The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) held their 9th annual Libera Awards digitally today, out of New York City. The event, recognised as the largest Independent music award show in the world, capped off days of panels and one-on-one meetings as part of A2IM Indie Week, which moved onto a digital platform for the 2020 event. Over the course of the week, supported by Sounds Australia, 25 Australian professionals braved the time zones and actively participated in the virtual edition.

Sounds Australia wishes to congratulate the Australian artists who won at the awards:

Julia Jacklin took home Best Folk / Bluegrass album for Crushing (Polyvinyl Record Co.) and also performed the incredible ‘Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You’ as part of the award ceremony, which also included performances from the likes of Orville Peck (who won best Country Album and Breakthrough Artist/Release) and Wyclef Jean, who closed out the night.

Julia Jacklin has appeared at a number of Sounds Australia events including THE AUSSIE BBQ at SXSW, Liverpool Sound City and Sound Gallery @ Komedia at The Great Escape all in 2016.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard won Best Metal Album for Infest The Rats’ Nest (ATO Records). They performed at the 2014 Canadian Music Week THE AUSSIE BBQ, at the iconic Horseshoe Tavern, alongside the likes of You Am I. They were also nominated in the Best Outlier Album category for Fishing For Fishies.

Amyl and the Sniffers won Best Punk / Emo Album for Amyl and The Sniffers (ATO Records), who performed with us in the UK at THE AUSSIE BBQ in London and Brighton’s The Great Escape, as well as The Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in 2018.

We’d also like to congratulate the managers of the winning acts and acknowledge their tireless work for their artists – Alistair Burns (Julia Jacklin), Andrew Parisi & Simone Ubaldi (Amyl & The Sniffers) and Eric Moore (King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard).

These amazing Australian acts joined an impressive list of winners which included Mavis Staples, Sudan Archives, Weyes Blood, Fontaines D.C. and IDLES.

Although they didn’t receive an award (this time), it was fantastic to see Alex Cameron and Courtney Barnett nominated, further demonstrating the depth and talent of Australian music right now.

For the full list of winners and more details about the Libera Awards, head to liberaawards.com

This week, Sounds Australia and the Australian Music Centre were scheduled to be in Rotterdam, along with the international classical and art music community, for Classical:NEXT 2020. The coronavirus outbreak has meant the conference has had to be postponed until 2021 – however, it’s not stopping the program entirely.

Currently, Classical:NEXT is running a series of online panels, talks, events and meet-ups, and the annual Innovation Award will be streamed online for the very first time. You’ll be able to watch it Wednesday May 20 at 9am (USA ET), 2pm (UK BST), 3pm (CEST) and 11pm (AEST).

We are very excited that Liza Lim and the Composing Women program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music has been shortlisted for this year’s Innovation Award. To celebrate we asked Liza, as well as four composers involved in the program – Bree van Reyk, Georgia Scott, Peggy Polias and Josepheine Macken – to select four tracks of music important to them, also including their own work.

Keep reading to find out what they chose – and you can hear their selections on Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube.


Liza Lim

Liza Lim is a composer, educator and researcher whose music focusses on collaborative and transcultural practices. The roots of beauty (in noise), time effects in the Anthropocene and the sensoria of ecological connection are ongoing concerns in her compositional work.

Here are 4 tracks of mine. A playlist about love in many forms – human, spiritual and ecological – aren’t these all ultimately related?

‘Weaver-Of-Fictions’
Genevieve Lacey, recorder, plays a song about erotic longing

‘Speak, Be Silent’
Sarah Soviet, violin; Riot Ensemble conducted by Aaron Holloway Nahum – the title comes from Rumi’s poetry:
The command comes to speak, and you feel the ocean moving through you.
Then comes, Be silent, as when the rain stops, and the trees in the orchard begin to draw moisture up into themselves.

