And even though that's not the focus of the platform. That's phenomenally cool, right? The something we built has led to people getting married, sharing houses, building studios. So we want to find a way that we got some ideas about how do we exploit that content a little bit more for everyone's benefit for the people that it's about for our sake, just to kind of, I guess, just let the world know about what's going on in this little small community that we've built. And that's kind of what it feels like it feels like a little small army that's getting bigger and bigger by the day and and it's our job now to sort of, I guess, take that to the next level. And that's where we're That's where we're at. So we're looking at some content plays, we're also looking at like ways to get some passive income for both sides of the, of the table. So us as a company, but also our artists, they all have incredible content, a lot of them, whether they're musicians being unsigned or fine artists not having a means to get their work out there and exploit it make money for, we're looking at maybe some ways that how can we make money for for everybody, and this was not where our head was at a year ago, I had was strictly on the sort of the LinkedIn model. And we're starting to think well, maybe that's still we still think that's applicable, but how can we get some other passive revenue stream? So it's really exciting. In some ways, I feel like right now, we're back at the blue sky. Yeah, place because we have cash. And we've committed, we've committed to not spend it quickly. we've committed to try ideas quickly. And and let those ideas either win or fail quickly. But not just go out and say this is the one idea we're going to throw one and a half million dollars at it. And if it if it fails, if we're going to break it up into much more granular Little projects, I'm gonna go, let's see if that little project works. And we'll try that one and one of them will stick invariably, and then we'll hammer that and that will be the story next 12 months when I see Yeah, you know, we just we ended up we turned, we turned into a record label, have the biggest catalog in the world, you know, I don't know. But there's a lot of things that could happen between now and this time next year. And it's very exciting for us that we've finally raised that money that we're very close to be able to shut off the crowdfunding and get on with building the company. How do you look after yourself personally, from talking about you know, your health and all that so I think how do you make sure that's dialed in. When you're in the building of a business, I'm finding sleeps getting hotter and hotter. And so I'm probably getting healthier and healthier. I don't smoke anymore.
I've definitely cut back on drinking massively.
Eating pretty well as well as well as you can and but I find Sleep so important and I don't get anywhere near enough of it. And so I try and compensate for that with meditation because whether you're gonna say naps, yeah. Oh, and that naps is bad, actually, but I do I do.
naps are all good.
Yeah. Do you think Yeah, I never used to be a napper until I started napping after I quit cigarettes a strange kind of make sense as well. CG breaks? Yeah.
You can sort of re re energize from a quick nap, suck the revive and survive.
Yeah, I don't know. I don't actually have a good like, how do you take care of you? So I think you just have to be conscious of or aware of how you live your life. Because if you if you're ignorant to it, will they just going to keep powering on through and I believe me, I've had phases even in this last 12 months, where I did that where it was there was so much like I'd have to fly across the country, get back, go overseas for a week, and then every single city in Australia and then get back to LA and then you know, back on the East Coast again. It was so insane. And I definitely put my head down in that time and probably drank my way through it, frankly, because just so many flights and so many different hotel rooms and it's it's stressful. But it was incidents like that that actually made me go Okay, I need to stop and work out how I can do that same schedule without drinking, you know, a couple of bottles of Pina Ah,
so what does that look like? Is that the thing of I need to wind down like when did you notice?
I was looking sick? Yeah, like I was putting on weight, even though I wasn't really eating much. And my bags under my eyes are big. And just things weren't working in my hip was saw. And I was just I mean, I'm still smiling about it, but I was feeling pretty, pretty worth so this is probably first quarter leading to the second quarter this year before we launched the crowdfunding just before. I was just feeling really crappy. I'm not not a word of a lie. I've watched your thing on New Year's Eve. Not on New Year's Eve, I think where you said you wanted to try being sober. Yeah, and I was back in Melbourne for like a day something crazy and I said my parents by so I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. And I was watching a couple of your things. And I was one of them and I thought he Yeah, he's not that much older and like you explaining why you wanted to do it. Yeah, we were lacking energy and you wanted to I can't remember exactly.
