This ripping Melbourne duo have been building ground-level swell in Melbourne for a little while now, but it was in 2016 that ALTA started to get their deserved praise. They released cult hit ‘Plans’ back in July (you may remember it from our SM 2017 teaser video) and followed up with the terrific ‘Unbelievable’ in October. Their experimental pop has started to make real waves overseas and the hometown love is stronger than ever. We’re super excited to have them on board this year.
This is going to be special. Melbourne’s own world-conquering The Avalanches will be bring their full, bananas live show to the Dodds Street stage at SM 2017. This is one we’ve tried to secure for many, many years so we are ecstatic to finally have one of the most acclaimed groups in recent history joining us at Sugar Mountain. Do. Not. Miss. This.
Hailing from Stockholm and releasing through revered imprints like Studio Barnhus (founded by his SM 2017 alum Kornél Kovács) and Unknown to the Unknown, Baba Stiltz has emerged as a refreshing new face in dance music. The Swedish wunderkind has released a series of acclaimed EPs in recent years traversing the electronic spectrum, mostly with house sensibilities but encompassing woozy pop and neo-soul flavour to create a distinctive sound. He’s an artist we’ve followed closely for a few years and are confident will absolutely slay SM 2017.
Talk about a legend. Beppe is the definition of a ‘DJs’ DJ’ – greatly revered by all those who understand the breadth of his knowledge and much loved by the countless thousands who’ve danced under his spell over the past four decades. For the uninitiated, Beppe is a DJ deity. Hailing from the town of Manerbio near Milan, he began developing his style in the mid ‘70s and coined the term ‘Afro’ (it’s now also called ‘cosmic’ or ‘cosmic Afro’) to describe both it and the movement that it spawned – the music sprawling through Brazilian, rare groove, blaxploitation, obscure jazz and fusion. Beppe refined his unique sound and skills during his long residency at the mythical Typhoon club from 1980-1987, hypnotising thousands on the dancefloor and recording some of the greatest mixtapes ever made – he has over 200 to his name. Oh, and he also pioneered the ‘Italo synth’ sound with his MC1 project. Nowadays, his sets are just as hypnotising as we imagine they were some 40 odd years ago. Strap yourself in – this one is going to be special.
Big Scary have solidified themselves as one of the most captivating Australian acts of the past decade through a series of gorgeous albums and EPs, including 2016’s triumphant ‘Animal’. The duo – comprised of Tom Iansek (#1 Dads) and Joanna Syme – won the Australian Music Prize in 2014 for ‘Not Art’ and are one of the most celebrated Melbourne acts for some time. We’re absolutely thrilled to have them at Sugar Mountain.
Black Cab have been one of the most consistent, enthralling acts to emerge from the Melbourne scene since their formation in 2004 – delivering four highly-acclaimed albums of shoegazing Krautrock, drone and electronica. With four LPs under their belt including DATE’s Call Signs, which was nominated for the Australian Music Prize), they’re back in 2016 with a new single and a fifth album on the way. Their live show is absolutely terrific, as many Australians will attest. Do not miss.
CC:DISCO! has been spreading the good gospel across dancefloors and over the airwaves since 2010, firmly securing her place as one of the most respected selectors in the rich Melbourne scene. You’ve probably experienced CC tearing up one of her favourite local haunts like Boney or Section 8, or perhaps you’ve grooved along to her always-sublime ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ show each Friday on PBS. In recent years she’s become impossible to miss at home, but now she’s making serious waves overseas, appearing at Croatia’s Dimensions festival and appearing on stations like NTS and Red Light Radio in 2016. We couldn’t be more stoked to have CC on board, she is going to crush it.
DAYDREAMS, like their haircuts, have bounce, shine and vitality. They use boats, ballrooms and unused pubs to host their now infamous day parties which have been running for five years. More than faces of an event, these little bitches can back it up when playing taking in hindi-house, Detroit classics and particle smashing bangers. They are multi-coloured and flashy like their swimwear. They love to get wet and make others around them moist in the process.
