29 May 2020
Make it Up Club reinvented
Rama Parwata gives an overview of The Make It Up Club in this time of pandemic. Curated evenings of recorded premieres can be watched on the Youtube Channel every Tuesday at 8pm AEST - the next club night on 2 June features Miranda Hill + Alice Bennett, Shane Van Den Akker, Clinton Green and the Isolation Improvisation Collective.
The Make It Up Club concert series has been running on every Tuesday night since 1998, and this year we celebrated our 22nd year of existence. At the Make It Up Club, we commit ourselves to nurturing, presenting, and promoting avant-garde improvised music and sound performance of the highest conceptual and performative standards, regardless of idiom, genre, or instrumentation. Our curated events focus on acts that push the boundaries of current conventional musical trends, yet we also aim to curate them in a way that also reflects the ever-developing musical environment of Melbourne, with a particular focus on nurturing young emerging artists.
Up until the lockdowns we were conducting shows at our long-time home at Bar Open, Fitzroy, and very quickly we, along with everyone else, got hit by the pandemic and could not continue our concerts as usual. At the same time, we devastatingly lost our long-time curator and MC Sean Baxter. We understood that, with our long history and our community, it was a necessity that we continued on in any way possible. We swiftly decided to resume, and we transitioned our shows to an online format on YouTube to adapt to the new situation that we found ourselves in, until it is safe for all of us to be together again.
The process of getting our online concerts together has been a largely swift and easy process. All of us as curators curate our respective nights and the artists performing on said nights send through their video performances, and then one of our co-curators, the incredible Nat Grant, edits and uploads the concert videos to YouTube. These videos then premiere at 8pm on our YouTube channel. Anyone who wishes to watch the online shows live as they premiere can simply look up our YouTube channel or follow links on our social media sites, watch and engage.
Despite the unfortunate reality that we've seen ourselves in, the online format has been really positive in various ways. One of the most exciting aspects has been to see how the artists have been creative with video editing, and have explored elements of abstract art in their videos. A highlight was the collaboration between David Palliser and Paul Kidney, where Paul was draped in a UV light whilst wearing glowing fluorescent clothing and paint, while David was behind a green screen. Seeing the two being edited together by Paul's partner, Jules, was simply astounding. Another great video was Will Guthrie's solo drum improvisation, which was accompanied by aerobic fitness videos that created the illusion of the instructors dancing to his performance. Each week the participating artists have been so creative, and it's been such a thrill to watch.
One of the most important components to the Make It Up Club has been the community aspect of it, and whilst it is sad that we cannot currently engage in that physically, the live chat on our YouTube premieres has continued the community spirit of the club, as the MCing, the usual crowd banter from our regular patrons and the applause through the use of emojis fills up the chat as the online concert goes on. It's very heartwarming to see our physically separated community continue to engage as if we're all still at Bar Open. The Make It Up Club is a very important weekly fixture in many of our lives, and it's so nice that has still remained there for all of us in these trying times.
The online format has allowed us to reach out to international and interstate audiences fairly easily, due to the accessible nature of holding virtual concerts, and this has also allowed us to feature international artists in our concerts that would've previously been impossible (unless they were on tour in Australia), and in our shows, so far, we have featured artists from all across Australia, the US, Europe, and Asia, in solo and collaborations with local artists. This has also allowed us to broaden our international and interstate exposure to said regions through engaging with the artists from those communities.
Our YouTube concerts can be seen on our channel at 8pm every Tuesday night.
The Make It Up Club is currently co-curated by Justin Ashworth, Aviva Endean, Nat Grant, Annalee Koernig, Rama Parwata, and Stevie Richards. Musicians and sound artists interested to present as part of the series are welcome to submit an EOI to firstname.lastname@example.org
© Australian Music Centre (2020) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Rama Parwata is a Melbourne-based drummer/sound artist who is currently a committee member/co-curator of the Make It Up Club. He also performs in the bands Whitehorse and Umlaut.
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