COLUMN: Aaron Osborne (I Exist)

“Nobody Told Me

I noticed when looking back over my submissions for this column, that a majority of the posts so far have been fairly critical of certain elements of the current alternative music scene in Australia and haven’t really addressed the things that I like about it. Obviously, despite my complaining and critique of these things, I am active and I suppose contributing member of the Australian alternative music scene, and really enjoy being a part of it.

I have met most of my closest friends due to playing in a band or being friends with people who are in bands I’ve played with etc, and it has made for a really eclectic group of peers that I now associate with, and despite their differences from myself and each other, for the most part, this has made for an amazing environment to spend my teens and early adult years in. I have made a bunch of mistakes and learned a lot of awesome things, that I definitely would have done anywhere, but amongst the people I surround myself with, it’s been pretty chill – to put it lightly.

In addition to my sappy appreciation for my friends, one of the best things to come out of being in the band I play in, has been the opportunity to play a huge variety of shows, with a crazy amount of bands coming from different places, backgrounds and influence. I’ve somehow managed convince people that I Exist can and are happy to play with bands from pretty much any genre, and it’s been killer. If you had told me when we were starting our band in my Mum’s house, ripping off Tragedy and Eyehategod that we would one day play a festival with Public Enemy, I would have screamed “YEAH BOYYYYYYYY” and never thought of it again…but we did, and it ruled. Now, my point with all of this kinda show off-ey bit (yeah I’ve seen Flava Flav walking around an oval in Canberra wearing a clock trying to pick up 20 year olds, so what) is that playing mixed bill shows, festivals or house parties, generally has ruled.

With all shows, there are obviously going to be things about them that you don’t like, or don’t go according to plan, so I’m making a very bold statement here, I know, but really, I encourage everyone to try and break from the norm (as far as I see happening a lot) and attend, book and play shows with bands that may differ stylistically from what they perform or are used to. Now, I’m not going to say here that the band I play in is the only band that does this, nor am I going to try and pretend like we play these shows all the time and are the poster boys for constant line up diversity, but where possible, these are the types of things we love to be involved with. I see mixed bill shows as an opportunity for different types of bands to give a great opportunity for one another, one where people who may not have heard the other bands get a chance, and something that they may not be into initially, changes their minds live. I, for one, am of the general opinion that most music should be able to be viewed and enjoyed in a live performance, and as such, those performances should reflect the best version of that artist’s work. I would recommend anyone who wants to hear or check out the band I am in, to come see us live first and foremost…but if that’s not your thing, that’s fine too, that’s why we have the Internet.

Supporting your mates’ bands, and having shows that run along a theme is obviously fine, and I’m not here to tell anyone what to do, but I am just stating from personal experience, both performing and observing, mixing things up is the way to do this. It gives audience members some difference in the performances they are seeing, from musical styling to the performance’s themselves and it gives the performers the chance to shine and be their own entity on a line up. I love hearing that my friend’s metal band is playing on a hardcore show or our stupid band is playing a punk show, or on a festival in which we may not suit the general vibe of the line up, because we get to be ourselves and we get to show people who may not of heard us, what we are about and why they should pay attention to us while we look like galahs’ and play blues riffs for 30 minutes. Being different shouldn’t be frowned upon, and as a general swipe across our identities…that’s why we are a part of the “alternative” music scene anyway. Embrace the differences in your peers’ musical creations and support it in your own way, whether that is playing with them, watching them, or listening to them in your playlist of sick tunes on Spotify. Just don’t get trapped in doing the same old thing all the time, I can assure you that it gets boring real quick.


–       Aaron Osborne

Do you agree, disagree or maybe just have additional thoughts? Let Aaron (KYS username: AaronOsborne) know in the comments below.

Photo credit: Halley Kate

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