First Announcement: BIGSOUND Speakers 2012

18 April 2012 | 5:00 pm | Dan Condon

We look a little further into the first round of speakers announced for BIGSOUND’s 2012 event.

Brisbane's annual BIGSOUND music showcase has today revealed the first round of guests who will speak at the event in September.

Once upon a time Ben Lee was the ultimate example of a rock'n'roll wunderkind. At the age of 13 he formed Noise Addict, a band who overcame their quirkiness by writing catchy little gems like this one. That band split in 1995, and that same year Lee released his first solo record Grandpaw Would, which showed that his songwriting skills were becoming more and more refined, a trend which has continued to this day. He now has eight solo records to his name and a whole bunch of hits that you undoubtedly know (Cigarettes Will Kill You, Catch My Disease) and getting an insight into his creative process during his keynote speech this year promises to be utterly fascinating.

Australian music is so much richer thanks to the work of David Bridie throughout his storied career. As one of Australia's most innovative musicians, songwriters, composers, producers and musicologists, he has contributed so much to the rich tapestry of Australian music and won seven ARIA awards in the process. His expertise in Melanesian music has opened up many eyes and ears to the wonder of additional music so close to our home, his work with Not Drowning Waving and My Friend The Chocolate Cake, his solo records, his soundtracks for the likes of The Straits, In a Savage Land and Bran Nue Dae; it all adds up to paint a picture of one of the most important contemporary musical figures in our country today, who is bound to be a fascinating keynote speaker at this year's BIGSOUND.

Since he began working in the music industry back in 1989, Mark Poston has held a number of roles in a number of different businesses. He has run record stores, run record labels, in the 90s he was a founder member of the ARIA Club Chart and was the head of Captiol Records by the time he was 30. He joins BIGSOUND in 2012 as a keynote speaker and as the Chairman & Senior Vice President Marketing, Australasia for EMI, during his tenure in this role he has struck some maverick deals with large companies outside of the music industry and has seen the label release a whole heap of award winning music.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Third Man Records is one of the most talked about record labels on the planet right now and, while it may be known as “Jack White's label”) every good operation needs a Consigliere and for White – and Third Man – that guy is Ben Swank. This is a label who are looking to release a 3RPM record, a label who have recorded and released singles by everyone from Lanie Lane to Stephen Colbert to Jerry Lee Lewis to Neil Hamburger to Alabama Shakes and so many more, a label who have run a record store from the back of a bus, a label who have “launched” the new Jack White record by tying 1000 of them to giant helium balloons… If you're looking at how people can operate differently in the current musical climate, you'll want to see this.

Spotify is one of the biggest companies in the world of music today and has been a big factor in changing the game as far as how we access our music. Australian-bred, London-based Rene Chambers is part of the Label Relations team at the company so will undoubtedly be able to give us a good insight into the way the company has been operating and what is next for them as they continue to expand.

Way Over There is an independent music programming operation whose clients include the Falls Festival, St Kilda Festival, Parklife and Groovin' The Moo to name but a few and Richard Moffat is one of the bookers/programmers who keeps the company held in such high regard and high demand. Whether or not he drops hints as to what the ensuing festival season will bring remains to be seen, you wouldn't want to miss out.

When it comes to music business/trade news, there are few publications around the world that can compete with CMJ. As editor-in-chief of the publication, Lisa Hresko oversees the entirety of the editorial content, the CMJ TV platform and the highly respected CMJ weekly radio charts. As well as this, she is also in her sixth year of developing and programming CMJ Music Marathon's radio and college-focused events. A frequent guest at music conferences worldwide, Hresko makes her BIGSOUND debut in 2012.

Spain's Primavera Sound is widely regarded as the best music festival on the planet and David Jimenez-Zumalacarregui as owner and operator of the Spanish Heart Of Gold music touring company, he has been working hand-in-hand with them, organizing tours for artists like James Blake, Animal Collective and Battles, among others. Heart of Gold, since 2009, have overseen tours by everyone from Lucinda Williams to Hoodoo Gurus to Red Kross and Jimenez-Zumalacarregui in his past life as founder of the promoter Love To Art toured Aussies such as Radio Birdman and You Am I through his country as well as other acts like Sparklehorse, Steve Earle and Teenage Fanclub. His insight uinto European booking will be invaluable and watching panel moderators pronounce his name should be good for a laugh as well.

While not quite a household name in Australia yet, C3 Presents is quickly gaining a foothold in our musical market. In the United States they produce the mammoth Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza festivals as well as over 1000 other shows worldwide each year. They have just become a partner on Australia's Big Day Out and Aly Ehlinger, talent buyer for the company, might just be able to give us an idea as to what this is going to mean in regards to line ups and operations over the next few years.

Music in Australia would be a very different thing if it weren't for triple j and for the past few months Nick Findlay has stepped into the shoes of Richard Kingsmill as Music Director of the station. Obviously a job with such great power comes great responsibility and, after Kingsmill's insights last year, it will be interesting to see how Findlay's idea of the station as well as broadcasting and music programming in general differ.

Jessica Ducrou has been a concert promoter for over two decades and, frankly speaking, has been really good at it for just about the entire time. As operator of her own company Village Sounds she represents the likes of Birds Of Tokyo, Bernard Fanning and The Vines, she was one of the co-founders of the Homebake festival and is the major shareholder and co-founder of the enormous Splendour In The Grass festival. If you want to know about promoting in Australia, you'd best shut the hell up when she opens her mouth.

Few bands can profess to being adored quite as much as Brisbane's Powderfinger are in this country, even years after their split. Life after Powderfinger for guitarist Ian Haug has meant getting his hands dirty on the other side of the studio glass, calling the shots as a producer, operating out of his Airlock Studios a lot of the time and giving up and coming bands a taste of his expertise which he has cultivated over years of being a member of one of this country's most successful rock bands.

Charles Caldas was the CEO of Shock Records, he has sat on the boards of ARIA, AIR and WIN and now, as CEO of Merlin, the global rights agency representing the world's most important set of independent music rights and considered as the virtual fifth major label, he remains one of the real powerbrokers in music today. This is a man who knows independent music back-to-front and will be an invaluable fountain of knowledge for any industry folk attending BIGSOUND 2012.

Nicky & Ben Berger make up Berger Management a company probably best known at this point in time as managers of Los Angeles indie music collective Grouplove. Considering the unique nature of that band and their considerable success in the indie world over the past couple of years, their insights ought to be somewhat different to the usual music industry stories and will certainly be interesting to hear.

These speakers - and there's plenty more to be announced - will speak at the BIGSOUND conference, which takes place across Brisbane's live music precinct from Wednesday 12 to Friday 14 September. Tickets are on sale now through BIGSOUND.