After four whirlwind years supporting Australian music makers to blaze international trails, Sounds Australia–the national export initiative–is very excited about their impressive new line up and broadened scope developing international and local opportunities for the Australian music industry.
Sounds Australia now boasts an enviable stable of some of the country’s best and brightest music industry insiders. The team operates under the leadership of much-loved Millie Millgate, who last year was named one of Street Press Australia and the Australian Music Industry Directory’s ‘Power 50’–a roll call of the top 50 powerbrokers of Australian music industry.
Millgate has been promoted to the role of Executive Producer, which will see her oversee both local and international opportunities. In just four years, Millie has been able to coordinate and establish Sounds Australia events across Europe, the United Kingdom, North America, Canada and Asia.
Glenn Dickie joins Sounds Australia with 11 years of experience at Stage Mothers (founders of The Aussie BBQ) as well as nearly 13 years at EMI Music Australia. He has joined the team as Export Music Producer.
‘This new position allows me to work with greater focus on creating international opportunities to support the growth of Australia’s thriving contemporary music scene’, Dickie says.
Alicia Kish is stepping in for Associate Producer Esti Zilber while Esti is on maternity leave. Kish’s extensive experience in the industry includes roles at Sydney Festival and Ivy League, as well as having previously worked as an independent artist manager.
The newest feather in the Sounds Australia cap is the appointment of Dr Ianto Ware to the new role of National Live Music Coordinator in January. Created as part of the Australian Government’s $3 million commitment to boost industry innovation, music export and address skills development in live music, Ianto’s position will support contemporary Australian musicians and songwriters to go from the local to the international stage,.
Dr Ware has many years experience working with artists, venues, governments, local councils and industry associations as CEO of Renew Adelaide and founding director of Format Collective.
‘It’s been great growing the team and capacity over the past few months’, Says Dean Ormston, who works behind-the-scenes as Head of Corporate Services at APRA|AMCOS.
With the recent closures of some of the country’s most beloved live music venues, the need for a cohesive, harmonious partnership between artists, venues, industry associations and state and local governments to collectively navigate regulatory issues faced by venues has never been more necessary.
The unified outpouring of support for live music from government agencies, industry bodies and the music loving public heralds an exciting new chapter for the Australian live music scene, and Sounds Australia will be at the forefront of that movement. ‘The growth of Sounds Australia is testament to the belief and investment both government and industry has made to date and I am truly inspired by the future and the opportunities that lay ahead’, says Millgate.
Sounds Australia is a joint initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and APRA|AMCOS, supported by the Federal Government together with state government agencies and peak industry associations.
We asked the new Sounds Australia team to share some of their live music memories with us.
Favourite Australian live music memory?
Alicia: Pretty much every single Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Straight Arrows/Royal Headache/The Laurels show I have had the pleasure of attending.
Ianto: I think the show I remember the best was seeing The Moonies and Home for the Def play in about 1998 on a Thursday night to about 40 people. They were both Adelaide bands, I’d just turned 18 and was getting into local music really heavily.
That show was perfect because both The Moonies and Home for the Def are renowned for making people feel like they should start a band. The Moonies were fronted by a guy called Sandy, who now fronts Avant Gardeners. He’s a bit like Mark E Smith if Mark E Smith was a really nice guy and not an alcoholic. Home for the Def is a one man band consisting entirely of Nigel Koop who, next to Steph Crase from Birthglow, is probably the greatest musician I’ll ever meet. He used to perform using a 4 track for his backing music and then he’d do these elaborate, albeit low budget, stage shows. On the night in question, he got in a fight with someone in the audience in between songs. They were screaming at each other, and then he went into the crowd to fight them but as he raised his fist to strike the first blow, the 4 track started playing Eye of the Tiger and the audience realised the whole thing was choreographed. I still don’t know how he got his dodgy old Tascam to work so precisely. Years later I got to play in Nigel’s backing band for a show in which he managed to make a member of the audience leave the room and throw up. Nigel personifies everything I love about local music. Beyond the desire for fame or financial gain, he exudes passion and provokes strong emotion. For some people that emotion results in physical illness, but in my case it was more of a positive response.
Glenn: People actually turning up to the very first Aussie BBQ at SXSW was pretty special (and relieving). We weren’t sure anyone would come to see a bunch a bunch of Australian bands in Austin. But they did. So that or Nick Cave at Melbourne Town Hall or watching The Dirty 3 with my beautiful friend Genny B at Meredith with a lightning storm as their lighting show behind them.
First live show?
Alicia: The first big concert I went to on my own with my friends was Bobby Brown at the Entertainment Centre in Melbourne, supported by Peter Andre. Nice.
Ianto: My mother used to take me to see folk music when I was a kid and I can vaguely remember being five or six and dancing about to The Bushwackers. I list the first show that really impacted upon me as an all ages university o-ball in about 1996. I think the headlines were Big Heavy Stuff and Spiderbait, but after they finished there was one last local band, called Flat Stanley, who played as the audience drifted away from the stage. I was there with my younger cousin. I was maybe 16 and he was 14 and we walked up the front and stood in front of the two mammoth speaker stacks and watched these nerdy looking guys with battered old SGs falling over each other. Evidently it had an impact, as both my cousin and I spent the next decade and a half playing in bands and going to local shows. His band, Hit the Jackpot, ended up being – in my opinion – one of the best bands to come out of South Australia.
Glenn: First live show was some pantomime at Malvern Community Theatre or something like that, or Monash Symphony Orchestra. You know how in primary school they always take you to these classical shows to hear the Star Wars theme live. After that I was playing gigs at school and in battle of the bands so one of the first proper gigs I saw was probably something I played in at Highvale High school fete battle of the bands.