With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday September 1, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate a few music industry dads who are managing work and family life in a sector battling an ‘always-on’ mentality.

In the short Q&As below, we chat dad life with Stephen Green, Managing Director of the SGC Media Group (SGC Media, Title Track, Collision Course and minor//MAJOR), and Basil Cook, Manager of Contemporary Labels at ABC Music (The Wiggles, You Am I, All Our Exes, Mojo Juju).

Stephen Green

Managing Director, SGC Media Group

How many kids do you have? 

Two. Max is six and Alice is four.

What’s been the most challenging thing about being a dad in the music industry?

Switching off when you’re with them and not spending your life looking over the top of your phone to make sure they aren’t killing themselves. It’s a constant struggle.

I can’t say I’ve mastered it, but giving yourself the permission to not think about work 24/7 is at least a lofty goal and kids certainly give you the incentive to be a better human.

Do your kids love your job?

I’m not sure they quite understand what I do. Sometimes neither do I. Mum’s a doctor so it’s a bit easier to explain that one. Do they love it? It’s hard to compare with saving lives, but dancing around the living room in our pyjamas to ‘Old Town Road’ and taking the kids to the Cub Sport all-ages show sure is cool. 

How are you at managing family + work life?

Pretty bad. Two parents with demanding jobs makes things tough. Dropping the kids at 7:30am and picking them up at 6pm isn’t about to win me any Dad of the Year awards.

I do manage to duck out for sports days though due to not having a boss to ask permission from and I’m pretty good at a web of Google Calendars. There are definite advantages that our kids have because of our jobs that I didn’t have when I was a kid and things I look at and wish they had the benefit of from my childhood.

But then I also wish I could get out to more shows or do more for the business as well, so I guess when I feel like both work and home are suffering, then in a perverse way, I must be doing something right.

In the end it’s less about me managing the balance on my own and more about my wife and I’s partnership as parents; muddling through day to day to support each other to do the best we can for both our kids and both our careers. Without that strong partnership I think I’d be cactus by now.

I don’t think we’re getting it right, but I think we’re getting it as good as we can at the time. I’m not one to beat myself up over past decisions, I just keep moving forward, striving to make better ones as they arise. 

What is your advice to anyone in the music industry who is about to have kids?

Make sure you really want this. It’s the most rewarding, awesome thing in your life, but something’s going to give. The idea that you’ll magically build a high powered career while wiping vomit off your shoulder at 3am or that you can multitask with that marketing report and make the paper mache mask for their school talk at the same time without either suffering is kidding yourself.

Either choose one, or be prepared to drop the idea of being perfect and move into survival mode. In a good way. It certainly helps you get good at prioritising. If that doesn’t sound like you, just consider if this is the right path. 

Basil Cook

Manager, Contemporary Labels at ABC Music

How many kids do you have? What are their names and ages (this q is optional)?

Two. Riley is 14 in October this year. Evie is 12.

 

What’s been the most challenging thing about being a dad in the music industry?

Time!

The music industry can be a 24/7 job at times, and pulls you in many directions, so making time to be regularly around is hard.

Also, after being away for work and travelling, eating terribly, drinking too much, etc…when you get home you just want to collapse and not do a thing, but that is often the last thing your kids want from you! So not just offering time but instantly switching gears, and being meaningfully present really requires focus and energy too.

Basil Cook with his kids
Basil with Riley and Evie

Do your kids love your job?

When they were much younger and could do meet & greets with The Wiggles (who I work with) I am sure they loved it! Haha

My kids are very supportive of my career path, and I think (hope!) they know that this job makes me happy, and they do the equation that a happy parent is a good parent!

They have always really enjoyed when we go away to music festivals together and camped for days and met lots of “interesting” people.

I am sure that they don’t love that my job makes me away a lot.

 

How are you at managing family + work life?

Not the best if I am being honest…and that has caused friction in the past…I do actively try my best to ensure these days that I am making time to switch off and have quality AND quantity time with my kids…but for both myself and my kids, it never seems to be enough time.

I do think a balance is very important and I encourage so many friends and colleagues to strive for it, but my guilt has always been high that I am not around enough.

Wow – this is an intense short interview! 

 

What is your advice to anyone in the music industry who is about to have kids?

Make sure you understand that you need to make time with your family, and the tunnel-vision you have for your career and job now will need to widened significantly to include others.

Being a parent is fucking awesome and watching your own kids grow and create and think and have their own ideas is so amazing – make sure you spend the time to be there with them and enjoy it together.

The Beatles in the ABC⚡DC book
The Beatles in the ABC⚡DC book

ABC⚡DC is for the next generation of Rock & Roll Superstars. It is here to make the alphabet journey a cool one for all ages. Because education isn’t meant to be boring! Buy a copy of ABC⚡DC here.