The Astor Sessions

In 2018 from 3-5 August,  a group of ten Tasmanian musicians took over the iconic Astor Hotel to write, record, and share music, while receiving industry advice from some of the best in the business.  

The musicians were mentored by ARIA Award-winner Monique Brumby and Producer Ryan Farrington (AKA Akouo), along with national music industry professionals Grant Gillies and Richard Moffat.

The selected musicians were Anna Williams, Crystal Livermore, Beatrix Bouwman, Jackson Simpson, Jonathan Dieckfoss, Ruby Austin-Lund, Rhys Gray, Tom Fowkes and Finn Clarke.

The inaugural Astor Sessions was presented by Music Tasmania and Melbourne-based publisher Gaga Music and focussed on developing new opportunities for musicians through publishing and synchronisation in film, television, advertising and gaming. Tasmania has a thriving music scene however it can be difficult to make a living from music without leaving the island. The digital world has opened up a world of opportunities and landing a great sync can be a game changer.

We don’t have any music publishers based in Tasmania so partnering with Gaga Music is a way to build capacity and connections in this part of the music industry." 

According to the Founder and Director of Gaga Music, Grant Gillies: “Our model at Gaga is to be creative and give a song and songwriter every opportunity to find a home. We have a strong track record of sync successes across the globe working with leading directors production houses, advertising agencies and renowned music supervisors."

“Connecting creative communities is essential to the growth of the local industry in Tasmania. We hope that by starting these conversations and with the ongoing support of Music Tasmania the local industry continues to thrive”, Grant said.

Gaga Music also has a history of signing Tasmanian artists including Anthony Rochester, Tiger Choir, and more recently Maddy Jane, and A. Swayze and the Ghosts.

The Astor Sessions musicians worked with Moo Brew to interpret the ’sound of beer’ over the weekend as part of the creative development process. This was a unique chance for the musicians to expand their practice and understand how to work with a creative Tasmanian brand.

Grant Gillies has this to say about the process: 

"After watching the Tourism Tasmania commercial earlier this year and finding out it was almost entirely done out of Sydney I called my good friend Laura Harper at Music Tasmania with an idea. Let's get a bunch of composers, agencies, brands, and tourism officials together and get them talking. The catalyst for this was the intention of finding more local composers by putting on a three-day composer workshop hosted by the lovely Tilda at The Astor Hotel Hobart, and so was born the "Astor Sessions".

With Music Tasmania's tireless help we put the word out to the local music community and 10 lucky artists/composers were selected. All with varying degrees of experience and strengths, a good mix of classically trained from The Conservatorium of Music and local musicians jelled together beautifully. Next, with the artists organised, we had to create a purpose for the writing sessions.

To continue the collaborative nature of the Astor Sessions we enlisted the help of the fine folk at Moo Brew to set the task of finding "The Sound" of their delicious Stout. 

You can check out the final sync here

It was a very proud moment to see all of the composers involved rise to the occasion and produce such wonderful interpretations of the brand. It really is a great case in test to let the artist compose and enjoy the magic rather than trying to control the process... Stay tuned for more!"

This project is funded through a City of Hobart ‘Creative Hobart’ Grant and by APRA AMCOS.

Music Tasmania is assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts. 


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