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Chained to the rhythm

Music's emotional power and our obsession with it stems from our need to regulate emotions. It transports, influences, and uplifts us. Chosic helps di...
Credit: Maya Salim, Music as Enlightenment.

For many of us, platforms like iTunes and Spotify can be our solace. Whether it be plugging in your headphones or air pods for some tunes while studying, heading to class, or riding the shuttle home.

Why is that? And what is up with our obsession with music? Well, put simply, it is because we are emotional creatures.

That is exactly why we have a dozen break up playlists ready for the broken-hearted to purposely feel miserable. Or those classical jazz playlists to make us feel lavish while we sip cheap wine.

For many of us, platforms like iTunes and Spotify can be our solace. Music can transport us to a different state of mind, whether it be plugging in your headphones or air pods for some tunes while studying, heading to class, or riding the shuttle home.

Why is that? And what is up with our obsession with music? Well, put simply, it is because we are emotional creatures.

That is exactly why we have a dozen break-up playlists ready for the broken-hearted to purposely wallow in misery or those classical jazz playlists to make us feel lavish while we sip cheap wine.

The point is – people love to feel complex emotions, and music can provide the space to dive into these emotions. We often turn to music in times of psychological distress as an outlet to moderate, exacerbate or alleviate a certain emotion.

The process of engaging with music to regulate our emotions is known as emotion regulation. It is essentially when someone consciously or unconsciously makes an effort to influence which emotions they have, how they have them and when to express them. Using music, people can regulate and influence their emotions in several ways.

A standard way people try to regulate their emotions through music is by choosing their tunes based on the situation they’re experiencing. Many of us actively seek suitable songs that support, control, or change our current emotional state. It’s no wonder we have a multitude of playlists for every occasion.

But can we harness music for the benefit of our mental health?

Recent studies highlight the prevalence of anxiety and affective disorders, such as depression in Australia. In fact, researchers highlight that those in a depressed mood or have depression tend to gravitate towards sad music, worsening their predicament by amplifying these negative emotions. These behaviours can throw us off in a loop, ruminating or suppressing emotions, especially when faced with challenging situations.

Fortunately, these three strategies that can help circumvent these loops for everyone, whether you experience psychological symptoms or not!

  1. EVALUATIVELY CONDITIONED MUSIC 

Do you have that one song that lifts your spirits no matter the situation? Chances are, you associate it with a positive event or memory, and the mere sound of it evokes a happy emotion. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by revisiting songs that you associate with a positive experience when feeling low.

  1. EMOTIONAL CONTAGION VIA MUSIC 

Our minds tend to mirror the emotions that are expressed in the music we listen to. Somber music evokes sombre emotions, and cheerful music evokes cheerful emotions – which means that one can alter their state of emotion simply by modifying what they listen to.

If you frequently listen to songs that make you sad, try experimenting with different lively genres to evoke a more positive emotion. You’ll be surprised by the impact a change in musical mood can have on your overall well-being.

  1. MUSIC AND VISUAL IMAGERY 

Music has a way of triggering mental images that enhance our emotional experience. The presence of mental images can become a therapeutic tool for listeners, stimulating experiences of floating in the presence of happy music, or self-reflection in the presence of unhappy music. By finding songs with lyrics that evoke joyful or pleasant images, you can help you temporarily escape your negative thoughts.

In the end, music is not the ultimate solution to all negative emotions, but it can act as a good buffer in psychological distress or as a quick fix after a long day.

Check out Chosic, a music genre finder to check out the levels of happiness and energy of your music taste and more!

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ZPLUTO takes over Western Sydney’s Ones To Watch Showcase

Live Nation’s Ones To Watch Showcase hits Parramatta’s Albion Hotel on Thursday 26 August. The showcase will see the works of ZPLUTO, who is bound...
ZPLUTO poses in a green light
ZPLUTO will bring his musical talent to the Ones To Watch showcase this week. Photo: Supplied

Live Nation’s Ones To Watch Showcase hits Parramatta’s Albion Hotel on Thursday 25 August. The showcase is part of the inaugural SOUND WEST festival, a week-long celebration of music and technology, highlighting Western Sydney’s talent. The showcase will see the works of ZPLUTO, who is bound to ignite a flame of excitement from audiences and become moved by his electric mix of music.

ZPLUTO’s laid back energy is mixed with a fiery combination of hip-hop, pop and alternative sounds to deliver a noticeable impact in the Australian music scene. Born in New Zealand, the musical talent is now making waves across Australia with a particularly strong presence in Western Sydney.

ZPLUTO is eager to get back on stage on Thursday night, ready to bring his electric presence into the heart of Parramatta. ZPLUTO will be performing alongside artists Shanae and ESHAAN.

“I can’t wait to reconnect with fans, show them my new tunes, bring that energy to show the people what ZPLUTO is all about,” he says.

