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Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Harry Hayes, Music Marketing Specialist

Harry Hayes is a music marketing specialist and creative thinker with years of experience across labels, startups and agencies.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’ve spent 8 years working in the music industry. An industry built on connections and plenty of nepotism. I remember reaching out to my favourite artist’s manager (Porter Robinson was the artist) in my Year 12 English class asking to promote his first Australian tour.

After moving to Melbourne I focussed on my Entertainment Management degree and getting as many internships, jobs and relationships as possible to get myself into the industry. After a few years doing ‘everything’ I focussed on digital marketing as a ‘niche’ skill that could get me in the door full-time.

I moved to Sydney, worked at a record label called Inertia/[PIAS] then just spent the last 6 months at a music NFT startup called Serenade.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I wake up and go for a run most days of the week. I never used to do this, and envied people who had the discipline. Now it’s really important for mental clarity and staying healthy.

Then I shower. I don’t eat until 11am. I love to cook so I’ll usually cook up some eggs or make a sandwich, or maybe just yoghurt + fruit. I also drink lots of cold brew and Oatly iced lattes. In between all of that is emails, texts, Slacks, Discords – all the usual modern day work stuff.

What I find super inspiring is listening to podcasts, consuming TikTok and YouTube content and generally scanning what’s going on online. I can’t help analysing the smaller details of how people operate digitally. It inspires my own ideas.

Moving into the afternoon it’s a lot of snacking and music listening. Sometimes I’ll do a quick grocery shop, go for a walk, write in my journal or read (this is hard when I’m anxious or stressed).

Night time I try to disconnect from work for my own sanity, and cook dinner in between consuming a stop-start mix of podcasts, YouTube videos and regular TV. I love having convos with my girlfriend about life, the chaos around us and hatching up life plans.

Sometimes we’ll sink into watching TV, occasionally a movie and recently we’ve been bingeing the How Long Gone podcast. If I’m in bed before 12am it’s a win. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

The role I just left was very flexible with remote working. Similar to my previous role. After 2 years of lockdown, it’s been a wild ride with remote working. It’s crazy that we ever did 5 days a week in 1 office. An insane concept.

The hybrid working method seems to work well. I do think the future of hybrid working should focus on brainstorming/ideation/relationship building 1-2 days a week IRL, then allowing people to knuckle down the remainder of the week at home.

The sunken costs of travel time, costs and food costs should be considered, people who travel 3 hours per day should be compensated vs those who travel 20 mins. Personally, remote working allows me to run errands, stay healthy and control my schedule a lot more than the regular 9-5. This whole situation has highlighted that humans have different needs and this should be accommodated for maximum happiness. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance recently became about rediscovering my own identity away from work. Everyone in entertainment has their identities intrinsically linked to their work/employer.

This is cute when things are going well, but it’s messy and upsetting when work issues start to affect your mood or general personality. I think balance comes with knowing your worth, where you provide value and how much your colleagues and employers respect you.

This impacts hours being worked, efficiency of delivering ideas and how inspired you are which are the barometers of good work-life balance. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I stopped drinking alcohol in April 2021. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. The way alcohol is so integrated into our lives is really scary.

I enjoyed drinking but the hangovers and financial cost really took their toll. I really don’t care if people drink around me, there’s no judgement, it was just a lifestyle choice similar to not eating meat or sugar. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I started reading books properly about 12 months ago. A book that really stuck with me was Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed. He also wrote Black Box Thinking which Daniel Ek (Spotify CEO) recommended on a podcast.

Both gave me an amazing perspective. R.E.D Marketing was a real gamechanger, as were Adam Ferrier’s books. I read very practical books, I need to get more imaginative with my choices!

I’m big into podcasts, including NY Times Popcast, The ABC Party Room, The Professor & the Hack, How Long Gone, Sway with Kara Swisher, nft now, BFFS, Best Song Ever with Charli XCX, Powerful Truth Angels. 

Also big into Newsletters, such as MUSICx, Alison Roman, Digital Native with Rex Woodbury, Motive Unknown, Bob Lefsetz, Pitchfork, Trapital

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

On my GQ Top 10 essentials would be: iPhone, Laptop, Airpods, salad spinner, quality kitchen knife, Earaser ear plugs, Oatly barista-edition oat milk, How Long Gone Nalgene water bottle, quality sunglasses, hairbrush, Online Ceramics T-Shirts 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Matty Healy from The 1975, Skrillex or Bernie Sanders.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

We are living in fast-changing times. Don’t forget about your inner child. If you’re not feeling great about your current situation, try to zoom out and remember why you got into all of this in the first place. Maybe it’s time to make some changes.

I have found talking to friends, family and my partner an amazing way to find clarity. Also therapy is something I am extremely keen to pursue. Exercise has been a real game changer, especially running as it’s free and I can take it anywhere I travel to.

Make sure you eat well, cook nice food and don’t overdo the Uber Eats. Remember that life is a constant battle to find balance hence why it’s so gnarly sometimes. I really believe following your instincts and value system will lead you in the right direction every time, but don’t use that as a crutch to avoid working hard.

Anything is possible, but you have to apply many hours to get yourself there. Oh and keep the same energy with every person you meet. I find it really weird when people change who they are around different people. Be kind and inspiring to everyone and you’ll get it right back. 

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.