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BIGSOUND 2019

12.Sep.2019

I’ve been to my fair share of music festivals, but I must say there’s nothing quite like BIGSOUND.

Anchored in connecting emerging Australian and New Zealand artists with the who’s who in the music industry, this event is as equally rewarding for the lucky punters who know the value in adding this special event to their list of annual festivals. Fortitude Valley comes alive as the festival takes over. The sun shines down, the bucket hats come out, and the place buzzes as attendees are brought together by their common love of music.

Our friends over at BIGSOUND do such an incredible job pulling together such an epic program. Alongside the unbelievable line up of music, delegates have the opportunity to attend workshops, panel discussions, forums and talks from those working in or associated with the industry in some capacity. I was able to get along to see Andy King talk; for those who have seen the Fyre Festival documentary, you’ll understand why I, and hundreds of other delegates, were keen to see what he had to say for himself. In his very own words, “he’s the ultimate team player”, but he’s also hugely passionate about sustainability and managing events in a considerate way (something we can definitely get around).

The annual Levi’s® Showcase is the centrepiece of our involvement in BIGSOUND and a sure highlight. As a brand, we’re so lucky to have such strong roots in music and love that we’re able to provide a platform to showcase (some of) the greatest emerging Aussie talent. This year we had four artists playing – Dulcie, Stevan, TOWNS and Milan Ring – all with their own unique sounds and place in the scene. The sheer talent of these young musicians is remarkable.

Up first was Dulcie, a four-piece girl gang from WA with harmonies to boot. These girls are naturals on stage and their love of performing is so apparent. Their second single ‘Own Ground’ was a favourite amongst the crowd and will no doubt get a thrashing on the Levi’s® HQ playlist.

Stevan took to the stage next. This legend and his uber talented musical ensemble deliver a sound so unique that it’s difficult to place in any one genre. What’s much clearer is that they’re destined for big things.

TOWNS was next to treat us to their tunes. These guys have such an entertaining and engaging on stage presence and it’s no surprise they’ve capture the attention of the Adelaide music scene. Their latest single ‘Safe To Stay’ is an absolute winner. We can’t wait to see what’s next for them… a little birdie (them) tells us they have plenty of new music up their sleeves!

Closing out an awesome night was Milan Ring. Boy oh boy can this girl perform. From the moment she stepped on stage she had everyone’s attention. She has it all – as a singer, rapper, guitarist, producer and sound engineer – it’s only a matter of time until this girl takes off.

Check out some of the highlights from the party in the gallery above.

As an extension of the showcase, we spent the week capturing an exciting new web series, ‘Sound Check’. In a fun and quirky interview, hosted by legend Ziggy Ramo, we get to know the artists behind the music. Here’s the series trailer, which gives you a sneak peek of what’s to come. Stay tuned for the launch of our first episode tomorrow!

 

Outside of those on the showcase, we witnessed stand out performances from Tones & I, Adrian Eagle, Luboku, Kymie and K3. Needless to say, we feel pretty lucky to have such a strong pool of talent coming through and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

We wrapped up a big week with the announcement of the next round of the Levi’s® Music Prize Winner. Awarded to the band who generated the most buzz during the week, we were stoked to present the prize to Gordon Koang. If you don’t know his music, or his story, I recommend taking the time to acquaint yourself!

Bring on BIGSOUND 2020! Put it in your diaries, friends – I’ll see you there.

Eliza Harley – Marketing, Levi’s® ANZ

 

Photography by Bianca Holderness & Tom Cole
Video by Monster Children Films

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GORDON KOANG WINS LEVI’S® MUSIC PRIZE AT BIGSOUND 2019

10.Sep.2019

BIGSOUND is done and dusted for another year, but we leave feeling more energised than ever about the future of Aussie music. The 2019 program saw record crowds enjoying some of the hottest new acts on the live music scene, including Buzz Band of the Week and newly announced Levi’s® Music Prize winner – Gordon Koang.

Gordon Koang is a household name in South Sudan, and an incredible performer with nine albums under his belt. Gordon’s story is inspirational – as a blind man currently seeking asylum in Australia, he makes music with the goal of spreading a message of peace, love and unity. Represented by Music In Exile, this award not only highlights Gordon’s talent, but the excellent work of this not-for-profit initiative which aims to provide a platform for refugee and asylum seeking artists working in culturally or linguistically diverse communities in Australia.

Having been selected by a panel of industry heavyweights from a pool of around 150 bands who showcased throughout the week, this in a huge coup for Gordon. He takes home $25,000 plus an additional $5000 travel voucher courtesy of Stage & Screen Australia. We hope this money can assist Gordon in achieving his dreams – whether that be through providing funding towards recording, touring equipment, video production and more.

“I am standing before you as a blind person. I cannot see anything in this world but I put my mind to do music. I have been playing my instrument for 31 years and came to Australia in 2014 to seek asylum because Sudan has a war. God has blessed us by bringing our permanent residency and now we are here accepting this award at the BIGSOUND festival. Thank you BIGSOUND, thank you Levi’s®, God bless Australia and God bless Brisbane.” – Gordon Koang

A further three prizes will be awarded to artists across the coming twelve months. Previous winners include Ecca Vandal, The Teskey Brothers, Amyl & the Sniffers, Stella Donnelly and more.

Levi’s® Music Prize applications are now open for Round 2. Australian and New Zealand acts who have performed at BIGSOUND within the last five years (2015-2019) are eligible to apply here. Applications close Dec 7.

