- Birds of Tokyo
Dark. Dystopic. Cinematic. In equal parts a radical departure and a return to their epic rock roots. It’s fitting that Birds of Tokyo have called their new album, Brace.
Over recent years highly melodic radio staples like ‘Plans’, ‘Wild At Heart’, ‘Lanterns’, ‘This Fire’ and ‘Anchor’ have brought Birds of Tokyo multiple ARIA and APRA Awards plus a string of platinum plaques making them the country’s most popular contemporary rock band. But this new album sees them torching that formula and embracing a heavier, more urgent attitude; making good on the title track’s tidal wave promise to “destroy it all”.
The relentless ten song set was produced with Canadian David Bottrill who has helmed releases for Tool, Muse and Silverchair. Together they’ve created a bold and uncompromising piece of work.
According to the band Brace was created to be played live – hence the opening lines of the opening track that invite the listener to “come take a seat, enjoy the show”. This is why they are unveiling it with a gig rather than an online stream or suchlike. It’s a muscular but deeply layered journey that’s deliberately conceived to be shared physically – not just digitally.
It should be no surprise that these songs were written during the rise of Trump and the return of Hanson. It’s not an overtly political album but there’s an end-of-days mood pervading each of these tunes and it makes for an unusually cohesive body of work. From the brutal opening riffage of ‘Harlequins’ it’s clear that the band has a point to prove and all is not well. This outlook is most explicit on songs like ‘Empire’ where crumbling walls are torn down and on the closer ‘Mercy Arms’ which literally tracks the final moments of life support. Along the way ‘Discoloured’ (featuring Hayley Mary from The Jezabels) embraces life on the ledge; awash in a sea of paranoia and dislocation. Even the mid-album moment which initially seems like a respite – ‘Pilot’ – grows gradually into a climax of “watching it all fall apart to be new again”.
- Cold Chisel
Beginning in Adelaide in 1973, it wasn’t until 1975 that Cold Chisel consolidated into its definitive line-up: Jimmy Barnes (vocals): born in Glasgow, Scotland, Ian Moss (guitar/vocals): born Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Steve Prestwich (drums): born in Liverpool, UK, Phil Small (bass): born Adelaide and Don Walker (piano): born in Ayr, Queensland.
Cold Chisel moved to Sydney via Melbourne in 1976. Impassioned hard rock covers got the band gigs while Don Walker developed original songs. He zeroed in on the hopes, fears, anger and alienation, as well as the humour of working and student under-classes. Appreciative Cold Chisel armies formed. They followed the band from venue to venue, appearing just before Cold Chisel played and leaving directly afterwards. In late 1977 WEA (now Warner Music) signed the band to a modest contract, just in case there was a hit record somewhere in the mayhem.
LIGHT A LONG FUSE: 1978-9
The first two albums, Cold Chisel and Breakfast at Sweethearts presented the live classics ‘Khe Sanh’, ‘Home and Broken Hearted’, ‘One Long Day’, ‘Merry-Go-Round’, ‘Shipping Steel’, ‘Breakfast at Sweethearts’ and ‘Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)’. But the band wasn’t happy with either album. Cold Chisel suffered from studio debutante nerves. Production difficulties on Breakfast left a bitter aftertaste. ‘Khe Sanh’, originally banned from commercial radio for its lyric content subsequently became Australia’s ‘unofficial national anthem’ and the Australian cricket team’s victory song. In late 1979, they found studio satisfaction recording ‘Choirgirl’ with young producer/engineer Mark Opitz.
#1 WITH A BULLET: 1980/82
The 1980 Top 10 single, ‘Cheap Wine’, previewed the album East, where all band members contributed songs. East peaked at #2 then stayed in the Top 10 for 26 weeks and in the ARIA Album Chart for a record 63 weeks. ‘Choirgirl’, ‘Cheap Wine’, ‘Star Hotel’, ‘Rising Sun’, ‘Standing on the Outside’ and ‘Four Walls’ became embedded into our national identity. Live album Swingshift hit #1 in 1981. Two months later the band toured America, with live performances rattling headliners including Joe Walsh and Cheap Trick. Back in Australia, the band recorded Circus Animals, which was led-out by Barnes’ vehement ‘You Got Nothing I Want’. Walker’s songwriting advanced into the compelling, spleen-venting rock of ‘Taipan’, ‘Houndog’ and ‘Letter to Alan’. The melodic uplift of Prestwich’s ‘Forever Now’ and ‘When the War is Over’ and Moss’ ‘Bow River’ became radio staples. ‘Forever Now’ made #4, Cold Chisel’s only Top 5 single.