Dro Carey has carved his own lane in recent years. The Sydneysider’s output has never seemed to follow a discernible path – swerving around brooding grime and UK garage while touching on all kinds of other electronic genres. He’s released on esteemed labels like Greco-Roman and The Templar Sound, and recently released his Dark Zoo EP via Soothsayer which featured the massive ‘Queensberry Rules’. His CV as a DJ is already extremely impressive, including his own Boiler Room in 2016, a Warehouse Project appearance and supporting the likes of Jamie xx. Dro is as gifted as he is unpredictable on the decks.
Fresh off the back of a hand-picked support slot for the queen Peaches, Melbourne locals HABITS will bring an intoxicating and otherworldly presence to SM 2017. They’ve fast become one of the most talked-about acts in our city and if you’ve seen their live show, you’ll know exactly why. Their self-described ‘sad goth party jams’ are absolutely ripping.
Jaala’s 2015 debut LP Hard Hold was one of the most talked-about independent releases of the year, gaining accolades like, “A clever record that rarely foregrounds that fact – perhaps because it was recorded in a week, it hangs onto a scampering, impromptu quality that only adds to its appeal” from Pitchfork. In September 2016, they released the first taste of the follow-up via the captivating single ‘Junior Spirit’, with a new album out in early 2017. Their live show is an absolute tour de force. They’ve recently supported acts like The Internet and Methyl Ethel while packing out a month-long residency at Collingwood fave the Gaso.
Jack River may be one of the most fresh-faced acts on the SM 2017 line-up, but she comes into the festival packing a significant amount of hype. Jack River hails from Forster on the NSW Mid North coast, and garnered national (and worldwide) attention in 2016 thanks to breakthrough singles ‘Talk Like That’ and ‘Palo Alto’ from her new EP Highway Songs No. 2. We’re big fans and especially stoked to be involved so early in her burgeoning career. She’s not going anywhere.
For the past few years Jessy has been one of the most talked-about electronic (or otherwise) artists on the planet, and she’ll make her Australian debut at Sugar Mountain 2017. Her genre-bending material traverses pop, R&B, house, soul and Chicago footwork, creating an inimitable minimalist output that is absolutely captivating. She released her second LP, 2016’s Oh No, on Hyperdub and it is one of our favourite releases of the year. Her live show is bloody great too. Listen to single ‘Oh No’ now.
New York’s Kelsey Lu released her debut EP Church in July 2016 on True Panther Sounds. It’s a haunting, skeletal folk record which was recorded live in Brooklyn’s Holy Roman Catholic Church. It’s an absolutely gorgeous release that received a tonne of international praise. Kelsey has previously collaborated with and contributed to albums from her peers including Blood Orange, Kelela, Wet and Organized Noize – now 2017 is her time. Listen to the gorgeous sounds of ‘Empathy’ and ‘Morning After Coffee’.
As one of the founders of revered Studio Barnhus imprint (and DJ trio) alongside his best mates Axel Boman and Petter Nordkvist, Kovács has already delivered the world a throng of huge house records. As a producer, he’s carved out his own lane since 2010 and has increasingly built a global following through his sublime originals and remixes. A DJ since his early teens, he certainly knows how to flex behind the decks – make sure you’re there to witness it in all its glory. Kornel’s debut album The Bells is out now. Listen to recent tune ‘BB’ here.
KUČKA (pron. Kooshka) is Laura Jane Lowther – a striking vocalist, producer and instrumentalist from Perth who’s set the world ablaze. She blends dreamy, electronic pop with pulsating drum patterns, darker synths and soundscapes. Her most recent EP Unconditional has propelled KUČKA to another stratosphere, winning her three WA Music Awards including ‘Best Single’ and ‘Best Electronic Act’, as well as Stoney Road’s breakthrough ‘Producer of the Year’. KUČKA also holds a handful of very noteworthy collaborations under her belt, including A$AP Rocky’s ‘Long Live A$AP’ and ‘Fashion Killa’, Flume’s ‘Smoke and Retribution feat. Vince Staples’ and Fetty Wap’s ‘Make You Feel Good’. KUČKA’s rare talents and growing international profile were most recently recognized in her selection for the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal. Expect a new EP due early 2017.
Little Simz: Little Simz, the 22-year-old award-winning musician from North London, is one of the most promising young rappers in hip-hop. With 10 EPs and mixtapes, an award-winning debut album A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons, and her sophomore album Stillness In Wonderland set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2016 independently on her own label Age 101 Music, Simz is quickly becoming an undeniable force in the current musical arena.
Currently smashing it across the USA and heard regularly all across triple j, Methyl Ethel are an ace alt-pop trio, born from the mind of Perth muso/frontman Jake Webb. The band kicked off back in 2013 as an outlet for the reverb-soaked home recordings Webb was working on whilst developing his ambient and textural guitar playing in a variety of local outfits. Years later, and Methyl Ethel has blossomed into a fantastic, critically-revered outfit with fans coming out the wazoo thanks to tracks like ‘Rogues’ (WAM Pop Song of the Year in 2015) and debut album Oh Inhuman Spectacle. Expect new music soon.
We’re absolutely overjoyed to welcome house music royalty to SM17! Mood II Swing, the production duo of Lem Springsteen and John Ciafone, rose to prominence in the ‘90s through a series of classic dancefloor gems including seminal tracks like ‘All Night Long and ‘Closer’, and the immense remix of Ultra Naté’s ‘Free’. Mentored by Masters at Work’s Louis Vega, Springsteen and Ciafone also produced under aliases Wall of Sound, The Club Kidds and Full Swing, releasing on influential labels like Strictly Rhythm, Eightball Records and Nervous. Even if think you’re not familiar with their music, you’ve certainly cut shapes while your favourite DJ spins one of their numerous secret weapons. After disappearing for a few years, Mood II Swing have recently re-emerged through a series of reissues as a new generation discovers their unimpeachable catalogue. They released the career-spanning Strictly Mood II Swing compilation in 2016 and have made their long-awaited return to the decks.
Moses Sumney is riding a wave of word-of-mouth praise, hushed recordings and stunning live performances – and he’ll make his Australian debut at Sugar Mountain. Since the self-release of his debut EP Mid-City Island and 2015’s Terrible Records 7” ‘Seeds/Pleas’, Moses has performed around the world alongside forebears like Beck, Karen O, Sufjan Stevens and James Blake. 2016 has seen Moses widening the sonic spectrum of his intimate music, releasing songs that feature fleshed-out production and focused songwriting: just witness recent track ‘Lonely World’. We’re very excited to have him join us in 2017.
With a touring schedule so busy making hometown shows a rarity, MY DISCO sets have become highly sought after for their singular, blackening energy. Since forming in 2003, the post-punk trio established a cultish following, driven in part by their absolutely relentless live show. In 2016, we were #blessed to welcome them back for a glorious one-off sold out hometown show before they jetted back off for a massive European jaunt. Their latest LP Severe was shortlisted for the 11th Australian Music Prize and arguably the three-piece’s greatest work to date. Says The Quietus, “I doubt there will be a more effective, more moving, more genuinely, chillingly psychedelic record released this year.” Check out recent track ‘Our Decade (Regis Mix)’.
Palms Trax is the alias of Berlin-based producer Jay Donaldson. He has started to build a reputation as one of the most promising new figures on the scene, releasing house gems which sit firmly on the Chicago-Detroit axis. His debut in 2013 inaugurated what is now the very influential Lobster Theremin label, and has since released back-to-back acclaimed EPs on Dutch imprint Dekmantel. What began as an experiment in pad-driven Detroit workouts soon became his calling card, unleashing dust-treated slabs of house littered with melodic synths and smooth, rolling drum patterns. Palms Trax is certainly a star in the making – a good get if we do say so ourselves.
