Industry Scoop: Aria Awards 2004
Exclusive Backstage Coverage
The 18th Annual ARIA Music Awards were held at the Sydney Superdome on October 17 and this columnist was there to capture all of the excitement on the red carpet and backstage. For the uninitiated, the ARIAs are Australia’s most prestigious music industry awards celebrating the achievements of Australian artists over the past year. More than 2000 music industry guests and 6000 fans turned up for the event, which was hosted by Rove McManus and broadcast on Network Ten.
This year’s awards will be remembered for three letters – J-E-T! As this column predicted last month, Jet absolutely cleaned up on the night taking away a whopping six gongs in total on the back of the success of their debut album, Get Born. The Melbourne four-piece, who restored hard-rocking riffs and anthems to chart glory, scored awards for Best Album, Best Group, Best Rock Album, Breakthrough Artist – Album (Get Born), Breakthrough Artist – Single (“Are You Gonna Be My Girl") and the prestigious Single of the Year for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” There were mixed feelings backstage however when brothers Nic and Chris Cester talked about their father’s recent passing.
“It’s a shame obviously that Dad couldn’t be here tonight. I don’t know if he gets Channel Ten where he is at the moment, but I hope he’s watching,” said Nic.
They also sung their praises for legendary Australian outfit The Easybeats. They said, “Everybody knows “Friday On My Mind,”’ but the Easybeats probably inspired us in more ways than what we usually get tagged with. It’s because that scene existed at that time that made us want to be in a band.” A supergroup featuring Nic Cester on vocals (with members of other ARIA nominated bands such as The Living End, Dallas Crane and Spiderbait) closed the show with a cover of the Stevie Wright (Easybeats) classic “Evie (Part 1)” as a tribute to the singer. Chris Cester said of the performance, “That whole thing’s all about just trying to get everyone together and making this huge thing so that rock ‘n’ roll is #1 again, because it should be.” And that’s just the way it panned out on the night for the band who took away all the big awards.
Roots music also received some recognition on the night with the John Butler Trio taking away three awards for Best Blues and Roots Album and Best Independent Release for Sunrise Over Sea, while John Butler himself was surprisingly named Best Male Artist. The singer said, “Roots music you know - it’s good to see it get the recognition that it deserves. Without roots music there wouldn’t be rock ‘n’ roll so it’s good to see there’s an appreciation for it out there.” Butler, who releases his albums independently in this country also joined in on the debate of major record companies versus the independents. He said, “I’m very proud to be independent but I’m independent just because that’s just the way it works for me. I’m signed overseas – I just signed a record deal overseas. I don’t think any one is better than the other as long as artists have complete 100% creativity/control, which a lot of artists don’t get, but I have with my record deals overseas. Business and music – I think it’s very essential for all musicians to have a business mind about them. Otherwise they’re going to get screwed in some way or another.”
Kasey Chambers also had a successful night, walking away with the Best Country Album for the chart-topping Wayward Angel, and against the odds took out Best Female Artist for the same release. Backstage she could barely contain her excitement, speaking of how rewarding it is to have success on her own terms. She said, “I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to stick to your guns and do what you do. You don’t have to compromise what you do in order to get success. That’s probably the biggest thing I am proud of in my career being able to do that. You know, still play the music that I love and I’ve been really lucky in that there are a fair few people out there that like it.”
The queen of the 2003 ARIAs, Delta Goodrem, also managed to take home an award despite not having released any new material over the year. Innocent Eyes was crowned the Highest Selling Album for the 2nd year in a row, which is a rare feat. But backstage, Delta was more excited about talking up her new album, Mistaken Identity. She said, “The new album has a lot of songs that I really felt I just had to be completely honest, and talk about the experiences from the past year and reflect on everything that was going on. But then also, there are some positive songs on there saying, you know what, I’m still singing, I’m here again at the ARIAs with everybody and it’s fantastic.” Delta performed the first single off the album, “Out Of The Blue,” on the night for the first time anywhere in the world, but the performance was a major topic of discussion on her website in the days after the event with many fans criticising it. Delta flew out to London (where most of the album was recorded) in the week after the awards, but will be back in time to promote the new album. She said, “I really look forward to people hearing it because seeing as there has been a lot of discussion around it, I felt that I already put all my thoughts and feelings into this music.”
