Stepping into it’s deserving place in the spotlight, Queensland has really become a state that has introduced some of Australia’s biggest exports to the world stage.
Celebrating the success of Queensland artists, the Queensland Music Awards was a night of complete triumph with The Jungle Giants, Thelma Plum, The Kite String Tangle, Busby Marou, and Miiesha taking home some of the huge prizes.
Amy Shark made an appearance at the big ceremony to present Sony Music Australia’s CEO Dennis Handlin with the QMusic Honorary Award in recognition of his 50 years tenure in the industry. While Conrad Sewell and members of Powderfinger were also in attendance to present awards.
During the ceremony Cub Sport took to the stage to perform a beautiful stripped back performance of ‘I Never Cried So Much In My Whole Life’ and Nat Dunn wowed the crowd with an acoustic rendition of her Hayden James collaboration ‘Nowhere To Go’.
I hit the red carpet to interview some of the artists as they arrived to the ceremony. Check out the chats BELOW;
TB: Your new single ‘Confessions’ is out today and it’s a really beautiful song with some very vulnerable and heavy lyrics. Is there a particular lyric from the song which kinda hits the hardest to put out in the world so openly?
TN: It’s probably the second verse where it says; “The truth is I don’t wanna be one of the boys. The truth is living by a gender makes me feel annoyed. The truth is I still don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. The truth is I love staying home with you in underwear”.
I think that’s the part of the song I’m most proud of.
TB: Your new album ‘Like Nirvana’ will be out in May. So reflecting on the journey from your self titled record to ‘Like Nirvana’, how would you say the songwriting and production has evolved?
TN: I feel like sonically it’s less electronic than our last record was. I feel like I’ve really discovered so much about myself through writing these songs.
I always felt like the Cub Sport journey and my personal journey was a linear one. The first three albums explored self doubt to learning to accept myself and then self love. So I think I kinda assumed it would a continuous linear journey, but it didn’t end up being that. It covers a lot of things and I hope it helps other people learn about themselves and feel understood.
TB: With these upcoming intimate shows, is there a song in particular that you’re wanting to add back into the setlist or play directly to your fans in these settings?
TN: We’ve been playing ‘Only Friend’ again recently. We stopped playing it for a while but we brought it back and it felt so good. So I feel like that will be a really fun one to play in these venues as it was around album one when we first played these songs, so it will be a bit of a full circle moment.
TB: As an artist that has experienced the diverse changes that have occurred within the music industry with Vinyl and CD, to streaming and the incorporation of social media with campaigns. How have you learnt to adapt with the fast pace of the industry?
BF: It’s a completely different environment now from when I first started, and I would say that I’m not particular good at explaining it, and I’m not as particularly active as I should be. I could be a lot better with social media and keeping up with it all.
I think because of the time that I grew up, it’s so different now how people look to receive information from artists. I really liked the delving in and finding the information, and the mystery side of it, where as people now just want it all presented to them.
I think I still fall on the side of liking the mystery side of things and that’s why I don’t post a lot on social media. And when I do it’s just information that is important for people to know like when the gig is and where it is.
TB: You’ve worked with so any incredible international and local artists, so what is it about collaboration that you’ve personally fallen in love with?
ND: I just think it’s so special when you have two minds come together with different perspectives. It’s honestly never the same. And it’s not about that you can’t do it on your own, it’s something completely different when you have two chemistries.
TB: You’re currently on the road with Hayden James and recently just played at For The Love in Tweeds Head. How have those shows been?
ND: That’s been so good! We did a world tour last year and we’re about to do Coachella. It’s honestly been so much fun. But Coachella is definitely one I’m really excited about.
TB: Spotify has finally just introduced Songwriter pages to their platform, which is such an important and exciting initiative. So what are your thoughts on this new initiative and the strive for equality with songwriters in the music industry?
ND: They should be doing something good for songwriters. There’s a long way to go still, but it’s great that they are trying to make up for what they’ve not done in the past. It’s a start and I think it’s really good.
TB: From following your social media I know that you’re pretty close with JOJO, so I have to ask, will you help us finally get her to Australia?
ND: Yes! I’m trying to make it happen for July, so keep your eyes peeled! But I seriously can’t wait for the world to hear her new album, it’s incredible!
TB: WAAX are heading out on the road this April for a huge national tour, so what are you planning on doing to step it up from the last tour?
MD: We’re going to be playing pretty much every song off ‘Big Grief’ which is something new for us as there are a few tracks that we’ve never played live before. So that’s a big thing!
