Get To Know A Few Of The 2020 BIGSOUND 50 Artists

Published in Music  
BIGSOUND 2020 will be a free, virtual showcase on 21-22 October. BIGSOUND 2020 will be a free, virtual showcase on 21-22 October. Image: Facebook

With no live showcases in 2020, BIGSOUND have created the inaugural BIGSOUND 50 – a list of bands and artists selected from this year's application process that warrant your attention.

Aside from receiving coverage across BIGSOUND platforms, the BIGSOUND 50 acts will also access mentoring, online meetings and opportunities with delegates to further their careers.

"When it became obvious that we wouldn't be able to do anything physical this year, we came up with a whole new way of showcasing our BIGSOUND artists in 2020," co-programmer Dom Miller says.

"The BIGSOUND50 are the 50 artists BIGSOUND believes the world should be paying attention to in 2020 and beyond."

Co-programmer Ruby-Jean McCabe adds: "It was a massive undertaking to narrow down all of the incredible applications to 50, but we have managed to pick a group of talented and inspiring artists that we know will all become household names.

"We've discovered some of our new favourite artists through this process, and we can't wait to showcase what's next for The BIGSOUND50."

Read the complete list of BIGSOUND 50 acts.

Squid Nebula

Fronted by hypnotic First Nations artist Bumpy, Melbourne five-piece Squid Nebula are part of Melbourne's blooming jazz-soul scene.


In August, they released their new EP 'Connectivity' showcasing their jazz-soul sound with flourishes of psych and disco.

"Squid Nebula has always been a project built around collaboration and connectivity," the band says.

"This EP is an exploration of human interaction in its different forms. Revolving around themes of connection, exchange and loss; we are excited to release 'Connectivity' at a time when human connection has never felt more important."

You're at a party and someone asks what you do; how do you reply?
We bicker like siblings and play dubby psych-disco at sweaty 1am venues.

For those new to your music, what's the elevator pitch for your sound/ style?
Squid Nebula is a psych/ disco/ dub band built around the idea of amalgamating our five musical identities. The result is a combination of broad soundscapes, soulful vocals and hypnotic grooves with a focus on bringing people together.

Time to impress us; what are you promoting at the moment and why do we need to tune in?
We released our second EP 'Connectivity' in August this year.

'Connectivity' is a celebration of the way people interact, form bonds and long for them when they are taken away, and that feels like something worth reflecting on now more than ever.

It also feels like this release is the most connected and in touch with our collective vision as we've ever been, and that has us very excited for all the music still to come, the shows we can build around this release and the conversations we're yet to have.



What does it mean to make The BIGSOUND 50 list?
We're over the moon to be in the company of so many extraordinary artists and incredibly honoured to have our music recognised.

As an entirely independent band, the opportunity to connect with industry professionals will be invaluable as we look towards 2021. We admire so many of the BIGSOUND 50 artists and we're feeling very privileged to be included in a list where people will go to find music like theirs.

Sieve through the carnage of COVID; what unexpected positives have you drawn from 2020?
2020 has given us the opportunity to really reflect on our values and how much performing and making music means to us.

While live music in Melbourne has all but disappeared for most of 2020, the sense of community that has emerged stronger than ever has us really excited for what lies ahead for local music beyond 2020.

Given the collective stresses of 2020, how positive do you feel about the future and what you can achieve next 12 months?
While we'd much rather be playing a billion sweaty dive bar shows, 2020 has given us the time to reflect on and visualise where we want to take Squid Nebula next.

We're most of the way through writing our debut album, so getting into a studio and recording that is top of the to-do list.

I think what we're most excited about in the next 12 months is seeing our music community put the pieces back together. 2020 has really shown us how resilient and magical this whole thing is and it's going to be a beautiful time when we're all back together again. We feel very blessed to be a part of that and have all kinds of things planned.

Other than your own, favourite independent release of 2020 so far?
'Femininity' by Emma Volard would have to be towards the top of our list. Amazing.

We're also so excited for more music from Kee'ahn after 'Better Things', and we're all big Mildlife fans, so their new album has picked us right up out of our iso blues. Eep that's three. Were we allowed to say three?


Beddy Rays

Together since 2017, school buddies turned young tradies, Redland Bay's Beddy Rays serve up noisey punk-rock riffage, surf-rock melodies and Ocker vocals; add fish n chip wrapping and they'd be the perfect Friday night meal with a certified Australian Made badge.


2020 has already seen the Brisbane four-piece release single 'Sobercoaster'. Their newest creation is 'Better Weather', a song they recorded with Bugs' Brock Weston.

You're at a party and someone asks what you do; how do you reply?
Well, we're all tradies so we would probably start with fridgy work, landscaping, diesel fitting, and chippy work by day. We like to slog it through the week until we can do what we love most, playing live music together.

For those new to your music, what's the elevator pitch for your sound/ style?
We get a lot of our inspiration and punk sound from our musical heroes Green Day. We also get slapped with 'Aussie Catfish and the Bottlemen' sometimes. People often have told us they have a hard time putting their finger on an exact definition; maybe 'Beddy rock'.

Time to impress us; what are you promoting at the moment and why do we need to tune in?
We're promoting our newest release 'Better Weather'.

