Brisbane’s proud DIY music scene is being supported and celebrated through a unique initiative that promotes the city’s booming independent record labels – soundslikebrisbane.
Believed to be a world first, soundslikebrisbane (SLB) is bringing together the city’s indie labels under the one banner – already 13 local independent labels are represented with more to join the fold soon.
That first batch includes prominent local labels: Plus One Records, Mere Noise, Dew Process, Turkeyneck, Room 40, Someone Good, Pinnacles Music, SUGARRUSH, Lofly, El Nino El Nino, Red Tape Entertainment, Starving Kids, and Valve Records.
Covering every genre from hip-hop and jazz, to garage rock, country and pop – the labels define the creative melting pot that Brisbane has become. Together these labels work with dozens of artists, promoting close to 100 releases each year.
Among them are some of the country’s most exciting new artists including Last Dinosaurs, The Gin Club, The Optimen, The Medics and Jackie Marshall; alongside veritable music legends like Blowhard and Regurgitator.
Project coordinator Craig Spann said Brisbane’s indie labels were also opening up global networks by representing Brisbane artists overseas, and releasing some of the world’s most exciting new music in Australia.
“There’s no doubting that right now Brisbane’s indie labels are the engine room of the local music scene and the contribution they make should be celebrated and supported,” he explains. “Despite the fact these labels are often a one or two-person operation, they are ensuring the Brisbane builds on its reputation as one of the world’s most exciting music cities.”
More than a collective marketing initiative, the long term initiative will develop and deliver a range of projects aimed at not just supporting current indie labels, but ensuring a new wave of labels emerges to continue supporting the city’s music scene and artists.
The focal point of the new project is the soundslikebrisbane.com website which features label and artist profiles and a range of exclusive content to be rolled out over the coming months. The site will be promoted to music fans and the music industry – both in Australia and abroad – as a one-stop location for those looking for Brisbane’s most exciting artists and labels.
The launch of SLB will be celebrated with a very special free all-ages event to be staged in Brisbane’s CBD on Friday June 18. Presented by Brisbane City Council’s Inhabit Fiesta, more than 10 local acts from the SLB labels rosters will hit two stages housed in CBD laneways Burnett Lane and Island Crt (off Elizabeth St).
The line-up will showcase the diversity of Brisbane labels and feature sets from: Blowhard, Texas Tea, Carry Nation, Fushia, Halfway, My Fiction, Nova Scotia, The Rational Academy, and The Optimen – with more still to be announced.
More details online now at www.ourbrisbane.com/inhabit
SLB is a not-for-profit project being developed with the support of partners Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and state peak music body Q Music.
Professors Julian Knowles and Phil Graham, Co-Leaders of QUT’s Independent Music Project, have been working with the SLB team.
Prof Graham says: “Brisbane has for decades supplied top level talent to Australia’s music industry, and we’ve done it with very little local support. The net result has been a long-term drain of top quality talent. The SLB initiative provides a focused support and infrastructure network for local artists that can be developed over time into a significant industry force.
“Our independent labels are as good as they get. They have gotten that way with very little other than sheer talent and dedication. Commercial music is a massive earner for our economy. But most of the money goes overseas to the parent companies of majors. QUT is determined to be a part of the practical and intellectual movement dedicated to growing the local creative economy and the talent that underwrites that future.”
Q Music Executive Officer Denise Foley added the SLB project was further of the DIY ethos that has driven the Brisbane music scene for decades.
“This project and the labels it supports is just another example of how people in Brisbane just get in and do it,” she says. “It has also been built on the strong sense of community in the city and an understanding that working collectively is crucial to helping grow this cottage industry and the artists it supports.”
Celebrating Brisbane’s Music Heritage
The SLB project also aims to celebrate Brisbane’s proud indie music history with some of the city’s finest writers looking back at why the city has emerged as such an indie music stronghold.
The site goes live this week with a special contribution from Brisbane music historian and Pig City author Andrew Stafford who looks back at the independent path blazed by iconic local artists The Saints and The Go-Betweens. He writes:
“The making of (I’m) Stranded was seminal to the development of music in Brisbane for a number of reasons other than its sheer magnificence. (Playing it right now, the 7” single still roars from the speakers in a way the LP cut doesn’t quite.) It was the fact that it existed AT ALL, and that the band had made it themselves. They owed no one. This, combined with the bone simplicity of punk, represented a democratisation of music-making that horrified the majority of radio programmers and record labels but emboldened anyone with sufficient drive to emulate the Saints’ move. As the Go-Betweens’ Robert Forster told me, “I think we all felt brushed by the Saints’ wings.”
Find out more online now at www.soundslikebrisbane.com