‘Our embraces are a banquet of revolving time’
The last movement of Tongue of the Invisible. Omar Ibrahim, baritone; Uri Caine, piano & bass melodica, Ensemble MusikFabrik conducted by Andre de Ridder – A song about divine love

‘Pollen’
From How Forests Think. ELISION Ensemble conducted by Carl Rosman. the sound of fertility, abundance and ecstasy.

 

Bree van Reyk

Bree van Reyk is a drummer, percussionist, composer and sound artist who makes unconventional and tradition-challenging performance works. Her music resides in the intersection between contemporary classical, indie-rock and performance art and is equally warm-hearted, celebratory, and focussed on issues of equality.

Bree van Reyk – ‘Light for the First Time’ (performed by Ensemble Offspring)
I wrote this piece while pregnant. We arrived at the point where our baby could see external light whilst still nestled safely inside my uterus. I was so struck by the enormity of that experience and attempted to sound that first instant in extreme slow motion. The piece relies on a free and open interpretation of the quasi-improvised score by the musicians and it’s a joy to hear some of my dearest friends and colleagues from Ensemble Offspring perform so beautifully here.

Gurrumul – ‘Waak (Crow)’ from Djarimirri
Gurrumul’s music, voice and dreaming touched audiences in Australia and around the world in an incredible way and I’m thankful to have heard these ancient songs through his work. I was lucky enough to play percussion on this seminal album, and will hold the experience as a life highlight always. Erkki Veltheim’s orchestral arrangements offer a very inspiring and innovative avenue for bringing together these diverse and rich traditions.

Dirty Three – ‘Some Summers They Drop Like Flys’ from Whatever You Love, You Are
I’ve recently finished recording my debut instrumental album and was honoured to have Jim White and Mick Turner from Dirty Three contribute their beautiful playing on drums and guitar respectively. They are among my favourite instrumentalists ever and I fell in love with Dirty Three as a teenager and am in love with their music still for its unique ability to be at once intense, sprawling, rich, desolate, uplifting and melancholy.

Mary Finsterer – ‘Silva’ (performed by Ensemble Offspring)
Mary’s music is wonderfully rich, fluid and glowing. This piece seems to me to never start or end. It twists and turns and offers multitude possibilities, but no finite conclusions.

 

Georgia Scott

Georgia Scott is a freelance composer, orchestrator and arranger. Georgia has had works premiered in venues such as The National Portrait Gallery, London, The Dulwich Picture Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, National Sawdust and the Sydney Opera House.

‘Fire’ by Aidan Rosa performed by Viet-Anh Nguyen
Escapisms is a take on alchemy, transmuting “borrowed” material into something new. Each movement is named after one of the five classical elements. Each element emphasises a different form of transformation in each movement.” – Aidan Rosa

‘Spin’ by Alexis Weaver 
“Spin belongs to a larger suite of pieces, each of which feature the evocative sonorities of much beloved, mechanical toys from childhood. All the sounds in this work are derived from a single sound source, a spinning top.” – Alexis Weaver

‘Tardigradus’ by Melody Eötvös commissioned by Ensemble Offspring and performed by Claire Edwardes and Lamorna Nightingale
“This work accompanies the Tardigrade as we delve into the microscopic world of moss and lichen to observe its detail as well as follow this remarkable slow stepping warrior through its paces.” – Melody Eötvös

‘Lake Ice (Missed Tales No. 1)’ by Mary Finsterer performed by Kees Boersma and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
“Lake Ice sits at the apex of a series of orchestral works I aim to create called Missed Tales, based on the conceit that an anonymous collection of stories has been found after thousands of years in the recesses of a cave in Northern Europe. It searches for ways to bring the solo double bass to the fore and highlights the many strange and beautiful sonorities it can produce.” – Mary Finsterer

 

Peggy Polias

Peggy Polias is a composer and music typesetter based in Sydney. Polias prepares scores, instrumental parts and other print music materials for some of Australia’s leading composers. Polias explores the influences of Javanese Gamelan, minimalism, feminism, fractals and handicrafts in her music, and takes a keen interest in the possibilities for music in the online space.