I mean, I kind of ran with this but it's good.
Read it resonated on some level. Yeah, and that that and a few other things. I just thought I'm just gonna try my first I tried to cut everything that's right. You know, saying I tried vague. I tried it. And then I realized No, it's actually just about doing one little thing at a time. So like a stop smoking, stop drinking coffee chilled out on drinking a lot. You know, and, and I think when you introduce those things one by one then becomes sustainable.
So what happens if you go to a hotel room and you're used to having a glass of wine to relax? what's what's the thing that then replaces it or like how do you catch yourself and what do you Go for a walk.
Yeah, lots of walking. Yeah, a lot of walking. There's honestly so much work with Amber at the moment. That right now, I probably substitute what would have been drinking time just emails and pretty mundane stuff. I will say the about two weeks ago I was stuck in the rain in my plane was forced to land because there was a cyclone. Good racing land yet is always fun driving fine, too. So I can
tell you we we halfway we will halfway
back to LA and we couldn't. We were allowed to. We had to stop over Houston anyway. But we weren't allowed to take off again. And so the pilot had to circle until he could find like a break in the sideline for got down. And then I had to stay the night in Houston and I was not going to be sober that night. So I ran through the rain and I checked into the hotel, and then I found a bar nearby and I had the finest night there was a piano in there. There was all these things Texans and we just we've played music and laughed and drank and smiled. And then I got on like a 7am flight back to LA and it was just like, this is a nice little Yeah. last little colorful moment. But I think the thing is, you know, you can do that once in a while you just can't do that every night. Yeah. And that's that's where control and discipline comes in. And that's probably what I was lacking for a minute there and, and that's what I'm trying to relearn, do you think is possible
to like the grind, you know, having a business and the thought and attention that needs to be given to us? Do you think it's possible to do it without the personal investment, you know, like, the connectedness to you as an individual, so you're feeling bad when the company's not doing as well as you think it can be? And so the company's success dictates your personal internal success or feeling sorry. Yeah.
I I've definitely learned how to if I'm feeling bad at morning Company negatively. I had to learn how to do
that. You do it the other way around.
Yes, I can. If the company has a win, I can I will use that way, too. And I'll serve that way to Absolutely. capitalize on the high. That's so important. But about the low so if the company is doing badly, will it affect my
assignment badly? It's like a cipher. If something doesn't go the way you want it to go, have a good show. I feel like I'm not that great afterwards. Yeah.
Okay, so yeah, that does affect me. But it's up to me to deal with that. And it's not up to me to project that back on to the business or backgrounds my wife or my family because he's it
is it the truth like it's your
it's not and I've there's a few things I've questioned massive. I've actually wondered if I'm any good at anything at various points this year. And would you land
in the middle of a psycho?
No, I don't know. I and I've, you have to remind yourself I've actually gone back and watch some old stuff I've done just to validation like
a little pump up real Yeah, like in Edit
you in case
kind of like. Okay, so I retired this has been a year of ending things too so I finished a uni degree. I finished Buchanan which was my artist project. I finished an old publishing deal. So this year and this was all by design, but I thought I would feel this huge weight off my shoulders and like the world was my oyster. And I I actually felt like I'm irrelevant. I was never very good to begin with. I never had reached the top top of my filter, though. I came higher than 99% of people in every area done. But that that that right, there is answer the question. I had to remind myself that I didn't get maybe in the point. Oh, 1%. But I still got in the top 1% of the various areas that I tried to break. Yeah. are still breaking, I shouldn't say tried to break so it's a different way of talking to yourself. Yeah. Probably sound more reflective this time than maybe I was Jeff. Well, I think the point 1% stuff is like, we look to the liquidity make Kanye West, he's the unicorn, how can you not when you live? How can you not it very easily but you do that when you live out here. And that's what I've had to change and what feels like this is playing feels like I'm in the same arena.
