Brisbane is slowly emerging as the city to watch, producing top class music of all genres that’s making the rest of the country turn up their sound systems.
“You turn on the radio and you can’t go 20 minutes without hearing a Brisbane band, or the festival line-ups are filled with Brisbane music,” says Alistair Richardson, vocalist with The Cairos.
The Cairos are among many Brisbane acts attracting radio airplay. After winning Triple J’s unearthed competition, the indie rockers have released an album Dream of Reason, are on a national tour, and have world domination in their sights.
But they credit Brisbane’s music scene for helping them to lift their game.
“There’s a lot of tough competition for getting people to your show, especially if there’s already a bunch of other Brisbane bands drawing crowds,” Richardson says.
And the Cairos also maintain they have the best music critics in their home town.
“You test things in front of crowds and Brisbane is good because you’re friends are there and they’re very honest and not afraid to tell you what they think … they’re all musicians as well, they know,” he says.
It’s not just live music venues that are generating this talent. One Brisbane artist who is setting the world on fire with his ethereal brand of electronica started in his bedroom.
At just 18, Tim Bettinson, aka Vancouver Sleep Clinic, is a thoroughly modern musician, having been recognised on SoundCloud before his career took off.
The Brisbane artist returned from a camping trip to find he had already received about 10,000 hits on music he posted on Sound Cloud and YouTube.
“I was thinking `Woah, how did that happen?'” Bettinson says.
The bedroom musician says his songs now have about two million hits and admits it’s been a “crazy” time.
Although one of the reasons he came up with his band’s quirky name was because “it sounds a lot better than Brisbane Sleep Clinic”.
For country music star Harmony James, Brisbane was an easy choice when it came to picking a city to live in.
“I was raised in Cairns and I left home for work and worked in the west for years. When I decided to move to the big smoke, Brisbane was it, because it was an easy little big smoke to start in,” she says.
When James talks about the Brisbane music scene, she paints a picture of a city with a lot to offer in the form of a musical education.
Songwriting groups are cropping up, and the competition is tough.
“There’s a group that are absolutely dedicated songwriters and they’ve got a showcase called The Round that happens on Wednesday nights at a certain venue, and you kind of have to apply to even be considered to go on it,” she says.
The country musician says there is a mixture of styles, “they’re not snobs about genres, they just want to write good songs,” she says.
“A lot of people thought I had to move to Sydney and I thought it was too busy there. I said I might as well commute if I need to.”
So whatever they’re putting into the water in up here, it’s working and it sounds like it’s been working for a while.
“There was always a bunch of these bands that we knew were great but all of a sudden now the rest of the country is paying attention to them,” Richardson says.