These are some eclectic solo and chamber works I’ve composed over a range of about 10 years. A common theme seems to be “air”: in Little Secret, the “airing” of sounds long hidden; Hive is about bees, creatures that fly; “Time III” evokes a spiritual, aethereal dimension; in Electro Fractal Gamelan the percussionist on vibraphone responds to a backing track generated from sine tones, evoking just one fragment of a larger, possibly galactic entity.

Little Secret (2019) for flute, backing track and gate effect
Performed by Lamorna Nightingale (flute)

‘Buzzing’ from Hive (2016), for clarinet, viola, piano (and voice)
Performed by The Nano Symphony: Catherine Thompson (clarinet, voice), Neil Thompson (viola, voice), Lee Akinsanya (piano)

‘Time III’ from Picnic at Hanging Rock Suite (2009), for piano
Performed by Philip Eames (piano)

Electro Fractal Gamelan (2011) for vibraphone and backing track
Performed by Kaylie Dunstan

 

Josephine Macken

Josephine Macken is a composer and improviser based in Sydney, Australia and co-founder of SPIRAL Ensemble and the lost+sound collective. Both performatively and compositionally, Josephine’s compositional process is deeply collaborative, straining to reconcile the ungainly distinctions between the performer’s voice and the voice of their instrument, examining breath as gestural language and facilitating occurrences of psychoacoustic phenomena in performance.

Georges Lentz, Ingwe (2003-18) for solo electric guitar, extract: bars 113-79
“Ingwe is on the one hand the radiant night sky in the silent vastness of the desert – on the other hand, and in this piece more importantly, the ‘night within’: darkness and pain in my own life at the time I was writing the piece, depression, loneliness, the suicide of one of my closest friends. It is also the night surrounding us in the world every day – hatred, violence, greed, disease, the wilful destruction of our planet…” -Lentz

Lisa Illean, Januaries (2017) for ensemble of 12 instruments
“[Illean] shows an extraordinary sensitivity to colour and timbre and creates an absorbing sound-world which lingers after listening.” – Australian Art Music Awards, 2018

Chris Dench, Ik(s)land[s] (1997-98) for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet, guitar, percussion, violin & cello
A gorgeously erratic setting of the prose of Berni Janssen; in the words of Paul Griffiths, “a wonderful example of Denchian swirl and wildness in an atmosphere of floating.”

Kate Moore, Canon (2013) for piano quartet
Written for and recorded by pianist Saskia Lankhoorn, this piece is a mesmerizing listen, drawing remarkable richness out of simple processes.

 

Australia’s national music export program, Sounds Australia, is thrilled to partner with Tourism Australia to present world-class homegrown music talent who have showcased on global stages and were due to appear at international events showcasing Australian music this year.

Tourism Australia were slated to partner with Sounds Australia at this year’s SXSW – celebrating and promoting the richness of this country’s culture and stories to international markets. As circumstances have drastically changed, and local artists and industry find themselves grounded at home, Sounds Australia will continue to align with Tourism Australia to shine a light on some of our greatest musical exports, offering music lovers at home and worldwide another reason to be enticed to experience this beautiful country once borders reopen.

Sounds Australia Sunday Session as part of Live From Aus will feature the extraordinary talents of Jack River and Emily Wurramara in some of their favourite locations around the country this Sunday night at 9pm AEST LIVE on Tourism Australia’s Facebook page to a potential audience of over 13 million.

The segment will capture live performances, accompanied by byte size interviews exploring what makes “home”, why it’s such a completely unique part of the world, and intimate insights into their favourite parts of Australia.

In addition, on Saturday May 16 at 6pm AEST, Sounds Australia has curated a soundtrack to compliment a spectacular sunset LIVE streamed from Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists*. Head to Sounds Australia’s playlists after the event to listen back to the beautiful tunes any time.

*Note: Each Aboriginal nation has their own language, customs, art and music. The music being played during this session is from nations across Australia and is not intended to be representative of Anangu culture at Uluru.

