Melbourne Synth Festival is an immersion of synth music and technology

As part of Melbourne Music Week, lovers of synth and electronic music will have the chance to completely immerse themselves in the layers of technology and production, with the start of the Melbourne Synth Festival.

Part live music series, part convention, the Melbourne Synth Festival is the ultimate destination for gear heads, musicians, music fans and those wanting to learn more about equipment. 

For producer and beatmaker Honeysmack, being part of the Melbourne Synth Festival’s lineup provides him a great opportunity to branch out and make new connections, while also giving the audience an insight into his own creative process.

“This is what I do all the time,” he says. “It is always cool to experience new music from people I haven’t met. To see their approach, what they make and how they do it.”

On the uniqueness and exclusivity of this festival, he notes that this type and scale of event, is a rare thing for the Australian customer and music fan.

“There’s not that many events like this in Australia,” he says. “There’s a few, but they tend to happen more overseas … This kind of thing is abundant in Europe and North America [but] Australia is now catching on, which is a good thing.”

Honeysmack recalls the importance laid on electronic music during his youth, which in itself shows how different the climate is now.

“The synth-pop stuff and the krautrock stuff of the ‘70s and the ‘80s; I was a teenager then,” he remembers. “Really, it was punk music [we were growing up with]. No one could afford synthesisers, it was unheard of. Synthesised and electronic music was the domain of the rich or the privileged.”

It’s a fair point. The global market for electronic music and the equipment needed to build its foundations is largely being cultivated – at least on a mainstream level – through communities in Europe and the United States. Still, Australians are continuing to push the envelope in their own way – the Melbourne Synth Festival lineup proving the point. Whether it’s the dark and eclectic styles of Amelia Arsenic, or the club bangers of Luke Million, our electro community is proving to be diverse. 

Now, the goalposts have shifted; with young producers like Petit Biscuit making waves in the international sphere while at home, one need only to look to SoundCloud or triple j Unearthed to discover their new favourite beatmaker. Should events like the Melbourne Synth Festival continue, there’s likely to be an even richer musical community nurtured for an eager generation of musicians to come.

Melbourne Synth Festival will launch on Friday November 23 with performances from Luke Million, Emah Fox, Beatrice and Honeysmack. Across Saturday and Sunday, there will be an exhibition, pop up shop for gearheads while special seminars and workshops will be taking place for those eager to bolster their understanding.

Just some of workshops going down on Saturday include The Fundamentals of Signal Flow with Simon Moro, The Emergence of Electronic Music in Melbourne with Byron Scullin and a Waldorf Quantum tutorial presented by Christopher Stellar.

On the Sunday, Scullin will host MESS – the History of Synthesis & the MESS Philosophy while there will also be a Yamaha Synthesiser Session as well as an introductory workshop into modular synthesis.

The likes of Chiara Kickdrum, ACM, Emah Fox, Amelia Arsenic, The Oddness and Sadiva will also perform over a weekend set to boast gear from 1010 Music, Arturia, Novation, Nord, Roland, Waldorf, Yamaha and many more brands.

Melbourne Synth Festival comes to the Meat Market in North Melbourne as part of Melbourne Music Week from Friday November 23 to Sunday November 25. Head to the Australian Musician website for tickets.