RVG Win 2023 SoundMerch Australian Music Prize

6 December 2023 | 4:52 pm | Mary Varvaris

"To win this award goes a long way and makes me feel less alone in what I do, so thank you!"


RVG (Credit: Izzie Austin)

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Melbourne rockers RVG have taken home the 2023 Soundmerch Australian Music Prize with their third album, Brain Worms.

Fresh off a tour of Europe, RVG are landing back in Australia tonight, with the award accepted by Lorrae McKenna from Our Golden Friend on the band’s behalf. The award was presented to RVG by Soundmerch owner Tim Everist at the 19th annual ceremony held at the APRA AMCOS headquarters in Ultimo.

The highly anticipated, critically acclaimed album saw them vying for the title and its accompanying $30,000 cash prize alongside 2023 releases from Angie McMahon, Floodlights, Genesis Owusu, Gretta Ray, Jen Cloher, Mo’Ju, Polaris and Troye Sivan.

On their win, RVG’s Romy Vager exclaimed, “Winning the AMP is a huge honour! I would like to thank everyone from Our Golden Friend, Four Tone Artists and Ivy League Records / Mushroom here in Australia and Fire Records, ATC Live and Sub Pop Publishing overseas for supporting us.

“I want to also thank all the other nominees, such an amazing group to be included in. I just wanna say that being who I am in music means being subjected to an insane amount of bullshit, and a lot of the songs on this album began as a targeted reaction to the kind of situations that most bands/artists would never have to go through.

“So, to win this award goes a long way and makes me feel less insane and alone in what I do, so thank you!”

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The songs on Brain Worms have been described as “songs you can drive to” by Vager, with most of the record written at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when “not much was happening, and there wasn't much of a local scene to feed off or think about”.

As tedious as that was in the moment, Vager told The Music in a cover story interview it ultimately made for a more interesting palette of themes to draw from: “That breakaway from music made me explore more unique things.”

Over 30 judges comprising Australian music industry professionals for this year’s Australian Music Prize narrowed down over 450 eligible releases to a longlist of 107 nominations to a shortlist of just nine albums, announced last week.

RVG follow 2022 winners King Stingray.

Australian Music Prize Founder and Director Scott Murphy said about this year’s winner, “From lyrics to production to their creative vision, Australian artists are pushing artistic boundaries. The AMP are so excited each year to keep the artist’s music a primary focus as they continue to explore and evolve. Congratulations to RVG as this year’s well-deserved winner.”

Australian Music Prize judge and artist Alice Ivy added, “This band took a huge financial and personal risk in making this record; it almost didn’t happen. You can feel the catharsis and honesty yet a sense of humour amongst the pain. It’s a timeless album that myself and my fellow judges spoke so passionately about in a tense meeting. Couldn’t be more deserving. It also has the best Drops Of Jupiter reference of all time.”


2022 – King Stingray – King Stingray
2021 – Genesis Owusu – Smiling With No Teeth
2020 – The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
2019 – Sampa The Great – The Return
2018 – Gurrumul – Djarimirri
2017 – Sampa The Great – Birds And The BEE9
2016 – A.B. Original – Reclaim Australia
2015 – Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
2014 – REMI – Raw X Infinity
2013 – Big Scary – Not Art
2012 – Hermitude – HyperParadise
2011 – The Jezabels – Prisoner
2010 – Cloud Control – Bliss Release
2009 – Lisa Mitchell – Wonder
2008 – Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Primary Colours
2007 – The Mess Hall – Devils Elbow
2006 – Augie March, Moo – You Bloody Choir
2005 – The Drones – Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By