Yeah, it comes very hard when
when you are physically playing in the same arena, as people in that point on the sand, and then you're working in the studio of, you know, I've worked with these people or one step apart from every one of these people. Yeah, there was an entitlement that I learned that I had to unlearn. And that was and I definitely been reading a lot about instant gratification lately, but that I was seeking that. And I was also feeling entitled because I had done work with various people and that's a really gross way I needed to. Again, I needed to unlearn a lot of things I learned. I think the reason that happened is because I work from And I think you start to create narratives. And it's not so much that you go insane. It's more that you just, you start to you're a storyteller, you believe your shit. You know, we had a couple of employees and they would work from mine. And for a while we had an office in Santa Monica. And sometimes we still work down there. But generally speaking, people would come to work at my place each day. And so you reinforce this story of who you are. And the world's biggest you start to believe your pitch deck. And, and then you know, you and you start to believe in the crap that you've done before all that and so I think I just had to just learn how to unlearn that.
Do you think part of it too, is because when you're at this stage that you're at when you're at the funding stage, it is a lot of convincing of your sales
and people going in a CEO of companies salesman on every level, whether you're, you're either selling to potential employees that you want them to join, you're selling to investors, because you need the cash. Well, you're selling to the public because you're trying to sell your product, or you're selling to your team because you're trying to inspire a new process.
So you'll always sell and there's probably ceiling to self to use you. Yeah, idea, this whole dream, right thing? Yeah.
And I don't like that. So maybe I'm not the perfect CEO in the long term. I'm definitely the right person right now. And I've identified my strengths. And I think, you know, we wouldn't have investors backing me if I wasn't but a lot. It's not uncommon for startups that will hit the next phase be probably the phase just after where we're at, where they'll bring in a CEO because that that'll be a CEO who's really passionate about scale. I'm passionate about proving that vamp can change rapper has changed the world, but I'm passionate about sort of really putting a stamp on on that concretely and becoming a household name. And then I'm happy to step away and move on to the next project. I think and I think that's what I do that early stage, particularly well. I'm not sure. Do you think people can do you think people can handle honesty and authenticity? So if you're not feeling Sure, is it important for you to stay confident like especially With inside the Los Angeles context to people appreciate if you say Hi, I'm not sure why he made my stuff.
Now I think like, so stakeholders, so that could be staff. It could be investors.
Yeah, the crowdfunding thing like,
I'm not sure is a powerful response to anything. Because
Do you think it's underused though? Do you think that we, we think that people require us to know I think
the only person the people who are going to take poorly to I'm not sure. Probably not people you want on your team? Yeah. I'm not sure suggests I'm not the smartest person in the room. And I'm not sure it doesn't end it. I'm not sure it's I'm not sure. Let's see if we can find someone who is. And so it's the start of its confidence. It's saying, I don't have the answers. So we're going to look elsewhere. Right? If an investor goes or if he's not sure we've lost confidence. If we don't want that person you kept Have you want an investor knew when times get tough, you can call up and say I don't know what to do. We're at a real turning point. What would you do? Or can I speak to someone else that you've worked with? Who's been in a similar role? And how can they advise me so I can help make this decision better? That's the kind of investor you on. I've met both kinds. I think the ones that we've got phenomenal and patient with me, and they get to know you during the DD process. They've asked me all kinds of pretty personal questions. You know, they really know my character. Well, they've seen me on Good day, they see me on shit days. That's Yeah, I don't know. I think we've done a good job finding finding people who are okay with I'm not sure. But I definitely deal with people who don't like it. So
do you think there's a culture of like, you need to be stoic? In the startup?
