The Wollongong arts and music scene is far more supportive than larger cities like Sydney according to South Coast band The Escalators.
The blues-jazz-reggae group are about to launch their latest release “From the Hip” at North Wollongong’s newest live music venue Jane’s on Friday.
Guitarist Lachlan Mackenzie said each of the group’s four members had made their way to the Milton/Ulladulla area for a change of lifestyle.
He said each had “done the music scene” in Sydney, but found the Illawarra scene far more “strong and supportive”.
“Once you get to know people connections are made very quickly between bands, and bands to venues, from venues to photographers,” he said.
“It’s a real sense of community in the creative scene, different to other large cities like Sydney where it’s more competitive and isolating.”
The Escalators formed about six years ago, but mainly focused on wedding bookings and local performances.
Their current format - Mackenzie, singer Jenny Blunden, Brad Parsons on double bass and Hayden Moore on the drums - cemented about two years ago, and from there they decided to get more serious.
It’s a real sense of community in the [Wollongong] creative scene, different to other large cities like Sydney where it’s more competitive and isolating.Guitarist Lachlan Mackenzie
The four-piece recorded their first album “Felix” in 2014, before winning a local Fast Forwards arts grant a year later which enabled them to record their second effort in Nowra.
“Most people wouldn’t know but in the CBD of Nowra, next to the library, there’s a purpose built recording studio that’s been dormant for many years,” is said.
“A local engineer and producer called Syd Green has started working there.”
Mackenzie said the greatest thing about living on the South Coast was the amount of opportunity to be creative.
“It’s a more relaxed lifestyle and it’s easy to find the time and be in the right head space to be creative and enjoy the music. You don’t have so much of the grind and the hustle and bustle of being in Sydney,” he said.
“It frees up your mind really.”
The Escalators – “From the Hip” album launch, Jane’s Wollongong, Friday February 26th from 6pm.