The City of Gold Coast’s Activate Music program focuses on supporting the development of the city’s contemporary music artists by providing support for projects that build cultural capacity and create pathways to sustainable music careers.
When the Activate Music program opened its first funding round in May this year, more than 20 local artists applied, with seven being awarded a share in nearly $70,000 in funds to support recording, releasing and touring new releases.
Aquila Young received funds to support recording and releasing a new single ‘Oblivion’ as well as reaching new fans in Australia and Southeast Asia and San Mei, fresh from showcasing at BIGSOUND and just announced as a triple j Unearthed artist at Falls Festival received funds to produce, mix and master her latest single ‘Heaven’, working with acclaimed producer Oscar Dawson.
Ella Fence, who recently wowed international delegates at Australian Music Week will produce her first full-length album and ELSKA received support to develop visual content including a short documentary which had its cinema premiere at Australian Music Week Film Festival this month.
Benny D Williams also received funding through the Activate Music program and will use his grant to release an album, ‘Cities of Gold’, due in November 2019.
“I’ve just begun putting pieces of noise all together,” he told We Are Gold Coast. “I’ve got a backlog of around 26 songs that are in various stages of recorded completion and a few more that I need to record for the ‘Cities of Gold’ project which I’m recording and mixing in my home studio and on location at some interesting sounding places about the coast.”
“So I’ve got a fair amount of time to get my ducks in a row just right and make sure I’m releasing an album that expresses where my head is at musically and achieves the vision I have for it,” Benny said.
He added that the impact of the grant on his ability to release new music is “huge”.
“To have that sort of money to support a release is a great help towards spreading the word in the vast ocean of music and information that is available these days,” he said.
Radolescent deliver a completely different sound to the looping mastery of Benny D Williams. A local punk outfit, made up of members who all grew up here, the band sings songs about the environment around them and the issues that come along with it.
“Whether we talk about partying, the ocean, social/personal problems, we always wear our hearts on our sleeve, whilst keeping the good vibes rolling,” band member Isaac Atkinson says of their sound.
Radolescent also received a RADF Activate Music grant to help release new music and pay for a publicity campaign, delivered by local company Footstomp Music.
“The grant had a direct impact in helping to build our profile outside of the Gold Coast,” Isaac said, noting that previously they’d only received publicity through local publications. “Through the use of Footstomp we were able to gain exposure across the country. This in addition with our tour enabled us to reach many new fans.”
“I am now confident that the following single we are releasing next month will fall on more ears than the last and continue to build towards a strong debut album release early next year,” he said.
The band are now planning to release their debut album early in 2019.
Indie five-piece IVEY also received support from RADF to get a new EP out into the world, with the grant used to pay for studio hire, engineering and mixing.
“It was literally vital to the next stage of our career,” says IVEY guitarist Lachlan McGuffie.
“$5000 meant we could focus on the music without worrying about how we were going to fund it,” he said. “It meant a couple more days in the studio and a couple more days of mixing which can make all the difference.
Lachie said Council support through RADF had been “absolutely fantastic.”
“Applying for a grant can sometimes be daunting but it is so worth the end result.”
“Having the council provide you with support financially can literally be a tipping point in a band’s career,” he said.
And the new EP ‘Gorgeous’, which is already turning heads in the music industry, is only one of the highlights for IVEY this past month. They’ve also just won a virtual support act competition with 5 Seconds of Summer (5sos) which sees them perform an ARIA showcase for Universal Music.
“5sos chose us to perform a live video that would play instead of ads before their YouTube videos and film clips,” Lachlan explained.
“Almost one million people viewed our video and we got the most public votes and won,” he said.
Right after their ARIA performance, IVEY jump into the studio for a recording session as part of the prize, and also get some one-on-one time with 5 Seconds of Summer for a mentoring session.
But of course the action doesn’t stop there.
“We’re finishing our tour and have a couple for exciting things to announce festival wise soon,” Lachlan said. “We plan on releasing another EP next year so we’re just trying to keep busy.”
Benny D William’s new album ‘Cities of Gold’ will be out in November 2019. Radolescent release their next single in December with a launch party at Vinnies Dive Bar on 15 December and a full east coast tour in January and February. IVEY’s new EP ‘Gorgeous’ is out now and you can catch them live at Miami Shark Bar, 22 December.
The Arts Development Fund (RADF) is comprised of four programs:
- The Activate Music program focuses on supporting the development of the city’s contemporary music artists by providing support for projects that build cultural capacity and create pathways to sustainable music careers
- Germinate is a rolling fund with applications for up to $5000 accepted anytime
- Activate is a two-stage process offered twice a year that supports Gold Coast creatives to deliver projects and programs that align to the City’s Culture Strategy 2023
- The Initiate program, which is yet to be opened for applications is focused on providing increased opportunities for international exposure and the export of high quality, distinctly Gold Coast products
The next round of RADF’s Activate Music program will open Friday 3 May, 2019.