Yes. Of course, you have to be a little bit stoic in your leader at the end of the day, if I won't turn on my shoulders hunched and, and wasn't projecting some sensitive vision. I don't know that I'd have much of a team. And I don't feel that way. And I don't think he could. I don't think you could get a start up to this level or any level. If you You didn't naturally have some part of you that believed in yourself right like you guys believe in yourself you can committed to this 10 year vision. You Some even though you as you said there'll be days where you go mmm maybe no good you know that was a terrible interview. Obviously there's a part of you that that knows that's bullshit because you committed to the 10 years
well yeah, it's not even that it could be it could be 100% a shit job. But you're okay with the you're okay with the one misalignment of a brick if you're building the Wall of China what's the what's the big wall in China right well it's a good mix was a nice
since your last article Yeah, the brick the brick wall of China.
big wall. And so what has changed in regards to prospect perception or perspective of Los Angeles uh, you I feel like people go through the ebbs and flows of loving it, hiding it Where are you on the spectrum, but
I have learned to appreciate It, I don't, I definitely loved it, then hated it, then loved it then hated it. When I last saw you, I said I was learning to love it. I've since hated it. Right now I think it has a role in my life. It's a, I would want to be anywhere else
for the business, but not for my wife or my dog or my friends like
I think we know in our mind that will be done with Los Angeles at a point in time. Right now it's great. And, and we'll look forward to saying goodbye at some point to as I said, he actually before I get to go back to Melbourne on Tuesday, and I'm going back for five months, we're setting up a new office and hiring some new people. And it's just going to feel good. That'll be the longest time since 2013 that I've lived in Australia. And I just can't wait to spend time with friends.
You're one of the small things like what are you gonna get like
friends going to places you're going to go to my open cafes and Elwood that I used and they probably all gone. What's it called?
I would bakery? bakery. There's a bunch of new ones in public
arches kitchen or something. And then they changed the name. I think there's a bunch of new ones.
Where are you going to leave?
I'm going to live down in in Mortensen peninsula. But I'm probably towards the end of the five months I'll get an Airbnb for a month or so. And you know, would, because I like that. That area is sort of my old home. But yeah, it's just excited. The things I'm looking forward to. I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and looking forward to going to my old GP. I'm Nina with JP and like two years, it's
too expensive. We've got a health care plan, but he's got this thing called deductibles here. So you got to spend $6,000 out of pocket know at normal retail rates before your plan kicks in. And why we even paying in is 450. I don't want to get into it. It's just an icon. Yeah, this stuff like this makes America not a great place at all. And they need serious reform that doesn't need to be Medicare for all but they need serious reform. We're not going to get into politics, but
health care system to get blood test to test out testosterone against each other
to get an extra roll and my training would say go and get your cortisol levels down here it's like all right, well, you have to then go and get quotes for different labs who you know
even have time to go see the GP.
In St. Kilda, I used to be a frequent at the free boat filling is
before we had partners
and I missed that.
free healthcare Yeah. My boy how's the
grinder you've had a few grinds you've done the music thing. You've done vampire. So the tech startup space, what's the difference between the grind to become a musician and the grind of a tech startup.
Well, both require hustle. And you know, work and this was talking to an artist manager an hour ago. Both require you to work for phones and network network network, unfortunately. Do you have air pods? I do. They're useless.
Yeah, bad with wind. There's the pros. Now I wonder fake any better.
I know I saw them. I was expecting one of you.