We’re putting a lot of time into the production and the vibe of the show. We are really lucky to play bigger rooms too which is really exciting, so we just want to do it right.
TB: You were on the Falls Festival tour when everything started happening with the Bushfire crisis, and you were one of the first bands to jump on board with relief shows and merchandise donations. So how was being on the road during a time of such uncertainty?
MD: It was shocking at first because I think everyone was immediately like “oh no, it’s bad” but then it got really bad really quickly, and that was scary. But everyone pulled together and we all got it done.
We got everyone on the same timetable together for the gig and we raised a bunch of money and we even made shirts. It was all about pulling together resources, really.
TB: Tonight is all about celebrating where Queensland sits on the world stage in the music industry. With more high profile acts hailing from Queensland and Brisbane becoming a buzz location for shows and festivals, why do you think that is?
JC: I think it’s always been there, so maybe the world is finally just get a little smarter and looking out past their backyard. Queensland has always had a really good culture about it, and with the QMAS in particular, there are no other award shows like this in other cities at a state level.
The artists come back and play in Queensland a lot, they hang out together and I think the culture in the Valley is really important too as the bands support each other and watch each other. Which I think is a really good and important thing and possibly why Queensland’s music community is so strong.
Mel Buttle & Patience Hodgson
TB: You are both back and co-hosting the QMAS again this year, which is so exciting. So Mel, being a bit of an outsider of the music industry, what are your first observations of an event like this?
MB: Well I’ve already seen a man backstage that has a jacket on with no shirt underneath.
PH: That’s what I’ve seen too! But did you see his necklace which is a chain with a padlock on it?
MB: No I didn’t?! So I would say eye-opening fashions would definitely be my first impression of the music industry.
TB: You both do a lot of hosting events together, so Patience, is there any advice or special heads up you give Mel before you do a music industry event?
PH: No way! I just love watching Mel go in with Mel’s brain and just doing exactly what it does naturally because it’s so perfect.
TB: The Grates have recently been back on the road and playing shows again. So how has it been performing and connecting with the crowd?
PH: I’ve never appreciated it more in my life! I think it’s because I’m now a mother, but I’m also a small business owner. The transition from being a musician in a rock band to being a small business owner and then going back to it is insane. You really get a grasp of how amazing it is.
TB: Now Mel, you have just performed your new show at the Brisbane Comedy Festival, how did they all go?
MB: They were really good!
PH: Can I just say something?
MB: Here we go…
PH: I saw one of them and Mel has gone next level. It’s like she’s taken the pill in the matrix and seen fucking digits. Because I’ve never seen someone on stage before that is so non-cholaunt, connected to the universe and at one with everything that was happening.
I think the audience was more nervous than you were. It was amazing!
TB: Was that exactly what you were going to say about your show?
MB: Yep, she took the words out of my mouth.
TB: You were also both apart of The Triffid fire relief show so why do you think it was so important for yourselves and for other comedians and musicians to get involved with events like this across Australia?
PH: I mean, it’s humongous.
MB: I always just thought of it as a feeling of desperate hopelessness. Like what can I do? i don’t know anything about fires. So I was like I will do some comedy.
PH: You do what you can do. But its really hard as I felt really bad when I saw all these people running from fires and we’re up in Brisbane enjoying summer and the fresh air.
TB: You have been a major ally to the LGBTQI+ community, and you will be performing at Big Day Day in Brisbane this weekend. So why have you found it so important to proudly wave the flag as an ally?
ER: I think it’s because we’re all human, we all deserve rights and as humans we deserve to be treated like humans.
I grew up in the theatre world and it was so normal to me that I didn’t even know that people liked me. When a guy first told me he liked me at the age of 14, I was like “you know I’m not a boy, right?” *laughs*.
I feel so connected and thankful to the community for the support and love that they’ve given me. I’m so blown away. I have so many friends who identify in the LGBTQI+ community so I’m so proud to be apart of it and to be an ally.
TB: You’ve teased on social media that you’re premiering a new song at Big Gay Day called ‘Lycra’. So what’s the vibe of this new track?
ER: The vibe is quite different to anything that I’ve released before. It’s very upbeat, poppy and has a bit of a 80’s sound to it. It’s all about body empowerment and embracing that “this is what I look like, love it or leave it! Good bye!” *laughs*.
TB: Last year you released your single ‘You Have Been Warned’ and new music is finally on the way, so how would you say you’ve evolved as an artist over the past year?
ER: I just want to keep growing as a human, and I think your art really follows that. I’m really excited for my EP to come out towards the end of the year, and heaps of new singles to come! I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
Photos by Gabrielle Rankine Photography