Introducing the artists of Hiccup: A Sydney-based sustainable art party

Sydney’s Sam Eacott and Issy Phillips have recently joined forces for Hiccup: a direct response creative collective working to fight the climate emergency with music and art. Their aim is to create and produce sustainable events that also act as spaces for discussion and growth.

Their first event, Hiccup At The Bowlo, is taking place this Saturday, August 3 as part of the Inner West Council’s EDGE Sydenham arts program.

Hiccup have teamed up with the Marrickville Bowling Club for the party with all proceeds from the event going to Friends of the Earth Australia, a grassroots network who campaign for solutions to urgent environmental problems.

All artworks and performances at their first event will use exclusively borrowed, recycled and repurposed materials. Marrickville community favourites Reverse Garbage will be donating materials for the artists to use, with a percentage of the profits going back to RG.

The lineup is a stellar one, and sees Hiccup rounding up a diverse range of local environmentally conscious voices and artists. We caught up with a few acts on the lineup, GLORydeen and Jhassic, to talk about the music industry and sustainability, and speak about how their art intersects with their environmentalism and their politics.

You can catch Hiccup also broadcasting monthly on Sydney’s new online radio station, Nomad Radio. Listen back to the first episode below.

GLO

What do you feel are some of the most pressing environmental issues for the music industry right now?

Festival’s would be an example. We need to really be aware of the spaces that we use, of the Indigenous land that we use, and the rubbish that’s left after those festivals. We need to really understand that we’re given, I guess we work for, a spot to be musicians, but when we’re at a place where we’ve got a bigger platform, or reach a bigger audience, we need to understand the implications of not keeping the land clean and safe, and also understand how to be respectful of the connection to the land that we’re using.

You’ve been chosen to perform at Hiccup due to your political, social and environmental consciousness. How do you stay engaged?

I am a fucking avid article reader. I have a lot of friends in my life who are switched on, so we’re always talking. Conversations are so important to me. Keeping up to date with what’s going on nationally and internationally via the internet, via conversations is key. I guess sometimes even social media can have its perks, in that I’ll follow certain pages or blogs that are woke, that’s always a plus.

I don’t want to put you on the spot, but do you have any favourites?

I love me some Blavity. There’s another called Refinery29. I love me some Grapevine too. They’re on Instagram, but they’ve got a Youtube channel and they have these amazing panel discussions where they grab a bunch of brown and black folk in America and they have discussions about everything, from abortion to sex work. Everything!

What can electronic music do about the climate crisis? On a micro and macro level?

There’s so many ways to approach that because I feel like as entities, we can do so much. We have an opportunity to send messages to an audience. I really feel like live music, music altogether and artistry really needs to be implemented in the schooling system, because that’s how we get our kiddies young, get into their consciousness about keeping the environment safe, and sustainable ways to keep everything afloat and not fuck shit up for future generations. So I feel like we’re kind of doing it. I haven’t written any songs about saving the planet.

I don’t think you have to though, you as a person are politically engaged and that’s enough.

I think speaking on it when you’re doing your shows and when you’re speaking to people after your shows is important, but if there was some way to really link government structures and live music altogether, so we’re starting to educate our kiddies young, we’ll be on it.

How do your art, politics and environmentalism intersect?

My art comes from my heart and my soul. It gives me perspective when I look into how politics sculpts itself globally and nationally. So I think that there’s always heart in when I’m looking and searching for answers, like okay, how can I do daily deeds to not fuck up the planet, essentially. I’m always wanting to connect my consciousness, my heart, my soul, my mind, my intension through my art, through what I educate myself on politically and how I educate myself environmentally.

What’s going on for you right now?

I perform with these really cool guys, Mystics, Jonti and Jono Ma. We’ve written a song together and I performed that with them at Splendour In The Grass, which was incredible. We have some shows coming up, but I can’t say much at this stage. Keep your eye out for November or December.

We need to release some music and we’ve been sitting on it for a while, so there might be some visuals in the bag too.

RYDEEN

What do you feel are some of the most pressing environmental issues for the music industry right now?

I think addressing political inaction, which is kind of just absorbed within everything. I guess as a cultural platform, music has a responsibility to do that and be vocal about that. While individual action is obviously super important, if you look at the majority of waste and pollution, it’s coming from industrial manufacturing. You can mediate your own output, but unless you’re taking political action, it’s kind of like a bit of a half-ass attempt. I think musicians have a responsibility to use their platform to be vocal about that.

You’ve been chosen to perform at Hiccup due to your political, social and environmental consciousness. How do you stay engaged?

Everyone has a responsibility to do their own research on it. Often, you can do that all you want, but I think in terms of meaningful action, it definitely feels worthwhile to still take labour action, like old school representation, power in numbers, rally business and actually showing up. I think putting your money where your mouth is too: if you work for someone who is involved with oil companies, even if it’s just at the uni that you attend, you have a responsibility to represent your beliefs there and not just let it slide. Often, those kind of structures, whether it’s a rally or information session, it can be a good way to get past a lot of the bullshit and actually interact with the source of information, rather than having it clouded by the media.

It’s really hard in the context of job casualisation and platform jobs like Uber and stuff to have traditional labour representation, but that shit’s still super important. It still gets things done.

How do your art, politics and environmentalism intersect?