But both require you to work the phone a lot, and both required to be really good at what you do. That's the other thing I think I probably already just appreciated is that sometimes in my life, whether it was music, or even Vampyr, I've turned down deals that seems small, like for example, small record deals, small acquisition offers, and I think, in hindsight, I wouldn't maybe have taken the deals but what they what they were they were signposts of someone going, you're quite good at this. But this is how good I think you are based on the amount that I'm offering. And so what it may A pre appreciate is that you need to really work on your skill, if you want to get a huge exit or you want to get a huge record deal, get good at your craft. And I think that's what I've only just started to appreciate is maybe focus more on what I do, right or like and actually get really, really like really good at that rather than then just try to sell it. You know, it's hard to it. I've been trying to find a way for a while to articulate this sentiment, but I just, yeah, I don't know, I've tried, because it's
it's the same mindset of why do we do hard things? There's a bunch of things that would be way easier to do than what you're doing
what we're doing, but then it's so Okay, and then take that a step further. Why am I doing a hard thing? That and then not working really hard on some of the art of it. And so the art of being a businessman might might be conflict resolution. Dealing with third party contract is setting a vision Then selling the vision, then cold calling, going to networking events, going to conferences. I mean, the list goes on but
so it's having the tenacity to say, yeah, I'm going to fucking do it. But then when you actually get
to it, I'm gonna sleep till 9am going to sleep in, you know, and then and then you compare yourself against other people and they go, they're getting up at six every day. But then also, I'm working till four because I got people in Australia, it's like, oh, maybe I you know, I wouldn't be alive if I was going to sleep at four anyway. So you gotta constantly you're constantly judging yourself and comparing yourself to other people in your field. But I keep coming back to the same thing if I just focus on being the best you possibly can. Because then it's not just about so much saying your investors at the end of the day, I gave it my best shot. It's also about saying to yourself, I did my best and I think that's when you turn to drinking and drugs is when deep down inside you kind of know that. You probably could have given that little bit extra, but it was easier instead of open the Nola
you know also like the easy things can be really hard. Like it can be
For me the it's always so it's a job when you're 16 and going for your first ever job and how hard it was to hand out that first resume, but you procrastinated it's not even hard to hand it out or even write it. You just procrastinated doing it for some reason for like six months. Everyone went through that experience,
first job 97 on the
outside Yeah. What
do you feel it You finished I went back and finished because I dropped out. And then I went back to school. And I
didn't it was fine. Yeah. It was fun.
It was some it was somewhere in the 80s but I did. I did. I did the bare minimum I did four subjects and two I did music and media and both a mark down yeah, a lot because a creative which that's fucking stupid. Government Anyway, I'm sorry, I still it was all right in light of the fact that I needed for You could do up to six and two of them. Kind of like fun one
when you left. Why'd you leave early?
I made a feature film. Cry. Oh, this is
this right. This is the police car. Yeah. The blood. I remember this what was it called the vapor boys? Boys creaminess? it? Yep.
Recent race co produced it with me race myself.
And so what's the end? So you had this idea? What year was it? Well,
I was in Thailand in 2007.
And I fell in love with this girl there. And I just inspired me to start writing a story which is the most UNRRA it's about robbing a cigarette van and running with the money and then it gets derailed. But anyway, I don't know what the but I always just remember like, I started writing the script in Thailand and i i illegally downloaded a copy of what do you write scripts on? What's that program? Final Draft final draft. I
downloaded that another screenwriter until yesterday. Yeah, so
I downloaded final drops on my Windows Vista computer and
a doctor again.
And I started, I started draft one and then I was just very talented kid in our media class who I thought would be like a Tarantino, like that's his see this had everything about him like his short films are incredible. So I convinced him to write a full script with me and we did it in three months. And then I called up the school
accounts department and just said, Just another army. Yeah.
Your mom said she know, did she caught up?
I just caught up the can i said i said i was his Josh, his data might come back and he's not coming
back again. And they just they said, okay, that they said, Sure. Because I knew that if I went through to the accounts department, there'd be no mediation. It's just it's cut and dry decision.
It's just that private school life.
So then I went to my parents, I said, I've just saved you 20 grand. And
they said, Okay, so they said if as long as you make a plan, so I came up with about a 300 page shooting schedule. And that was the we stuck to that. And we budgeted 20 grand, and we made a film for 20 grand.
What did you shoot it on?
HDTV? Yeah, great. It's horrible. But it still looks and I've had an eye for cinematography. And recent, Josh Dawson did too. And they all three of us shot it together. And it looks beautiful. If we had, you know, lenses that had some more depth of field it would still hold up to this day. And I did all the sound editing because I worked in gronk music and shit so and then we
factor in at the
start. Craig start Shane Fox never
remember. That's right. And they were all we cast it up and down the entire coast of Australia. It was a huge production and so Yeah, we stretch 20 K and did what we worked out it would have been about a million dollars if we were paying everyone Yeah, just normal wages like we did an amazing thing that killed me that film. How long did you work on it for 18 months and I was so burnt out at the end. I went and mowed lawns for two years and it was the best two years of my life
just didn't stop from one guy Jim,
Josh lemme know So anyway, I that film fucking killed me but as you put it, yeah.