UP & DOWN: 1983
1983 began with a triumphant headlining performance at the Narara Festival before a jubilant crowd of 30,000, but by August the band had begun to splinter, with Prestwich the first to go and tensions between the other members reaching breaking point. Cold Chisel decided it was ‘time gentlemen please’ and recalled Prestwich to complete a final album and 26-date arena tour, The Last Stand. The album, Twentieth Century, added the title track, ‘Saturday Night’, ‘Painted Doll’, ‘No Sense’, ‘Hold Me Tight’ and ‘Flame Trees’ to the Cold Chisel paradigm. The album debuted #1 early 1984.
CHISEL BY CHOICE: 1984/2010
Barnes hit the ground running with 1984’s Bodyswerve, the first of eight consecutive #1 albums. Walker, Moss, Prestwich and Small took time to reaffirm themselves. In 1989, Walker formed Catfish and released Unlimited Address while Moss debuted #1 with the album Matchbook, the majority of songs written by Walker. Prestwich joined Little River Band for a period and developed his songwriting. Small forsook music for family life. ‘I’d been in the best band in the world,’ he said. But radio and record buyers kept Cold Chisel as present tense. As Barnes’s solo output hit sales of 3 million, so did the Chisel catalogue. The band agreed to reunite in 1995. In 1998, after traversing many speed humps, a new album, The Last Wave of Summer, debuted #1 with 100,000 presales. The title track, ‘Yakuza Girls’, ‘Way Down’ and ‘Things I Love in You’ stood tall next to the band’s earlier work. The triumphant Last Wave arena tour drew 150,000. Lingering disputes within the band were resolved in 2003/4 by 16 Ringside shows that exhilarated band and audiences. ‘It’s been fun darlings,’ said Barnes, ‘Let’s do it again sometime.’ One-off performances ensured: In 2005, Cold Chisel headlined the Melbourne benefit for Boxing Day tsunami victims. In December 2009, Cold Chisel played to 50,000 at the Sydney V8 Supercars event and in October 2010 the band headlined the Deniliquin Ute Muster to 25,000.
FOREVER NOW, 2011… AND BEYOND
The most recent chapter in Cold Chisel’s compelling story began in 2010 when the band secretly started recording new material. Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Don Walker, Steve Prestwich and Phil Small got together and wrote and recorded a handful of songs and realised that the magic was still there. With plans to continue performing and recording, the band was gutted in January 2011 when drummer Steve Prestwich passed away suddenly as a result of complications from a brain tumour. With Steve’s performances and some of his songs captured on tape, the band ultimately felt compelled to continue with the plans they had begun. Recording continued through May and June with drummer Charley Drayton.
In July 2011, the band rolled out the biggest archival release in Australian music history, remastering their entire catalogue and unearthing 56 new or rare live and studio recordings. It was the first time ever that the band had released their music digitally and it saw 8 of their albums hit the ARIA Top 100 Albums chart and numerous songs hit the singles chart. In a strange twist of fate, almost 35 years after it was first released, ‘Khe Sanh’ hit the Australian Top 40 for the first time.
Cold Chisel then announced their most extensive tour in 30 years and when tickets for the Light The Nitro tour were released in early August, the band was overwhelmed by the massive public reaction, selling over 160,000 tickets in the first day and ultimately going on to sell over 285,000 tickets across Australia and New Zealand.
But the stats are just the background… when the band stepped onstage for the first of the shows of the Light The Nitro tour the music did the talking. Across the country, the tour was met with unanimous raves reviews from the critics and the public alike. Meanwhile their compilation album, The Best of Cold Chisel – All For You, which features 2 of their new recordings, debuted at #2 on the national ARIA Albums chart and is officially double platinum.
In April 2012 Cold Chisel released its 7th studio album, No Plans. The album featured 13 songs drawn from recording sessions in 2010/2011 and includes the final recorded performances by drummer Steve Prestwich. No Plans, which debuted at #2 on the national ARIA chart, was the band’s first studio album in 14 years.