I definitely wouldn’t play a show for an oil company [laughs]. I don’t know if it does as much as I would like it to, or as much as a lot of people would believe it would. There’s totally like a wastage to parties and entertainment, especially in an underground dance music scene. Even doofs, the leave no trace thing is an ideology but it’s not put into practice. It seems like a vague, iffy ideology that isn’t really followed up on. I don’t know, I think maybe something like this has that philosophy, but is actually actioning it by putting it at the forefront.

I think if there’s an example of a party that, I would like to think that if this as an event can be a proof, or exist as an example that that’s something that you can follow up on and maybe other people will adopt it. Like safe space policies. That was the kind of forefront of particular underground music scenes for quite a while. At the start of that, that was the main point of those parties, and it’s spread out from that and become ubiquitous in a lot of underground dance scenes and club events, and it’s been absorbed in all of the structures of how the clubs are run. You don’t have to have that as the core ideology of the party, which should be the intention.

What can electronic music do about the climate crisis? On a micro and macro level?

On a micro level, it’s a totally different set of questions. No one involved in this event is flying overseas to play shows, no one is playing big festival events where people are travelling to it and there’s a huge carbon footprint involved in the actual structure of it.

Reducing the individual waste items from the event is good, but they also serve as kind of effective places to have conversations about it and to foreground certain work and dialogue around it. It’s equal parts important to have the action and then the talk around it, in a micro instance. At a very basic level, it’s a place for people to have conversations.

What’s going on for you right now?

I’m playing a few shows coming up, on the night before Hiccup I’m playing Isa’s club night Athletica which I’m really excited for. I’m currently hosting Spin The Bottle with Johnny Lieu on FBi and there are recurring guests for that every week. I’m always excited about the people coming on, mostly because there’s a mix of up and coming artists and established artists, so it’s exciting to put them on the same platform.

I’m working on new music which will probably come out towards the end of the year or early next year.

JHASSIC

What do you feel are some of the most pressing environmental issues for the music industry right now?

It’s like this thing where you’ve got to do your bit everyday, right? Keep cups, we got rid of straws. I was at Childish Gambino the other night, and you know when you exit from the arena and there’s a trash field? You’re walking and there’s just like a sea of plastic. That’s where we come in. This is an indication of our consumption of plastics.

With the drinks thing, we’ve moved from glass because that was a violence thing, but we always change with the times and I think with this new outlook of ‘Oh, our planet’s pretty much fucked in 30 years’, we have to make a statement here now. We can push culture, we can talk about these things and people who are artsy and care about shit will gravitate towards this now. It’s kind of corny, but it’s making it cool. It’s making awareness cool.

You’ve been chosen to perform at Hiccup due to your political, social and environmental consciousness. How do you stay engaged?

By being honest. The worst thing you can do is go around and think that you’re better than everyone else. There are so many ways we’re becoming informed these days. So many ways of correcting our behaviour and becoming informed and doing our research. Yeah it can be a bit much, but you kind of just have to be humble about it and be positive.

I feel like having a party like this is such a good, wholesome message that’s not shoving it down your throat.

What can electronic music do about the climate crisis? On a micro and macro level?

I feel like with macro, Hiccup is saying something. Micro is also really important. There are so many wonderful artists who are exhibiting at Hiccup who are using materials that are recycled, so we can get creative. It doesn’t have to be mundane. Life’s short, we’re all going to die. We might as well be cool with it.

In terms of music, we have a good time and we clean up and probably use methods and ways that are minimising our footprint.

How do your art, politics and environmentalism intersect?

To be honest, this is one of the first times where I’m explicitly doing this for this cause and doing this in such a political way, above ground. I wouldn’t say my music – I don’t have any lyrics or songs that explicitly say that, but it’s all about the message. Get behind something like this. At the end of the day, everyone is an influencer of some sort. It’s a good message to send.

I think your art definitely is political. I’ve noticed it’s been heading in that direction.

At the end of the day, we can’t really say that we’re this or we’re that. As everyone moves on, I really like to make art and I really like to make people dance and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes at the same time.

What’s going on for you right now?

There’s a whole bunch of gigs, but what I’m trying to do is compile my culture and all of the traditional sounds that I’ve heard before in my childhood, like stuff that I could show to my friends and they’d be like ‘Oh yeah, I recognise this, my grandma used to play it’, and flip it like Kaytra would. I want to start parting to the shit that we’ve repressed, and parting and celebrating parts of ourselves that we might not have put at the forefront. Yeah, just being proud of who we are. Releases and projects that ascertain to that.

That’s recycling in itself.

HICCUP
Saturday, August 3
From 8PM
Marrickville Bowling Club
Tickets via Humanitix

MUSIC FROM
GLO (LIVE)
Roy Batty Jr. (LIVE)
Hei Zhi M
Lorna Clarkson
Eddy Diamond
Jhassic
Rydeen
Hei Zhi Ma 黑芝麻

ART FROM
Radha La Bia
Anna Mould
Guy Grey
Jaz Allen
Dylan PF
Lucy McCullough
Jake Starr
Corey Black
Miski Omar
Issy Phillips
Sam Eacott

Interviews & photos by CAITLIN MEDCALF

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About:

No idea where she’ll be in 10 years, but as long as she has a good record and a glass of white wine, she’ll be sweet.