Sunset Session: Live from Uluru curated by Sounds Australia

Saturday May 16
1:00am Los Angeles PDT
3:00am London BST
4:00am New York EDT
5:00am Sao Paulo GMT-3
4:00pm Singapore GMT+8
6:00pm Sydney AEST

Sounds Australia Sunday Session

Sunday 17th May
4:00am Los Angeles PDT
6:00am London BST
7:00am New York EDT
8:00am Sao Paulo GMT-3
7:00pm Singapore GMT+8
9:00pm Sydney AEST

 

Since 2009, over 1650 Australian artists have played at one of Sounds Australia’s 230-plus showcase events. However, while we can’t be hosting showcases like THE AUSSIE BBQ and Sound Gallery at this time, we’re going to support Australian music in a new way.

From today, we’re opening the Sounds Australia Vault.

Each weekday on our Instagram and Twitter accounts we’ll be showcasing a different Australian act, lifting the lid on our vault, posting photos and videos from some of our previous events and tagging them with #SoundsAustraliaVault. Expect to see some of Australia’s biggest exports in the early stages of their careers playing on tiny stages, at major international festivals like SXSW, The Great Escape Festival, AMERICANAFEST and Reeperbahn Festival, as well as newer artists who will keep continuing to build fanbases all around the world.

It’s our small way of shining a light on the incredible depth of talent Australia has to offer, and putting these artists on a virtual international stage while we can’t put them on a physical one.

Follow us on Instagram or Twitter (or both!) and get a daily fix of Australian music on your feeds.

The hard-working people who provide the soundtrack to Australian life need your help, right now.

Sound Of Silence (SOS) is a national initiative from a Music Industry Taskforce* that represent our diverse music industry to bring immediate relief for an industry at the existential brink.

Through a raft of targeted activity, we hope to alleviate the severe hemorrhaging of income that has come with widespread cancellations of festivals, concerts, shows and local gigs.

The music industry and those at its peripheries cannot survive without an alternative source of revenue that has disappeared along with live shows, a figure that has literally gone from 100 to zero in under a week.

The workers in our industry live from gig to gig. Shows are their lifeblood and it will take more than the containment of COVID19 to return them to economic stability. The ramifications are far-reaching and seriously long-term.

The music industry has historically banded together to donate time and money to those in need, as seen recently with bushfire relief efforts – it is always there to lend a helping hand. Now it needs the Australian music-loving public to do the same.

This is a real and present crisis, and this is a very real SOS.

If we don’t act now the soundtrack to Aussie life will stop and all we will hear is the sound of silence.

SENDING OUT AN SOS – THIS IS HOW TO HELP

Visit www.thesoundofsilence.com.au and if you are in a financial position to do so, please donate to Support Act – which is a music charity that provides crisis relief services to artists, roadies and music workers who are directly affected during this time.

● In the absence of touring, merchandise is the most instant investment you can make into any artists career, you can support by visiting any number of the artists stores directly through the store links on the SOS online superstore, or create an equally lasting connection by purchasing the Sound Of Silence, special custom tee designed by Jack Irvine (Billie Eilish, Skeggs) with all proceeds going to Support Act.

● Consider donating your refunds for cancelled shows or a portion of your refund to the venue or Support Act via Sound of Silence (SOS).

● Hang onto your tickets for rescheduled dates. By keeping your ticket, you keep funds in the industry when it is most needed. It also means the artists don’t have to start their marketing campaign all over again therefore saving money and resources in promoting the shows.

● Keep streaming and buying Australian music and merchandise – directly from artist websites, through local record stores (online), Bandcamp, Patreon or via your favourite streaming services – Spotify and Apple.

● Spread the word – contact your preferred radio station and ask them to play your favourite Aussie artists or write a letter to your local MP.

● Message your favourite musician or venue and offer moral support. Or ‘Pay It Forward’ and buy a gift voucher for your favorite artist at their favorite rehearsal, recording or production studio.

