Vivid @ Seymour presents New Wave Sound and Musify+Gamify this May, New Wave Sound will be blending the gothic musical exploration by award-winning Sydney composer Andrée Greenwell (Dreaming Transportation, The Hanging of Jean Lee, Venus and Adonis) and Musify+Gamify,  the dynamic potential of music and exploring the spaces where music play and game play meet.

What is this musical journey all about? Ollie Bown and Andrew Batt-Rawden explain…

Why would I want to see your program?

You’ll love my program if you’re into genuine, yet polished, experimental arts. By “genuine experimental” I mean that we’re drawing from a number of genres – musique concrete, EDM, avant-garde, “post avant-garde”… each note, nanosecond of time, has been carefully thought out, crafted. It’s also an all-Aussie program, with some works from overseas, a lot of new music getting its first airing. These are artists who won’t be supported by the snooty institutions, and some of their music gets more enthusiasm from boutique labels/festivals overseas than it ever will in Australia. But my program is a way of hearing their excellence, the way they want it to be heard and produced.

Tell me about the scene you operate in Sydney and its relationship the rest of the world?

We’re mostly classically trained vagabonds working on the fringes of music making. We want to create great art – and entertainment may come as a result. So this means it’s a relatively small scene. We’ve all got a different approach, some are more analytical/intellectual in their approach, others have more of an intuitive/emotional… Apollo vs Dionysus – but everyone’s in it to make brilliant music. Internationally we’re connected to a huge group of artists who also work on the fringes – our teachers are internationally renowned artists with works performed over the globe, and we follow in their steps. Blinkhorn, for example, has won heaps of international awards and residencies and yet is little known here, in his hometown, Sydney.

I’m a fan of Daniel Blinkhorn’s remarkable high definition sound works, definitely a highlight for me of your program. He referenced dubstep in a recent piece. Do you see much of a relationship between this high-art electroacoustic music and club music?

Daniel has a stage name – FrostbYte – he’s gone to the arctic to sample the sounds of ice and he uses these in his music. He’ll reference dubstep, sure, but transform it into his own incessant wave of complex inferno that’ll violently and delicately envelop your reality for the time of the piece. A paradox I know, but you have to hear it to understand it. There’s a lot of cross over between artists working in “creative music” with “classical music” and “popular music”, the worlds are merging a bit. Gabriel Prokofiev (London composer grandson of Sergei Prokofiev) as a much-famed concerto for turntable. Anna Meredith (Scotland) did an amazing beatbox concerto with Shlohmo. Closer to home, we had a suite of works by Gordon Hamilton (QLD) and Tom Thum for Queensland Symphony players and Beat boxer. Vaein (Rob Finder). Marcus Whale (Collarbones). There’s a plethora of cross overs that are happening. I’d like to see more of it integrated into the club scene, and that just takes more relationship building.

Over the years how have you seen the landscape changing in terms of how classical music is appreciated and how it relates to different kinds of people and other styles of music? Has it become more accessible? How are artists from this and other areas mutually inspired? How much social mobility is there?

Uh. Hmmm. This is a hard-ish question. “Classical Music” in a popular sense is music composed from the classical tradition (i.e, early music, medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, 20th century etc). There have been cross-over artists throughout the history – between secular and sacred, between refined and pub (Apollo vs Dionysus again). Some artists stick to their guns in one clique whilst others are more versatile and move between both – taking their audiences along for the ride. The demographic for classical music is generally retirees with time/money to afford it – and they mostly like music between baroque to the romantic period (almost exclusively). There is a sub-set who realise that Beethoven was once a new composer, who challenged audiences too and that we’ve got many composers today doing just that. That spectrum/scene isn’t changing much… indeed, many people prefer to be “entertained” than to be “engaged”. Beyond the big traditionalist institutions, there is a hive of activity, people starting their own thing, building it, engaging in conversations with a curious and eclectic crowd who come to listen to music who are open to “new” and “current”.

