Meet the Aussie & NZ artists heading to play Music Matters Live in Singapore

The Singapore music festival Music Matters Live will be returning for its 13th year next month, returning to the city’s iconic Clarke Quay (among other venues), featuring more than 30 acts from 13 countries over 5 days – kicking off just as the Brisbane conference and festival BIGSOUND comes to an end.

Taking place alongside the All That Matters conference, the completely free event will feature a number of Australian and New Zealand bands amongst the pack, which also includes Taiwanese rock N roll outfit 88Balaz, American rapper DanAKADan, UK ambient rock trio Eyre Liew, Filipino pop-rock band Gracenote, Trinidad pop singer Kalpee, Swiss indie-soul singer Veronica Fusano and South Africa’s Zakes Bantwini, the pioneer of Durban Kwaito music.

There are five Aussie acts confirmed to play the event – many of whom being names you may not yet be familiar with, three of whom come from Perth! Running alphabetically, here’s a look at who they are:

Almond Soy (WA)

Here’s everything you need to know about the Perth outfit, courtesy of their triple j Unearthed page:

Showing no signs of slowing down this year on the back of a string of sold-out shows, Perth’s Almond Soy have unveiled their energetic new single “Silhouette”, along with announcing a whirlwind tour this August. The infectious new track shows off the multi-dimensional talent of the band with its beat-driven dance floor vibes and 80’s inspired sonic grandeur, while lyrically exploring the notion of teenage love and modern themes of lust and loss.

Upon this year’s January release of debut EP Social Misfit that spawned the singles I Could Be the One and Happy Ever After produced/mixed by Dylan Ollivierre (The Money War). Almond Soy quickly garnered widespread community radio spins, triple j airplay, Unearthed rotation and even exposure abroad in the Phillipines all the way to college radio throughout the US. The film clip for I Could Be the One featured on Rage for an entire month and was the first ever music video played at Perth’s newest cultural landmark Yagan Square, endorsed by WAM and ScreenWest.

Starting out as a bedroom project, Almond Soy have developed at an unbelievable pace. Forming at the end of 2016 and lead by brothers Brandon and James Stockbridge, the band has evolved into a six piece ensemble, taking stages at such boutique festivals such as Music Matters (Singapore), Live by the Bay, RTR FM’s Neon Picnic. Almond Soy have certainly encapsulated the mood of Perth. Laid-back yet adventurous.

Listen to the band on Apple Music.

Ben Catley (WA)

Perth artist Ben Catley, whose mug dons the headline of this article, has been having a pretty massive year, releasing his new single “Rabbit Hole” in July, and embarking on a massive UK tour which is seeing him play festivals like the Green Man Festival in Wales, and the Sun & Moon Festival in Cirencester (where he’ll hit the stage today).

The Blues and Roots artist even played the Boomtown festival alongside Gorillaz over the weekend. So it makes a bit of sense for the rising star to be hitting up the Singapore event on his way back to Australia to play the Nimbin Roots Festival, Wollombi Festival and the Wallaby Creek Festival at the end of September. Definitely an artist not to be missed. Check him out on Apple Music.

Darling Brando (NSW)

Darling Brando is a newly formed boy band, featuring Alex Mather, Dylan Cartwright, Tom Jay Williams and Vlado. Tom Jay Williams you may remember from Australian Idol and the band At Sunset, Vlado was a part of the 2016 series of The X Factor and has collaborated with Alex Mather (who’s also in the band), and Dylan Cartwright has released a number of acclaimed singles over the last four years. They haven’t put out too much of their own music yet but they’ve been putting out regular covers on their YouTube channel:

Still a relatively new project, get to know the band and discover their music as they release it over on their Twitter page.

Jaguar Jonze (QLD)

Here’s everything you need to know about the artist, courtesy of her own bio:

Jaguar Jonze crafts songs of melancholic beauty woven with gun slinging guitar lines and a strikingly rich, yet intimate voice. Born in Japan to a Taiwanese mother and Australian father, Jaguar Jonze is as eclectic as her cultural upbringing oozing influences by the likes of Portishead, The Last Shadow Puppets, Nick Cave and Angel Olsen. Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, the project stems from the mind of Deena Lynch (Queensland Music Award’s Most Promising Female Songwriter 2016).

