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WAM Festival recommendations from those in the know – the Golden WAMi nominees!

4 Nov

Again a WAM Festival party that everyone’s invited to, this year the WA Music Awards at Capitol will see a heap of award categories being hotly contested with some incredible nominees, none more so than the coveted Golden WAMi. Will previous winners Luke Rinaldi, Andrew Ryan, Bob Gordon or Peter Barr add to their trophy cabinets, or will Tame Impala’s manager Jodie Regan finally pick up the most prestigious of WA Music Awards?

Only time will tell, but in the meantime we’ve gathered all these winning industry founts of knowledge to pick their brains. Please read below to find some advice to steer your own career down the golden path, as well as some recommendations of acts you must see this week as part of the WAM Festival, and speakers you’d be silly not to make sure you’ve got your tickets sorted for this Friday and Saturday’s WA Music Conference!


RTRFM 92.1, Breakfast Producer/Presenter

A few standout achievements from your last year: Discovering new bands in the local scene and getting their sounds on air, and then watching a few get noticed by many ears around the country. And it’s not an achievement, but more a privilege, that for ten years I have been able to proudly provide a place for local musicians to come and share their wonderful wares.

Advice for others trying to make it in the music industry: Persist, persist, persist. Be confident and cool; not too cool, just calm and collected around those people who have been in the business for a while. Listen to what people who have been around for a while have to say; they’ve seen heaps and heard lots and you can learn from them. Don’t talk to someone who has been part of the scene for years about how it used to be – they were there and haven’t forgotten. Be aware of everything; immerse yourself in the scene and get amongst it.

Your experience of WAM Festival last year? Massive last year – plenty of fun at the Northbridge Piazza for the RTRFM outside broadcast during the Saturday Spectacular. This was an enormous day with excellent acts in so many venues. Strolling between and spending time in each is an excellent way to spend the day. The bands on stage are top-notch and friends are in the audience. The Sat Spec deserves a WAMi for Best Event…

The WAM Awards were a debauched and surprisingly posh event with big entertainment from drunken Michael Chugg hurling abuse at worthy winners. Top notch!

Top 3 must see 2014 WAM Festival acts/events:

  1. WA Music Craft Awards – live from the State Theatre Courtyard 4-5pm on Friday; I’m a sucker for live awards and can’t wait to see the power coupling of Andrew Ryan and Sarah Norton dish them out.
  2. The WA Music Awards; good times, great acts, healthy fun competition, unless you choose to pile on the negativity and view it another way, in which case you need to chill.
  3. Saturday Spectacular; a day that shines and exemplifies true community spirit with local musicians hanging and jamming and learning from and loving each other.

Top 3 must see 2014 WA Music Conference speakers:

  1. Ian Jorgensen (Camp A Low Hum) – legend.
  2. Lorrae McKenna (Remote Control Records) – the label is (one of the big) places where it’s at.
  3. Gina Williams – local musician with masses of experience and many stories to tell, in at least two languages…



Editor, X-Press Magazine


A few standout achievements from your last year: I was really happy with some of the local music-oriented front covers we conceptualised and shot, especially for In The Pines and The Big Splash. Daniel Grant and Rachael Barrett both came up with great images and we were able to feature a number of Perth musicians. It’s been great to continue to interview musicians who I’ve known over the years and watch them reach the heights of creativity they’ve always aspired to. I also sung a duet number with Tex Perkins, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.


Advice for others trying to make it in the music industry: You can never know enough. As well as knowing all you can (and continuing to learn) in your field, try to learn about all aspects of the day-to-day working industry. It’ll make you respect the challenges that others face and help you negotiate your own way more successfully without being a showbiz asshole.


Experience Of WAM Fest last year: I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the WA Music Conference (during and afterwards at the bar). For me it was great to host the Keynote discussion with Adalita & Catherine Haridy (and I look forward to a similar experience with Abbe May this year). The Saturday Spectacular again made Northbridge seem like New Orleans.


Top 3 must see 2014 WAM Festival acts/events:

  1. Tomás Ford hosting the WA Music Awards – because Tomás Ford will be hosting the WAM Awards…
  2. WA Music Craft Awards – what a fine bunch of nominees. Buy ‘em a drink!
  3. Saturday Spectacular – it’s as if the Royal Show had a Rock Show Alley.


Top 3 must see 2014 WA Music Conference speakers:

  1. Abbe May – she’s gained success via hard work and due diligence and always challenged herself along the way. Plus I get to talk to her.
  2. Ian Jorgensen – he’s done it all from an isolated industry that mirrors our own.
  3. Nick Findlay – a rare chance to get an up-close-and-personal insight into triple j. Hopefully no one will make a big deal about being offended by a 20-year-old Nine Inch Nails song again!