The revered Berlin-based techno composer-producer will play his only Melbourne show at Sugar Mountain. Pantha is renowned as creating some of the most otherworldly electronic music you’re likely to hear – dreamy soundscapes that are very at home on the dancefloor. He rose as early star of the influential Berlin label Dial thanks to the stunning one-two of LPs Diamond Daze (2004) and This Bliss (2007), and has since delivered a number of acclaimed releases on Rough Trade including 2016’s ‘The Triad’ (8.0 – Pitchfork) – watch that Boiler Room set here.
Honed in the thrumming confines of our city’s live music venues, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever combine rich, poppy guitar melodies with propulsive rhythm. Influenced by Scandinavian pop and golden age Australian guitar music, they’ve made quite an impact –2016 debut mini-LP Talk Tight receiving praise from SPIN, Stereogum and Pitchfork, who said that “this Melbourne band alternates the pop literacy of the Go-Betweens and the rambunctious energy of the Easybeats with the roaring punk propulsion of Royal Headache.” They’ve garnered a reputation electrifying live shows which we will happily attest to. Be theeeere.
After making their live debut at Sugar Mountain 2015 just weeks after releasing their first single, we are delighted to welcome back a now-much-bigger Slum Sociable. Over the past year or so, the Melbourne duo of Edward Quinn and Miller Upchurch have released a bunch of certified #bangers like ‘Anyway’, ‘All Night’ and ‘Apartment’ while performing many sold-out shows across the country and globe. Their live show has slayed since day one and they’ve gone to another level since – don’t miss their Sugar Mountain return.
We’re thrilled to welcome Baltimore party-igniter (and Avalanches pal) Spank Rock to the hallowed grounds of VCA. Naeem Juwan’s ground-breaking debut ‘YoYoYoYoYo’ has just turned 10, there’s a new LP on the way and we know he’s lost none of his ferocity. As long-time fans, we’re stoked for this one.
The alias of Melburnian Becky Sui Zhen, Sui Zhen has become a global sensation and was recently nominated for Best Electronic Act in two projects for The Age Music Awards. Her 2014 EPs Female Basic and Body Reset earned her attention both at home and abroad, but it was 2016 debut Secretly Susan that cemented her as a force majeure. Though originally recognised for her experimental ethereal techno-pop and minimal downtempo 808-lead tracks, Secretly Susan marked a return to more traditional vocal-led pop songs. Regarded as one of the strongest local releases of the year, Sui Zhen’s eccentric pop is especially captivating in a live setting.
Ciani is a composer, recording artist, and pioneer in the field of electronic music and sound design. She is best loved for her fifteen albums of original music which feature her performances in a broad array of expressions: pure electronic, solo piano, piano with orchestra, and piano with jazz ensemble.
Ciani has long been a Buchla voyager. Suzanne proselytized the live performance potential of Don’s synthesizer in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Her 1982 debut album ‘Seven Waves’ was a suite of original compositions orchestrated electronically and connected by Buchla-designed ocean sounds. Since its 1982 release, ‘Seven Waves’ has become an important chapter of the ambient canon within which contemporary artists like Smith have developed their own synth syntax and her many recognitions include five Grammy nominations.
Smith left the island to attend Berklee College of Music, where she studied composition and sound engineering, initially focusing on her voice as her primary instrument, before switching to classical guitar and piano. She employed many of the skills she refined in college in her indie-folk band Ever Isles, but a fateful encounter with a neighbor who lent her a Buchla 100 synthesizer, had a profound effect on her. Mesmerized by the Buchla’s potential, she explains “I got so distracted and enamored with the process of making sounds with it that I abandoned the next Ever Isles album.” Starting with rhythmic patterns and melodic pulses, she soon began sculpting lush and exciting worlds of sound.