With the help of a fully-fledged band behind her, Jonze chisels a dark and dynamic soundscape without compromising her dulcet voice that transmits raw, intense emotion. Jonze has spent the last 2 years between bunkering in a basement of Brisbane and a studio in the concrete jungle of Jakarta to harness a body of work that is nostalgic yet distinctive. From here comes Jonze’s debut single ‘You Got Left Behind’ – out August 16th – a driving, upbeat song suspended delicately above a breathtakingly haunting undercurrent.

Her first steps include showcases across Music Matters in Singapore, a single release party at The Foundry in hometown Brisbane and International Indie Music Festival for Pekan Raya in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Check her out on her official website.

Your Girl Pho (WA)

We’ll let this Perth artist’s triple j Unearthed profile also do the talking:

Your Girl Pho, the sassy & fun stage persona of Phoebe Gunson that Perth has become to know brings sweet neo soul, pop vibes that numerous producers are lining up to collaborate with. Her recent collabs with Palais, Ukiyo & Tayrell aswell as featuring on Majestic Casual Youtube channel are just few examples or her amazing ability to write infectious catchy hits. Pho is known for her big vocal range, high energy and her looping during shows, dubbed a “sensory feast” thanks to her distinctive style and “daring dance moves” (Music Insight), Pho’s live show has also seen her share stages with the likes of Post Malone, The Avalanches, Alice Ivy, Banoffee and Kllo, and now features a tight three-piece band (drums, saxophone).

The crown jewel in her fizzing, elasticated blend of neo-soul, electro-pop and RnB elements, Pho’s “soulful vocals” (NYLON) haveenjoyed airplay with Beats 1 Apple Radio, Triple j, RTRFM, 4ZZZ and more; via her own work as well as collaborations with electronic producers Palais, Tayrell and Ukiyo.

Check her out on Facebook and listen to her music on Apple Music.

Chores (NZ)

And finally, representing the flag for New Zealand is electronic outfit Chores, who one might describe as the Peking Duk of New Zealand, in that they toured New Zealand with Peking Duk, and their music isn’t too far removed. They’re also a duo, but I can’t vouch for the amount of Co2 cannons used at their live shows. Chances are they use slightly less than Peking Duk. You can check out their music on their Soundcloud page.

Here’s the full first lineup:
60 Miles TH
88Balaz TW
Ainsley Elisa CA
Almond Soy AU
Ben Catley AU
Brodha V IN
Chores NZ
Clara Benin PH
DANakaDAN US
Darling Brando AU
DJ NashD SG
Eyre Llew UK
Gracenote PH
Jaguar Jonze AU
Kalpee TT
Lui Peng UK
Reneé Dominique PH
ShiGGa Shay SG
Veronica Fusaro CH
Your Girl Pho AU
Zakes Bantwini ZA

The event, which will run on September 7-8 and 10 – 12, and taking place alongside the All That Matters conference, will be returning to the iconic Clarke Quay and several other participating outlets including Warehouse, McGettigan’s, Zouk in Clarke Quay.

Clarke Quay, the Official Venue partner, will be hosting the main stage at Fountain Square on September 7-8. Other participating outlets at Clarke Quay will also host the country showcases such as The Aussie BBQ, with more to be announced. Timbre Music Group also returns as a Venue Partner, providing their venues Barber Shop, SWITCH and Timbre@The Substation, for performances by Music Matters Live artists during the festival. All main showcase and country showcase events are free to the general public.

“Music Matters has provided a global platform for thousands of bands since 2006 not only at the Music Matters Live festival but also though business academies, songwriting workshops, and of course, connecting them to the world’s music industry at the conferences. We’re thrilled to be back at “home” in Clarke Quay and look forward to providing even more opportunities and a long term relationships with the artists”, said Jasper Donat, CEO of All That Matters organisers Branded Ltd, of today’s announcement.

For more information about the event, head to their official website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Apple Music. The event’s official hashtag is #Matters18.

Getting to Singapore: Scoot and Singapore Airlines fly daily from most cities around Australia. If you’re planning to head to Music Matters straight from BIGSOUND in Brisbane, Singapore Airlines flies direct from Brisbane to Singapore, while Scoot flies direct from the Gold Coast, with flights as low as A$149 each way. Scoot also flies out of Sydney and Perth, and Singapore flies out of most airports in Australia, including Darwin and Canberra.

Photo of Ben Catley in Headline by Peter Heathcote. Source: Facebook.

Larry Heath

Founding Editor of the AU review. You can find him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.