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WA BIGSOUND artists
WA BIGSOUND artists

Around The Sound talks to WA’s finest as they head over to the Queensland capital to woo the industry at BIGSOUND 2019.

BIGSOUND is Australia’s leading new-music festival and industry conference held annually in Brisbane.  It’s a hallowed week in September where the bigwigs fly into town (label reps, promoters, publishers, managers etc) and the best new bands and acts from all over our great southern land congregate in the pubs and clubs of Fortitude Valley, hoping to strike gold. 

This year Otherside Brewery’s Tapped By The Otherside will help to get nine WA artists to BIGSOUND, in collaboration with the WA Music Industry Association.  Otherside, a Fremantle brewery putting their money where their mouth is, have fronted up the dollars to help fly the artists over. In a game where every penny counts, this is a godsend for the acts and a firm indicator that the company’s inception and attachment to the arts is both real and resonating.

Alongside having their airfares sorted, Otherside’s venue, the illustrious Freo.Social (the dot is meant to be there kids) has been opened up to all acts for rehearsal and preparation purposes. With one of the best stages across the metro area in which to refine a BIGSOUND-bludgeoning set, it’s great to see a local business opening their arms and shouldering some of the burdens that can plague many WA act’s ascendancies.

Selected to fly the WA Flag this year are Lucy Peach, Superego, Noah Dillon, Flossy, Reija Lee, Dulcie, The Money War, Butter, Spacey Jane and Jack Davies & The Bush Chooks. What a smorgasbord of musical goodness! We’ve got Grunge Pop, Neo Soul, Hip Hop, Indie Rock and even Electro Pop to entice our ‘betters’ from the eastern seaboard.

You might recognise some of these names – and that’s because they’re some of the most prolific and energised artists this state has to offer. In-between rehearsals, beers and checking the Ashes score, Around The Sound had a chat with some of the attendees.

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THE MONEY WAR
Carmen Pepper – Vocals, Bass and Co-Songwriter

The Money War

Have you been to BIGSOUND before?
We haven’t been as The Money War but this is Dylan’s (Ollivierre – Vocalist, Guitarist and Pepper’s partner) second time from a previous band of his (Rainy Day Women).

What are your hopes for BIGSOUND 2019? What’s the Masterplan?
It’s mostly the networking opportunities over there. As as an independent band we’re hoping to making lots of useful contacts and play in front of those people.

Regarding Tapped by Otherside, I believe they’re chipping in to help get you over there?
Yeah they contributed quite a large amount to all the bands. We were originally considering just going over there as a two-piece as it’s so hard to get there from WA. Now we can take the entire band over there (they play as a 5-piece live)!

How have you found the feedback and the response from your Album and last week’s EP?
Really, really good.

Do you find it difficult to be honest in your songwriting when youre romantically attached to your bandmate, or does it make it easier in a way?
Probably makes it easier – we both feel really comfortable exploring life and our music together. I’d always felt shy writing with other people so with Dylan its much easier that way. I wouldn’t want to be doing this with anyone else really! Of course, it gets hard every now and then as we live together and are in the same band together, but the good outweighs the bad, definitely.

From an industry perspective, is the importance of being a good live act still the main thing people look for in bands?
Yeah if you’ve great recorded music but cant play live you’re not the full package. If people hear your music on Spotify they’re going to want to hear it with energy and liveliness – similar to the recording but with a unique energy to it.

Where do you see yourself in 12 months time?
We’d really love to tour in the US. We’re looking to do that in 2020 and we’d love to get our music into films and TV shows – we’re hoping to meet people for sync stuff at BIGSOUND (sync – sycronisation is the right to use music in other media which acts as a promotional and marketing tool).

FLOSSY
Sinaed O’Hara

FLOSSY

Regarding the expedition to BIGSOUND, how are you feeling about going over there?
It’s exciting – stoked to get in! Should be fun! We’ve got some good timeslots, there’ll be decent amount of people at the shows. There’s plenty of people we want to meet and create relationships with.

What are you hoping to achieve from the trip?
We’re keeping our minds open and going over to meet people and let people know the direction we’re heading in now. The end goal is to find a label that’s interested in us and that we like how they operate so we could (ultimately) commit to signing up with someone.

Could you tell us a bit about Tapped By Otherside and how they helped the WA contingent of bands get over there?
They got in touch with us and said we can come and use their venue and rehearse on a stage – it’ amazing – a huge stage. So that’s really helpful. Plus they’re supplying all the beer we need while we’re over there!

They’re supplying the rider every night?
I think so – it think that was the deal! But we really appreciate their help in getting over there. We don’t have piles of money lying around so it’s fantastic.

Do you find that that the single is back as the ultimate release format? Have EPs gotten lost in the fast-pacedness of life?
Yeah people consume music differently and our attention spans are shorter. So people are definitely craving that next song. EPs and Albums are better for once your fully established.

What would you like to see more of or less of in the Australian music scene? What would you change if you could?
I’d probably like lineups to be a lot more diverse. Generally, I think promoters should have a responsibility to make sure that lineups represent the diverse world we live in. It’s too common where all white-male bands are touring Australia with all white-male supports. I’d like to see more diversity.

