Thom O’Leary: Driving Melbourne’s non DJ Electro showcases – Interview by Cath Meeson

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Thom O’Leary is the song writer, singer and keyboard player from Melbourne electronic act Zen Robotic. Zen Robotic is an electronic band primarily driven by thought provoking lyrics that aims to inspire their audiences to think and feel deeply as well as to dance and enjoy the music they produce. Zen Robotic has an album launch coming up on the 17th of February, you can find out about that here https://www.facebook.com/events/316305818765951/

Cath Meeson- What was the motivation for starting the Electronic Musicians who aren’t dj’s community?

Thom O’Leary– Non DJ Electronic Musicians of Melbourne began in October 2015 when I was seeking out similar acts to perform shows with. Initially I found we would always play gigs with line-ups that included rock bands and other non electronic acts.

I noticed that there were various electronic music groups on Facebook, however all of the ones I came across were full of DJs. The problem being that DJs tend to play in nightclub settings, whereas ‘non DJ’ electronic acts tend to share the pub and bar type venues with rock bands.

I had been a part of Melbourne’s rock and metal communities before and in 2015 I felt that there wasn’t a strong (Non DJ) electronic community in Melbourne. I didn’t expect much when I started the FB group, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its growth.

Cath Meeson- Where does the community meet? I.e. Physically online etc and how many people are in the group?

Thom O’Leary A physical “Meet Up and Showcase” event occurs at Tago Mago in High Street, Thornbury on the first Tuesday of each month. There’s definitely a showcase happening on the 7th of February and March. However the night may be changed from a Tuesday to another night of the week from April onwards. Current numbers sit at 573 people.
You can find us here https://www.facebook.com/groups/151104295241986/

Cath Meeson- Are any of these people gigging together in Melbourne?

Thom O’Leary– I post a Non DJ Electronic Gig Guide every Monday morning. There are several gigs each week, probably around 10 on average.

Cath Meeson- You recently started Electronic artists showcases, tell us about them and how they are going.

Thom O’Leary– The first showcase we put on was in August 2016, at that stage we intended to hold a showcase once every 6 months. However due to popularity and demand we decided to hold a showcase once every two months, and due to a further increase in demand we’re now holding one every month.

Cath Meeson- What are your dreams for the future of the group?

Thom O’Leary– Just continual growth and development. A single twig can be easily snapped, but a bundle of twigs bound together is strong and durable. Community support is important, if bands and artists help each other everyone will achieve more.

Cath Meeson- What are some of your favourite acts?

Thom O’Leary– There are well over 100 acts in the Non DJ Electronic community in Melbourne so it’s very difficult to name a mere 5 acts.

Other than Zen Robotic:https://www.facebook.com/zenrobotic/

Some of the people who contribute most to Non DJ Electronic Musicians of Melbourne are:

Simon Quinn, who is part of The Safety Word and also performs as Lucky Quinn. The Safety Word are an chilled, R&B electronic type act: they can be found here https://www.facebook.com/thesafetyword/?fref=ts

There is Benjamin Smith, Robyn Holland and Ivan Bullet who collectively are a group called Sleeplab and are great contributors to the group and an awesome act, who produce really great music and put on an outstanding live show. You can find them here: http://www.sleeplab.co/ & here https://www.facebook.com/sleeplabaudio/?fref=ts

There is also James Cain who is part of the industrial act DevilMonkey, James drives the bass and is a solid contributor to the group.You can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/thedevilsmonkey/

And Catherine Meeson is another great contributor, described as ethereal, electro folk rock, you can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/CatherineMeesonMusic/?fref=ts

Some of the acts that I’ve found to be the most impressive in the Melbourne (Non DJ) Electronic scene are: Dear Plastic, Oolluu, Nun, Huntly and Battlesick.

Cath Meeson: Oolluu are a super impressive 4 piece band, driven by an awesome beat master, two live synths and bass guitar- who I have dubbed ‘kings of the arpeggiator’. Catch them here: https://www.facebook.com/oolluu/?fref=ts

Thom O’Leary -This is one of the coolest videos I’ve seen anyone in the community make:
Launch Sequence by Oolluu… it’s really cool!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/151104295241986/

Non dj electronic Musicians of Melbourne have two showcases coming up

Non DJ Electronic Showcase 3 – February 7
https://www.facebook.com/events/1287520791311258/

Non DJ Electronic Showcase 4 – March 7
https://www.facebook.com/events/406848389651829/

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About Author

Catherine Meeson is a solo ambient electro / progressive folk rock songwriter/ composer from Melbourne, fascinated by the wealth of brilliance in the musical world.