● If you know any workers affected by the recent event cancellations and postponements, check that they are aware of I Lost My Gig. The latest figures compiled by ilostmygig.net.au (ILMG) continue the alarming trend in lost income for the creative industries. Reported losses now top $200 million reported in just 5 days while reported people directly affected in the industry sits at over 400,000.

● And most importantly, when we are able to gather en masse again and share in the power of the live experience, please buy tickets to gigs and go and see your favourite acts.

If you’ve been personally affected by this crisis, you can always talk to Lifelife Australia on 13 11 14 or online at https://www.lifeline.org.au

*Music Industry Taskforce:

● AAM – Association of Artist Managers
● ABC – Australian Broadcasting Corporation
● AEG Presents
● AFA – Australian Festivals Association
● Apple
● AIR – Australian Independent Record Labels Association
● AMIN – Australian Music Industry Network
● AMPAL
● APRA AMCOS – Australian Performing Rights Association
● Architects of Entertainment
● ARIA – Australian Recording Industry Association
● ATSI Music Office
● Bar Open
● Bolster
● Chugg Entertainment
● Comes With Fries
● CrewCare
● EMC – Electronic Music Conference
● Ferris Davies PRM
● Frontier Touring
● Illusive Presents
● Jonathan Seidler
● Live Music Office
● Live Nation
● LPA – Live Performance Australia
● Morning Belle
● Moshtix
● Mushroom Group
● Music ACT
● Music Australia
● Music NSW
● Music NT
● Music SA
● Music Tasmania
● Music Victoria
● Nova Entertainment
● PPCA
● Q Music
● Secret Sounds
● Select Music
● SGC Music
● Sounds Australia
● Spotify
● Support Act
● TEG
● Ticketek
● Ticketmaster
● triple j
● UNIFIED Music Group
● VMDO – Victorian Music Development Office
● WAM – West Australian Music

 

It is with an extremely heavy heart that Sounds Australia announces the cancellation of Friday’s live-stream event 3 For The Stream.

This morning, Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of emergency for Victoria, therefore we have decided that it would be irresponsible to proceed with our planned 3 For The Stream event in Melbourne this Friday, at a time when authorities are stressing the need for social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Last Monday we began to devise a contingency plan for the Australian artists set to showcase at SXSW 2020. What we came up with was 3 For The Stream: 3-song sets from 19 of those artists, filmed across multiple stages at Bakehouse Studios in Melbourne. At the time, this felt like the best way we could support those artists and their teams, who had invested thousands of dollars into an event that was no longer happening, as well as promote their music to an international audience of music industry buyers and potential new fans. The enthusiasm of the multiple partners for our event – Art Series Hotel by Accor, Bakehouse Studios, Comes With Fries, Facebook, SXSW, TAG and Young Henry’s – demonstrates how much support there is for these artists in incredibly challenging times.

However, a week is a long time in this environment, and the mood has greatly shifted as the impact of COVID-19 starts to worsen in many parts of the world. The decision to cancel 3 For The Stream was not taken lightly. Now is not the time for an event that will bring people into close proximity. We need to work together to flatten the curve, to protect those who are most vulnerable to this virus. Everyone must do what needs to be done to ensure the impact of the coronavirus is limited as much as possible.

The COVID-19 outbreak is having a devastating impact on the Australian music industry, which contributes $2.5 billion annually to the local economy. I Lost My Gig, an initiative of the Australian Music Industry Network and Australian Festival Association, has calculated the total lost income from cancelled events so far at $47 million, with 20,000 employment opportunities lost, affecting 190,000 people. Sounds Australia will continue to innovate and pivot to support Australian artists and industry as best we can in these unprecedented times.

While you’re practising social distancing and regularly washing your hands, here is a list of the 43 Australian acts who were poised to showcase in Austin, Texas this week as part of SXSW 2020. If you’re in a position to support them, we have included To Buy links for each artist. You can also listen to a song from each of them on our SXSW 2020 playlist.

