REVIEW + PICS: EMCPlay | Sydney CBD

Written By Sam Murphy on 12/04/2015

There was a lot of talk this year at EMC about how strong the electronic music scene in Australia is right now. Flume, Hermitude, What So Not and even Tkay Maidza have been responsible for setting up a really strong scene here but, of course, in order for the scene to continue to flourish there needs to be a steady flow of new artists that are equally as good coming through.

The EMCPlay showcase of the conference, then, proved that there is that there is a plethora of new talent coming through some of which will likely be filling festival tents by next year. Over 30 artists were shared over four stages across the city with the most popular proving to be Taylor’s where punters were readying to see the most established of the bunch of acts - LDRU.

Industry showcases like this have the potential to feel awkward at the best of times but there was an energy thanks to outside punters that meant that even the acts earlier in the night had something to vibe off. R&B songstress Vanessa Elisha was an early favourite of the night. She’s been on our radar for a while but it was good to hear her vocals live in the flesh. On stage, she’s got a confident presence most likely fuelled by the fact that her voice is impeccable. It’s honey-soaked, malleably and full of texture giving tunes like her latest Out Of Time an added flavour. A Drake cover really got the crowd coming but she comfortably filled the set with her own originals. She’s one to watch not only locally but abroad too in the next year.

Down the road, Nicole Millar was debuting her live show for the first time armed with her latest single Wait. She opened with that single and while there were a few teething problem it didn’t take away from the fact that the song is a neon-drenched pearler likely to find huge favour on triple j. She followed that up immediately with a deconstructed version of Peking Duk’s High which replaced the club-ready energy with a more seductive allure that aligned more closely with the sonic palette of her set. The rest of the short set was filled with originals giving us a little snapshot into what’s in her arsenal. It looks like we should expect electronic bangers less for partying and more for vibing which is exactly what her voice suits.

Oscar Key Sung is certainly not a new name in electronic music but he’s one of the boundary-pushers on the scene and so his position at Play was welcomes. He looked the most comfortable out of any on the night, effortlessly controlling a one man set and throwing some smooth dance moves at the same time. His voice is brilliant but he never relies solely on that, choosing rather to take us on eccentric, electronic detours, chopping and changing tempos like the wind. Songs off his latest EP Altruism like Brush got people moving but All I Could Do completed the home run.

The success of Set Mo’s White Dress makes it feel like they’ve been around for a long time but in the eyes of many they still are new artists. They bolted down from Oxford Art Factory where they were supporting Duke Dumont and Claptone to play their showcase and arrived to a hungry room of people ready to devour their house-flavoured beats. Their sets always feel uncalculated and joyous with it taking almost no time for people to start raising their hands to the air. The new single Chasing Forever sounds as euphoric as you’d expect played out loud while those piano keys in White Dress are always certain to get people going. These guys are definitely ones to watch in 2016. If they keep delivering the tunes like they have they’ll be playing to some mammoth crowds come next year’s festival season.

EMC came to a triumphant end with LDRU who packed punters into a sweaty, small room. After Carmada took of it seemed doubtful that he’d ever be able to go back to his solo project and have enough success to justify being away from Carmada. His EMC set disapproved that. The crowd absolutely loves him - they moved with him on every drop, getting sweatier with each. His own track Keeping Score is one of the best local releases of the year and a strong Hottest 100 contender. Hearing it out loud only fuelled that speculation.

There’s so much talk about how good the Australian electronic scene is that it’s often disappointing not to see clubs full of a weekend particularly in Sydney. EMCPlay meant that the scene put its money where its collective mouth is. It was brimming with young talent and what’s even better is it had the people there to see it. People excited about music and that’s always energising to see.

Photos by Brayden Smith (BCS Imaging) for the interns.