Recently, we started putting together our first Australian Underground National Gig guide, The first issue being released next month! But it got me thinking, as I was looking around the country, exploring through the internet at all the different sounds coming from each state, I came to the Northern Territory and I was a little stumped. On average the Northern Territories Capital, Darwin, has a population of around 140,000 people, obviously far less then any other State capital city. With only a handful of venues booking live bands it isn't easy for every band, Especially those with more 'Niche' styles and Genres.
My exploration into Darwin's scene has been exciting. Using a spotify playlist curated by one of Darwin's main music media outlets 'Music NT' I began to listen to some of what they had to offer. An eclectic sorting of music with everything from Metal-core to more traditional styles of music that include heavy influence from Aborginal culture, alot of songs being sung in traditional Aboriginal languages.
One group that stood out for me is the 3 piece hip-hop outfit 'Catch the Fly' who in 2012, had their song “Off The Brackets” named NT’s Song of the Year in the Urban category.
Catch The Fly, Song Of he Year Awards, Music NT. Photo - Shane Eecen
I wanted to get the details on the scene from one of the key bands grinding away in the city. So I decided to enlist the help of one of Darwin's premier Post-Hardcore Bands 'We Burn Bridges' A 5 piece formed back in 2012 but who have just started to make waves in the past couple of years. I started off by asking the lads how the Darwin scene compares to other states and the Pro's and Con's
We Burn Bridges:
Darwin as a place in general is so unique. It’s extremely laid back and easy going town but it’s not the easiest place to get a gig. Unless you play in a cover band with a weekly time slot you’re gonna struggle to find gigs. Especially for our genre, sadly not many people in Darwin want to sit down and have a beer while we are thrashing around on stage. However when we do get gigs the people who come along are always super pumped and get right into the show which makes it well worth it. We also don’t get many big bands coming through Darwin so that kinda sucks a bit too.
Honestly most venues in Darwin will treat the musos pretty well though if they get booked in to play. I personally really enjoy playing at Entrada and The Happy Yess as its always a good vibe and everyone has a good time.
Jack Ryan - Vocalist For We Burn Bridges
Do you think because of your location, it’s different and more challenging to be a professional musician in Darwin?
We Burn Bridges:
It is definitely different but if you want to be a musician badly enough you can make it happen for sure. With social media and even the way we stream music these days I think it’s possible for anyone to be a professional musician.
What do you think makes the Darwin scene unique and different to the rest of the country?
We Burn Bridges:
I guess it kinda relates to what I said earlier. With people not getting to see anywhere near the amount of shows you get to see down south , the energy in a room of 150 or so people feels more like 500. Everyone is there for one reason and you can feel that. I’ve been to shows down south and the band playing is absolutely killing it and everyone’s standing up the back with their arms folded. It definitely makes playing a show a fantastic experience
The fellas finished up by giving us a couple bands, that like them, are grinding away and are poised to be on the rest of the nation's radar soon, TAPESTRY and DRAFT DAYS. They assured us that we will be hearing of them soon.
This little journey I have been on discovering what the NT has to offer has, Honestly, just increased my love for the musical sounds that come out of our great sunburnt land. Darwin might be a small place with almost as many Crocs as humans but it is very clear now that there is no shortage of talented and creative musicans. I will include some links below to anyone who wishes to have a listen to what We Burn Bridges has to offer, as well as their friends Tapestry and DRAFT DAYS and of course you can find some of their next shows in our first issue for our National gig guide, Subscribe to our mailing list HERE, to get that right away!
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