Alex the Astronaut
Official Website | Merch Store | Join Alex’s Space Club

Alexander Biggs
Official Website | Bandcamp | Join Mailing List

Ali Barter
Official Website | Merch Store | Join Mailing List

Alice Skye
Bandcamp

Anatole
Bandcamp

Banoffee
Bandcamp

BATTS
Bandcamp

Betty Who
Official Website | Merch Store | Join Mailing List

Borzoi
Bandcamp

Cable Ties
Bandcamp | Merge Records

Carla Geneve
Bandcamp

Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird
Merch Store

Didirri
Official Website | Merch Store | Join Mailing List

Eliza & The Delusionals
Official Website | Merch Store | Bandcamp

Evelyn Ida Morris
Official Website | Bandcamp

Flyying Colours
Bandcamp

Fraeya
CD Baby

Gena Rose Bruce
Bandcamp

Go Fever
Official Website | Merch Store | Bandcamp

Good Morning
Bandcamp

Hachiku
Official WebsiteBandcamp

HTRK
Official Website | Merch Shop | Bandcamp

Jack River
Official Website | Merch Store

Jack Gray
Official Website | Join Mailing List

Jaguar Jonze
Official Website | Merch Store

Jamie-Lee Dimes
Official Website | Merch Store

Kota Banks
Official Website | Merch Store

Lime Cordiale
Official Website | Merch Store | Join Mailing List

Luke Howard
Official Website | Merch Store

MANE
Official Website

Pub Choir
Official Website

Quivers
Bandcamp

River Boy
Triple J Unearthed

San Mei
Official Website | Bandcamp

Shady Nasty
Official Website | Bandcamp

Sophie Hutchings
Official Website | Bandcamp

Sui Zhen
Official Website | Bandcamp

Surf Rock Is Dead
Official Website | Bandcamp

The Lazy Eyes
Bandcamp

The Wonder
Official Website | Bandcamp

Thigh Master
Bandcamp

Tim Shiel
Bandcamp

Tom West
Official Website | Bandcamp

If you’re in Australia, we encourage keeping up-to-date and following advice from the Australian Government Department of Health. You can visit their website at http://www.health.gov.au. For health enquiries you can contact the Coronavirus Information Line 1800 020 080. The World Health Organisation has set up a page specifically for information relating to the coronavirus: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Sounds Australia’s first showcase at SXSW 2020 was scheduled to take place next Thursday inside Australia House on a bustling Rainey St in downtown Austin. In light of the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and the festival no longer going ahead, many artists experienced not only significant financial losses in cancelled travel arrangements and visas, but also lost the invaluable opportunity to connect with global networks and showcase their talent.

Sounds Australia has been producing world-renowned live showcases at conferences and festivals for over ten years. However, we are living in extraordinary times. We have spent the last week working on an alternative way to support and showcase these Australian artists to the world and we are very proud to present our newest and most innovative showcase to date: 3 For The Stream.

Back-to-back performances will be live streamed from Melbourne’s iconic Bakehouse Studios to an international online audience of music industry buyers, media and new fans through Sounds Australia’s Facebook page. It will only be viewable online and the showcase will not be open to the public.

Digital Export Producer Dom Alessio explains, “Ever since I started with Sounds Australia in 2018, we’ve been discussing the idea of creating live streamed showcases as a way to reach an infinite number of music industry representatives and reduce our carbon footprint. The unfortunate cancellation of SXSW provides a unique environment to put this model to the test. We want to ensure that even if Australian artists’ mobility is restricted, their music can still be experienced by industry and fans across the world.”

3 For The Stream will feature 19 acts across three stages, over four hours, promising to be a day that celebrates some of Australia’s finest emerging talent. 3 song sets will be performed by Australian artists who SXSW programmers had selected to showcase in Austin next week.

