Photo: Cole Bennetts

“Being From ‘The Area’, That Hustle & Energy Is Unrivalled”: L-FRESH The Lion On Sound West, Western Sydney’s Answer To SXSW

This week, Australia’s first landmark music and technology event – Sound West – was announced to be debuting in Parramatta for its inaugural year.

Developed to be somewhat of an answer to SXSW in Australia, bringing together streams of music and technology in a way that both shines a light on the incredible amount of talent currently popping off in the Area, as well as highlighting the crossover potential between the two in today’s industry, Sound West is definitely set to be a one of a kind experience.

Launched on Wednesday afternoon at Commbank Stadium, Sound West organisers and a range of speakers including the The Hon. Stuart Ayres, Minister for Tourism and Western Sydney and ARIA-nominated hip hop artist and community leader, L-FRESH The Lion, spoke of their excitement surrounding the event’s potential.

“This region is going from strength to strength through industry development, investment in research and innovation, and a rich cultural foundation that makes for a dynamic city to live, work, visit and host events,” Mr Ayres said.

“SOUND WEST is the first of its kind in Australia and will bring together brilliant minds, industry leaders and music enthusiasts to share ideas, network and enjoy the creativity of home-grown artists.”

Speaking with L-FRESH, who has long been championing local artists and innovators, as well as new waves of creatives out of Sydney, it is evident that something like Sound West has arrived at a pivotal time in the culture.

“Not too dissimilar from the Western suburbs in Melbourne, there’s always been a huge pot of talent – not just artistically, but across the spheres of innovation and creation. Especially when it comes to music,” he explains.

“People have been, through having a lack of resources, able to create things for themselves that are exciting. That are reflective of the time, that are reflective of the region. That really push the bounds of what is and what is not possible in this space. Sound West comes at a good time, I think, with all the attention that is on Western Sydney now. I would say it’s even late to the game!

“We’ve been doing our thing, but it has come at a good time; especially with the intersection of music and technology, looking at how they influence one another. Looking at how technology can help break an artist and how artists use technology; how people who are in those worlds, but aren’t necessarily artists themselves: managers, industry people in they’re all pushing each other in making new waves. It’s great that conversation is going to have a home in Western Sydney.”

Sound West is currently lining up its full artist and speaker reveal for the 2022 event but in the meantime, have announced that along with L-FRESH, the likes of internationally renowned Sydney producer Khaled Rohaim (The Kid LAROI, Ty Dolla $ign), visual and digital artist Serwah Attafuah and NEC Ambassador/world tennis champion Dylan Alcott will be appearing.

Across the five days, attendees will be able to take part in the conference sessions by day and enjoy the three-day series of intimate and large performances from emerging and established artists alike.

Looking at the breadth of talented musicians and producers who have been creating out of the various communities in Western Sydney in recent years, it’s a perfect time for an event like Sound West to further amplify this wave of excellence and success. Says L-FRESH, it’s not just the artists who are moving the needle when it comes to recognition of this geographic area of talent; it’s everyone behind them too.

“What’s inspiring me the most are the collectives that are being put together around the talent,” he says.

“There’s obviously energy around Kwame and his music, there’s energy around ONEFOUR, Youngn Lipz, Hooligan Hefs, A.GIRL, Becca Hatch…all these artists have a lot of energy around them. The thing that excites me are the teams being built around them and how they handle themselves and work with each other to achieve their collective goals. That’s really inspiring because it’s never a one-person show, you know? It’s never just around the one person on stage or the person you see in the music video, it’s the team that’s around them.”

“The development of those skill sets is really exciting, whether it’s in film, photography, whether it’s in management, production – that is so solid,” L-FRESH continues.

“It’s so amazing and inspiring to see. The quality of the talent and the skills they have, coupled with the drive and ambition you get from being from the Area…that hustle and energy is unrivalled. All of that is a great recipe. There’s exciting things happening out here; it just means that for those coming up, there are faces and names that they know.

“Sometimes it can feel like they’ve thrown a fishing rod into the big wide ocean that is the music industry, and hope that someone from another city is going to find them and relate to them and be able to relate their stories effectively and clearly without any issues. Instead, in their own backyard now they’ve got these teams and crews, these collectives who are just having national and even international success as well that they can trust and rely on. That they know their story is being told in the truest way possible.”

Expressions are currently open for producers and promoters to stage events during Sound West next year, while pre-registration details for the event can be found at the official website.

UPDATE: The SOUND WEST Music + Tech conference has been rescheduled to August 23 – 28 2022.


Wednesday 30th March – Sunday 3rd April 2022

New Date: August 23 – 28 2022

City of Parramatta

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