“It’s crazy working with Live Nation on this campaign, I feel blessed to be a part of it.”

The SOUND WEST festival is giving an opportunity for the talent of Western Sydney to unite. A region that has been previously bound by stereotypes, the event is a cause for celebration of dynamics and representation of the area.

“I see the stereotype slowly changing to be honest. There’s always more to do in terms of the representation of BIPOC Artists on their come up in Australia, but Western Sydney is so diverse, it’s a melting pot of creatives finding and developing their style,” says ZPLUTO.

“It’s what I’m doing and it’s what Shanae and ESHAAN are doing. We are all just out here trying to better ourselves and the culture. It’s just time for the wider Australian music industry to look inwards at what’s going on under their noses, rather than trying to create carbon copies of what they’ve seen work internationally before. Individuality is everything to me, and it should be for people who care about music too.”

ZPLUTO appreciates the diverse field of artists that the industry brings. Collaboration and support are at the heart of his musical journey, taking the time to recognise fellow artists around him that he sees making changes across the music scene.

“I like what BBGB are doing at the moment. BLESSED, Kwame, BWise, Manu, Spacely – those dudes are fire. Seriously. I’m also a massive fan of what A.GIRL’s doing. She’s a mega talent.”

Ones To Watch showcases have previously been held across the country, an opportunity for music enthusiasts and industry professionals to connect and discover their new favourite artists. As an up-and-coming music scene, ZPLUTO enjoys being immersed in Western Sydney’s rich culture and is grateful for the support he has received particularly in the region.

“I love linking with people after my shows, it’s so revealing. Like, people actually listen to my art. We’ll always find a way to connect.”

The SOUND WEST Music + Tech Festival will see technology, music, creativity and learning come to life in a week-long program from August 20 to 28. Held in vibrant Parramatta, the week is sure to offer something for everyone, where the Ones to Watch showcase is just one of over 35 curated sessions, from keynote addresses to workshops and performances.

ZPLUTO’s performance is not to be missed as Western Sydney comes to life as a powerhouse of diverse musical talent. You can find out more about the SOUNDWEST festival here.

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A taste of Western Sydney’s music scene

Sydney, and particularly its West-end is becoming a thriving and evolving hub of talented musicians, fulfilling musical appetites with a diversity of ...
Sydney, and particularly its West-end is becoming a thriving and evolving hub of talented musicians, fulfilling musical appetites with a diversity of genres that matches its diversity of people. 

Don’t sleep on our Western Sydney and local Sydney artists, otherwise, you’ll be missing out on some great tracks that’ll keep you through the dreadful shuttle bus rides to your classes, or even better, finding parking at Parramatta South campus. Allow editors Dania Roumieh and Jostina Basta to take you on a melodic journey through Western Sydney’s music scene, giving you a unique taste of some of their artists. Get your iTunes or Spotify app ready to download some fresh new tracks, infused with some sweet and soulful R&B, and a mix of energetic and lively hip-hop, rap, and afro-beats.

Thandiwe Gudu. 22. Zimbabwean & South African.
@thqndi

Photo supplied by Thandiwe Gudu.
Have a listen to:
1. HUNNY
2. DEMONS
3. On The Table
What got you into the music scene? 

“My dad’s a musician, so music has always been a huge part of my life, and it’s been only natural for me to continue making music into adulthood. I’ve honestly been writing music, singing and performing since I was a kid. So when I finished high school I jumped right into any opportunity that came my way and in 2019 I decided to pursue a career as a solo artist.”

How would you best describe your music style?

“My music style is hugely influenced by Old School Soul, R&B and Hip-Hop genres. I like to take elements of Old School composition and put my own spin on it, and some electronic elements.”

What are the top 3 artists that you get your inspiration from? 

“Today, I’d say Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys and Anderson Paak.”

What do you hope to see in the Western Sydney music scene in the next 5 years?

“I’d like to see a thriving R&B and Hip-Hop scene that celebrates the diversity and real talent of what’s on offer – not just tokenistic diversity. I’d also like to see more opportunities for the many artists on the come up. There’s so much amazing underground music yet to be embraced by the wider community. I feel like so many people aren’t aware of all the damn good sh*t coming out of this country!”

Eugene Yaw Obeng. 23. Ghanian.
@yaw.doesitall

Photo supplied by Eugene Yaw Obeng.
Have a listen to:
1. Get it
2. ARMADILLO
3. Free Zone

What got you into the music scene? 

“Music and performance have always been a dream, but I started off taking photos for some local artists and, with that, got closer to the music.”

How would you best describe your music style?

“My music is eclectic and ever-evolving, and at its heart, it is filled with bright energy, flowery production, and witty lyricism that creates a progressive hip hop fusion sound.”

What are the top 3 artists that you get your inspiration from? 

“Tyler the creator, Kojey Radical and Brent Faiyaz.”

