It was a sunny spring evening when I first ventured to Live ‘n’ Lounging, Macarthur’s only dedicated event for original live music. As I walked through the side gate and made a donation to the bands, I was met by smiling faces and a intimate-sized crowd mingling. I was there to see Playwrite, a band from Melbourne who would soon be releasing their first album. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact expectations were exceeded – right down to album signings in the lounge room! It doesn’t get more intimate and genuine. I sat down with Live ‘n’ Lounging’s Kim Cochrane to learn about the endeavour.
NW: What is Live ‘n’ Lounging?
KC: Live‘n’Lounging is a not–for-profit house/garden gig series supporting Australian singer-songwriters and bands. The shows are held in our home (Kim & Bernie Cochrane) in the Macarthur region of Sydney. We have been running shows here for four years and had our 4th Birthday show last October (2015).
The shows are held monthly or bi-monthly, depending on what demands we have happening outside of Live’n’Lounging – family, work etc. They are held mostly on a Sunday afternoon – we find that time is best for us and the artists who play. Although we’d love to have Saturday night shows when we grow a larger audience, for now, the Saturday night is kept free for the artists to accept bigger, paying jobs elsewhere. (We only charge a donation upon entry and this is divided between the bands.
We sometimes have international artists playing as part of their Australian tour.
NW: Why did you start LnL?
KC: Back in October 2011, Matt Corby was doing a tour of Australia playing garden shows. We were fortunate enough to be included in that tour, although we weren’t call Live ‘n’ Lounging then. I had done merchandising for Matt previously and was a supporter of his music. A few months later another songwriter we had supported was touring and he asked to play in our home. We have been having these shows roughly every couple of months since.
NW: What encouraged you keep it going?
We have continued Live’n’Lounging for a number of reasons:
- Musicians love to play to an audience in an intimate setting where their music and the stories behind their songs are appreciated by music-lovers who give them the attention and respect they deserve.
- We are the only live music event in Macarthur which comes anywhere close to fitting the above requirements.
- Live’n’Lounging supports songwriters – those who have the creative talent to write their own songs and want to play them to people. We are not a ‘covers’ gig but do have musicians playing covers if they want, especially those at the beginning of their musical career. We know all musicians start off playing covers. We are the only event in Macarthur that runs all year mainly supporting songwriters; bands bring their original eps/albums/business cards.
- We are a venue which supports local songwriters and musicians. At most of our shows we try to have local, talented musicians supporting more established acts of the genre they play. Listening to musicians like Wes Carr (winner of 2008 Australian Idol) give a local guitarist who supported him a great rap, and advice that he will take with him in his future is very important to us at Live’n’Lounging. Local musicians connecting, chatting and taking photos with bands they have supported and love helps inspire them to follow their dreams.
- The punters who come to Live’n‘Lounging are music lovers , they come because of the music, the quality of artists we have playing, the atmosphere, setting, the friendly hosts who provide them with dinner, tea & coffee and many laughs. A lucky audience member may have a birthday song made up on the spot and sung to her by an amazing musician.
NW: Why did you choose to run LnL out of your own house?
KC: We choose to have Live’n’Lounging in our home because artists love house gigs, they prefer playing here as opposed to a pub/club where they are often ignored over the top of sports on TV, PA announcements, poker machine wins, call outs etc.
Our audience come to listen, enjoy, and interact with the musicians who play, not with the noise that happens at typical venues. We’d love to find somewhere else to hold the shows but so far haven’t found anywhere suitable. If we were a house show in the City we would probably have found many by now. (Kim goes to them so she knows).
NW: What can visitors expect from the LnL experience?
KC: A first-time visitor can expect to feel welcomed, have a comfortable seat and view of the show, enjoy connecting with other audience-members and artists if they want, and a night of beautiful and varied new music.
“I come to Live’n’Lounging because, unlike other venues, I feel so comfortable there. The people are friendly and inviting and there’s always yummy food. The atmosphere is perfect for listening to music, and there’s always a surprise with the music, something you never expected to hear.”
“I come to see quality original artists perform in an intimate setting with other like-minded music lovers and get an intimate insight into the artist and their music/stories.”
NW: Who has performed before? Do you have any favourite/highlight nights for you)?
KC: You can see list on past shows livenlounging.net for all artists that have played. Highlights – there are heaps of them, and for different reasons:
Matt Corby was the first to play here – he’s someone we have followed for many years and when your favourite musician plays a gig in your house, I’m sure everyone would agree it would have to be your best gig ever!
Stu Larsen, with Natsuki Kuarai & Bec Sandridge (the 2nd LnL show) was a special night! They gave our house gig a go, they came and played in Macarthur, not for the money or numbers coming, they were happy simply to play an intimate show where everyone listened. It was all about quality, not quantity.
