Despite this year’s event being forced into the digital domain due to border closures around the country, BIGSOUND are pulling no punches and making the most of a shit situation for 2020, packing their program with a wealth of resources that span all corners of the music industry. With over 45 events that cover everything from digital marketing and professional development through to mental health and inequality, BIGSOUND 2020 is gearing up to be an essential event for anyone in the Australian music industry.
Before it kicks off next Wednesday, we’re spotlighting seven keynotes, conferences and workshops from the program that you ought to clear some time in your schedule for. So, without much further ado, here’s our guide to navigating BIGSOUND 2020.
Tom Morello: Whatever It Takes
6:00PM – 7:00PM, Wednesday October 21
Sure, the pandemic may have delayed Rage Against The Machine’s heavily anticipated reunion tour from going down this year, but that’s not going to stand in the way of one man revolutionary Tom Morello. In what might just be the highlight moment of this year’s festival, the groundbreaking guitarist and Harvard-educated political activist is set to take to BIGSOUND on Wednesday to deliver a keynote address on his career as a musician and how he’s used his platform to raise awareness to political issues over the last thirty years.
For fans of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave or any of the countless other projects Tom’s been involved in, consider this one to be unmissable. Morello’s as enigmatic and thought-provoking with pen in hand as he is with his guitar, and given the rife political instability that’s dominating discourse in the United States right now, it’s fair to expect more than a few fiery takes from the celebrated artist. Tune in from 6PM on Wednesday to watch it all go down.
Studio Wars: Home Recording vs Destination Studios
11:30AM – 12:30PM, Thursday October 22
Over the last 20 years, a seismic shift has occurred in the music industry that’s helped to shape some of the most important music releases in recent memory: the rise of the home studio. Once a luxury that only a select few could afford, the democratisation of the home studio has seen countless artists create chart-topping hits from the confines of their bedroom using nothing more than a MIDI keyboard and a DAW, which begs the question: is the traditional recording studio still relevant in the digital age?
Going down on the second day of BIGSOUND, Studio Wars: Home Recording vs Destination Studios seeks to weigh up the pros and cons of both home and destination music studios in a discussion moderated by Bakehouse Studios co-founder Helen Marcou. Featuring panelists such as celebrated producer Nick DiDia (Powderfinger, Pearl Jam), audio engineer Anna Laverty (Courtney Barnett, Nick Cave), Ableton brand manager Aroha Harawira and artist Nat Dunn, this one is bound to be an eye-opener for anyone who lives and breathes all things recording. Set a reminder for 11.30am Thursday to see what everyone thinks!
A License To Live
2:00PM – 3:00PM, Wednesday October 21
Ever considered trying to make a living by leasing out your own creative talents to other projects? If so, this might just be the talk for you. Hosted by Mushroom Music Publishing’s Creative Manager A&R Julian McGruther, A License To Live is set to dive into the careers of a number of successful creatives who have managed to apply their skills to various commercial endeavours, including creating music for advertising, composing for video games and writing / producing for other artists.
Featuring appearances from Nat Dunn; a noted Aussie songwriter who’s previously collaborated with pop heavyweights such as Charli XCX and Marshmello, and Mick Gordon; a Queensland-based guitarist who’s contributed to huge video game soundtracks such as Doom, Need For Speed and Wolfenstein, this conference is a must-see for any creative currently hustling as a freelancer. All the action kicks off at 2pm on Wednesday – don’t miss it.
The Future Of Live Event Streaming
10:30AM – 11:30AM, Wednesday October 21
With physical distancing restrictions taking live gigs as we once knew them out of the equation, online streaming looks set to become the dominant medium for live performances until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine. However, given that live streaming is still very much in its infancy, many licensing agreements and how artists can be involved remains undefined, and as a musician, manager or industry professional, it’s certainly within your best interests to be on top of any developments in the area.
The Future Of Live Event Streaming aims to explore this emerging field and scrutinise it through a behind-the-scenes perspective, with Boslter’s Creative Producer Hugo Dean hosting a panel featuring Twitch ANZ partnership lead Lewis Mitchell, Select Music CEO and booking agent Stephen Wade and Cedilla founder and director Emily Copeland. Over the course of an hour, the panel will investigate the realm of live streaming and how artists can integrate live event streaming into their own career strategy to reach and maintain new audiences. It all goes down on Wednesday at 10.30AM via the BIGSOUND Conference Hub.
A TikTok Playbook
3:00PM – 3:30PM, Wednesday October 21
Love it or hate it, TikTok is here to stay, and it looks like it’s going to have a massive impact on the way we consume and share music in the digital age. Don’t be a dinosaur – embrace modernity, and find out everything there is to know about the rising video app with A TikTok Playbook, BIGSOUND’s workshop breaking down how the platform can provide brand new opportunities for Australian artists.
Led by TikTok’s Director of Music for Australia and NZ Ollie Wards, this workshop aims to discuss the platform’s increasingly symbiotic relationship with music, as well as strategies for artists to use the app to reach new audiences and the pros and cons of going viral. Lock down your aerial, and tune into this one at 3PM on Wednesday – dancing is totally optional.
The Hard End Of The Road – Overcoming The Stigma and Building Help Seeking Behaviour
5:00PM – 6:00PM, Wednesday October 21
As the Production Manager for Big Day Out for 20 years and a key name behind-the-scenes on tours for the likes of AC/DC, Prince, Eminem, INXS and The Rolling Stones, it’s fair to say that Howard Freeman is a bit of an OG in the realm of touring. Over the span of his career, Howard’s witnessed a major shift in the way that masculinity and mental health has been perceived by the music industry, and has been a major force advocating for mental health awareness for those working behind the scenes in the industry.
In his keynote speech The Hard End Of The Road – Overcoming The Stigma and Building Help Seeking Behaviour, Howard invites BIGSOUND to hear how he’s instigated important conversations about mental health in the touring sector, helping to usher in a culture of care and support among his peers. Tune into this one at 5PM on Wednesday to hear about Howard’s life on the road, how attitudes within the touring industry have evolved, and what we can do to cultivate a culture of speaking out and mental positivity for those working in technical roles in the music industry.
Cannot Buy My Soul: In Conversation with Kev Carmody
6:15PM – 6:45PM, Thursday October 22
Kev Carmody is a bonafide legend of Australian songwriting, and has been considered as one of the most pivotal Indigenous voices in the music industry for decades due to his uncanny talents. Best known for his rousing ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ with Paul Kelly and solo cuts such as ‘Black Red Rose’ and ‘Black Tears’, Carmody’s legacy as a storyteller is rivalled by few of his contemporaries, and his influence upon modern Australian songwriting speaks volumes.
In light of the recent reissue of his classic album Cannot Buy My Soul, Carmody is taking to the stage to sit down in conversation with BIGSOUND’s First Nations Producer to discuss his musical career, activism and impact upon Australian songwriting. This one kicks off at Thursday at 6.15PM, and finishes just in time to make sure you can catch the artist showcases that close BIGSOUND’s event for 2020.
BIGSOUND goes down online next week from Wednesday October 21 – Thursday October 22. Head to their website to sign up and check out everything on offer from this year’s conference today.