If you’re among our Australian readers, you’re probably familiar with BIGSOUND, one of the continent’s biggest music conferences. The three-day gathering, which kicks off on September 10th, has an international focus, with panels, workshops and and artist showcases for local, national and international acts and music industry representatives. This year, however, they’re putting the most focus on metal that they have in the event’s 13 years. Ne Obliviscaris’ Tim Charles and Moose from our parent company The Syndicate will be among those appearing on panels, and there are a ton of heavy bands playing this year’s event. We caught up with BIGSOUND’s Executive Programmer Nick O’Byrne to ask him a few questions about the state of metal in Australia, and why BIGSOUND has taken a bit more of an interest in the genre this year. We’ve also included our five bands to watch at the conference this year, some of which line up with who he’s looking forward to seeing.
Is this the first time that BIGSOUND has had dedicated metal programming?
We’ve had “heavy” bands play BIGSOUND before and we’ve also had panels dedicated to metal but this is the first time we’ve made a concerted effort with metal and prog-metal music programming during the showcase festival. We’re also using a great venue called Crowbar for the first time this year, which is traditionally the home of heavy music in Brisbane.
What went into selecting the talent?
There’s sometimes an uneasy relationship between the metal community and “industry” conferences like ours so it’s helped us to grow relationships with key labels, managers and promoters within that scene. As a result we had an all-time high number of metal bands apply to play BIGSOUND this year. After looking through applications it’s a matter of asking a select group of Australia’s metal industry about which bands would suit the event best.
Who are the standout metal bands from Australia right now?
I think that Voyager, A Million Dead Birds Laughing and Darkc3ll will be highlights at the event. Ne Obliviscaris aren’t playing, but they’re probably one of the more exciting bands in Australia and they’ll be represented on some of our panels. Aside from these bands – Parkway Drive, Thy Art Is Murder, King Parrot and Psycroptic span the metal in Australia and have all been kicking ass for a long time.
It seems like there have been more heavy exports from Australia in recent years. Is it safe to say Australia’s music scene has grown?
I think this might be a reflection of a change across Australia’s entire music industry. Every genre in Australia seems to be exporting well at the moment and the fact that Metal is a big part of that trend is a testament to entrepreneurial bands and management working hard to get overseas and test themselves against the world’s best. Exporting for Australian bands is mega-hard given the distances we need to cover but it means that bands only give it a shot if they’re really good.
Metal Insider has assembled a list of five standout bands to watch if you’re down under this week, or to get a first listen to if you’re in the US or elsewhere and ready to hear some of Australia’s most impressive new talent. With the likes of Twelve Foot Ninja and Karnivool to count among the country’s finest exports, there’s something for everyone waiting in this corner of the Southern Hemisphere: