London’s calling, California’s dreaming, so Melbourne must be dancing if Now Sound: Melbourne’s Listening is true. The documentary is a celebration of the independent music scene in our very own, world-renowned, live music capital. This film is a passionate little time capsule joined at the hip to a very special time and place.
Tobias Willis from KEWL studio directs this film. He made Client Liaison’s ARIA-award winning, “Off White Limousine,” as well as music videos for other acts. Willis teams up with music journalist and producer, Marcus Rimondini for a passionate, deep dive into Melbourne’s music scene.
This film packs a lot into its 92-minute runtime. There are interviews with: artists, journalists, broadcasters, promoters, and other individuals working in the independent music industry. The success of the SLAM rally at lobbying the Victorian government and galvanising fans, features. Whilst, The Reclink Community Cup’s friendly football match and its positive impacts on the community are also addressed. In terms of musicians, there are interviews with: Courtney Barnett, Kirin J Callinan, Sui Zhen and Big Scary’s Jo Syme, amongst others. The song, “From Little Things Big Things Grow” seems apt; grassroots efforts really can achieve great things, as this documentary proves.
In some ways this film shares a few things in common with Her Sound, Her Story. Both documentaries address the issue of gender equality in Australian music. In Now Sound, Willis interviews Jen Cloher, who says that things are improving, though not before qualifying that they had been bad for so long. DJ Simona echoes Cloher’s sentiments but also jokes that some of the best tidbits will be in her own book.
This documentary is not a definitive one. It is niche in that the focus is on only the Northern part of Melbourne, and on events that took place between 2016 and 2018 (save for the SLAM rally). There is certainly more to this story, particularly the city’s history of small pubs and bars, that is not covered here. You get the sense that this film could have been ten times longer and still only covered the tip of the iceberg. Though as it stands, it does cover a diverse range of topics and offers up a varied group of voices for its choir.
If you don’t already live there, Now Sound will make you want to pack your bags and move to Melbourne. This documentary is a rather detailed look at those creative Victorians who are working hard within the Melbourne music scene. Now Sound celebrates this vibrant and eclectic army of talent, as they pursue their crafts in their natural habitats. Let’s hope the scene thrives and doesn’t end up on the endangered species list.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Now Sound: Melbourne’s Listening screens as part of the Australian Music Week Film Festival, which is held on November 10th and 11th at the GU Film House in Cronulla, NSW. For more information on the festival head HERE.