What do you hope to see in the Western Sydney music scene in the next 5 years?

“I think the audience needs to pay attention to all forms of art coming out. I think because we’re new, it’s easier for people to jump on waves and trends but I will love to see people listening through the sound and supporting those who have been around keeping the scene alive. There’s a lot of talent going to waste cos, not enough support is coming from the people around. And that’s to say we’re as important as their favourite international emcee’s. With this- I think we’ll be good.”

Kwame Agyeman. 29. Ghanian.
@therealchanje

Photo supplied by Kwame Agyeman.
Have a listen to:
1. PASSENGER
What got you into the music scene? 

“I actually didn’t start making music until 2 years ago. I’ve been an MC pretty much all my life, been all around Australia hosting clubs – Marquee, Ivy, Trademark, The Club. I was doing big shows, like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, The Game, Tory Lanez … it was good until I lost my way during those times”

Change adds “it wasn’t until I found my faithful life, and that’s where music came in. It’s all about telling people how great God is, through clothing, fashion, music and arts”

How would you best describe your music style?

“I don’t really have a genre, although I love hip hop and afro-beats. I’m very versatile with my sound.”

What are the top 3 artists that you get your inspiration from? 

“Guvna B, KB and Lacrea – all Christian artists”

“I think it’s a whole lot harder to be rapping about faith, but when it comes to secular music, you can rap about anything”. Nonetheless, Chanje adds that “the Lord finds ways to bring new ideas to stay creative the more you tap into him, the holy spirit and your faith”

What do you hope to see in the Western Sydney music scene in the next 5 years?

“I want to see revival, I want to see people’s lives getting changed, people getting off the streets, see the world helping each other to grow,” says Chanje.

Chanje emphasises his desire to see a revival in the music scene, sending faith-led messages that help support, build and edify others. Following the devastating effects of COVID-19, particularly mental health issues, Chanje ultimately hopes that such music will allow them to tap into living a righteous life.

Laani Jansen. 21. Sri-Lankan & Dutch
@laanij

Photo supplied by Laani Jansen.
Have a listen to:
1. SURRENDER 
What got you into the music scene? 

“My Dad was a big musician in Sri Lanka and continued music when he came to Australia, so I’ve been immersed in music from a young age and I’ve just loved it as long as I can remember.”

How would you best describe your music style?

“I find it hard to describe my music style because I like so many styles but I’d say I mostly sing soul/R&B music as well as pop/punk.”

What are the top 3 artists that you get your inspiration from? 

“My top 3 artists would have to be Harry Styles, Brendon Urie and Christina Aguilera.”

What do you hope to see in the Western Sydney music scene in the next 5 years?

“Well I hope to put out my own music into the Western Sydney music scene soon but I’d love to see more of the older R&B style resurface. It would also be cool to see more people making it from this area, I feel like it’s really hard to get big in the industry when you aren’t from America but things are changing slowly.”

Check out the recommended songs and music on our Spotify playlist!

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Smooth tunes from an ex-cult member – Jon Bryant

If you like the sounds of Joji, Jon Bryant is another musician you should lend your ears to....

From ex-cult member to smooth rocker, Jon Bryant communicates and reflects his experiences in his upcoming album Cult Classic, May 17 2019, with his leading, smooth and melodic, Ya Ya Ya Ya.

Jon Bryant Press Photos – Photographed by Carly Dame

Imagine… It’s a lovely, cloudy day in Western Sydney. Rain drops begin to pitter patter on your window sill, as the smell of hot chocolate takes over your room. You turn your spotify (or apple music, up to your preference) on to Jon Bryant’s “Ya Ya Ya Ya.” The song sends you into a deep, surreal, trance as you drift off into the melodic voice and tunes of Mr Bryant’s music.

If you like the sounds of Joji, Jon Bryant is another musician you should lend your ears to. Jon Bryant is an up and coming Canadian Artist in the genre of soft rock. Bryant’s music is inspired by the groovy sounds of Bruce Hornsby, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. But what makes Bryant stand out the most is his mysterious and intriguing past which he reflects upon in his full length album, Cult Classic.  

Before he stepped into studio, Bryant was a member of undisclosed Cult. In that time, Bryant felt that it was hard to leave due to his love to learn and discover the truth. Bryant. In his own words, felt “transformed and enlightened.”

In the early days of writing the music for this album, I saw myself (and the world around me) through the lens of a cult. It was only until I was involved with one, did I actually realise that they’re interwoven through so much of culture. To be in a cult is to be human Jon Bryant stated in a reflection of his time in the cult.

Jon Bryant Press Photos – Photographed by Carly Dame

It was in 2017, Bryant set his goal to produce Cult Classic, after he settled with Afterlife studios (Vancouver). Jon Bryant currently has 15 million combined streams for top 5 tracks on spotify.

