The Operatives are hosting a Melbourne Music Week aural extravaganza: ‘Then rave until the sun comes up’

The Operatives are hosting a Melbourne Music Week aural extravaganza: ‘Then rave until the sun comes up’

The Operatives
Words by Talia Rinaldo

The Operatives are hosting a groundbreaking showcase of Melbourne talent at Max Watt's then a huge Kick Ons party at Sub Club to kick off Melbourne Music Week's first night.

Looking to celebrate Victorian artists first and foremost with the understanding the local scene needs more support than ever, Melbourne Music Week returns for 2021, featuring a whopping 300 artists across 23 locations – with no capacity limits. Dedicated to championing the best local music across some of Melbourne’s best venues, it’s a no-brainer that iconic Melbourne music collective The Operatives are getting involved.

Led by Jerry Poon (known to many as his DJ moniker JPS) The Operatives have been showcasing forward-thinking electronic music, be it on a local, national or global scale, for more than two decades now. Whether it be in the murkiest underground club or on the stages of some of Australia’s greatest festivals, Poon’s influence on the Australian electronic landscape is paramount.

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Harnessing his experience in clandestine gigs, boundary-pushing music and electrifying visual displays, Poon is helping inject vibrancy into the city with The Operatives as they return to MMW with two unmissable events on opening night, Friday, December 3.

“It’s amazing to follow through with a lineup that is 100 per cent based in the city or the state,” Poon says of MMW.

“Firstly, being able to gather in this capacity is exciting and definitely much-needed, but the showcases we’re going to be seeing throughout Melbourne Music Week from the lineups presented are really going to highlight the fact that a lot of people have still managed to create in lockdown, prepare new music or develop their crafts. It’s going to be quite exciting and inspiring to see it and what kind of collaborations have come through over this period as well.”

The first event Poon has curated will see The Operatives take over the MMW Club at Max Watt’s for a delicious 100 per cent Melbourne-based lineup of soul, hip hop, funk and RnB.

Kicking off from 7pm, the event will feature the likes of Billy Davis, c000kie, Emma Volard, Swerve, Jo Jodun, Khiarra, Southside Denny, Teymori, Yung and Shōgun, as well as a few secret guests (you’ll have to be there to find out).

Curating a “live perspective of soul, jazz and hip hop music”, the showcase will be a clear reflection of The Operatives key philosophy: pushing the boundaries of Australia’s music scene, regardless of genre. Made up entirely of artists on their roster, Poon says this show is all giving a stage back to the diverse talents of Melbourne’s most promising musicians.

As for who to check out on the lineup, Poon recommends getting there for the entire show.

“They’re all individual artists in their own right.

“C000kie and Jo Jodun are your emerging artists who are amazing vocalists with beautiful music; Khiarra and Emma Volard are outstanding and definitely someone you have to see live,” he says.

“Billy’s been around for a while, everyone knows he brings the party. He just has so much energy, while Teymori is probably one of the most experienced bands on the stage and will perform a distinctive house music live show,”

“There’s something for everyone. Because it ranges so much from vocalist to rap to live soul and jazz, to soul, RnB, and house; it’s just going to be a multi-genre and multi-layered night of performances. It will look like something you’ve never seen before.”

Following the club show, The Operatives will then take over Sub Club for a late-night, immersive dance session that runs until 7am.

Taking over two floors at Sub Club, this instalment of Kick Ons will see The Operatives and a range of special guests perform much-loved edits, hip hop, garage, and party jams upstairs, while downstairs will be a bassbin special of jungle, footwork, and DnB.

A welcome return to an iconic dance floor, this will be the only MMW gig with a focus on bass and will feature the likes of Foura, Jade Zoe, JPS, Kaïra Cuvée, Kodiak Kid, Nam, Raptorhandz, Safire, Soju Gang, and Sistym, among others.

“We managed to sneak a few small gigs in between those little breaks of lockdowns over the last year but restrictions were still on an all-time high of how you could be involved with indoor shows, with masks, audience members, and needing to be seated,” Poon says.

“Now it feels like we’re actually going to have ‘a gig’ with pretty much zero restrictions, and doing so until the morning. It’s so exciting.”

In what promises to be an aural extravaganza of groundbreaking sounds, The Operatives events are just the beginning for MMW, an incredible channel for the city’s nascent live music scene to strut their stuff and reach a larger audience.

“Get down to MMW, enjoy all the music that’s in and around it and come to the show. I feel like there’s going to be a lot of first-time music goers that have never been to anything for this year’s edition,” Poon says.

“We definitely want to share that feeling that there’s a strong driven music community in Melbourne and the level of quality of music, both in its recorded form and its live form is amazing.

“We just want people to see it, hear it, and experience it in its true form and just enjoy it – and then go and rave until the sun comes up.”

Head to the Melbourne Music Week website for the full program, all the details and to buy tickets.