Missy Higgins also joked about her success this year after picking up the Best Pop Release for “Scar”. She said, “I don’t think it’s going to buy five star hotels, but I think I might have moved up a little bit from the backpacking hostels. I hope so anyway. I’m a bit over the flea bites.” Previously discovered by Triple J’s unearthed, she revealed that she took a break after winning the competition. She said, “I went backpacking around Europe after I’d signed to my record label. I just kind of knew that I needed the time off, because everyone was telling me like you get started in the music industry and once the ball starts rolling, it’s hard to stop. So it was something that I’d been saving up for that I really wanted to do. I’m glad I did it.”
Guy Sebastian, a wide-eyed Australian Idol at last year’s ARIA Awards, won Highest Selling Single for “Angels Brought Me Here” and Channel [V]’s Oz Artist of the Year. According to the bro with the fro, the past year has been all about learning. He said, “It’s been a really short time, but I’ve learned so much. I’ve been overseas making my album. I think I’ve learned that not everyone gets the opportunity that I’ve had. My record company basically gave me a budget and said go and do your album and kind of just gave me free rein to do what I like, and along the journey I’ve learned so much.” He was also very thankful to the Australian public for voting him the Australian Idol last year. He said, “I was fortunate enough to go on Idol. I know it’s copped a lot of flak. But you know I’m so proud to have been voted by the people - that matter to me.”
Congratulations to all of the winners at the 2004 ARIA Music Awards - the full list of which can be found below:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Jet Get Bore
SINGLE OF THE YEAR - Jet “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”
BEST GROUP - Jet Get Born
BEST MALE ARTIST - John Butler Sunrise Over Sea
BEST FEMALE ARTIST - Kasey Chambers Wayward Angel
HIGHEST SELLING SINGLE - Guy Sebastian “Angels Brought Me Here”
HIGHEST SELLING ALBUM - Delta Goodrem Innocent Eyes
BEST POP RELEASE - Missy Higgins “Scar”
BEST ROCK ALBUM - Jet Get Born
BEST URBAN RELEASE - Koolism Part 3 Random Thoughts
BEST BLUES & ROOTS ALBUM - John Butler Trio Sunrise Over Sea
BEST DANCE RELEASE - Infusion “Girls Can Be Cruel”
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM - Kasey Chambers Wayward Angel
BEST ADULT CONTEMPORARY ALBUM - Paul Kelly Ways & Means
BEST CHILDREN’S ALBUM - Hi-5 Holiday
BEST COMEDY RELEASE - Scared Weird Little Guys Bits and Pieces
BEST INDEPENDENT RELEASE - John Butler Trio ‘Sunrise Over Sea’
BEST MUSIC DVD - Midnight Oil Best Of Both Worlds
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST – ALBUM - Jet Get Born
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST – SINGLE - Jet Are You Gonna Be My Girl
Fine Arts Awards
BEST CLASSICAL ALBUM - Teddy Tahu Rhodes The Voice
BEST JAZZ ALBUM - The Necks Drive By
BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK/CAST/SHOW RECORDING - David Bridie Nautical Forlorn
BEST WORLD MUSIC ALBUM - Seaman Dan Perfect Pearl
BEST COVER ART - James Hackett for The Dissociatives by The Dissociatives
BEST VIDEO - James Hackett for “Somewhere Down The Barrel” by The Dissociatives
ENGINEER OF THE YEAR - Paul McKercher for A Song Is A City by Eskimo Joe
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR - Paul McKercher and Eskimo Joe for A Song Is A City by Eskimo Joe
Eskimo Joe, Pete Murray, The Dissociatives, Dan Kelly & The Alpha Males, Dallas Crane and The Cat Empire all went away empty handed on the night despite having multiple nominations each. One has to feel for Pete Murray in particular, who was nominated in five categories and thoroughly deserved an award for the major success of his debut album, Feeler, which is still charting after more than 15 months in the Top 50. As predicted by this column last month, Shannon Noll also missed out despite having the year’s highest selling single in “What About Me” and one of the year’s highest selling albums in That’s What I’m Talking About.