“Once again, we are proud to see Sounds Australia do what they do: relentlessly help and support Australian artists. Although we’re gutted not to have the chance to see these 19 acts live on stages across Austin this year, we’re pleased to have a chance to experience them in a way as unique as this, from home.” – James Minor, SXSW Head of Music Festival

3 For The Stream
SUBSCRIBE TO THE LIVE STREAM:
http://www.facebook.com/soundsaustralia

Thursday 19 March 2020
3pm (Los Angeles, PST), 5pm (Austin, CT), 6pm (New York, EST), 10pm (London, GMT)

Friday 20 March 2020
9am (Melbourne, AEDT)

Featuring SXSW 2020 Artists

Alex the Astronaut
Alice Skye
BATTS
Cable Ties
Carla Geneve
Didirri
Flyying Colours
Gena Rose Bruce
Hachiku
Kota Banks
Luke Howard
MANE
Quivers
River Boy
Sophie Hutchings
Sui Zhen
The Lazy Eyes
The Wonder
Tim Shiel

3 For The Stream would not be possible without support from Art Series Hotel by Accor, Bakehouse Studios, Comes With Fries, Facebook, SXSW, TAG and Young Henry’s.

As more music events, tours, festivals and conference around the world postpone or cancel in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Sounds Australia will continue to find alternative and creative ways to export, support and showcase Australian artists.

Read Millie Millgate, Sounds Australia’s Executive Producer’s full statement on the cancellation of SXSW 2020 here

A STATEMENT ON THE CANCELLATION OF SXSW FROM MILLIE MILLGATE, SOUNDS AUSTRALIA EXECUTIVE PRODUCER 

Sounds Australia are a mix of emotions upon learning of the City of Austin’s decision to cancel SXSW this morning.

We respect that a decision was ultimately made that prioritises the health and safety of its citizens, the international guests travelling to Austin and, most importantly, mitigates the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

We are truly disappointed for SXSW and their incredible team who have been working around the clock to keep the iconic show on track. This is especially because they know the impact such a cancellation will have on hundreds of small Austin businesses including venues, production companies, vendors, service and hospitality staff and many more, along with the effect on the global music industry.

We are most heartbroken and feel for the 43 Australian artists who were due to showcase at this year’s SXSW festival. It is a huge achievement to have been selected from the 7,000 plus artists that apply each year. To have lost this opportunity after spending several months and thousands of dollars preparing, and planning is devastating.

We particularly want to acknowledge those individuals at the helm, responsible for managing each of the acts and the truly impressive way in which they have and continue to navigate this unprecedented cancellation and subsequent turn of events. To see the countless hours of work, setting up opportunities, meetings, showcases, travel logistics and more only to be reversed will have an enormous impact which cannot be underestimated.

We are extremely grateful for the comradery and counsel that has shone between our Australia House @ SXSW partners, whom we have been decision making and dealing with throughout the last week of extreme uncertainty, including the fantastic team at G’Day USA, led by Australian Consul-General Los Angeles Chelsey Martin, and Global Manager Nicole Foster spearheading SXSW activity for Tourism Australia. We also value the cooperation and patience shown from our Official SXSW showcase presenting partners Laneway, Secret Sounds (Splendour in the Grass & Falls Festival) and Made In Melbourne (Visit Victoria, ACMI and Spirit Level).

Sounds Australia is a partnership of Government and industry and more than ever before this has been demonstrated through the care and concern shown for the wellbeing of each of the Sounds Australia team members from APRA AMCOS, ARIA, the PPCA, The Australia Council for the Arts and Office for the Arts (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications).

To the international music industry who had confirmed to join our events in Austin at SXSW, thank you and know that we still have many Australian artists heading to the USA to complete larger touring schedules and we will be sure to communicate with you all those details so you can still experience incredible live Australian music, closer to home.

For those Australian music industry delegates who have registered to attend SXSW in 2020 you can opt to defer registration to 2021, 2022, or 2023. You don’t need to take immediate action as it will remain in the SXSW system for future opportunities. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. If you have booked a hotel through SXSW Housing & Travel, your reservation will not be automatically cancelled. To change or cancel your reservation please follow the instructions in your SXSW Hotel Reservation Confirmation email.

