Wednesday is the true start of the conference part of the BIGSOUND proceedings. The Judith Wright Centre becomes a hub of music industry professionals, industry wannabees, and artists milling about and ducking into talks and panels between meetings, clutching a coffee and nursing their heads after the night before.
BIGSOUND‘s program goes to great lengths to create a diverse conference of events that apply to the some two thousand delegates from various professional positions and levels. Below is a wrap up of various sessions from the second day.
The highlight panel for the day was Colour-Coded: Culture, Creativity And Categorisation In The Music Industry hosted by ABC’s Rhianna Patrick with musicians, Nkechi Anele (Saskwatch), Ziggy Ramo and Jonathan Hermawan (Apakatjah). This insightful panel gave the audience an idea of what challenges and discriminatory events occur towards people of colour in the music industry, particularly Indigenous Australians. The discourse around artists, like those on the panel, who have composite cultural identities became a large part of the conversation with the panel agreeing that Australia as a nation needs to acknowledge the diversity of cultural background that all citizens have. The heartfelt testimonies and stories from particularly Ramo and Hermawan, most certainly resonated with the audiences with the continuing systematic trauma to Indigenous Australians while also affirming their cultural strength. Ramo takes out the quote of the panel asserting that he has “black privilege…I am connected to the oldest music culture in the world so stuff you.”
After this talk, it seemed relevant to attend the CAAMA Showcase at Ric’s Backyard, which was a fantastic outdoor event in the sunshine. Apakatjah, the Northern Territory acoustic duo, showcased their diverse range of influences combined with insightful storytelling in both English and in language. KnD put on an incredibly lively show with their strong raps and solid beats, getting delegates riled up for the rest of their day.
In the afternoon, This Is Australia: Regional Touring was a diverse panel which explored the ins and outs of getting bands to play in areas other than the Metro regions. Jonathon Hermawanm, also featuring on this panel told great stories of playing gigs in remote communities, playing in rec centres and parks to everyone in the community. He shared curious stories of the problems that red dirt can have on the tour vehicle and equipment as well as the importance of self-sufficiency. This was not only entertaining but also gave insight to places within Australia where live music operates in different ways to what many people would expect.
After all the learning of the day, the festival proceedings are a welcome respite, unless of course, you have an ambitious list of acts to see…which we did. Here are our top five acts from the Wednesday night.
This rapper wunderkind caused quite a stir with massive triple j support earlier this year, and the packed crowd at Oh! hello showed he has quite the audience. Baker Boy graced the stage with two support rappers as well as a live drummer pumping out high energy hip hop. Draped in an Aboriginal flag, this accomplished newcomer sampled ‘Treaty’, rapped in language and played the didgeridoo. This celebratory display mixing the modern genre of hip hop with one of the oldest cultures in the world was a true delight to see.
Auckland’s answer to BADBADNOTGOOD absolutely owned the stage with their eclectic mix of electronic jazz-infused hip hop. Yoko-Zuna showed that they had plenty of musical skill between them and plenty of stage presence to go around. Highly effected vocals, guitar, blended drums and a smorgasbord of synths culminated in intricate tracks with an undeniable groove.
No matter how many times you see TOTAL GIOVANNI, they are always surprising, tight and insanely fun. The Outdoor stage at Ric’s was heaving with the band and the audience equally crammed yet equally trying ot jive to funky nu-disco which challenges you to do anything but. Despite somewhat subdued costuming, this Melbourne band hinted to what is often a spectacular stage show.
It can be difficult to move between different genres at BIGSOUND yet Ara Koufax‘s set was so phenomenal that I found myself dancing easily despite rushing in just as they began their short set. The Melbourne duo creates a distinctive style of house and electronica, incorporating interesting sounds with the steady bass beats.
Midas.Gold is a prime example of the fantastic hip hop talent that we have in Australia. Not only are the songs tight and affecting but his fellow MC and he had a fantastic dynamic, making the best of a very sparse crowd. They kept the vibe upbeat and interactive, working with the crowd so well that at multiple points they even jumped down onto the floor to spit some lines and dance. Midas.Gold proved himself to not only be a fantastic songwriter but also a master entertainer too, definitely one to keep an eye on.