It's a bit of a COVID anthem about there being a bit of storm in your head while everything is happening around you. It came out 9 September with the video premiering on triple j Unearthed not long after. It's currently on high rotation on triple j and has been played on 'Rage', so we're pretty stoked.



What does it mean to make The BIGSOUND 50 list?
We've been applying for BIGSOUND for three years now, so it's a bit of a dream come true to be honest. Considering Brissie is our home town, we've always wanted to play alongside all these amazing bands that are a part of BIGSOUND.

Sieve through the carnage of COVID; what unexpected positives have you drawn from 2020?
Being triple j's Unearthed feature artists has been a big highlight for us.

Given the collective stresses of 2020, how positive do you feel about the future and what you can achieve next 12 months?
We're super excited and raring to go. Everyone's been stuck in lockdown and craving gigs at the moment.

While we've been fortunate enough to have our last two singles added to triple j, we're super excited to travel around Australia and play shows in places we have never been before. To get added to some national tours and a few festival slots in the next 12 months would be absolutely fantastic.

Other than your own, favourite independent release of 2020 so far?
This was a hard one to narrow down because there's been some really great ones, but 'Fever Dreams' by Walken would take the cake for us.


Nerve Damage

One of 15 recipients of Unearthed's Level Up Grants earlier this year, Nerve Damage are a metal-punk-rock band from Yugambeh/ Bundjalung lands.


"Having played in multiple bands together in the past, and currently, we decided to create another outlet for all of us to speak up about issues close to home, and do some head banging along the way."

You're at a party and someone asks what you do; how do you reply?
I trick my friends into playing a backing track of loud noises while I speak my mind in between songs, and make a fool of myself during them.

For those new to your music, what's the elevator pitch for your sound/ style?
If you play a Ramones 45" at 33 rpm while head butting the ground continually.



Time to impress us; what are you promoting at the moment and why do we need to tune in?
We recently put out a mixtape of Australian artists who wrote and recorded songs for Close The Gap day earlier in the year.

Using any platform we can to create awareness of important issues that affect us here in Australia; we are promoting the idea of supporting others and growing together. We are promoting a DIY approach to heavier music in a crowded room of big labels pushing that exact image.

What does it mean to make The BIGSOUND 50 list?
It means there's a change coming. That artists without representation are being noticed.

It's definitely one of those things we've talked about with our other bands in the past, and never thought would be a possibility. Makes us feel like we are doing something right by just doing what we do.

Sieve through the carnage of COVID; what unexpected positives have you drawn from 2020?
There seems to be a lot more emphasis on artists using their socials to show themselves as actual people.

Glimpses of the way they work, or what they do with their day to days. Feels like everyone is connecting a little more and letting their guards down.

Given the collective stresses of 2020, how positive do you feel about the future and what you can achieve next 12 months?
There are five to eight members of this band at any given time.

With all of us having multiple projects on the go, and now everything coming to a stop, I feel like we can get together and pump out a bunch of new music without the usual stresses of time, and the lack of it we usually have. Feeling very optimistic about being back in some small rooms playing on the floor ASAP.

Other than your own, favourite independent release of 2020 so far?
Too many talented friends you should check out. Everything Veople has put out this year. The new Sundr record is ridiculous. Hugo Costin put out some very beautiful music over the last few months. All DIY. Support him. Everything Last Ride Records has put out.


River Boy

River Boy is the new solo project of Narayana Johnson (one half of Willow Beats).

His music draws extensively on his childhood and teenage years spent roaming creeks, forests and mountains in the Northern Rivers. A symbiotic weave of natural and electronic sound is at the centre of River Boy's own take on writing and production.

You're at a party and someone asks what you do; how do you reply?
I'm a musician/ composer currently getting by via a mixture of video game composing, producing beats for various artists, streaming revenue and the occasional streamed gigs.

For those new to your music, what's the elevator pitch for your sound/ style?
I think my production style is watery and flowing with electronic beats underneath. Lyrically I tend to write melancholy themes of losing your way juxtaposed by hopeful affirmations to myself.

Time to impress us; what are you promoting at the moment and why do we need to tune in?
I think I'm promoting my own hope. I'm trying to stay creative and strong and write encouraging lyrics to myself. The motives and ideas may intersect with other people's experiences.

  

What does it mean to make The BIGSOUND 50 list?
It's a big deal to me. I think I'll learn a huge amount and connect with great artists and industry people. It's also very affirming to have the team at BIGSOUND believe in my sound and message enough to include me.

Sieve through the carnage of COVID; what unexpected positives have you drawn from 2020?
It's been an amazing time to connect with an audience online. I love how creative artists are getting on with live streams. You can make really interesting spaces in your bedroom when you only have to worry about what's in frame on your iPhone.

Given the collective stresses of 2020, how positive do you feel about the future and what you can achieve next 12 months?
I'm excited. I think coming out of lockdown here in Victoria is going to feel pretty special. I reckon there will be a whole, new energy around live shows and performance.

I'm feeling quite positive; can't wait to connect with people in a physical space again :)

Other than your own, favourite independent release of 2020 so far?
'For My Tittas' by Barkaa. The energy she brings to that track is on a whole different level. I'm excited to watch her journey as an artist unfold.


The 100 per cent virtual and 100 per cent free, online BIGSOUND 2020 programme takes place 21-22 October.

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