We really are still grappling with the SXSW cancellation news, what it will mean and the precedent it may set for other international showcase events, tours and festivals in the coming months and the wider commercial impact. However, we know that the Australian Music Industry is resilient, resourceful and creative and we couldn’t be prouder to be representing Australian Music on the world stage at this time.

Sounds Australia
Millie, Esti, Glenn, Dom, Leah and Larry

 

Off the back of celebrating our tenth year, Sounds Australia is delighted to announce two new additions to the team: Leah Flanagan as First Nations Export Producer and Larry Heath as Associate Producer. It heralds an exciting new period of development as we move into our second decade of fast-tracking Australian music success globally.

In December APRA AMCOS announced the appointment of Leah Flanagan as National Manager – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Music Office. Within this role Leah will also become an integral member of the Sounds Australia team as the inaugural First Nations Export Producer.

Leah, an Alyawarre woman and based in Darwin, will provide decision-making, advice, engagement and guidance to Sounds Australia’s export strategy, ensuring cultural protocols and processes in promoting Indigenous artists internationally is practiced. Leah will attend key international showcase conference events such as SXSW, The Great Escape Festival, Folk Alliance International, WOMEX and Mundial, and work with the team to establish a First Nations International Bursary Program.

“I am thrilled to join the Sounds Australia team in a role where I am able to focus my energy towards assisting our First Nations artists feel artistically and culturally in control of the way they present themselves when showcasing to international music markets.” (Leah Flanagan)

“Already the insights and knowledge Leah has contributed is making a difference and with her leadership we look forward to seeing a significant increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists showcasing and industry practitioners attending international showcase events.” (Millie Millgate, Executive Producer, Sounds Australia)

Larry Heath has had an extensive career supporting Australian artists both at home and abroad, from founding The AU Review in 2008, one of Australia’s most highly regarded independent music and arts websites, to establishing the National Live Music Awards in 2016 and, more recently, acting as A&R Manager for international publisher Music Sales.

He’s also no stranger to working alongside Sounds Australia at international events:

  • From 2011 to 2013, Sounds Australia co-presented the Jet Lag Sessions at CMJ in partnership with The AU Review. The Sessions provided a late night performance opportunity on New York’s Lower East Side for Australian artists, including Big Scary and Sheppard.
  • He has regularly covered THE AUSSIE BBQ over the last decade, filming content and setting up press interviews for the Australian artists at numerous international showcase events including SXSW, Canadian Music Week, Music Matters, The Great Escape and Reeperbahn Festival.
  • Larry has participated in a number of our international trade activities, including the first OZ Fest India Trade Mission in 2012 and the CIMA Australian delegation to the ECMAs on Prince Edward Island in 2019.
  • At SXSW in 2019, The AU Review / Hello Asia presented an Official Showcase at Australia House featuring DYGL (Japan), Drinking Boys & Girls Choir (South Korea), Geowulf, I Know Leopard, San Mei and Stereogirl (Japan).

“To be joining a team who I – and the rest of the industry – hold in such high esteem… I can only say I’m truly humbled. I’m excited to be joining at a time when Australian music has never been more prominent on the world stage. And there’s no coincidence that it comes at the end of years of hard work from Sounds Australia. I’m thrilled to help push that work forward, providing opportunities for the next generation of musicians and industry, just as they have done for my career over the last decade.” (Larry Heath)

“Larry’s passion and belief in Australian music is unwavering and his international networks are as diverse as they are extensive. After many years of working alongside and watching Larry in action we are tickled pink to be welcoming him to the Sounds Australia team.” (Millie Millgate)

Leah and Larry will both commence their roles with Sounds Australia next week in New Orleans at the Indigenous Music Summit and Folk Alliance International respectively.

Sounds Australia continues to expand and build global opportunities for Australian artists and music businesses thanks to the financial commitment from founding partners the Australian Council of the Arts and APRA AMCOS, along with increased investment from the Australian Government, ARIA, the PPCA, Create NSW and the South Australian Department for Innovation and Skills.

Larry Heath Photo Credit: Bree Gaudette