In 2015, Cold Chisel announced their One Night Stand tour of Australia in support of their 8th studio album, The Perfect Crime, which will kick off with a special mini-concert at the NRL Grand Final – and conclude with two special shows under the banner of ‘The Last Stand of Sydney’s entertainment centre’ to mark the closing of the Qantas Credit Union Arena (formerly known as the Entertainment Centre). The Perfect Crime is more diverse than any previous Cold Chisel work, with the band remarking that the record is the most rock & roll album they’ve ever made.
- Daniel Johns
Born in Newcastle, Australia, Daniel Johns is a vocalist, composer, guitarist, pianist and producer. He is best known as the frontman of Silverchair – one of the most acclaimed and successful bands in Australian music history. However, he is now a highly sought after co-writer for a new generation of Australian electronic pop artists including Flume, Slumberjack and Peking Duk. He is also a longtime collaborator with Luke Steele (Empire Of The Sun) and one half of The Dissociatives alongside Australian dance guru Paul Mac.
Daniel is the only man to win APRA’s prestigious ‘Songwriter Of The Year’ Award three times. He arrived on the music scene as a 14 year old when Silverchair’s debut sold millions around the world including multiplatinum success in the USA. Over the following 15 years his band won more ARIA Awards than anyone else in Australian music history. All five of Silverchair’s studio releases (“frogstomp”, “Freak Show”, “Neon Ballroom”, “Diorama” & “Young Modern”) went to #1 in their homeland and the band sold over 6 million albums globally.
During his remarkable career, Daniel has continually explored new musical territories and in 2011 he worked on a trail blazing film project titled “My Mind’s Own Melody” which he wrote with award-winning Australian director, screenwriter, producer, published author and creator of “Beat Bugs”, Josh Wakely.
In 2012 Daniel wrote and collaborated with the Australian Chamber Orchestra to produce the soundtrack “Atlas” for Qantas Airlines. “Atlas” became the soundtrack to the both the airline’s new brand and their Olympics campaign.
In May 2015, Daniel released one of the most anticipated solo debuts in Australia with his album TALK. Highly praised on release, TALK was launched with two sold out shows at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Vivid Festival where Daniel was hailed as one of the most exciting solo artists in the country.
Peer acclaim for the release saw Daniel nominated for ARIA and APRA Awards and lead to a slew of collaborations with the new breed of Australian artists. His co-write with Flume - “Say It” – is currently top 5 in many countries while his writing and vocal work with Slumberjack has attracted global blog heat.
Most recently, Daniel has collaborated once again with director, Josh Wakely, on the forthcoming Beatles-inspired “Beat Bugs” animated children’s music series that will screen on Netflix and the Seven Network later this year. He produced dozens of tracks for the project, contributed various character vocals and composed some of the original music too. As a result he is currently in Los Angeles working with other like-minded artists on new music and film projects.
- Dustin Tebbutt
Dustin Tebbutt’s new single is a song of awakening; a song about falling in love, then getting up and seeing the world in a whole new way. As well as being the first single, ‘First Light’ is also the title of Dustin’s long awaited debut album, out now.
“The simple story?… I met a girl, and over time she unlocked song after song until she’d inspired a whole album,” the singer/songwriter from Armidale (NSW) explains.
This new body of work is a marked progression. While ‘First Light’ emerged from the dawn of a romance, his first batch of songs – 2013’s ‘The Breach EP’ - had been inspired by a painful breakup, so these two releases are actually bookends to each other.
‘The Breach EP’ earned Dustin a J Award nomination and was certified Gold in Australia. His following release, a seven-song mini-album entitled ‘Home’ (2015) written during the depths of a Scandinavian winter, was accompanied by a national tour in the largest venues he’s ever played as word of mouth spread about his distinctly evocative music. In total over 8.1 million listeners streamed a staggering 270 years worth of Dustin’s songs during 2016 – including Ricky Gervais, who recently declared himself a fan.
‘First Light’ features ten new songs all written, produced and recorded by the artist himself with only occasional help from a few friends. Given the circumstances that inspired its creation, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong lyrical thread running through all the tracks. The songs also share a heady mix of yearning and nostalgia that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever experienced a budding long distance relationship.
“I know this isn’t the first time someone’s written an album about falling in love,” says Dustin. “That’s exactly why it feels so magical though – every time feels like the first time.”
Songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gotye is the music-making mantle of one-man band, Wally de Backer. A few years ago his indie album, Like Drawing Blood, became an underground classic and saw Gotye collect the 2007 ARIA Award for Best Male Artist.