Spinning Top Music, Director

A few standout achievements from your last year: I started a record label and released albums from Mink Mussel Creek, Gum, Shiny Joe Ryan, Nicholas Allbrook and Felicity Groom, and will soon be releasing a bunch more outstanding WA artists like Peter Bibby, The Growl, Gunns etc. I moved to LA. Tame Impala and Pond have done plenty of great tours at home and around the world and are still touring as we speak! And Pond have released, and are releasing, more new music.

Advice for others trying to make it in the music industry: Only work with music you love – that will be the only reward you get for a long time of very hard work!

Your experience of WAM Festival last year? I was actually on tour with Tame Impala so didn’t make it to last year’s festival, but I’m sure it was amazing!

In no particular order, top 3 must see 2014 WAM Festival acts/events:

  1. WAM Festival Opening Party – because it’s always fun.
  2. WA Music Awards – because it’s great to celebrate the achievements of everyone in the WA music industry.
  3. The Saturday Spectacular – because there is so much to see and hear.

In no particular order, top 3 must see 2014 WA Music Conference speakers:

  1. Abbe May – because I’m sure she’ll impart some inspirational wisdom upon everyone.
  2. Asia – New Markets panel – because it’s so close to us and is largely untapped still.
  3. All Things Equal – because they’re topics worth talking about.




Sweet Mate Music, Director/Manager


A few standout achievements from your last year: Emperors playing CMJ Music Marathon in New York and Usurper Of Modern Medicine being selected for BIGSOUND.


Advice for others trying to make it in the music industry: Key requirements: Passion, organization and being okay with having little separation of work and social life.


Your experience of WAM Festival last year? Bloody hell – it’s very hard to remember [we’ll warn the bar staff this year, WAM Ed]! The stage outside PICA for the Saturday Spectacular was great (and was one of Emperors’ best shows).


Top 3 must see 2014 WAM Festival acts/events:

  1. Mt. Mountain at The Bakery for the WAM Festival Opening Party on Thursday – world class
  2. Saturday Spectacular – nothing like a pub crawl!
  3. Usurper Of Modern Medicine, The Love Junkies and Patient Little Sister, ‘cause I work with them and they’re all ace as hell.


Top 3 must see 2014 WA Music Conference speakers:

  1. Heath Bradby (Warner Music) – he da man. What he and Jebediah achieved together all those years ago really put Perth music on the national radar.
  2. Gina Williams – great singer, great person, all-round legend – 5 stars.
  3. Abbe May – Abbe’s really travelled her own path and is continually re-inventing herself – a great example to other artists.



Owner, Mojo’s Bar/Director, Cool Perth Nights/Co-Founder, The Big Splash/Musician


A few standout achievements from your last year: Mojo’s Bar is attracting great acts this year. Our bar management team down there is really unbeatable. Great culture down at that bar that my company Cool Perth Nights has an interest in. Rosemount Hotel became a Cool Perth Nights venue in January. We are managing the programming and marketing, with Luke Rinaldi maintaining his role and presence within the new arrangement. The Big Splash Band Comp had a successful sophomore year – digging up loads of new talent that are performing in the WAM Festival this year. My new music radio show Out To Lunch radio show had a great result during Radiothon – which was relieving and rewarding given all that’s happening in the digital music world. Felicity Groom’s new album is now out and I’m really proud of what we made with that album. Most importantly my daughter is a 1 year and 2 months wee little champ and is walking around being dangerously cute everywhere she goes.


Advice for others trying to make it in the music industry: Do what you want. Do it your own way. But be strategic and graceful. Don’t try – instead there’s nothing to it but to do it.


Your experience of WAM Festival last year? WAM Festival last year was great – I won the Golden WAMi – gosh. To be honest I was on a holiday… [shame on you, WAM]


Top 3 must see 2014 WAM Festival acts/events:

  1. Eleventeen Eston at Flyrite, 1.40pm as part of the free Saturday Spectacular – because that time of the day needs more laser sharp demure sex funk.
  2. KUČKA at Saturday Spectacular’s Block Party, 8:30pm – because I caught some of their new tunes live recently and need to hear them again – whoah deep, fast and necessary sounds!
  3. Methyl Ethel at The Bird, 6:50pm this Saturday Spectacular, because he’s seriously superior.


Top must see 2014 WA Music Conference speakers:

  1. Meet The Bookers – because I’ve spoken with them all a lot but have no idea what they look like.
  2. Keynote: Abbe May – because Abbe is an individual.


So get those hashtags and dancing shoes ready, it’s time to party and celebrate WA’s best!


Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.