*The Black Eyed Peas revealed their plans to release a new album in February 2005. They said, “Rhythmically it’s a lot faster and more aggressive. It’s kinda like a combo of Hey Mama & Lets Get Retarded combined. Also on the record we got James Brown – the godfather of soul. We also collaborated with Sting.” And commenting on the pressure to follow up the huge success of Elephunk, they said, “We just go in the studio and make music. We write songs everyday. It’s not really a struggle. You don’t really compare it. There’s always going to be a situation that you want to release. That’s what it’s about. It’s releasing that pain.” 2005 is shaping up to be a big year for the group who will not only be celebrating their 10th year anniversary but also plan to come back to Australia for another tour in March.
*The top 6 Australian Idol finalists also attended the big event. Finalist Chanel summed up the night when she said, “Well everything that’s happened on Australian Idol has been really bizarre and tonight was like another mad episode of Inside Idol.” When asked what she wanted to be as a kid, she said, “I wanted to be a princess because then I’d have people to clean up after me. But I said that while I was dusting…hehe.” When asked the same question, the height challenged Anthony said, “I still have to grow up,” while Marty said, “I was going to be like a crazed mad inventor. But that didn’t last very long.” Unfortunately for him, neither did his stint on Australian Idol as he was voted out the following night. Courtney on the other hand said, “I always wanted to be a rock star.” He will soon find out whether that dream will become a reality with the winner of Australian Idol being announced later this month.
*Australian Idol runners up from 2003 Shannon Noll and Cosima also came in for a chat. Shannon said of the current idols, “I think they’re all great kids. They’re all very talented so good luck to them.” Cosima on the other hand spoke about her decision to leave Australian Idol. She said, “I really believe that everything happens for a reason. If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have been where I am today.“ She added, “The supporters, they were absolutely amazing from the moment that I left. Australians have an amazing capacity to just bond together and they really showed their affection for me when I left.” She also spoke about the decision to release her album independently. She said, “It might take a bit longer and it might be slightly harder but I’m doing what I love and at the end of the day that’s what’s important and I’ve done an album that I can be proud of.”
*Jimmy Barnes and Chris Cheney (The Living End) also revealed that they have collaborated on a track called “Resurrection Shuffle” for the forthcoming Jimmy Barnes 2UP album. Cheney spoke about the union as well as his involvement in the supergroup that performed ‘Evie’. He said, “It actually feels really good to be playing guitar with someone other than the other two guys in my band because I’ve never really done it so it’s actually quite refreshing to be playing with other musicians and stuff for a change. It’s been really great. Also, the thing we did with Jimmy too - we’ve never really done anything like that before. We learned so much from recording - especially with Jimmy. It was probably the quickest most fun kind of recording session we’ve done because we wanted the best result so that says it all right there.” Barnes added, “I think it’s a great thing for bands to get together because you always learn something.” Cheney also spoke about The Living End’s nomination for Best Rock Album for Modern Artillery. He said, “It’s actually good to be nominated for us because we’ve been overseas for most of this year. We released the album last October and then pretty much went overseas. We haven’t really been in the country promoting it as much as I would have liked but to get a nomination is actually a bit of a surprise.”
*Best Cleavage Award for the 2004 ARIAs goes to Tina Arena who joked about her Greatest Hits album being re-titled “Greatest Tits”…we’re with you on that one Tina! Honorable mentions go to Kate Ceberano, Katie Noonan, Tiffani Wood, and Nessa Morgan.
