Australia’s EMC presents Cultural Union as part of UK / Australia program

Five Australian genre-bending artists are this week in London participating in the EMC presents ‘Cultural Union’ program, as a part of the UK Australia season 2022. First Beige, Middle Name Dance Band, Natalie Slade, Setwun and Surprise Chef will all perform this weekend at Gilles Peterson’s internationally revered We Out Here festival. These festival performances follow three days of songwriting and recording with a contingent of like-minded British artists at the iconic RAK Recording Studio in London. 

We Out Here – Gilles Peterson’s landmark compilation turned festival has proven a once bubbling movement in the UK is now at boiling point. That feeling is reverting globally. 

Just like London, it has equal counterparts worldwide, including Australia. If one needed proof of Australia’s world-class talent pool of fusionists influenced by both jazz and club culture, they needn’t look past the breakout success of Hiatus Kaiyote, Jordan Rakei, Sampa The Great and Mildlife, or the cross pollination of international connections made in recent years; 

Cinematic funk band Surprise Chef found a home at Mr Bongo and now are set to join idol Leon Michel’s Big Crown Records. Neo-soul singer Natalie Slade joined Alexander Nut’s Eglo Records. 30/70’s Allysha Joy found a home first with Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana and now First World. Harvey Sutherland recently released a single with LA’s modern funk icon Dam Funk. Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange keep making waves with a notable club-ready 12” on Secret Sundaze. Sampology’s latest releases have featured collaborations with such heavy hitters as Georgia Ann Muldrow and Seven Davis Jr. The list goes on and on. 

Both Co-Op and Touching Bass have forthcoming compilations focused on Australia’s rising crop of club-infused live talent. Bradley Zero has continually championed his self-confessed “home away from home” both in the live and club context. Names like Prequel, Setwun, POOKIE, 30/70, Retiree, Silentjay & Jace XL have featured on his cult label, while he has invited the likes of DJs Waxo Paradiso, Ben Fester, DJ JNETT, Andras, C.Frim and Sophie McAlister to his club nights in the UK. 

In fact it is within the club-sphere where the global uprising has perhaps been the most prolific. CC Disco, Tornado Wallace, Lauren Hansom, Logic 1000, Haai and Mall Grab dominate European festival billings, while just underneath are literally hundreds of producers, songwriters, DJs, record diggers and audiophiles who engage with international communities in every pocket of the dance spectrum. The exchange between Australia and the UK across club nights, radio, mix series, record swaps, labels, remixes and so forth is endless. 

Now, five artists that are at the forefront of their local scenes in Gadigal/Sydney, Meanjin/Brisbane and Naarm/Melbourne will drive this international exchange further, in person at the songwriting and recording sessions at RAK Recording Studio in London. EMC in partnership with APRA AMCOS are hosting the studio sessions, which includes 30 musicians creating new work through the collaboration of Australian and British songwriters, producers and instrumentalists. 

Adam Townsend, APRA AMCOS Member Relations – UK and Europe said:

“APRA AMCOS is proud to support the Cultural Union program here at our London base at RAK Studios. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of APRA AMCOS members in the electronic and jazz space. Artists like Jordan Rakei and Mall Grab have relocated to London to engage with a larger audience in their respective genres and now, firmly putting a flag in the ground by capturing huge audiences all across Europe. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of amazing talent from across Australia in this space so a collaboration of this level is incredibly exciting and timely.” 

EMC Director Jane Slingo said: 

The collision of club and jazz culture is a very exciting movement that’s been bubbling in Australia for many years. EMC is proud to present this program as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22, with the support of the British Council and Create NSW. I’ve no doubt that an abundance of incredible music will be created at the RAK Studio sessions and I cannot wait to hear the magic that comes from this program. We’re also thrilled that Gilles Peterson and the We Out Here team selected these artists to perform at one of the world’s greatest festivals.” 

Following the three days at RAK Recording Studio, the artists head to Cambridgeshire to perform at We Out Here between August 25 and 28. They join an incredible global lineup including Pharoah Sanders, Underground Resistance live, Kokoroko, Masters at Work – Celebrating 25 years of Nuyorican Soul, The Comet is Coming, Emma-Jean Thackray, Azymuth, Gilles Peterson and many many more… 



First Beige – Thursday 25 Aug | 14:20 – 14:50 | Mainstage 

Surprise Chef – Friday 26 Aug | 17:30 – 18:10 | Mainstage 

Setwun – Saturday 27 Aug | 22:30 – 23:00 | The Big Top 

Middle Name Dance Band – Saturday 27 Aug | 23:30 – 00:30 | The Big Top 

Natalie Slade – Sunday 28 Aug | 15:50 – 16:20 | The Big Top 

Joined by other Australian artists: 

Sophie McAllister – Thursday 25 Aug | 16:00 – 17:30 | Rhythm Corner 

Mirasia – Thursday 25 Aug | 20:30 – 22:00 | The Forest 

Zjoso – Thursday 25 Aug | 19:00 – 20:30 | Woodland 

C.Frim – Thursday 25 Aug | 21:30 – 22:30 | Woodland 

Komang – Friday 26 Aug | 19:20 – 20:00 | The Big Top 

Sampology – Friday 26 Aug | 20:30 – 22:30 | Roller Rink 

Jamie Bennett – Saturday 27 Aug | 21:30 – 22:45 | Lush Life 

Allysha Joy – Sunday 28 Aug | 19:50 – 20:20 | Lush Life 

Alex Intas – Sunday 28 Aug | 22:00 – 23:30 | Brawnswood 

Jamie Bennett – Sunday 28 Aug | 20:00 – 21:00 | Hennessy Corner 

Gilles Peterson said: 

“Having been to Australia and witnessed the exciting new music scene developing there, and even recorded with Australian artists, I am so happy to have them coming to the UK and taking part in my festival which will expose them to an even wider audience.” 

Gadigal/Sydney based Setwun said: 

“It’s such an honour to be invited over to perform and record along with so many of our favourite artists. Travelling for the music has felt like an impossible task for the past few years, and so to finally be able to do this via the project is a dream come true. I’m so thankful that EMC, Create NSW and The British Council are helping provide an opportunity for us to grow. There’s so much music we have to share and so many experiences we look forward to being further inspired by.”

Meanjin/Brisbane and Naarm/Melbourne based Middle Name Dance Band said: “We see the creative dialogue between the contemporary soul/jazz/electronic musicians and communities in the UK & Australia. To be part of a continent to perform at, for us, the most important modern music festival We Out Here! is a mammoth opportunity. We’re equally excited to spend time at RAK Studios in London to write and record with like minded British based musicians. This is one of the biggest opportunities we as a band have had so far.” 

Gadigal/Sydney based Natalie Slade said: 

“We’re so excited to be a part of this project. It’s been a crazy few years and I’m grateful that bodies like the British Council; Create NSW and the team at EMC understand that to regenerate the music scene, we need to remotivate, reinspire and reconnect artists together again. These opportunities to collaborate and perform internationally mean everything to us!” 

Meanjin/Brisbane based First Beige said: 

“The band is excited play alongside legendary icons and thriving taste-makers at the internationally-renowned festival ‘We Out Here’ and to share our unique sound across the country and have a boogie with it.” 

EMC Presents ‘Cultural Union – Australian artists in the UK’ is supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons, the British Council, the Australian Government and Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22 and the NSW Government through Create NSW. 

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Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.