The multi-platinum follow up – Making Mirrors – sold over 2 million copies worldwide and was a Top 10 album in over 25 countries. It won multiple ARIA Awards and spawned the hit single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ (feat. Kimbra). The single has sold nearly 15 million copies worldwide, has been viewed over 650 million times, and was the most streamed song globally on Spotify in 2013. It was also the #1 iTunes single in over 50 countries and spent eight consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.
The success of Making Mirrors led to sold out shows around the world in major venues including Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Hammersmith Apollo in London. After a mammoth 2012, Gotye brought his world tour to a close performing a handful of special homecoming shows back in Australia throughout December.
To cap off an incredible 18 months, Wally de Backer was awarded three Grammys for Best Alternative Music Album, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and the prestigious Record of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards ceremony in L.A.
- Midnight Oil
Midnight Oil are more than just a rock & roll band. From the northern beaches of Sydney to the streets of Manhattan, they have stopped traffic, inflamed passions, inspired fans, challenged the concepts of “business as usual” and broken new ground.
Seeing Midnight Oil in full flight is to experience the full visceral, transcendent, kinetic power of live rock & roll — the Oils can stand alongside any and all of the world’s best. To experience Midnight Oil is to be inspired by ideas, to be encouraged to live life more passionately, to get involved in the world around you.
Everything about the band is uncompromising, but their greatest achievement is that they are, night after night and album after album, a great rock & roll band. For all of the incredible growth, ambition and experimentation that Midnight Oil have evidenced, the sound and the fury and the spirit of their earliest recordings are still there 40 years later, on tracks like “White Skin Black Heart” and “Say Your Prayers”.
Rob Hirst (drums, vocals), Andrew “Bear” James (bass) and Jim Moginie (guitars, keys & vocals) formed a band in 1972, which gradually evolved into Midnight Oil, acquiring singer Peter Garrett in 1975 and Martin Rotsey (guitar) the following year. Before they took it global, the band’s early spiritual home was the Royal Antler Hotel, Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches and the lessons learned and reputation forged there stayed with them. It was there that the Oils fan base swelled from a handful to a thousand – in a room designed for half that number. On a typical night Rotsey and Moginie’s guitars flashed like twin layers of lightning across the rolling thunder of the rhythm section. Rob Hirst moved around his drum kit with a manic relentlessness, his kick drum always pushing things forward, setting the impatient, urgent tone. There was the anger of punk and the weird colourings of prog rock in Moginie’s mad professor lines and Beatlesque melodies. Out front was the massively tall, bald singer Peter Garrett who was a one-man furnace, radiating passion, wit and a bit of righteous indignation, always covered in sweat and dancing like a dervish with a cramp.
Between 1976 and 1980, Midnight Oil played out this blistering ritual up to 200 times a year around the pubs, clubs and ultimately theatres of Australia. At all of these shows the distance and the difference between the audience and band was almost indistinguishable. From their earliest days, Midnight Oil were writing songs about who and what they saw around them.
The eponymous debut album, smartly nicknamed “The Blue Meanie” (equal parts a reference to the Beatles and the snarl of the sound), was released in 1978 and was a collection of primal, spiky rock & roll. Like so many great debut albums it spoke directly about the milieu in which they were born (Sydney surf/suburbs culture) and was an in-studio approximation of their live set. The song “Run By Night” became an instant classic and despite receiving next to no commercial radio support, the album cracked the Australian Top 50. Midnight Oil was on its way.
A second album, Head Injuries, followed the next year featuring the singles “Cold Cold Change” and “Back on the Borderline” – the geography was a little broader, the subject matter a little more universal and the sound a little closer to their live energy.
Shortly after Head Injuries Andrew “Bear” James retired and the bass was picked up by Peter “Giffo” Gifford. Recalibrating their sound as they would do many times, the band’s new line-up released the 12″ Bird Noises EP (featuring “No Time For Games” and the sublime surf instrumental “Wedding Cake Island”). Their ambitions growing, the band decamped to England to record the Place Without A Postcard album with legendary producer Glyn Johns (The Faces, The Who, The Rolling Stones). A dense, claustrophobic gem, Place Without A Postcard is arguably Midnight Oil’s first great album – defiantly articulating a broader Australian world view on tracks like “Armistice Day”, “Don’t Wanna Be The One” and the epic “Lucky Country”.