*Best Dressed Award goes to Sophie Monk who looked fantastic in her Lisa Ho dress. Honorable mention goes to Andrew Mercado from MAX who was dressed in a butcher’s outfit and happily posed for a photo with us.
*Spotted: Ian Thorpe texting away on his mobile phone at the afterparty at the Establishment.
*Also spotted: Guy Sebastian look-alike Aaron Lay who was last seen by this columnist trying to sneak in to the afterparty. Not only did he succeed, but he did well to convince some people that he was the real deal.
*Winners of the Best Dance Release Infusion have come out of the closet revealing that they’d like to remix The Wiggles track “Dorothy The Dinosaur.”
*After two years of touring for Get Born, Jet are ready to start writing for their next album. In the meantime, watch Channel [V] on the 13th & 14th of November from 12 noon EST for a world exclusive broadcast of a performance by the band.
*In the no names department, which high profile celebrity was spotted acting suspiciously in the bathroom at the start of the ceremony?
TOP 10 QUOTES
Here are the Top 10 quotes that this columnist was privy to backstage:
1. “It’s just bullshit that goes on afterwards. I don’t know what everybody else’s ulterior motive is but I just want to say hi to a few people and I actually want to go to bed.” Tina (‘Italians do it better’) Arena speaking about the afterparty.
2. “A year and a half ago, and even now, if someone told me that my song had went in the Top 100, I’d be doing cartwheels for months.” Guy Sebastian on the #1 success of “Angels Brought Me Here”.
3. “Appreciation is majorly appreciated and that kind of appreciation is surreal. I wasn’t expecting that.” John Butler on picking up three awards for the Sunrise Over Sea album.
4. “One thing we did was when we realised that nobody was coming to see us play, we just made it all about the songwriting. We just kind of locked ourselves away and made sure we honed our craft and all that sort of shit.” Jet on their early days.
5. “I like the fact that they, when they recorded their music, you don’t know if it was made today or if it was made in the 60s. They really nailed it. They wrote good songs not really concerned about what today’s “popular” standards are to get on the radio.” Black Eyed Peas giving props to Jet.
6. “We worked hard at pushing Australian music, home-grown in the suburbs of Melbourne, and we sold it around the world. And we’re still very proud of that and opened the door for lots of other people that came behind us and still continues on now. Australia is now a completely international musical country and we played our small part.” The classic line up of the Little River Band after being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
7. “Australia is always my home and that’s where I will always base myself definitely. And I’ve got my dogs and I’ve got my family and everything so I always come home here…I will be spending a little bit of time overseas but Australia is my base.” Delta Goodrem still calls Australia home.
8. “A year ago I would have never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be here right now.” Missy Higgins commenting on her success.
9. “Hip hop is really taking off and people are catching on to something that really is Australian.” Koolism on their Best Urban Release award win.
10. “I think there’s just been a lack of alcohol tonight.” Eskimo Joe sum up the night.
GIVEAWAY: CHICKS WITH DECKS @ DCM
One of the UK’s most successful female DJs, Jessica Joy, has been announced as the headline act at the upcoming Chicks With Decks extravaganza - to be held on Saturday November 13 at Oxford Street's UN Nightclub (DCM). Jessica Joy, who has also played under the “Seraphim” moniker, has held various residencies in the UK and has performed all over the world - including a blistering set in front of 10,000 people at Sydney’s Field Day in 2002. She will be joined by DJ Trinity and some special guests who will be taking clubbers on a wild musical journey at one of Sydney's most popular venues. The event, which was founded in mid 2004, aims to showcase the finest female talent in an industry that is dominated by males. The next one is shaping up to being an even bigger and better spectacle than ever before! We have some exclusive VIP passes to giveaway to those who email firstname.lastname@example.org. This will entitle you to FREE entry and FREE cocktails on the night so make sure to email your details through. Don’t miss CHICKS WITH DECKS at UN Nightclub (33 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst) on November 13.