Is it becoming more accessible? … what is accessibility anyway? Venues have public transport, there are ramps or lifts if you use a wheelchair, and braille is often on signage. Ticket prices are modest (indeed it is more expensive to see a movie at adult prices sometimes). On top of this – the internet has just laid out anything and everything you can listen to – check out makingwaves  for example. But if the question is more about aesthetic accessibility – that depends on the audience – they’ve just got to be open to some freaky shit that sounds different but way cool… to translate to more academic language; the audience has to approach listening with a positive curiosity towards eclectic creativity that they may not have had prior exposure to yet will have intellectual and emotional excitement from. J how else would you like me to say it? I don’t know who’s reading this!!!

What about the future of classical music? e.g., the SCM has opened up a new contemporary music degree. Where’s it all going?

The future of classical music. I’m giving a talk about this on 5th June with a panel of experts including Lieven Bertels (Director of Sydney Festival), Daniel Bilnkhorn (an artist in my program), Claire Edwardes (Ensemble Offspring Artistic Director), Nicole Canham (former director of the Canberra international music festival), Kate Lidbetter (the CEO of Symphony International) and Kate Tribe (who runs ClassikON).

But as a teaser;

The future of classical music, in my view, is in the hands of the artists – and their directions are very multi-faceted. You don’t have to be an expert to see there is a general movement towards multi-disciplinary arts practices. The technology we’ve got available to us now is really affecting our art – we’re amplifying instruments, doing live digital signal processing, creating interactive technologies that extend our instrument or our bodies into instruments.

Although the creative palate from which we draw is ever-evolving – a few things will remain very true. Fringe-dwellers won’t be able to have the marketing clout of more popular artists nor the lobbying power of the major traditional institutions yet it is at these margins where the seeds of the great ideas that make movements, that build new universes of creativity, are sown. It’s an awesome thing to be a part of.

In saying that the recent federal arts budget reallocation has fucked up (that’s a technical term) the current system for creative music artists to develop and present their work – but we’ll see what happens, the details will come out soon, and then we’ll, know where we’re at. I published an article about it on if you want to read it.

Vivid Music @ Seymour – New Wave Sound

‘Gothic’ – Reginald Theatre, Wednesday 27th – Friday 29th May 2105
Time: 7.30pm / Duration: 1hr 10mins.
Tickets: Adult $36, Conc $24

‘Music For Double Bass’ – Sound Lounge, Thursday 28th May 2015
Time: 9pm / Duration: 1hr 15mins.
Tickets: Adult $25, Conc $15

‘Senex et Sonet’ – Sound Lounge, Friday 29th May 2015
Time: 9pm / Duration: 1hr 10mins.
Tickets: Adult $25, Conc $15

‘Bridge: Electroacoustic Review’ – Sound Lounge, Saturday 30th May 2015
Time: 8pm / Duration: 1hr 20mins.
Tickets: Adult $25, Conc $15

Vivid Music @ Seymour – Musify + Gamify

Musify + Gamify Concert 1 – Everest, Friday 29th May 2015
Ensemble Offspring (performing works by Julian Day, Cor Fuhler, Damien Ricketson, Steffan Ianigro)
Robbie Avenaim and Chris Abrahams
Michaela Davies
Alon Ilsar plays airsticks, joined by Lucas Abela’s Mini Duelling Guitars.
Time: 7.30pm  Duration: 1hr 10mins.
Tickets: Adult $34, Conc $26

Musify + Gamify Concert 2 – Reginald Theatre, Saturday 30th May 2015
7Bit Hero (solo set) (QLD)
Austin Buckett performs with a new interactive AV work by David Kanaga (US)
Paul Heslin (ACT)
The Infosthetic Orchestra (James Nichols, Laura Altman, Pia van Gelder, Tom Smith, Alex Whillas, Ollie Bown)
Time: 7.30pm / Duration: 1hr 10mins.
Tickets: Adult $34, Conc $26

Exhibition – Launch 26th May, runs 27th May – June 6th 2015
Works by Lucas Abela, Michaela Davies, Stephen Barrass, The Futile Research Lab, Frank Feltham.
Videogames: Papa Sangre II, Proteus, Dyad.

Tickets from or Call 02 9351 7940
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