By the time Place Without A Postcard was released in 1981, the Australian pub rock scene was at its zenith. Suburban beer barns held 2,000 punters and the Oils were filling them nightly, creating rock & roll chaos. At the same time, the band was now well known for their support of environmental and social justice causes. Being an Oils fan wasn’t a part-time or passive experience.
Released in 1982, Midnight Oil’s next album 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 turned everything on its head. The band deconstructed their sound and then reassembled the elements into complex soundscapes that married acoustic instruments, electronics, feral electric guitars, drum machines, breaking glass and sharp sociopolitical commentary into a brilliant, multi-dimensional and completely unique album.
Recorded as the band lived on the breadline in London in the shadow of the nuclear arms race and produced by an enthusiastic, irreverent 21 year old Nick Launay, (PIL, Gang of 4), 10-1 is rock & roll paranoia at its finest. Drums play against drum machines while thick warm waves of acoustic guitar lay a bed for the immensely unsettling “US Forces” and the agitrock anti-apathy anthem “Power and the Passion”. This was Midnight Oil saying they would not be boxed in by geography, precedent, corporate/government agenda or their own and anybody else’s expectations.
The album was a monster success in Australia, staying in the Australians charts in excess of 200 weeks. It was also popular on US college radio and across pockets of Europe – as the band expanded its ambitions it also expanded its reach.
The next album, Red Sails in the Sunset, recorded in Japan, took the band’s sonic experimentation and railing agenda to a new and extreme level. Loved by the band’s existing fans, it was released in 1983 against the backdrop of singer Peter Garrett making a run for the Australian Senate on a Nuclear Disarmament platform. While Garrett’s focus was on ‘real’ politics, Red Sails saw the band reveal a new set of colours with drummer Rob Hirst coming to the fore as lead vocalist on “When The Generals Talk” and “Kosciusko”.
In 1985, Midnight Oil regrouped and reacted to the extremes of their two previous albums with the fierce, angry and streamlined EP Species Deceases. Released to mark the 40th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Species Deceases reset Midnight Oil’s bearings and included enduring favourites like “Hercules” and “Progress”. It was a turning point, suggesting a new beginning.
That new beginning happened in 1986 when having recorded “The Dead Heart” for the handing back ceremony of Uluru (then Ayers Rock) to it’s traditional owners, Midnight Oil were invited to tour through some of the most remote communities in the Australian outback with the legendary Aboriginal group, the Warumpi Band. It became known as the ‘Blackfella/Whitefella’ tour and exposed the band to the austere beauty of the desert landscape, the inspiring creativity of the indigenous people and the deplorable conditions under which the local indigenous people existed.
The Blackfella/Whitefella tour galvanised and profoundly moved Midnight Oil. They witnessed the great pride and resilience of the indigenous people and embraced their stories and the sounds of the desert into their music, learning to incorporate space (‘The Great Quiet’ as it was called) and to ‘breathe the slower rhythms of the desert’.
The band returned to Sydney and with producer Warne Livesey began work on what was to be their global breakthrough Diesel and Dust. The singles lifted from the album, namely “The Dead Heart”, “Put Down That Weapon”, “Dreamworld” and their most successful single to date, “Beds Are Burning” opened-up Midnight Oil to new audiences all over the world. The band toured internationally through the remainder of 1987 and ’88 driving the album to huge critical and commercial success.
They returned to Australia to record Blue Sky Mining with Warne Livesey again producing and with new bass player Bones Hillman bringing rich harmony vocals to the mix. Released in 1990, Blue Sky Mining was another critically-hailed and globally successful album and on tracks like “One Country,” “Blue Sky Mine,” and “Forgotten Years” the Oils brought a new international perspective to their songwriting while losing none of their passion, commitment or characteristic voice.
While on tour in the US, the band drew attention to the environmental disaster caused by the oil tanker Exxon Valdez that ran aground in Alaska spilling hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound. They hired a flatbed truck and played a blistering set outside the Exxon offices in New York, stopping traffic and putting the issue on the front pages of newspapers around the world.
Midnight Oil’s evolution continued with their next album, 1993’s Earth and Sun and Moon. Their most introspective and personal collection of songs to date, the band further explored acoustic textures, replacing the unrelenting assault of their early records with a warmer, more seductive sound. Containing potent and pointed singles “My Country”, “Truganini” and “In The Valley” it’s an album that continues to reveal its strengths down through the years.
