The amount of local original music coming out of the Goldfields right now, you’d think we were the new Melbourne for churning out artists.
We’ve had musos here for ages of course, but we’ve also seen those musos mostly playing covers at pubs, and there hasn’t been a lot of recorded work getting about, and not really a thriving scene. Well HOLD UP RIGHT THERE because KB is pumping out such a good music scene at the moment, nek minnit all we’ll see walking down Hannan Street is a steady stream of beards, nose piercings, skinny black jeans and shirts buttoned all the way up.
Maybe it all kicked off with the WAM Sounds of the Goldfields project. They had so many submissions for that project they could have made five albums (no exaggeration). We saw all these great musos and bands come from KB, Leonora, out in the lands, and across the region. I think like everyone, that album was kind of surprisingly good. Not that anything was ever in doubt, but it was just that every track is such high quality, and they were all written in the Goldfields by Goldfields people – how cool are we!? The whole region felt such a sense of pride for that work. It was launched with a gig alongside Eskimo Joe at the GAC a few weeks ago and I think evidence of community support was obvious when people couldn’t stop tapping their feet to the local tracks, eventually leading to an all-out dance party on the orange carpet in this beautiful 700-seat theatre we are lucky to have here. Several of the tracks from that album have now achieved national airplay on radio. That looks like proof to me – proof that KB and the wider Goldfields region can produce some pretty solid, professional tunes that are enjoyed by a big section of our country.
The WAM project gave a bit of confidence (personal opinion) to local musician and producer Ruben Wills. Ruben was recorded for the album and since the recording period, has started these incredible little sessions injecting live music into unusual spaces around KB. The first one was up on top of the WA Museum headframe, and it was so f***ing cute and nice. Three local performers, singing original music and telling stories. We all sat about with blankets and cushions, everyone brought a little picnic with them and it was such a beautiful example of local, community art that was also top-notch and quality. We’re basically better than Brooklyn NYC at this point. That’s what I’m feeling. Where else can you get this kind of experience? The Goldfields is the perfect fertile ground to try out stuff like this. Anyway, it went really well and now tonight there’s another session, at Wongutha Birni (incidentally where they recorded the WAM Sounds Of album). Hopefully, by the time you read this, there are a few tickets left for the session. Get onto the E13 Facebook page for more info.
Ruben has a bit to say about how this music revolution is happening. “As the demographic of Kalgoorlie changes, more cultural opportunities present themselves to artists of all types,” he says. “This year has seen an explosion of interest in the music scene, which we are adamant on fostering further. Our main goal is discovering, developing, and promoting local talent, because we believe our up-and-coming artists should be encouraged to make themselves and their music known.”
Honestly, this kind of discussion really gets me going. Forget foreplay, talk long-term meaningful sustainable cultural development to me.
The even better thing about this kind of rhetoric and discussion is that it’s not unique to just one guy in KB. There are so many great projects happening around the Goldfields that support these ideas as well.
For example, Haydn Ward is doing great things with the crew at Judd’s with his Roots n Blues afternoons. He gets a bunch of local acts together for a Sunday sesh, basically because he wanted to split his shift with other people who also deserved a spot. No joke – that’s actually what happened – he was offered a four hour gig playing at Judd’s, and instead of taking the lump sum attached to that four hour gig, he split up his gig with younger musos who needed some stage time to grow and learn. AWESOME.
Darren Forster of The China Blue Experiment is really good at this as well. He mentors and teaches a few young musos in Kalgoorlie and also is known in the community for passing on gigs to others if he isn’t available. His new single ‘Harlem’, titled for and written about his adorable and completely awesome four-year-old son, is currently on rotation with ABC Local Radio. This means that at the 54 ABC Local stations across the whole country – yep – a guy from Kalgoorlie’s song gets played at least once per day. That’s a really big deal guys. He’s also kicking off a tour tonight at the E13 Sessions, following on from tonight with gigs across the top of the Northern Territory and the top bit of WA as well. Lots of big things for a muso that chooses to call KB home!
Also have you heard of Joshua David? You may not immediately recognise the name – but you’ve defs seen him play before – he opened the stage for Sheppard and San Cisco to crowds of thousands recently at the Sound Shell in Kalgoorlie. Seriously, events team at the CKB. You’re booking some pretty great talents. Back to Josh though, he’s got a few good ties to Kalgoorlie including his grandma who was born here, his grandpa who has been here 60+ years, and his mum and dad who were born in Kalgoorlie and Leonora respectively, meeting and falling in love in KB. Josh has lived around Scotland and Australia for most of his life, and has only been in Kalgoorlie for about a year and a half. When he was about to move him, some musos who knew him warned him it might be a dead end for him musically. A dead end hey? Nek minnit (sorry to use that again but also not sorry) he’s playing for the internationally acclaimed band Sheppard to 7000+ people, then supporting smash hit youngsters San Cisco at the same venue. He’s also recorded a bunch of music since moving here, is about to release a single, and alongside that has had a photo shoot with a local photographer to support the release. He has a full album coming out soon too. Opportunities like these have never been available to him in other places he’s lived around the world. So, you know, not really the definition of a dead end is it.
We can’t wait to see how this local movement grows and expands, because it feels like it’s the start of a real Goldfields music revolution.