Going down at the iconic Fitzroy Town Hall as part of Leaps and Bounds Music Festival.
With five new releases from five groundbreaking acts already out in the world and a massive all-ages showcase at Leaps and Bounds Music Festival set for Saturday July 24, it’s fair to say the inaugural Push Records cohort are kicking some serious goals.
“I might be biased but I reckon ‘massive success’ is the right wording,” says Lisa Lorenz, All Ages Program Manager for The Push.
The Push is the Melbourne/Naarm-based charity responsible for connecting young people to the notoriously tough-to-crack music industry. Their latest project, the entirely youth-run record label Push Records, has proven to be far more than just a professional development opportunity.
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Thirty young people were selected to take part in the six-month program before being split into streams based on key label roles: audio, visual design and branding, photography, video production, media, and management.
“We actually went through the process of all the young people on the team listening to all of the applications,” says Lorenz. “Then we had an interview process, whittled it down and we got our five artists.
“We’ve done everything from teaming them up with producers, doing in-studio recording, mixing, mastering, photography, press shots, they’re doing music videos. Literally everything it takes to have the song from inception to reality which is pretty cool.”
Mentors came in the form of more than 40 high-profile industry figures who lent their expertise to the team throughout the process. All that work is coming together in the form of The Push Records Showcase as part of Leaps and Bounds Music Festival, to be held in the iconic Fitzroy Town Hall later this month.
“It’s going to be really fun and exciting and the first time that all five artists are going to be playing on the same stage at the same time,” says Lorenz. “It’s going to be a real vibe.”
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From the orchestral, jazz-inspired R&B of singer-songwriter-producer JIM, to the hard-hitting yet intricate guitar melodies of five-piece Private Mountain, the scope of genre and experience on the label’s roster is impressive.
“Some were sort of established beforehand,” says Lorenz. “Benjamin Trillado has over 640,000 streams on a song he came out with last year. And then there’s someone like Espresso Depresso, Emma, who has never released a song before.
“All the songs are so different and all the artists are so different. And that’s why we chose the artists that we have.”
It’s that wide range of backgrounds and styles that’s seen the label team come together to build their own version of what a music community ought to look and feel like. All of this during a time when most in the music industry have been doing their darndest just to stay afloat.
“It feels important,” says Lorenz. “It needs to be happening. This is the right time for it. MADI LEEDS specifically had talked about how difficult COVID was for young people. All their gigs were getting cancelled, some of the people on the label team couldn’t go to school. So how do you actually build that community?”
The Push found opportunity within the tumult, taking advantage of Creative Victoria’s Music Industry Recovery Program and the decentralised shape the industry was adopting to make Push Records happen.
“We do have a lot of young people who are from regional Victoria and have been able to participate in the program because it was online. Something we realise is a massive issue is that opportunities are often in the city, so the closer to the city you are the more opportunities you have. One thing we really tried to focus on was to make sure it was fully inclusive of all Victoria, not just the CBD.
“It’s about us bringing the opportunities to young people, not them coming to us for the opportunities, especially because then they lose the community that they’re already in and they’re absorbed into this other community.”
With the showcase being an all-ages gig, everything from small touches like not serving alcohol at the bar through to the overarching sense of joy and excitement that generally accompanies Push events are glimpses at what the music industry could look like in the future.
“Something that a young person said was: the benefit of COVID is that I now realise how important it is to have fun. You don’t think about that sometimes. Especially when you’re a young person and you’re really focused on getting good grades and the future and how this thing you’re doing is going to get you a job or whatever.
“But it’s so important to focus on the fun and you can’t do that if you don’t remember it the next day. I think more and more alcohol is going to be less important at gigs. Fingers crossed. It’s making us a little bit more important in the scene because it’s not just young people coming to our events, it’s adults who don’t need to have alcohol there as well.”
The Push Records Showcase is happening at Fitzroy Town Hall on Saturday July 24 as part of Leaps and Bounds Music Festival. Grab tix here.