Bec Stevens is rewriting Adelaide’s live music culture one cup at a time.
Between wafer thin streaming royalties and mounting tour costs, musicians today are dreaming up increasingly inventive ways to make a buck. The great age of merch diversification has seen artists release everything from air fresheners to Eminem selling bricks from his childhood home.
To celebrate the release of her latest single 10 Minute Drive Adelaide-based songwriter Bec Stevens opted for a piece of product everyone can get behind: her own signature coffee blend, created in collaboration with her record label Hobbledehoy Record Co and local roaster Monastery Coffee. But as Stevens tells The Adelaide Review, the move isn’t just about shaking up the merch desk.
“I knew we were putting another single out, but I didn’t want the launch to be exactly the same as my last one,” she says. “That was more of a pub rock show, and I wanted something a little different. I thought it would be nice if for this launch we just kept it simple: I’m just playing solo with one other support, it’s going to be a really relaxed day.”
As Stevens explains, taking the launch out of the nocturnal, pub-based setting is an opportunity to reset people’s expectations of a gig, and make a more accessible experience along the way. “It’s not really accessible to everyone,” she says of the traditional local show. “My last launch was at The Exeter in the beer garden, and I really love doing shows there because they’re in the afternoon, so for one that suits people who can’t be out late – for a lot of shows the main act they want to see isn’t on until about midnight. Which is hard for people, and I’ve got a couple of friends in wheelchairs, so a lot of venues aren’t accessible to them.
“I suffer from a lot of anxiety, so going to pubs that are really chaotic with lots of people, and thrashing around, it’s stressful. That’s one of the nice things about my shows is that even with the band when it’s a bit heavier, it’s never the type of music where everyone’s getting pushed around. Everyone’s super respectful,” she says, echoing calls by her contemporaries Camp Cope for a less aggressive, more respectful gig culture.
“You can do a thousand shows at the pub, but they’re all the same every time,” she says.
Stevens will launch both the single and coffee (developed over five months of group texts between Monastery, Hobbledehoy and herself), in an intimate afternoon show at Adelaide cafe Handsome and the Duchess on Saturday January 19.
Stevens is of course no stranger to the ways of the bean herself – like many emerging musicians, she’s supported herself with shifts in cafes all around Adelaide. “I love coffee, I make coffee as well,” she says of the day job that has helped her build a wide network in the hospitality and music scenes. “It’s funny, hospitality work – I’m from Tasmania and I’ve been here for five years but have worked so many places and made so many connections now.
“Adelaide’s really special, I think the music community here’s really cool,” she says of her adopted home. “Yes, it’s a small place but there’s so much stuff going on.”
Bec Stevens 10 Minute Drive launch
Saturday January 19, 5pm
Handsome and the Duchess