Creative vision brings The Sound of Aussie music to TV screens

The music industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors in Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic hit but a new ABC-TV music series is giving home-grown musicians some much-needed exposure.

Jul 29, 2020, updated Jul 29, 2020
Amy, Emma and George Sheppard, from Brisbane band Sheppard, who are headlining this weekend's Air Beats festival shows in Gladstone.

Amy, Emma and George Sheppard, from Brisbane band Sheppard, who are headlining this weekend's Air Beats festival shows in Gladstone.

The Sound, which is produced by production and distribution company Mushroom Vision and licensed to the ABC, was created to shine a light on some of Australia’s best musicians and songwriters via exclusive pre-recorded live performances, collaborations and artist interviews.

Airing on Sunday nights from 5.30pm, the hour-long program is hosted by Jane Gazzo and Zan Rowe and the first two episodes in the series have aired performances from the likes of Nick Cave, Colin Hay, James Reyne, Paul Kelly and Paul Grabowsky, and showcased Queensland artists including Cub Sport, Eves Karydas and Sean Sennett (as part of Ceberano, Kilbey and Sennett).

Michael Gudinski, executive chairman of Mushroom Group, which includes a host of subsidiaries including Mushroom Records and Frontier Touring, told InQueensland the success of Music From the Home Front, which was also produced by Mushroom and aired on Channel Nine on Anzac Day encouraged him to attempt to get a weekly show that showcased music airing on Australian television.

Music From the Home Front featured artists including Jimmy Barnes, Deltra Goodrem, Ben Lee, Tame Impala, Missy Higgins, Paul Kelly and Vance Joy, and was watched by more than 1.4 million Australians.

As Gudinski explained, with Frontier Touring, which represents a substantial part of Mushroom Group’s business and revenue, effectively unable to operate due to COVID-19 restrictions, he decided to turn his efforts to television,

“After a week or so, I just got out of the doldrums and I used to do a lot of television and my creative urges have been unbelievable,” he told InQueensland.

Music From the Home Front just blew people away, and blew Channel Nine away with two days of promotion – they ever expected the ratings it got.”

Gudinksi said following the success of that special, “a couple of networks offered me the opportunity to do shows on their side digital channels and shit but I always wanted the ABC”.

“That we were able to get, ironically, the same timeslot Countdown started at – and the fact that they have iView and no ads  – makes it so much better,” he said, “and we’ve had an incredible reaction, we only had 10 days to make that first show.”

Michel Gudinski

This weekend’s episode of The Sound features Queensland artists including Gold Coast singer-songwriter Amy Shark – who will perform her new single Everybody Rise from the Sydney Opera House – and Brisbane band Sheppard, as well as performances from John Butler, Boy & Bear, Angie McMahon, Gordi, Dallas Woods and Scott Darlow.

“I’m excited and proud to play an iconic venue like the Sydney Opera House and bring a special stripped back version of ‘Everybody Rise’ to your lounge room,” Shark said.

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Singer George Sheppard, who along with his sisters Emma and Amy and Jason Bovino and Dean Gordon is part of the Brisbane band, will be performing new single ‘Symphony’ alongside his bandmates on this weekend’s episode.

“Honestly, it’s such an honour to be able to be included with something like this,” he told InQueensland. “I love the concept and I think it’s something that’s been needed in the Australian music industry for so long.

“Since shows like Countdown, there hasn’t been anything like that, really, for Australian artists – a platform that we can use to just promote Australian music and Australian bands.

“The fact that the production levels are so high and it’s not just in the same studio every single time, with the same lights and the bands can really put their own personality into the videos and put their individual fingerprints on to it, it can only be a good thing.

“This is going be the first time we’ve performed the song live, I guess. Yeah, we haven’t actually we haven’t done any performances since COVID hit, so it will be us premiering the track in a live sense.”

Sheppard said he was looking forward to the chance to showcase the band’s music to an audience that may not have heard their music before.

“Getting our music out there and having people who might not listen to commercial radio get turned on to us – it will be good for us in that sense of and we might be able to get some new fans and make some people happy, you know?

“That’s what it’s all about, really – it’s kind of about bringing some light into people’s living rooms during a dark time.”

The Sound airs at 5.30pm Sundays on ABC-TV, with previous episodes available on ABC iView

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