Lemon Tree Music has grown up and is bearing fruit of the best quality. Lars Brandle caught up with the artist management company’s founders Regan Lethbridge and David Morgan for a closer look at its roots.

It’s often said, don’t get into business with your best friends. Well, don’t always trust what is said. Regan Lethbridge and David Morgan aren’t your typical buddies. The pair grew up together in their homeland, New Zealand, living out of each others’ pockets as schoolmates tend to do. They played in a band, enjoying the type of buzz everyone chases but few ever catch. Today, they own and operate Lemon Tree Music, a flourishing venture which guides the careers of six artists — Tash Sultana, Pierce Brothers, Tones And I, Maddy Jane, Garrett Kato and Riley Pearce — and is based on the east coast of Australia, thousands of kilometres from home. Some friends come and go, these two are a family business.

The seed for Lemon Tree was planted whilst Lethbridge and Morgan played in Bonjah, a Melbourne-based indie outfit that enjoyed national airplay with Triple J, and toured their show across the country and further afield, into Japan and Europe. The group was essentially self-managed. Lethbridge and Morgan paid attention.

“We learned what to do and what not to do,” Lethbridge tells TIO. “We learnt it pretty quick, we made our mistakes. We still make mistakes today, if you don’t make them you don’t learn.”