Friends of Uno: Soul Has No Tempo

Posted August 26, 2020

Get to know our go-to sonic curators.

Welcome to our Team Spotlight – where we sit down, get comfortable and have a chat with the talented creatives who make up our extended team.

For round two, we interviewed Ali + Gav who have a firm grasp on the music scene from Brisbane to beyond, and collaborate with us to curate the music lineups for some of our biggest events.

Ali Tomoana & Gavin Boyd AKA:

  • The coolest parents
  • Directors & Label Managers @ Soul Has No Tempo

Some of Soul Has No Tempo’s work for Uno Momento

So, Ali & Gav…

What local musicians/bands are you guys loving right now? 

Ex-Brisbanite, Imraan Paleker has just moved to London, but we’ve been huge fans of his for years. He makes music under the moniker Street Rat and has appeared on 5 of our label releases, so we’re super proud to be working on his debut record, out in October. The latest single, Holding My Tongue, just dropped and you can listen here.

Also, Laik AKA Hannah Macklin, who is back in Brisbane after some time in Melbourne, is sitting on a very incredible record. Her latest single Rosedrops is out now on Melbourne label, Mandarin Dreams.

Did you complete any internship or work experience? How did this help you choose your career path? 

Ali: No internships for me, I have been very fortunate that all my roles since leaving high school have built my chops and allowed me to recognise my life belonged to music (whether I liked it or not) and taught me how to make a living orbiting that world. Some of the most valuable experiences I have had though, were cutting my teeth at music festivals and events – anything from a box office attendant to a runner to marketing assistance, or directing traffic in a field in torrential rain – learning to be adaptable and effective in those environments helped me realise I manage chaos quite well, so naturally, I was drawn to a career in music.

Gav: Starting in year 11 at high school I did 8 years of community radio at Brisbane’s 4ZZZ 102.1FM (1999-2007). That was my introduction into the industry and I’ve been doing all things related ever since!

What does a day in the life of Ali + Gav look like?

Ali: Varying levels of chaos! Although a little less deadline-driven than usual due to COVID and a huge part of our business being on ice at the moment, we’re very lucky to be in a position to still work on releasing music for our artists. Monday & Tuesday our nutcase toddler, Neo, is in daycare so we take the opportunity to chain ourselves to the desk for the day and fire out as much as we can for the coming week. It begins with Gavin making us a coffee or 2 (I would highly recommend an espresso machine if you have a home office – best investment ever!), daycare drop off, followed by a quick catch up of what’s on our plates for the week and a bit of delegation and prioritising, before we lean into our task lists. This week, we have a single premiering and releasing from Laneous so Gavin is finalising artwork, social media assets, pitching with our distributor and promo mail-outs, as well as overseeing radio servicing with our amazing PR partner Liz. The following week we are moving into a campaign for Tiana Khasi, so I am finalising strategy for that as well as booking a busy summer run of shows and festivals for a NZ artist we have recently signed (to be announced soon!). I am also most likely thinking about dinner, trying to workout, thinking about when Neo should have his first haircut and what TV show we can binge next now that we’ve finished Ramy. On days that Neo is at home with us, we juggle him based on what work is the priority or who has the closest deadline, which can often lead to some very colourful conversations.

Pre-COVID, we’d also be rostering weekly entertainment at Howard Smith Wharves, Riverbar, Newstead Brewing Co and a few others, along with working with you amazing ladies at Uno Momento on live entertainment for one of many upcoming events and festivals.

Tell us in your words, what is it that you do? 

Ali: I think, in order to fit the breadth of what I do into a title, it would probably be Music Manager. This covers off artist development, artist management, label management, strategy, campaign management and entertainment consulting. Titles aside, significant time is also spent brainstorming and workshopping creative opportunities, sustainable career paths, meaningful placements and road maps to making our artists dreams come true ☺. As we also navigate a very challenging time for our industry through COVID, a lot of priority at the moment is placed on ensuring our teams mental health and wellness are at sustainable levels, and for those in campaign or with upcoming releases, making sure the strategy and activity is enjoyable and meaningful.