Earth and Sun and Moon was the band’s entrée into the WOMAD world music scene and they eagerly soaked up new influences that were revealed on their 1996 album, Breathe. Recorded in Sydney and New Orleans with producer Malcolm Burn, the project produced the fan-favourite “Surf’s Up Tonight”.
Perhaps in response to the warm, dark textures of Earth and Sun and Moon and Breathe, Midnight Oil’s next record was their most angry and confronting. In 1998 the world was in the grip of reactionary governments. In Australia, anti-migrant and anti-Aboriginal sentiment was being inflamed for political gain. Midnight Oil’s response was the anti racist Redneck Wonderland, a post punk, industrial and radical album that pulled no punches.
In 2000 the band performed at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games with the word ‘Sorry’ emblazoned across their clothing – a reference to the apology due to stolen generations of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their families between the 1890’s and 1970’s, in many cases never to see their parents again. They also recorded the excellent, grinding “Say Your Prayers”, an anthem for the East Timorese, which appeared on a benefit album and later became an addition to their 2002 album Capricornia. Taking on a new musical direction again and inspired by the themes of Xavier Herbert’s book of the same title, this was a swag of songs that addressed the history, geography and climes of Australia. Melodic and beguiling and distinguished by the crisp, chiming guitar warmth of Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey on tracks like “Golden Age” and “Luritja Way”, Capricornia ultimately became a proud way to conclude one of the most fierce and fascinating journeys in contemporary music history.
In December 2002 Midnight Oil officially disbanded and in 2004 Peter Garrett was elected as a federal Member of Parliament. Nonetheless in 2005 the Oils regrouped to headline the “Waveaid” benefit concert for over 50,000 people at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In 2009 the band did so again for “Sound Relief” at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where over 80,000 fans joined them in raising millions of dollars for victims of Australian fires and floods. Apart from these iconic charity appearances (and a handful of intimate ‘warmup’ gigs immediately prior to each of them) the members all separately pursued other projects. Then in May 2016 they made headlines with a surprise announcement via Facebook that they would be “getting back together for some gigs next year“. At this stage no firm plans have been made or announced but the band’s 2017 return to concert stages is as eagerly anticipated, as it is sorely overdue.
Midnight Oil remain one of Australia’s most loved cultural icons. Amongst a multitude of honours, both “Power and the Passion” and “Beds Are Burning” were listed by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in the Top 30 Best Australian songs of all time; the band has won 11 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards and been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame; in the US, “Beds Are Burning” is included as one of ‘The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll’ and in 2010, Diesel and Dust ranked # 1 in the best-selling book “The 100 Best Australian Albums”.
Rob Hirst – Drums + Vocals
Martin Rotsey – Guitar
Peter Garrett – Lead Vocals
Jim Moginie – Guitar, Keyboards + Vocals
Bones Hillman – Bass + Vocals
Andrew James – Bass (Founding member to 1980)
Peter Gifford – Bass + Vocals (1980 to 1986)
Gary Morris – Manager (1976 to 2013)
- Missy Higgins
Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins has enjoyed phenomenal success with her irresistible melodies and ‘arrow through the heart’ lyrics, delivered by a striking voice that clearly means it.
After touring the globe with her undeniable songs and unforgettable live performances, Missy’s highly acclaimed albums The Sound Of White (Album Of The Year featuring the hit singles “Scar” and “Ten Days”), On A Clear Night (featuring North American top 20 airplay hit “Where I Stood” and “Steer”) and The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle (#1 album featuring “Everyone’s Waiting” and “Hello Hello”) have sold over two millions albums and singles globally.
Missy has appeared on the cover of Australia’s Rolling Stone magazine twice and is a three-time chart topper and multiple ARIA Award winner (Australia’s Grammys).
After seven years of touring and recording, Missy quietly took a break from music in 2009 to pursue other interests including a course in indigenous studies. She also made her acting debut in Australian film, ‘Bran Nue Dae’.
In 2011, Missy’s love of music lead her back to the studio when she set up in Nashville to record her first new songs in five years with local producer Brad Jones and co-producer Butterfly Boucher. Those recordings became The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, Missy’s third #1 studio album in her homeland which despite the five year wait, became the most acclaimed work of Missy’s extraordinary career.