This is this is
I'm gonna say I that film annoys me because we put so much I put so much into getting it produced in May and race like I give the honest close today's we would have been because it really tested friendship and you know, all these things came out of it and I learned a lot as a business person, I will say that, but we kind of we did all the hard bit, and then there wasn't a plan to get it out. So and then and I realized that and there was like two grand in the bank and it was those less than that. And so we spend on like stamps and envelopes. And then this is talking about like the hard thing to do. I procrastinated for a month sending it to festivals that couldn't be bothered filling in the just felt daunting. And then and then after I gave up on the festival route, I started going directly to like the head of Dendy and the head of palace, the head of village and
you know, I get through to the Cannes
Josh, funnily enough I actually did for a sympathetic business model the movie past though
but I did get through to the right people, and they gave it the time of day and you know, it needed it has editing problems, it has sound mixing problems with it got a fair viewing and palace ended up sort of doing this little Run with me where, you know, it was very much It had to make and sell enough tickets in order to be a
business and you're doing crowdfunding back then.
Yeah, no way. And so then we did a few screenings and my films being played at the, you know, the South Yarra palace cinemas. And if that was enough for me, I kind of I was, as I said, I burnt out. And you know, it's funny to look back on in life, there was no distribution plan. Why did we spend
making a film like you,
but there was enough for me to see that movie at palace and I know it was an expense. But then I went back and I did score through distance, which costs $197. So I don't think it was money wants to the parents I I got a four year degree out of that in business, in film in sound in life, and then I went and finished my high school for 190 bucks. So for me seeing it at the cinema on the big screen. That was enough. And I think that was enough for my parents to
what were the two years though with mo What were you thinking about? Did you feel like you'd failed
and by the way, I've had a bad cough since the fires have started so that's why I'm over hydrating. How did I feel when I was mowing lawns? I was trying to feel connected to this is gonna sound so hippie but I was trying to feel connected to the earth again, the quite literally like I was I don't think any it was as stressful as vampires, but I have the tools to handle it now. But you don't have it when you 17 and these, you know, you haven't even finished puberty and your brain certainly nowhere near finished developing. So I was just trying to reconnect with you know, humility and because it's when you're directing and producing a film, and you you doing all that stuff, you do have a different sense of probably who you are versus whatever it
is you task focused. And not you can't really let it external things. throw you off what you're focused on.
Yeah, that's right. Yeah, it was so laser focus, you'd almost probably call it manic focus. And I think the key is to not get into manic focus is to get on Well, it's like that scale of anxiety that shows you when anxiety is useful. And then there's a point where becomes No.
Did you feel the weight of your shoulders? Like I've done short films and you've got crew and cast, they're expecting things like, especially if they're putting in free time. Did you? Did you feel the weight on your shoulders?
I was lying to them the whole time. They thought I was 24. And there was an article that came out in the newspaper The day that the film wrapped production that said, the real deal play on the word real, the real deal and only 17. It was the front page of the newspaper all around the middle, all around Victoria. And so one of the cast members border to set and it started off and thank God in hindsight, it never got legal because they all had agents and stuff. But it started off a bit of a lonely few months away. Because people lost a lot of confidence in me, they called me a liar. And I was doing it actually for their own benefit. If no one had found out, I was allowed to create. It was always you know, everyone had ownership. Everyone had equity in the film. Everyone was happy with their equity in the film, too. It really fucking matter if I'm 17 or 24.
And so what was it? It was legally you couldn't do it?
I wouldn't have gotten the actors I wanted to get, I wouldn't have gotten some of the favors from Victorian police. You know, they let us use that. Pretty cool.
Which is the story that comes from that, right? Yeah,
I was caught back to this in a long time. I wasn't planning to do this.
