Watch some of Melbourne’s favorite bands transform their sounds at Newmarket Sessions
The Newmarket Sessions are a new four-part miniseries, featuring some of Melbourne’s favorite acts in genre collaborations aimed at expanding their sonic horizons.
Cry Club, Surprise Chef, Hachiku, Simon Bruckard, Dylan Martorell and Obscura Hail are all featured in the artist series, which is hosted on Youtube and IGTVas they collaborate with The Newmarket Collective, the highly acclaimed in-house musicians of Newmarket Studios in North Melbourne.
The Newmarket Sessions were recorded by Guus Hoevenaars (Courtney Barnett, Vance Joy, Kingswood), filmed by Kyle Caulfield (Slowly Slowly, Kingswood, Mushroom) and produced by Kylie Davies who leads The Collective and has worked with everyone from Beyonce to Stevie Wonder.
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“We wanted to celebrate Melbourne’s incredible music scene and really discover and connect some of the many styles of the contemporary music genre,” Davies says of Newmarket’s work.
“We work in all areas in Newmarket and we wanted to bring together musicians who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to play together. Brainstorming and offering opera, soul, pop, pop punk, indie and experimental, we invited artists to collaborate with our in-house musicians The Newmarket Collective to reinventing their work with new sounds and experiences, all with close involvement of Auslan performers.”
Newmarket deliberated long and hard in choosing potential collaborations, creating performances that truly push the artist and himself into uncharted territory. Nonetheless, certain facets of each artist’s style helped define the trajectory of the collaborations.
There is a strong sense of personality that comes through throughout the performances. The balance between identifying and extending artists’ existing abilities, then pushing them in a new and surprising direction, makes the sessions all the more interesting.
“Some we admired from afar and approached them individually, others we reached out to through labels like Remote Control and Milk!” she continued. “We spent time with each artist or group discussing our vision for the project and marrying it with the artist’s ideas to create an exciting sonic path to follow, from there we organized the musicians and arrangers they could work with.
“For example, Surprise Chef was definitely a string section, Cry Club definitely a horn section. For Dylan Martorell, we explored the sonic palette of flutes and a unique double-horn trombone to accompany his robotic ensemble. Hachiku chose acoustic strings with harp and vibraphone giving new sounds to his tracks. Simon Bruckard took the opportunity to reconstruct his opera Cassandra by adding double bass, while Obscura Hail broke down the boundaries with theremin, percussion and baritone saxophone for maximum sound effect!
What’s particularly interesting is that The Newmarket Collective, not the artists, pushed particular ideas forward, often leading the artists themselves. Considering the enormous amount of experience the studio embodies, it was an experience that left its mark on the artists involved.
“It was a journey to work with such intuitive musicians on a professional and lovely team in a pretty stunning studio,” Obscura Hail said. “Having a performer from Auslan present and being able to share our music with a more diverse audience is also very special. Seeing how the narrative and music were translated gave us a new kind of expressive feedback loop.
“The Collective pioneered the idea of giving artists an experience they wouldn’t normally have, playing with musicians they had never played with before,” Davies added. “All the artists were really open to ideas and directions their music might take and we encouraged them to think outside the box, maybe consider instruments they’ve always dreamed of playing, but don’t had not been able until now.
“The artists all really enjoyed their collaborations, and that was also reflected in the wonderful response from the audience. Each collaboration was totally different from the next, we loved seeing each one come to life. The planning process was different for everyone – Surprise Chef and Hachiku for example were well planned in advance, with the songs specially arranged by Mark Buys and Matt Boden for recording.This process gave the artists the opportunity to work closely with two of the local arrangers and orchestrators. most prolific from Australia which is a really exciting experience Others like Dylan Martorell and Obscura Hail we have discussed instrumentation before but it was all improvised and rehearsed on the day of filming creating a really exciting vibe for registration, not really knowing what we might get.
Ultimately, the Newmarket Sessions are a must for fans of Melbourne’s music scene, a sentiment Davies echoes in his hope for the future of recordings like these. The addition of Auslan’s interpretation also adds to the hope that these sessions can be at the forefront of equally inspiring and accessible projects in the future. For their part, The Newmarket Collective hopes this is just the beginning, so definitely keep your eyes on them in the future.
“It’s very difficult to pick a musical highlight from the episodes because all of the performances are amazing and varied on their own,” Davies said. “Working with Kyle Caulfield as director and Guus Hoevenaars as engineer/producer has been brilliantly inspiring. I would say one of the highlights for everyone involved has been working so closely with Amber Richardson and Celeste Di Pietro from Auslan Stage Left. We all learned a lot about this craft. The fact that the performers were so closely involved, both in the live performance and in the interviews, really blew everyone away and added a whole new level of performance that we didn’t really know we could achieve.
“We would like people to experience the incredible variety of talent we have here in Melbourne in the contemporary music genre, the power of collaboration and the possibilities it brings. We wanted to point artists and their audiences toward new ideas, build bridges between styles, and connect the community. We’ve all met some great new people during this process and learned about new sounds, and especially accessibility, and how we can incorporate it more into our performances.
“We would love to do it again, as we have barely scratched the surface of the rich diversity of artists in this city, with some leeway to expand into other disciplines as well as music. The possibilities are endless at Newmarket Studios.