The breakup album with a difference, chronicling the much loved singer’s estrangement – and eventual rapprochement – with music making, spent over three months in the Australian top 10 after its mid 2012 release and became Missy’s first release to make the Billboard 200 in America.
In September 2014, Missy released her fourth studio album OZ, an eclectic mix of Aussie cover versions also accompanied by a quirky book of related essays. The album received rave reviews on release and in the accompanying OZ book, Missy uses each of the recordings as the starting point for a sprawling series of essays; reflecting on life, love, music and much more.
Missy recently released ‘Oh Canada’ with 100% of net profits going to the Asylum Seeker Resource Center. The song was inspired by the tragic images of an infant Syrian refugee named Alan Kurdi being carried from the water by a soldier. A powerful animated video for ‘Oh Canada’, created in partnership with Caritas and World Vision, accumulated over 1 million views within a week of it’s release. In mid-2016, Missy also sold out a series of shows as part of a 12-date US Tour – her first North American gigs in four years.
- Paul Mac
Paul Mac is one of the leading figures in Australian electronic music. He is a composer, songwriter, musician and producer. Paul is a conservatorium graduate and a multi ARIA Award winner for his work with underground dance pioneers Itch-E & Scratch-E and for his own solo work. The list of artists with whom he’s collaborated over recent years include Sia, Kylie, Daniel Johns, LCD Soundsystem and Troye Sivan.
Paul scores music for films (Kath & Kim, Sucker), TV (Good News Week) and theatre (Bangarra Theatre, Frank Woodley).
Credits for Paul’s remix duo, Stereogamous, include remixes for LCD Soundsystem, Sia, and Kylie and he has also released an album under the moniker, The Dissociatives, with Daniel Johns.
In addition to his multiple ARIA awards, Paul’s career highlights include Australian Dance Music Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Dance and Producer Of The Year. He has received an APRA Award, an MTV Award and been named Dance Artist Of The Year three times in Rolling Stone’s Readers Poll.
Paul is currently studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music doing a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition.
- Peter Garrett
- The Presets
The Presets are Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes. The duo met while pursuing musical studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Discovering a mutual interest in contemporary music outside of their course, they joined the instrumental, experimental band Prop, and in 2003 formed the more techno, dance focussed duo The Presets.
The band became quickly recognised for their ability to fuse elements of dance music with an energy more akin to that of a rock’n’roll show. After signing with Modular Recordings in late 2003, the band released two EPs and an album Beams (2005).
In 2008 The Presets released the chart topping album Apocalypso, selling in excess of Triple Platinum sales in Australia and featuring four hit singles, including ‘My People’ – which became the longest charting single in Australian history. The Presets went on to win 5 ARIA awards (and 2 ARIA Artisan Awards) for the album in 2008, including Album of the Year, as well as the J Award and FBI SMAC Award for Album of The Year. They also shared the coveted Songwriter of The Year Award at the 2009 APRA Awards.
Pacifica was released in 2012, featuring Rolling Stone Magazine’s Song Of The Year, ‘Ghosts’. Pacifica was also nominated for an ARIA Award, shortlisted for the AMP Award, the J Award, and was Album of the Year in the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph, and Electronic Album of the Year in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Presets have been recognised worldwide for their dynamic live performances, playing hundreds of shows domestically and internationally, including key slots at renowned international music festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella, Exit, Melt and Splendour In The Grass.
As individuals, Hamilton and Moyes have both collaborated with many other artists as songwriters, composers, producers and featured artists. Collectively they have remixed many prominent artists, as well as collaborating with Melbourne based contemporary dance company Chunky Move.
Silverchair are one of the most acclaimed and successful bands in Australian music history.
The group’s members were all born in the Newcastle surf suburb of Merewether. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies started making music together at primary school and schoolmate Chris Joannou later joined on bass. They got their big break in mid-1994 when they won a national demo competition conducted by SBS TV show Nomad and triple j.
Between 1994 and present day, Silverchair achieved phenomenal global success accumulating album sales in excess of six million across Frogstomp, Freak Show, Diorama, Neon Ballroom, and Young Modern, which became the fastest selling of their extraordinary career.
Silverchair have won 21 ARIA Awards – more than any other artist in history – nd they have enjoyed more #1 albums than any other Australian band. Daniel Johns is also the only person to ever win the prestigious APRA Songwriter Of The Year Award on three separate occasions.