Where do you see the band in 12 months time?
I see us having toured Australian a bit more. I’d like to do some supports for big visible acts. Camp Cope would be amazing, Moaning Lisa too! On a larger scale it would be great to play with Ruby Fields or Ali Barter!

NOAH DILLON
Singer-Songwriter

Noah Dillon

First time to BIGSOUND, what are you expecting and what are you hoping to get out of it?
I’ve heard it’s a pretty intense, really big party! We’re not too sure what to expect but we’re just going to run around a lot and catch lots of gigs. I don’t know what my schedule is but we’re gonna be open minded and get out there!

Otherside have tapped you on the shoulder for this and they’re bankrolling most of the bands going over, were you stoked to get the nod?
Yeah, I feel so grateful for the help – its amazing all the support they’ve given us. I don’t think it would have been possible to get over there without this.

BIGSOUND is primarily a networking event, are you sitting on a single or an EP to be released in the wake of this? What’s going on in the creative realm right now?
We’ve just recorded an EP called Everything Melts and we might release that in the next 3 months and cheekily sneak a single in before that.

Where do you want to be in 12 months time?
Intense touring – whether that’s Australia or internationally – that’s the plan. I just want to be a musician and play as many gigs as I can. I’d like to meet people at BIGSOUND who can help us do that and help me get out there to play to people.

Is there anything you would change about the Perth or National Music scenes?
For me music is a very personal thing so I try not to get too fussed with anything that’s going on. But in saying that there’s always a bigger push needed for inclusivity and more representation of all different walks of life in music. It’s on the cusp of getting there, but I think it needs a little bit more of push to hit the mainstream of music. We’re pretty lucky in Perth, mostly the scene’s amazing.

JACK DAVIES AND THE BUSH CHOOKS
Jack Davies

Jack Davies and the Bush Chooks

Have you been to BIGSOUND before?
No.

How will you make the most out of your BIGSOUND trip?
We are looking forward to making new friends – to meeting industry and other bands and feeling more connected to the Australian music industry.

It’s also an opportunity to showcase our music live, in its true form, to an East Coast audience.

Why should people attend your showcase?
Our live show is something really different – it shows that violin can be rock and roll too!

LUCY PEACH

Lucy Peach

Have you been to BIGSOUND before?
No.

What does BIGSOUND mean to you as a musician and how will you make the most out of your BIGSOUND trip?
It’s a real honour to represent Perth on such a scale and to be part of a moment that is so representative of where the Australian music scene is right now. 

I plan on making music until I’m 100, so I take the opportunities where they are and its great, every now and again, to lean into some support. I’m so grateful to WAM and Otherside for supporting me to get there and the opportunities that it offers.

Why should people attend your showcase?
It’s a really honed live show.  I’m accompanied by a very talented and intuitive band who are all respected musicians in their own right. 

What separates WA music from the rest?
We are so isolated here in WA that I believe there is more of an incubation process and people emerge fully formed.

The local scene feels very much like a big family.  People collaborate and support one another and that is an important part of being creative – the connection to other creatives.

SUPEREGO
Nelson Mondlane – MC

SuperEgo

Have you been to BIGSOUND before?
Yes, two years ago.

How will you make the most out of your BIGSOUND trip?
We are looking forward to performing and showing how we have evolved since our last BIGSOUND appearance.

It’ll be great to see so many other bands perform and there are some major networking opportunities at BIGSOUND with other musicians and industry.  The last time we went we made a lot of contacts and ended up booking a heap of other shows.  It is a strong career step.

Why should people attend your showcase?
Our show will be very different to other shows at BIGSOUND.  It’s a fusion show and super high-energy.

What separates WA music from the rest?
The isolation makes us quite unique.  I think that East Coast opportunities aren’t that common so you really give it your all.

There are so many people exploring different styles and sounds over here and I think WA really embraces that.  On the East Coast its probably a bit more segmented and competitive. 

The WA music industry is very supportive and friendly, like a big family.  I think that’s also pretty unique to WA.

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By all accounts, BIGSOUND 2019 will be one huge party where every act has the experience of a lifetime. Right now there’s probably a mixture of gratefulness, focus, excitement — and possibly a touch of trepidation — for what lies ahead. All the hype about the festival is justified – it’s where big names are made or broken. Because of this fact, it’s worth pondering the question:  will the success stories of this particular year be the actual best-on-field during the weekend of the festival? Or, as the more cynical perspective goes, is BIGSOUND now simply used as a tool to generate street-cred for acts that have already gotten the insider golden stamp of approval?

Given many of the national acts on the wider line-up have already accomplished Top-20 albums, have been around for literally years and others have already signed lucrative deals with labels, you have a to give a bit of credence to the pessimist ‘killjoy’ that sits quietly beside infectious optimism.   

But you know what? The world’s never set in stone, and we have every faith that our WA acts heading over the Nullarbor will batter the doors down metaphorically and physically. While to think of music as competitive is currently uncool – and in no way is BIGSOUND like a Battle of the Bands — when there’s a chance to be catapulted to triple j hot-listing, Austereo and ARN interest or the sync-jackpot of scoring the backing music to that next Vodafone commercial, we’re anticipating some fantastic performances and fateful antics. To our WA acts: Good luck, Godspeed and try everything you wouldn’t try at home. 

BIGSOUND 2019 runs from September 3-6 in Brisbane.

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