Gav: I’m a bit of an all-rounder, but I’d say my focus is simply using my ears and taste to curate music in spaces and places. This comes in many forms – A&R work for the label, designing packaging and assets for label releases, booking festivals and events, deejaying out and about and much more!

Why music? What were the moments that pushed you towards being a creative professional? 

Ali: I don’t think it was ever a conscious choice to be honest, but more an annoying passion deep in my bones that wouldn’t let me do anything else without feeling like I was missing a limb. When my husband and I got together, we were both working in music – him as a fulltime DJ and me on a contract in Byron Bay with Bluesfest – and had a lot of shared values, so it only made sense to merge those with our respective skill sets to create Soul Has No Tempo as a business and launch pad for our creative endeavours.

Gav: What else is there? I guess it was simply a snowball effect of many experiences involving music, which slowly evolved into a tangible career. I don’t think I ever actively chose this path, it chose me.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ali: My greatest inspiration has definitely been my Grandmother. There have obviously been some incredible music and business role models that influenced me, but none that have come close to the impact Nanny June has had on how I move through life, which inevitably flows into my business. She was humble but fiercely proud, extremely gentle but strong and commanded unprecedented levels of respect through kindness and love, and I couldn’t escape those values if I tried. To give it a modern context, I guess I can quote the great Jacinda Ardern who said “it takes courage and strength to be empathetic and we can only be true to ourselves and the form of leadership we believe in”. I feel that in my bones.

Gav: Most definitely my wife, Alieta

Where did your appreciation for music and artist management come from? 

Ali: My appreciation for music definitely came from my family. My great-grandfather was a renowned Māori songwriter in NZ (he wrote beautiful love songs) so the romantic side of music and songwriting is in my blood on my mother’s side, and my Dad is an elitist jazz nerd. I think management actually came about by default and again was never really a conscious decision – sometimes having nurturing tendencies can land you in places you’d never expect!

Gav: Music has always been a big part of my life. From an early age I listened to my father’s record collection and dabbled with instruments. Artist management and the record label really came out of necessity. It was a progression from deejaying and playing other people’s records to creating our own.

What’s been the most challenging lesson you’ve learned?

Ali: Definitely reaching the understanding that you are not your work or your job, and taking steps to ensure those things do not define me as a person/woman/mother.

Gav: Trying not to always let passions influence business decisions. It can be a slippery slope when that happens and sometimes very costly!

What’s the best thing/highlights that’s happened to you?

Ali: Being in the position to work with my husband everyday, and releasing new music is always a highlight and achievement in itself. I think independently promoting my first SHNT show in London 5-6 years ago, which also happened to be the artists first show there too, and it selling out within a few hours stands out as a pretty special moment for me.

Gav: Outside of music that would have to be the birth of my son, Neo. Professionally, I started out as a deejay, so over the years have been fortunate to play tons of amazing gigs, both home and abroad. Along the way I’ve been lucky to connect with lots of interesting people, many of whom were musical idols.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone looking to get into the music industry?

Ali: One huge key would be to define what success means to you when starting out – either as an overarching mantra, or per project – and keep that in sight as your check-in point. Success can vary depending on whom you speak to, where you read your news, what shows you go to and what records you buy. Unless you have those measures clearly defined and specific to your circumstances, it can be easy to lose focus and begin comparing your successes with others.

Gav: It’s not all poppin’ bottles in VIP and free concert tickets (although that is nice!), so it’s important to ask yourself, how can I contribute to my local community, and how can I help elevate others?

What do you like about working with Uno Momento?

Ali: Working with Uno Momento really is like a breath of fresh air and challenges us to think further outside of our usual networks to curate entertainment for specific events and briefs. It allows Gavin and I to continue connecting with local acts and community, which is a huge part of our value system. Holly, Ness and the girls work ethic is second to none and it is always super inspiring to observe the work they do and the epic moments they create, from the spreadsheet to the stage! 😉

Gav: It’s really refreshing to work with a team of kick-ass women, everyone has their role and does it well, and they trust our expertise in curating live music which makes the process really enjoyable.

Check-out their Spotify Playlists below

Aleita & Gavin's Wedding Jams

Label Discography