Why a flourishing live music scene is critical to the growth of Perth hip-hop
Music is timeless and rooted in a distinct energy that cannot be replicated by other artforms. People performing music for other people to immerse themselves into has always been a wonderful part of essentially every culture on our planet. Live music continues to be a vital form of entertainment and communication, even following the invention of recorded music. Experiencing music performed in person offers a more immersive connectiveness to music, resulting in feelings of euphoria, catharsis and emotional uplift.
Emerging from a COVID-19 ridden world and necessary health-prioritised pauses on concerts, live music is swiftly making a comeback across Australia. A generous number of live concerts are occurring in the isolated West Coast capital city of Perth. For a long time, Perth has been perceived as the smallest contributor to Australian music, with less musical density and industry support than competing cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Despite this belief, Perth is hefty musical competition with a solid production line of talent including Drapht, Shadow, and Kevin Parker of Tame Impala.
The consistency of live music performances has the potential to speed up the growth of hip-hop music in Perth by showcasing the immense, ever-growing talent hailing from the city. We spoke to a few amazing people who are striving to build the Perth hip-hop music scene through such live performances with hopes for WA’s music talent to make a prominent mark on Australian music.
Josh Brookes and Carlo Gimondo are the co-founders of events and touring agency GOAT 6K. “GOAT 6K began from a love for our city and the music people within our city were creating,” they say.
Josh and Carlo describe themselves as both being “massive hip-hop heads from very young ages” and say their friendship formed after realising their shared love of this genre of music. “Josh has had some extensive experience within music and the industry, and I have always been one of his biggest fans,” Carlo says. Both himself and Josh had been questioning their current positions when Carlo decided he wanted to pursue a career within the music industry similar to what Josh had been doing. “In 2017, about a month after my realisation, the opportunity to host live events presented itself and the rest is history,” Carlo says.
GOAT 6K was kickstarted after Josh and Carlo were presented with the opportunity to host a live concert at The Good Shepard. “With no experience and nothing but a love for hip-hop, we decided to dive in headfirst and begin putting on live shows with performances from Perth artists we were currently listening to.”
The name ‘GOAT 6K’ was chosen to reference to the well-known acronym heavily used in the hip-hop music world ‘Greatest Of All Time’, however it is interchangeable with Josh and Carlo’s vision to ‘Grow Our Art Together’. “The ‘6K’, for those who don't already know, is a nod to our city and where we come from. 6K represents 6000, the post code of Perth City with every suburb's post code being a derivative of 6000.”
GOAT 6K was created with the mission to provide a platform for Perth artists to perform their music to a live audience, sharing their art and establishing themselves as professional artists. “With the [Perth] scene’s growth since 2017, our current mission is to bridge the gap between the west and east coast hip-hop communities and to help further the 6K scene’s growth,” says GOAT 6K.
This year GOAT 6K have invested in achieving this mission by hosting Newcastle’s Mason Dane in April and West Sydney’s Jaecy in early August, with both concerts being supported by a generous array of talented Perth artists, showcasing what the 6K has to offer. “Our biggest love is being able to give 6K artists opportunities to grow their career. On the nights of our shows, we thoroughly enjoy having the entire 6K community under one roof which always fuels a healthy collective ambition.”
Sowdy is a Perth-based rapper, producer, and the founder of Shine! Records. Sowdy’s independent “self-sufficient label” was established to accommodate the creative freedom of the artists he works with and provides managerial and PR support for. “I’ve just always believed that artists should have creative freedom and I feel like Shine! is a good step in that direction to hopefully see more of this in the future where artists can release what they want when they want, but still get the backing from the industry as well.
He says that the primary goal of the live shows he’s hosted through Shine! Records has been to help further push the growing community within the 6K scene. Sowdy says live shows are an integral part of being an artist. “It's exciting and fulfilling to me to provide a platform for incredible artists that may not have had the exposure or necessary connections to get a live set. From the perspective of myself as an artist, there's just no better feeling than connecting with the audience and seeing their reaction to your music when performing it live.”
Rachel Goad / YNGRACH
Rachel Goad, otherwise known as YNGRACH, is the director of 6KMC alongside Roshan Mann, Zaahen Kahn and Pious Bella. Rachel says 6KMC was originally founded to provide a media platform for young artists in WA to explore their musicality, but the agency has grown and refocused to provide artist management and events promotions for hip-hop talents “at the cusp of going global”. 6KMC are pursuing a similar goal to GOAT6K with Rachel saying, “6KMC has strived to bridge the gap between the established music scene of the eastern states and the growing scene in the west.”
