sonicbridge - Australia and China contemporary music connections
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when international travel stopped and border divisions amplified, 知音 sonicbridge created a little magic, boldly bringing artists from Australia and China together.
The Merindas, filmed during the writing process.
Through a series of virtual conversations and a process of short iterative film making, deeper understanding was fostered, lasting relationships were forged and a legacy for the whole music industry created, modelling new possibilities for creative exchanges and real life engagements in the sector.
Over 6 months, Melbourne based musical duo, The Merindas, and, Shii, an emerging electronic music artist based in Wuhan, generously and candidly shared experiences and stories, developing a dialogue around their creative lives. The artists explored and defined the key themes important to them, such as their mutual interest in collaborating with other creative women, and the challenges and opportunities of relocating to other cities in their home countries as well as travelling domestically and internationally for work. In their candid and globally resonant, locally idiosyncratic, conversations they discussed the tactics they use to promote their work, their studio craft, their networks and the pragmatics of performing. Through their encounters and filmic recordings the artists have sketched a professional blueprint for other emerging artists both in their home country and abroad.
View the films here at sonicbridge.net
知音 sonicbridge was led by industry experts Fred Leone (Melbourne and Brisbane) and Nevin Domer (Shanghai and Beijing), who collaborated with industry peers to select artists from both Australia and China for a unique opportunity to build peer to peer relationships. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on international mobility the artists undertook a digital exchange with a series of real time meetings and film projects over a period of 6 months. The exchange and lasting films created insights, built new connections and developed capability for the artists and the broader sector through the sharing of personal narrative, inspirations, and challenges they face and overcome in their sector.
The program launched with an interview with Leone and Domer and then shortly after an introduction was made to the participating artists. In the curated interview with Leone and Domer, their process of selecting the musicians, their hopes for the program and their own experience of working as artists and creative facilitators in cross-cultural contexts was be explored.
Previous event information
Myf Warhurst is a TV presenter, broadcaster, journalist, and writer. She is currently hosting weekday lunch nationwide on ABC radio’s Double J, and is also a weekly columnist for The Guardian.
Myf is best known for her role as Team Captain on one of Australia’s most-loved television shows, Spicks & Specks which ran for seven seasons, as well as DJ and broadcaster for ABC radio’s triplej.
In her spare time Myf is also an Ambassador for Melbourne animal shelter Animal Aid and Wildlife Victoria. Myf regularly participates in industry talks, conferences and events. She is also an experienced MC for all types of organisations and a spokesperson for different initiatives.
Fred Leone is one of the three Butchulla Song men; the Butchulla tribe through his grandmother's line covers Kgari (Fraser Island), Hervey Bay, Maryborough and the surrounding areas of the Fraser Coast. He is also Garawa on his grandfather’s line, Garawa country running across the Queensland /Northern Territory border. He also has Tongan and South Sea Islander heritage.
Fred is committed to social change and social justice, particularly applying his skills and knowledge to support the strength, status and development of Indigenous culture. Through his music, language and dance, Fred is also focused on enriching the lives of young people in the areas of positive leadership, self-expression, self-confidence, self-pride and pride in communities and culture.
“To be able to give indigenous artists, grassroots artists but also emerging artists the skills and the industry contacts to navigate their path and their niche is really important so they won’t have to reinvent the wheel. The importance of this exchange goes far beyond one-off sort of workshop, it is creating international links by helping build the skills of the artists.”
— Fred Leone
Nevin Domer has been working in the Chinese music industry since 2005. He managed the bookings at legendary rock venue D-22 and helped found two of China's top indie labels, Maybe Mars and Genjing Records, where he oversaw promotion, production, and distribution. Through these two labels, he has worked as an executive producer on recordings with Wharton Tiers, Andy Gill, Martin Atkins, and Brian Hardgroove. Nevin has also tour managed several international bands in China, including Die! Die! Die! (NZ), Primitive Calculators (AUS), and Psychic Ills (US).
While organizing tours for Chinese acts in the US, Australia, and Europe. Nevin currently researches the history and development of Chinese punk while still managing to record and tour with his band, actively participating in a scene he loves.
“Building those cultural bridges and allowing artists from each country to interact with each other and connect with audiences in each country is important. This sort of exchange, allowing them to move not just vertically up in their own market but horizontally into other markets is important. Both will allow them to gain skills for their own music but also for inspirations in what’s happening in other communities.” — Nevin Domer
The Merindas are the collective force of Nyoongar Ballardong Whadjuk woman Kristel Kickett (from Tammin, WA) and Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Island heritage (born in Darwin, NT). Based in Melbourne, these soul sisters are set to trail-blaze their innovative style of Indigenous music. They describe their unique sound as “electronic pop with a dance-hall feel, alongside hip hop and R&B influences.”
With two singles under their belt (We Sing Until Sunrise and Before Daylight), their hotly anticipated debut album ‘We Sing Until Sunrise (“Ngangk Ngoorndiny Ngala Warangka – strongly reflects that we are forever singing, forever dancing and forever celebrating our culture”)’ and their new self-produced single ‘Déjà vu’ were released in 2020. This is the essence of who The Merindas are and the ethos they bring to each of their performances.
Shii is an electronic music project started in 2014 by Shiyi Xiang. Performing livesets with a combination of synthesizer, voice, and video projections her music is based on simple melodies and synthesized sound. With leaping drums and alluring voicals, she constructs a dreamy atmosphere integrating the genres of IDM, glitch, Dream Pop and Dark Wave. Her fantastical imagination, unique thoughts and sound lines will lead you into a new auditory domain.
Shii has recently released her first official album, Floating Signifiers on Merrie Records and completed a 10 stop tour of China, as well as a collaborative music and performance show with Chinese dancer Nee.