We like if you think about the stories, if you what's the alternative, right, it lands and it becomes the big thing, which is what we all want, right? I started business because you will be selling into Sundance.
So that was always because, and we would never have gotten in any way for the simple reason that we didn't clear the soundtrack, but I didn't know anything about that back in the days. But you know, if we've gotten accepted, you would have found financing to clear but anyway, I know that now is as a seasoned business person, but no, the thing is, we send into Sundance that did happen on schedule. That was what our our editing cut deadline was September two, I still remember the date September 22,008. We had to get it in. But that day to Sundance, so that was where main reason we're working towards. But when they said no, that's when we kind of lost sight of what was the purpose of doing this again, because we were trying to do that turrentine I Rodriguez thing I think was it Robert Rodriguez his first film that cost $20,000 or something?
Did he try and sell like, I remember what there was a book called Rebel Without a crew? Yes. And he talks about like, in the US you can do all the medical trials and shit and get cash for like that and he got involved in all that but yeah,
it's um the the the flip side would have been getting into a festival being one being that hero story of the boy who could, you know, boy wonder, and that's what I would so desperately wanted to be and now I don't care about Boy Wonder or fame, partly because I'm too old to be boy, wonder. I've seen what fame does of evil. So, you know, your priorities change, I think
well then. So there's the work that goes in which I think most people who find the success have put in some level of work. But then there's also the luck.
Yeah, it's like you, you do create opportunities for luck to present itself.
I go back and forth on that. There's times in my life where I feel like you do create your own luck. there's times where I feel like no, actually, some people just get straight up lucky. Probably the truth is somewhere in the middle. I don't have the answer on that.
So someone who pops on a platform, they've decided at that moment that they would put in the work, and its timing that is created KX, right.
Yeah. He founded a loop on YouTube that he thought was dope. He wrote a good admittedly very good top line, very memorable top line on top of it, and he uploaded it online and then cut it up and he made my fight his own stuff. I've definitely worked harder than that for you. And I'm not saying he hasn't worked hard. I'm just saying like with Buchanan you know we would have massive studios and huge crews and and you know put in long hours and not sleep for weeks on end getting the mix perfect and coming back from family vacations to work on mastering so known as extras put on Soundcloud and now you know he had the biggest Record of the Year.
So that's luck and it's it's aight guys to as well right into the I guess some sparks
can catch a little bit more and I guess that's a good example of It's tasty. Yeah, I think it's tasty. And that was us. I said something earlier I was gonna say the word taste as well. He might just know what the perfect melody is. And it didn't matter whether he spent 10 years on the production or 10 minutes. He just knows name and mean. Like he just knows that that's going to connect with the with the right guy.
So he might have some sort of context which is like, every day from the age of five listening to certain writers.
He did something he did some YE Was conditioned his environment his taste because I don't think you can really teach taste It's assuming you have and then maybe something from not necessarily God but something from above country you were all I think all songwriters say that it comes through you and is it good song you're not really responsible for it. Something else is something in the collection of all your experiences today and something in the wind and the room temperature and whether you're comfortable with the people around you all these different fucking things so sorry, I'm
tired I'm so tired
that something does come through you and so him again that that line. Who knows that could be the product of seeing his parents fighting an hour earlier and any mine Tell me not that like his attitude? I didn't have that when I was making my record. You know, we were in Brighton an hour. Yeah. No, but you know, plenty of privileged people have also broken Emily Eilish not saying she's not great. She's fucking incredible, but she comes from a rich family.
Lana Del Rey. Anyway,
how much do you think though? Having things like the film that doesn't go well and you know, the paper being shown to all these people, how much does it contribute to you? They still
didn't do well. I saw my movie at palace and I guess
when you grow up in Melbourne palace cinemas, you know, you've made it when you there.
There's something cool about that.
From sort of the thought
of failure, I felt like a failure at the end of that, but
then using that kind of life experience further down the track.
Earlier I was saying like, I've been working on trying to reframe how I view everything, the story well, I guess that I can imagine the story of that two years mowing lawns. Well, honestly, you could go The film was, so this is where this year I've been trying to work on my mental health. I did forever go that film was a failure. Buchanan I think we did fucking incredible things, but we never had a number one album, a failure. This year is like reframing so that in the case of the film, I got to see my film in South Yarra palace cinemas biggest screen multiple nights in a row in front of the most distinguished CEOs of the film industry and press in Australia, and all my friends. And I made a feature film, and I was 17. And I probably hold the record in the world for the youngest person to make a feature film. That sounds like a win to me. And then it's like with the music stuff. Yeah, we never had a number one. But we did chart in every continent on the planet. We did have multiple, you know, songs on the front page of Apple Music worldwide. Same for Spotify. We broke at the worst possible time as well. Our first record was right when CD sales were everything. And our second record was when streaming was everything. And we had to endure that transition. And most actual tell you that is the least enviable place to be. We basically spent years building a team that could learn how to distribute CDs, which has nothing to do with the business of streaming and the hustle that goes into hustling playlist edit is to put your song on playlists and we had to learn through different skills and play catch up. I mean, that was a time that was in the case of really bad luck, but we did cool shit. And we went on, you know, we played stadiums and we were on TV and, and I took all that shit for granted at the time. So, again, I'm really I'm looking at that now as I'm getting a bit older and going, that was an unqualified success in every respect, like my kids will look back at that. That video I put out in January, I don't know if you saw it called an uncommon experience. It was kind of the end of Buchanan, and it reflected it was and I spent Christmas and he is not the days, that would be sad. I spend that I spent that period editing this sort of final video of Buchanan and it was really a farewell to fans and also to myself for the project. I'm not I'm not dying. It's that it was it was I just wanted to wrap things up and it was it's it's bloody impressive what we did. You know,
no, you don't you don't need one thing. I think that's like what
I've realized that my journey as an individual My story is the product of all these stories, so that it's not just the film did this and the band did that, and then was doing this. It's not Josh Simon and as my own sort of brand, if you will, did the film and then had this gardening period, and then was in a band that was quite successful for 10 years and, and then in that time, I lived in London, and then I lived in Los Angeles, and I'm, you know, got engaged a couple times maybe and then got married. Yeah, I'm the product of all of the as we all are, we're all the product of our own experience. So we have, that's all we have. And that the sum of those parts defines who you are. Right now.
Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah, I don't know. I think it makes a lot a lot of sense. But it's fun hearing. You know, that journey in here and even from a year ago, and how far you've come from you, as you're talking about your mental health staff and you seem super happy. So
I was hoping I hope I don't come across as depressed as I'm in probably a better headspace now. Then, I'm going to comma headspace right
now and we haven't had my most So
you know there's
like to I tell them I've had not
had anything but there was a liquor store next door to the studio and I when we put when my Uber pulled up earlier in the day I was like before you guys go cuz you guys were like sorry La
La thing yeah baton yet but there was I was wondering I was thinking to I didn't know
not today Not today is a
keyboard he could have been
singing songs Did you ever hear? Did
we're heading in completely different directions everyone
just over here I mean other than the millions of people driving?
Yeah. Today I use my car to get to get to the head hair dresses. I didn't like the job you did something really bad But guys, this is critical. I'm gonna have to shave it off tomorrow
is bad. Did you go did you go CPE I
went to know I went to my normal. My normal life. I didn't get my guy. Place. I got the other guy. And he spent 45 minutes on one guy and I was getting pretty impatient. And I was I shouldn't be sitting there kind of guy. And then I got up and I go, right I just want a 15 minute job just so bad. I know what and he's done me before. Not like that.
He's really done. Yeah,
I think he did it on purpose because I was kind of a
15 minute job. Let's get this done. He's given me this more.
I'm gonna shave it off. not even kidding. Is that bad? Thank you
guys. Talk Show. Hi, the daily talk. show.com is the email address if you want to send us an email otherwise Hey, guys. Hey guys. Hi.