Over the past six years, The Scene, broadcast on Perth radio station Mix 94.5, has become a staple of the Perth music and radio industry, airing 300 episodes and featuring more than 500 local and national acts, including, a couple of times, Around The Sound. When we heard The Scene was moving up to a video format, we needed to know more about what was happening with this institution of the WA music scene (pun very much intended), so we went straight to the source and had a chat with The Scene presenter and driving force, Blake Williams.
The second episode features Eskimo Joe and then there is a plethora of local and national artists being booked for the first series with some massive names due to be announced in coming weeks.
When Perth’s Mix 94.5 radio station became part of the Southern Cross Austereo stable in December last year, there was the inevitable change in programming, which saw the demise of The Scene as a radio show. Rather than let go something he’d worked on for more than half a decade, Williams decided to keep the concept alive and expand into the world of television.
“It had been off air for about six months,” said Williams, “and I thought, ‘What are we going to do, we still need the show?’ Demand for it hasn’t gone anywhere, if anything it’s increased, because there are bands releasing a lot of stuff and there are audiences wanting to see shows, people haven’t seen them for so long.”
Ever the supporter of the local music scene, Williams had talks with Perth production company, Night Owl Productions, and pitched The Scene as television show to be broadcast on YouTube and Facebook.
The new format for The Scene is short episodes, around 15 minutes long that can be consumed readily on mobile devices. The initial season will run for 10 weeks, beginning on Sunday 21 March.
Speaking about what viewers can expect from the revamped format, Williams said, “The main difference is full bands. Where on radio it had to be acoustic or semi acoustic, now we can do whatever we like. The show is set up with a live stage element. It’s all pre-recorded and you’ve got proper sound checks and everything is done to create a quality product. Then there will be a podcast version of that full audio as well.
“Having that full band aspect is great. We’re looking at turning it into a variety show as well, we can do funny sketches here and there, we can do stuff on location if we want to. It just opens it up to a lot of different elements. It’s all really exciting, I’ve seen the show being here (on TV) for a long time.”
The first episode, this coming Sunday, features the Murphy Brothers, who have a new album due for release shortly. The second episode features Eskimo Joe and then there is a plethora of local and national artists being booked for the first series with some massive names due to be announced in coming weeks.
For Williams, rather than mourn the loss of the opportunity to promote local music on the radio, shifting The Scene to a TV format was a golden opportunity. “I think we’re going to end up with the show that I’ve always wanted it to be,” said Williams, “and you open up to a whole bunch of creative processes as well. With radio it’s just audio but there’s just so much more you can do with television.”
While he’s focusing a good deal of his time on producing The Scene Williams also continues to work as a presenter Mix 94.5 and was very much obliged to station management for allowing him to continue to use the brand in the new format. Williams also is a working musician, theatre actor and owner of Williams Creative, a music and event consultancy company. He’s long been a champion of the WA music scene, recognising the rich vein of talent we have in this state and putting his own talents behind promoting local artists and events.
Perhaps, in quiet moments, if he ever has any, Williams might wonder whether he should slow down, maybe just a little bit. If he does, the thought obviously doesn’t stick in his mind long enough to dampen his excitement for what he does, and we’re very thankful for that.
“It’s going to be cool,” Williams said, looking ahead to the work involved in producing The Scene. “It’s going to be a learning curve for us, but I just can’t wait to get into it!”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Episode One, featuring the Murphy Brothers will be broadcast at 4.00 pm on Sunday 21 March.