Brisbane five-piece The Belligerents make sprawling, guitar tinged psychedelic pop music. In 2017, the band look toward the imminent release of their long-awaited debut album, Science Fiction. Though the band first formed in 2010, it’s only now that they’ve gotten round to their debut long-player and the people are #frothing for it – just check out the rockin’ single ‘Caroline’. Their live show rules, so expect something special when they hit the stage at Sugar Mountain in 2017.
Tornado Wallace is one of the most revered artists to emerge from our city’s thriving dance music scene in recent years. With a series of stellar releases under his belt through labels like Beats in Space, and a full-length on the way via Gerd Janson’s Running Back imprint, Tornado Wallace but his teeth at local institutions like C Grade and Animals Dancing parties. He now spends most of his time living in Berlin while occasionally blessing us with his presence. We are pretty bloody excited to have him on board.
Active in underground music since 2006, Natalie Mering has collaborated with Jackie-O Motherfucker and Ariel Pink, and released four records as Weyes Blood. Weyes Blood’s psych-folk has garnered increasing attention in recent years, with 2016 posing as her full breakout moment with her upcoming LP Front Row Seat to Earth coming in late October. The album’s first two singles, ‘Do You Need My Love’ and ‘Generation Why’, were named Best New Music on Pitchfork, who said, “She conjures a kaleidoscopic vision of the 1970s’ best kept secrets”. Get around her.
Born in Zimbabwe and based in Wellington, 21-year-old rapper Young Tapz has certainly emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Rising to recognition from his feature Hermitude’s massive crossover hit ‘The Buzz’ (over 40 million streams on Spotify), he has rapidly built a cult following and is widely tipped to break through 2017. His live game is very strong – make sure you get involved at SM 2017.
Form, line and phenomenology occupy central positions in Caleb Shea’s work, where transcendental geometric abstraction and blunt simplicity meet in a newly charged revision of the late-modernist sculptural tradition. His neo-formalist sculptural investigations combine with modes of experiential spatial configurations to celebrate a return to sincerity and romance of the shape.
At Sugar Mountain 2017, the Melbourne-based, Novocastrian artist’s profound dancing shapes will stand tall amongst the moving bodies in our Boiler Room stage environment.
Elliott Routledge is an Australian contemporary artist based in Sydney. At SM 2017, Elliott will create a mural that expands into the experiential space three-dimensionally via a number of sculptural pieces.
Elliott’s shown work and installed major public murals all around the world spanning London, Vienna, New York, Melbourne, Tokyo, Paris, Singapore, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and extensively throughout Australia.
His work exists in a balance between expressive mark making and abstract form. Having spent a lot of time practising colour theory, Elliott’s current work is reflective of his response to this information. An outstanding vision for colour relationships and pattern choices, allows Elliott to create bold, harmonious compositions.
Karan Singh is an Australian artist and illustrator living in Tokyo.
While Karan studied interaction design, the self-taught artist has focused on visual arts and illustration for the past nine years, drawing inspiration from graphic design sensibilities and op-art minimalism. His bold and vibrant work is a playful interpretation of minimalism particularly focusing on depth and dimension through pattern and repetition.
Thanks to our man Karan, at Sugar Mountain 2017 you’ll have the opportunity to create your own warped festival experience at will!
Using augmented reality capabilities, our soon-to-be released festival app will allow you to interact and animate a number of large scale 2D works and the stage itself, thanks to the talented Mr Singh.
MOMO is an artist working in public spaces with homemade tools. His current interests lie with an evolving range of adapted masonry techniques to draft, design, and organise wall murals. Born in San Francisco in 1974, MOMO has travelled most of his life, lived in New York for six years and currently keeps a studio in New Orleans.
In January 2017, Sugar Mountain’s lust for larger than life murals will see MOMO join us at the heart of Melbourne’s Art Precinct. With MOMO in charge, your day just got a little brighter!