“The hip-hop and rap community is growing and there’s more artists than ever right now doing their own thing. There’s so many sub genres and pockets of niche artists and collectives that are making such unique music. There’s a community feel about the ‘6K’ scene, if you're down to support other artists then you will no doubt get the support back. It’s cool to see different areas of the creative spaces working together as well and linking more with local artists.”
Bradley Innes is involved in a few areas of the Perth music world including photography and videography, but his primary focus at the present moment is event planning. While filming a couple of shows last year, Bradley met a group of artists, one of which he filmed a video for. He came to the realisation that he would love to see these artists perform. “I was like, I want to put on a show for these guys because they don’t get to perform very often. That’s how the first event kind of transpired – I had a few other artists in mind and artists began reaching out here and there and then I ended up putting together that first show.”
Live music has the power to establish an indestructible Perth hip-hop industry.
Our discussions with each of these talented, concert-driven individuals led to the same main question: how valuable is live music in our culture today, a culture where music is so accessible through technology? And why would the answer to this question matter to a smaller city like Perth?
Sowdy acknowledges the decently developed live music community that has been built in Perth, however it’s clear this must evolve more for the city to truly blossom. “The fact that a decent portion of the crowds at these shows are other artists and creatives, shows the dedication and love amongst everyone within the scene. However, I feel if we are to take the next step and really expand, we need to have further appeal to the general public and fans within the city. Whilst it's great having that constant support from your contemporaries, garnering new fans, having music fans get involved with these shows will help expand artist's fanbases and further push the 6K movement.”
Sowdy says it's incredibly important to nurture more live performances in Perth for several reasons. “Most notably is the fact that we are so isolated here in Perth. The community and unity we build with the people here in Perth means everything, as in many ways, we are all we have. Majority of the artists here are independent and on a constant grind to push themselves. Having a booming live scene allows for the artists to make an income, network and further themself artistically.”
Due to its geographic isolation, the distinctive divide between Perth and the rest of Australia has left the city’s budding hip-hop talents struggling to ultimately be heard. “Perth has always been a city that is frequently skipped when international artists do a national tour,” says GOAT6K. “This means Perth artists have less opportunity to be a support for these international artists and therefore don't have the chance to perform to larger crowds and expand their industry network. With this, the east coast gets to see a further growth with more opportunities. We need to bridge that gap between the two coasts and Perth more specifically must continue to put on these live shows and push for more national tours to include Perth as an essential stop. Overall, with more consistent and constant shows with growing crowds the entire community from Perth to Australia will see growth to new heights.”
Rachel Goad says live shows give artists a platform to elevate to the next level in their music career. “We aim to assist artists with selling out their shows and spreading awareness at a level needed to make it in this industry. A huge focus is also giving WA artists spaces on [concert] line ups with artists from the east, whether that be here in Perth or most recently we curated line ups across Sydney and Melbourne.”
Moreover, Rachel says music promoters should be taking more risks and organising more events with local headliners. “As long as the events are being run correctly and are safe spaces, then [I’m] definitely all for more events,” she says. “There are so many emerging artists in Perth and beyond - if you’re booking live shows, look around for talent and take risks. The growth out of Perth over the past few years has been amazing to watch.”
“I’ve hosted five events in total and organised four of those,” Bradley Innes says. “When you perform live, you create an experience. It’s a lot different listening to something than it is to see it in person. When you see things live you can kind of get a new connection to a song, especially if they put on a good performance too.”
Bradley continues, saying it is especially important for Perth specifically to have live performances as it creates a supportive environment and “everyone can help build each other up”. To encourage this supportive behaviour at his shows, Bradley hosts a photoshoot for the performers and others involved in the event. “I never thought of it as opportunity for artists to mingle until Wesley Black pointed it out to me. When I do the photoshoots before shows, everyone gets to meet each other.”
Josh and Carlo of GOAT 6K believe the supportive quality of everyone involved in the Perth hip-hop community gives the west coast city more hope to put themselves on the map. “A big thing we push is the importance of cohesiveness within our city. If we all knock on the door of the industry together instead of individually, we can bust down that door much sooner.”
“From a general perspective,” Sowdy says. “Live shows can truly be a beautiful thing as they bring people from all different cultures with the common interest of music into one space.”
GOAT6K, Sowdy, Rachel Goad and Bradley Innes are just a few of the extremely talented people working both behind the scenes and directly in the scene to cultivate a massive hip-hop movement on the west coast, leaving creatives in the industry proud to be from Perth. It’s only a matter of time before this burgeoning city filled with innovative and versatile talents catches the attention of Australia and beyond.
Photo by @brendancphoto
Words by @livdaangel