 

Photography by Claudia Ciapocha

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ECCA VANDAL WINS LEVI’S® MUSIC PRIZE

23.Aug.2019

Melbourne singer-songwriter and rapper Ecca Vandal has been awarded the latest round of the Levi’s® Music Prize by a panel of international judges today. The Levi’s® Music Prize is supported by QMusic, Sounds Australia and Stage and Screen.

Since showcasing at BIGSOUND 2016, Ecca has spent several years building a solid professional network to support her international career. Releasing a successful debut album through Dew Process in Australia / NZ and Island Records (UK) in 2017, Ecca has also been working with WME UK to perform at some of the biggest festivals in Europe such as Afropunk, Download and Reading and Leeds.

Ecca hopes to record a second full length record with the help of the Levi’s® Music Prize. “A huge thanks to Levi’s® for this award, it means the world to me! The extra cash is going to be a huge help for the next stage, as I head off on tour and make an album, so I really appreciate the support. Big love!” – Ecca Vandal

The decision was made by a panel of respected music industry executives from across the globe, coordinated by Sounds Australia that included Mary Ramos, (Saturday Music, Inc.), Rachel Cragg, (Director of A&R and Management at Nettwerk Music Group), Mollie Lehman, (Atlantic Records A&R) and Paul Adam (New Community Management).

“An incredibly talented artist, we’re thrilled to announce Ecca Vandal as the most recent winner of the Levi’s® Music Prize. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in-store for her and all of the Levi’s® Music Prize alumni, and we look forward to continuing to grow our support of emerging Australian artists” – Paul Sweet, Country Manager Levi’s® Australia/New Zealand.

Now in its third year, Levi’s® partnership with BIGSOUND has so far awarded over $200,000 to financially assist Australian and New Zealand acts with their careers. The prize provides $25,000 cash from Levi’s® and $5,000 in travel from Stage and Screen and is administered by QMusic in conjunction with Sounds Australia. The prize provides multiple opportunities for BIGSOUND artists as they build their international careers post-BIGSOUND. Previous winners include The Teskey Brothers, Amyl & The Sniffers, Stella Donnelly, Alex Lahey, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Hatchie and Emerson Snowe.

The winner of the next round will be announced on Friday 6 September at BIGSOUND with 147 showcasing artists eligible for Round 1 2019/20 of the prize. If you haven’t already got your hands on tickets, it’s such a great event and we hope you can get along!

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Q&A WITH CHRIS WROBLESKI

07.Aug.2019

A couple of months on from Semi-Permanent and we’re still blown away by the sheer magnitude of the epic Levi’s® installation. Marketing team member, Eliza Harley, sat down with the mastermind behind the project, Chris Wrobleksi, to get the inside scoop on his creative process and more…

 

Chris, tell us a little about yourself…

I’m a multi-media and installation artist, based in Los Angeles.

 

Describe your artistic style…

I would describe my artistic style as organic and fluid.

 

What was the inspiration behind your Levi’s® piece at Semi Permanent?

The Semi Permanent installation was largely inspired by a piece I did for Levi’s® & Fred Segal in Los Angeles, back in 2015. For Semi Permanent, we took the elements and techniques used for that piece but then added movement & fluidity inspired by the ocean.

 

Tell us about the creative process…

This piece was made from about 320 meters of cotton twill, 180 meters of cotton muslin, indigo, and a biodegradable bubble wrap. All of the cotton was hand-dyed using natural indigo to the intended final colours, eliminating the need to wash to lighter saturation.

 

The theme of Semi Permanent was ‘truth” – what does this mean to you?

Truth is such an amazing commodity… we use it to build trust and use trust to build relationships – both with ourselves and others. Finding or searching for your own truth is an invaluable exercise – spending days and hours knitting and dying this piece definitely allocated a great amount of time for meditative thought.

 

What were your highlights from Semi Permanent?

My highlight was putting my piece up – since the piece is so big, I can’t display it in full effect in my studio, so I love seeing all of those hours of work come together. It was also a fun day with the Levi’s® ANZ team.

There were so many amazing speakers, and I feel I took something away from just about all of the ones I saw, but the one that stood out the most to me was James Callahan of Future Deluxe.

 

As you know, sustainability is a huge focus for us here at Levi’s®. What are the things you do in your day-to-day life to play your part?

Living in Los Angeles, similar to Melbourne or Sydney, sustainability and the environment are always a priority, and I try to focus on it in every way I can. Just to list a few that come to mind: recycling (obviously), I compost my food scraps, try to eat as locally and organically as possible – and I don’t really eat red meat, energy efficient lightbulbs, I use all organic skin care and bio-degradable cleaning products in my home that are safe for the environment, always avoid unnecessary plastic, water-efficient shower head, as well as drought tolerant landscaping around the house.

 

Where do you normally look for inspiration?

I don’t feel like I actively look for inspiration, but I most commonly find it in nature and museums.  I love being outdoors, in/on/by the ocean, more recently I’ve really enjoyed the solitude of the California Mojave Desert – Joshua Tree.  I also love admiring great art.

 

You call LA home – anything that’s a must see or do for the creative hearted when visiting the city of angels?

Most people don’t know we have incredible museums.  The Getty Centre and Getty Villa are a couple of my favourites, but LACMA, MOCA, and the Broad are also great.

 

Tell us about your creative space – organised chaos or freakishly neat?

Definitely organised chaos. Both my home and studio explode when I’m working on a big project. Once the project is done, I have to get everything back re-organised right away, or I’ll go crazy.

 

Check out some of the other incredible work Chris has done for Levi’s® globally in the gallery above or over on his website.

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