Back in 2008 Rojo published MOMO’s first monograph 3AM-6AM; in 2012 Studio Cromie published his second, In 74 Pieces. In 2013 May Gallery hosted his first immersive installation show “Butt Joints” in New Orleans; Studio Cromie produced a Caribbean painting tour and exhibition in Southern Italy; and the New York DOT commissioned a 200-foot-long mural between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in Dumbo, Brooklyn. In 2015 MOMO created a 250 ft wide lobby mural for the John Hancock Tower in Boston, a 250 foot tall mural in downtown Philadelphia, and a double-façade, five story printed vinyl mural in Manhattan, produced by Art Production Fund NY. In 2016 he and friends Maya Hayuk, Swoon, and Faile inaugurated the new Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art in Brussels, with installations on five floors.
March Studio join the Sugar Mountain family in 2017, lending their handy work to the design of the Dodds Street stage.
Rodney Eggleston and Anne-Laure Cavigneaux formed the award-winning March Studio in 2007, an architecture and interior design consultancy with a unique design aesthetic.
Since its beginnings March Studio has been commissioned to work on retail interiors, residential houses, art initiatives and more, with an international practice spanning Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Paris, Singapore, Zurich and New York. Their clients include Aesop – for whom they have designed 13 stores – as well as Baker D. Chirico, Lucy Liu, Sneakerboy and more.
Montreal native Myriam Bleau is a composer, digital artist and performer.
Exploring the limits between musical performance and digital arts, she creates audiovisual systems that go beyond the screen, such as sound installations and performance-specific musical interfaces. Her presence on the popular music scene influence her hybrid electronic practice that integrates hip-hop, techno and pop elements.
At SM 2017 Myriam Bleau will present her work Soft Revolvers. The work will appear as an audience interactive installation, of which will see two very special performances via Bleau throughout the day.
Soft Revolvers is an audiovisual performance for four spinning tops, built with clear acrylic by the artist. Each top is associated with an ‘instrument’ in an electronic music composition and the motion data collected by sensors – placed inside the tops – informs musical algorithms. With their large circular spinning bodies and their role as music playing devices, the interfaces strongly evoke turntables and DJ culture, hip-hop and dance music. LEDs placed inside the tops illuminate the body of the objects in a precise counterpoint to the music, creating stunning spinning halos.
The work received an honorary mention from prestigious Ars Electronica PrixArs 2015 in Digital Musics and Sound Art section, and have been presented by more than 50 festivals and music venues in Europe and America, such as Elektra (Montreal), Sonar and Lev (Spain), Scopitone and Maintenant (France), Mutek Mexico, Transmediale (Germany) and ACT (Korea).
Sugar Mountain 2017 will host the world premiere of a new commissioned collaborative work by Canadian visual artist Robyn Moody, and New York City resident musician and songwriter Caroline Polachek, widely known for her striking vocals at the forefront of Chairlift, her solo project Ramona Lisa, as well as a long line of further amazing collaborations.
Robyn Moody’s 2005 ‘Harp: Phase 1’, in which 48 Lasers become the ‘strings’ of a phonetic language harp, grabbed Sugar Mountain’s attention. We proposed Robyn re-imagine this work for our 2017 festival using new audio material and sound provided by Caroline. This will be something special – when an audience member plucks a beam, a different audio clip will be heard, distinct for each string. Step up, step in, pluck, strum, and play!
As part of Sugar Mountain 2017, Morag and Luke will welcome all visitors via an elaborate gateway to the festival grounds, accompanied by a viewing deck above and a large camera obscura which will project warped visions within. Step up and explore!
Individually Morag’s work is characterised by an engaging boldness, creating specific, local responses to each distinct audience that will see and experience the work, using it to create community and build identity. Morag makes places from spaces that people like to be in, which stimulate and often make you smile.
Punk is not just an aesthetic to Luke Morgan: his paintings explore found materials in the form of words and their meanings. Found language: graffiti and the idea of embracing the wildness in both large and small scale pieces. His paintings with chosen words and pop-art colours have titles that pack a punch! Profoundly uplifting, positive affirmations run throughout his work, even when delivered with a hint of cheek.