Instead of only composing on guitar, Bryant decided to write with piano, becoming a multi-instrumental artist. Bryant’s sound evoked the imagery of sweeping and soaring cinematic scopes, as he reflect his evolvement and his leaving of this cult. You can listen to Ya Ya Ya Ya here.

Bryant’s story is extremely inspiring and a reminder that no matter what your past is, good or bad, that it’s not the end. You can accomplish anything, if your put your faith in it. Stay tuned for more of Jon Bryant’s excellence, as his upcoming album Cult Classic will be released next month. You can also follow Jon Bryant here for updates on his music and performances on his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Website: JonBryantMusic.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/JonBryantMusic

Twitter: Twitter.com/JonrBryant

Instagram: jonrbryant

 

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Rhythm in your DNA

Dr Mark Temple, who is a molecular biology lecturer and a former drummer for the Sydney native pop band The Hummingbirds, has recently found a way to ...

Being in love with two things at once requires a lot of time and commitment, but what if you were able to bring them together and experience both at the same time.

Dr Mark Temple, who is a molecular biology lecturer at Western Sydney University and a former drummer for the Sydney native pop band The Hummingbirds, has recently found a way to satisfy both of his yearnings for music and science through the use of sonification. Sonification is when you utilise data analysis to create sounds.

 Dr Temple began his musical endeavours in 1982, forming a band called the “Green Bug-Eyed Monsters.” He left the band in 1986 to focus on completing his honours at the School of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at UNSW. He returned to music in 1987, renaming the band the “Hummingbird,” in which he tried to perform and study at the same time. Soon he found this too difficult and gave up his studies to focus on his musical career. He then left the band five years ago and ended up doing a PhD in molecular biology.

It was when Dr Temple joined Western Sydney University as a lecturer, he thought of combining music and science, as they are both large interests in his life, thus beginning his journey into his discovery of sonification.

“Coincidentally, I became aware of Roger Dean at the Marcs Institute here at WSU and noted he was a Research Professor of Sonic Communication, this intrigued me since I knew he was a highly regarded scientist at the Heart Research Institute. Anyway, I came up with the notion of creating audio from DNA sequences based on what I knew about molecular biology, I showed Rodger what I was doing just to see what he thought of it and he was quite encouraging,” notes Dr Temple. Dr Temple utilises this form of music making to create rhythms through DNA sequence analyses, thus it depends on biology on what sounds will be produced. For example, a mutation in the DNA can completely change the rhythm/data analysis thus affecting the sound.

Dr Temple states, “This is not meant to be music – it’s an audio display of science data and you can hear a mutation at 13 seconds into the piece! But it’s almost musical because the DNA sequence used is quite repetitive with it’s A, T, G and C bases! Additionally, it sounds a bit musical because Mark chose to use the sound of musical instruments to sonify the DNA rather than beep and bleep noises. If you want to listen to more sequences there are lots on the DNA Sonification website.”

This photo was taken at rehearsal where the newly assembled band were playing along to the computer generated audio derived from DNA sequences.

Due to Dr Temple fascination with sonification, he has given talks and performances on this new found musical fusion. This includes Vivid Sydney last year (Making Science Beautiful), in which he was asked, unexpectedly, to perform by Inspiring Australia and most recently he performed at the National Science Week at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in the event titled “The Sound of Genres”.

“Exploding Plastic Inevitable Gene Expression Experience” performed by Mark (guitar), Paul Smith (lecturer at the University of New England on Piano) and Peter Veliks (Bass).

Dr Temple said “Playing along with the audio was challenging and led to some chaotic and dissonant passages interspersed with some more musical inspired compositions “, in regards to his performance with Dr Paul Smith and Peter Vielks. As they gave their performance, Mark organised an animation molecular structures created by Drew Berry, who is a Melbourne based scientist to give context of what they are performing.

Sonification has allowed for Dr Temple to both experiment with music and his research in molecular biology as he defines this as the intersection between science and art. Dr Temple’s articles and works have been published in Nature Blogs (USA), The Conversation (Australia), National Geographic (New Zealand) and Netzpiloten (Germany). An auditory display tool for DNA sequence analysis is also produced by Dr temple, showcasing his research and findings on sonification.

The sound of DNA, although it is not music as Dr Temple has stated earlier, is extremely one of a kind and surrealistic. Although Dr Temple has no immediate plans to perform his science and musical fusion, he does have a soundcloud where you can listen to the groovy scientific tunes created by DNA analysis. If you wish to see this form of music live, Dr Mark intends to promote his next and upcoming events on student pages.As Dr Temple also said,  The sonification is informative about the nature of the DNA and can distinguish a possible gene coding sequences from a repetitive DNA sequence or non-coding RNA sequence. The sonification may be a useful teaching tool to show how Gene Expression occurs”.

Story by Rebekah Manibog