Melbourne's Listening

A Kewl Production


An unprecedented documentary of
Melbourne Music 2016-2018

Synopsis: Short / Long

Now Sound is a feature length documentary exploring Melbourne’s love for music. Guided by a plethora of culturally relevant artists, the film focuses on the vibrant music scene of Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs. Showcasing unique artists and exalting subcultures, Now Sound documents the trials and tribulations that constantly threaten to demolish Melbourne’s iconic music culture and the unending passion that revives and sustains it. Music is the voice of culture; Now Sound is a documentary about listening.

The years 2016 – 2017 played host to some of the most interesting and progressive music Melbourne has ever produced. This musical excellence can be explained by a combination of passionate engagement, aesthetic appreciation and shared identity, and a continued effort to sustain it in the face of fiscal pressure, government intervention and gentrification. This film is a love letter to the music scene and its ever expanding subcultures.

“Melbourne is the centre of the universe” – Kirin J. Callinan. Lauded as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne boasts the pinnacle of the country’s musical expression. Distilled most strongly among a few key venues in the city’s inner northern suburbs, this expression has achieved iconic and world renowned status. Unique artists not only find Melbourne to be the perfect launching pad for careers in music but also a perfect base for which to return.
Despite the reverence for Melbourne’s music there are always external pressures that threaten to undercut it. Monetizing music is close to impossible. Government intervention threatens to constrain. Cultural institutions are swallowed up by gentrification. Artists, venues and bookers fight against these pressures and it’s not always clear why.
Aesthetic appreciation is hard to quantify, cultural significance only seems apparent in hindsight, and people are burdened by the necessities of survival. Despite the grassroots support Melbourne offers, it’s often necessary for an artist to leave. With a nation of only twenty-five million, the market is limited and the reality of monetization for more niche artists can be disheartening. Touring or just living abroad consistently helps these artists revive their love for Melbourne and their art.

However, venues fall, fashion changes, artists struggle to remain relevant in such a vibrant and ever-morphing culture. Pressures, both abstract and tangible, are a constant.

Politics always affect art. In a time of massive cultural upheaval, new voices, perspectives and visions emerge to influence the music scene. The once silenced are making their voices heard. The oppressed are fighting back. Music equalizes, increasingly giving a voice to the marginalized. The outcome of this expression can sometimes be challenging, discordant and painful, and yet there is a seemingly unshakable sense of support in the musical microcosms across Melbourne. Identities are catalyzed in these venues, for artists and aficionados alike. It’s the world beyond these safe havens that these artists hope to change.

The music community is hard at work bringing people together through a mutual appreciation for creative expression, a shared sense of identity and a cultivation of inspiration. This is the reason for Melbourne’s musical fame – Melburnians made the effort. They noticed the value, they laid the foundations and they are excited to see what’s to come. Music is the voice of culture; Now Sound is a documentary about listening.