Wes Carr, All Our Exes Live in Texas, Joe Mungovan, Jed Appleton ,Caitlin Harnett, James Van Cooper ,Jack Carty, Ciaran Gribbin, Elwood Myre, that’s just a few.
A big highlight for everyone who attended on the night was ‘Playwrite’ who are a Melbourne-based band. You just have to see them live to understand why they are so special, very spiritual. Please look them up and go to a show when they come your way.
Most of the artists who have played Live n Lounging (with the exception of local up-and-coming musicians) have played festivals and have had their music aired on radio stations like Triple J/Double J, Unearthed.
NW: How do you choose artists/bands to play?
KC: About 50% email us asking to play. Others we will ask after going to small gigs and hearing artists play live and hope they like playing house shows, then usually they’ll know other musicians who want to play and so on.
At first it was us asking musicians to play. No one emailed us, being in Macarthur, not many had heard of it. Now that we have been running for over four years people know about the show and recommend us as a venue for a house concert.
They see we are not-for-profit, we never make any money – we actually lose a little every show, along with our volunteers who buy or cook food which we give for free to everyone who comes.
We pay the artists any donation that comes in the door. The musicians who play see the amount of work we do for every show and appreciate what we are doing for live music in Macarthur and in general.
NW: What do visitors have to look forward to in 2016?
Some of the best upcoming musicians/ songwriters in Australia playing live here in Macarthur and every show is unique .Variety is something we aim for if possible in every show. Also a few big names thrown in when we can attract them.
We will be holding some shows in different locations this year and are on the hunt for some interesting places around Macarthur while still keeping the beautiful atmosphere of the house show we have. Any home that would love to host a Live’n’Lounging show, please get in touch.
We are booking now 6months ahead which makes it difficult as so many are wanting to play and we’d love to have them all. We always try and support the local musicians with booking them in.We are at the stage now of advising visitors to email or text us quickly to grab a seat, we definitely are growing!
NW: What is the ultimate dream for LnL?
- To move the show out to a small, live music venue in Macarthur, similar to Rad Bar (formerly Yours and Owls) in Wollongong so that we can cater for a larger variety of genres than what we do now; a venue where local musicians can have a regular gig every week as they support the interstate, international and experienced musicians who want to play Macarthur. It is how areas like Wollongong are growing in their music culture, lots of bars, cafes, venues supporting original music from all over.
- Other Macarthur residents hosting musicians in their own home/backyard. Holding shows in empty spaces, business premises, wherever people are wanting to hear live music (acoustic/unplugged shows where excessive noise is an issue).
- To be accepted by more people in Macarthur, to have the people of Macarthur talking about us, being excited for this beautiful event we are putting on in their home town. We don’t have the plague, be proud of us! People involved in music in the city talk about us, spreading the word on what we’re doing in Macarthur. Musicians in the City and Wollongong are spreading the word to their friends, they are now saying ‘come and play’ – remember we don’t charge them anything, no venue hire fees, sound engineer hire fees, merchandising fees – all the money that comes in is donated back to the artists.We wonder where are the people involved in music in Macarthur? Where are the music teachers of the local musicians who are playing? We’d love to have them here, showing their students some fantastic songwriters/bands/musicians we have playing here, they could be talking to them, learning off them etc.
- We have had some fantastic support from local radio station 103.FM, particularly Dave Anger and Mike Hayes. We would love to see more support/attendance from local radio station people.
- We’ like to find someone who would want to take over Live n Lounging in Macarthur when we move on and take it to other areas as we travel in our retirement. We haven’t found anyone as yet who loves live original music and wants it in Macarthur as much as us, that’s a dream we’d love – for every child wanting and learning to play music in Macarthur who may themselves dream of being in a band and playing their own songs live around the world .
NW: We have had several conversations before about the potential of the region, but what do you love about the Macarthur Region?
The natural beauty of the area, the rivers and bushland, the Mt Annan Botanic Gardens, and the drive into Campbelltown off the M5 with the colour of the plants along the road is a beautiful welcome to anyone visiting Macarthur. The people who live in Macarthur. The outdoor eatery at Macarthur Square which can cater for markets and buskers. The shops – there’s no need to go outside of Macarthur for most things. The small businesses of Macarthur who work hard to give Macarthur families & visitors the best quality and service in their particular industry. The many sporting clubs, playgroups, dance/music tutors and teachers who help give Macarthur children a wide variety of experiences, skills and a fun active lifestyle while growing up.
You can find Live ‘n’ Lounging on facebook, instagram and through their website. Upcoming show is on Sunday 21st February, 2016.