Friday, May 27, 2022
HomeCultureHeaping praise on young musicians – An interview with Charlie O’Brien

Heaping praise on young musicians – An interview with Charlie O’Brien

Tell us about Home Base?

Home Base is our weekly drop-in style workshop at the Redfern Community Centre. It’s a workshop for young people looking to develop their skills in contemporary music – things like rapping, singing, songwriting and music production. We’ve been doing free workshops every Monday afternoon for over two years and in that time we’ve had over 100 participants, with a core of around 20 emerging artists; some of whom have had the songs they’ve written with us played on national radio! Heaps Decent acknowledges the support of the Vincent Fairfax Foundation, Matana Foundation, James Kirby Foundation and the City of Sydney Council.

Take us through a workshop.

Home Base is a unique format for Heaps Decent as it’s the most versatile structure of our workshops. Often we’ll make a beat from scratch before sitting down to write lyrics and record them in the great studio facility at the centre, while other times the young people attending the workshop will come with a beat they want to rap on and we record their lyrics or instrumentation such as guitars. The idea is for the guys to walk away with a finished song, a high-standard piece that they can be proud of and share with their friends and family. It’s collaboration heavy and the core of attendees provide a supportive atmosphere for their peers to come and try new things and develop their skills.

Who do you have working at Home Base?

The Heaps Decent facilitators are a bunch of passionate and skilled musicians, DJs and producers who are established in their own right.

How much emphasis do you place on performing?

One of the main objectives of the Home Base project is performance. The performance outcome gives a definitive goal to work towards while keeping the young people goal-oriented in order to complete songs they will eventually perform. As well as our own performance opportunities, there’s the occasional opportunity to perform at other shows; last year Tasha Lee Marshall opened for Grimes’ sold-out Sydney show!

Why do you think this is important?

The performance opportunities for young people in a proper club setting are limited and Heaps Decent does what it can to give our participants a chance to experience this in the ultimate test of the music they’ve been working on. The crowd is comprised of their family, friends and peers in what makes up a very supportive environment for this experience.

Home Base recently had a showcase at Goodgod Small Club. Who was on the bill and how did it go?

At the end of November last year, we held our fifth Home Base Showcase for the duration of the project. It was a solid turn-out, with nothing but quality music for the entire evening – it always blows us away how much the performers rise to the occasion! For many it’s their first time in front of a crowd, and what’s more, they are performing original material they have written themselves. It’s very impressive. We welcomed (now our latest facilitator recruit) Sydney MC Dutch to headline the show, which included Home Base regulars such as Fowl Murk, Tasha Lee Marshall and Mai. New additions to the event lineup included Roofless Youth, a group we met at workshops in Wagga Wagga, who took to the stage with vigour, putting on a great show!

Where can our readers listen to some Home Base recordings?

How can people get involved?

Come along to a session! If you’re interested in singing, rapping or music production and you want some help or if you’ve never even made a sound into a microphone and it’s something you want to do, then come and see us! Heaps Decent can cater to pretty much any genre you’re interested in. We’re at the Redfern Community Centre from 3pm to 6pm every Monday aside from public holidays (when the centre is closed).



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