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News June 6, 2024

How a Sydney Indie Duo Teamed up With a Grammy-Nominated Producer

How a Sydney Indie Duo Teamed up With a Grammy-Nominated Producer

Standing out has never been more difficult. When the leading streaming platforms spruik a licensed catalog numbering more than 100 million songs, there’s little room for doubt.

ALIBII, the indie duo of Courtney Egginton and Will Cumberlege, found a route through the noise and a connection to a Grammy Award-nominated, ARIA Award-winning producer.

The pair uploaded demos to Vampr, the social network for creators, now part of The Vinyl Group.

Enter Adrian Breakspear, the elite producer who has worked the desk for Gang of Youths, Amy Shark and others.

Breakspear tuned in, a connection was made. The collaboration has flourished, with several tracks released into the world. Now, the Sydney act is just shy of 1,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

The Music Network caught up with ALIBII and Breakspear for a walk through their journey.

TMN: How did the process play out from being contacted by Adrian to now? 

ALIBII: It was in the midst of the COVID lockdown and we were frustrated by the obvious restrictions and feeling like our music aspirations were going nowhere.

So I made an account on Vampr to try and make some connections that could help promote and market a single that we were willing to release, as I had no clue what was involved at the time.

A few weeks went by and Adrian reached out. We had a Zoom call about the track and he ended up mixing it and helped us promote and release the single correctly.

Over the next year, we would create a whole new track from scratch with Adrian communicating by emails and occasional Zooms. It would be nearly a year after meeting on Vampr, that we would meet him in person.

Since that second single in 2022, we have made three more with him. For the latter two, we had the opportunity to record in a studio face-to-face with Adrian.

It was the combination of being stuck at home in lockdown and Vampr creating an online communication and relationship, which would influence our entire songwriting strategy.

Adrian Breakspear, Courtney Egginton, Will Cumberlege and Dylan Wallace

TMN: How did you find Alibii?

Adrian Breakspear: I’d been on Vampr for maybe a month and had made a few connections but nothing that had led to anything serious.

I saw Court was looking for someone to help market a single, and marketing at an indie level was something I’ve been doing with other artists, so I “swiped right” and we started talking.

During our first Zoom convo, I determined they weren’t really happy with the mix of their first single, so I offered to rework it for them. And that became the “But I” release.

That one went well, so we continued working together, and now we’re about to release our fifth song together, called “Repeat,” and there’s more in development.

Plus, I’m taking an active role in developing them as artists outside the studio aspect – marketing, branding, gig craft and more.

I log onto Vampr every few days to run through potential new collaborators. I’ve done a few mixes for people through that, and there are plenty of conversations I’m having regarding potential future projects too.

It’s a great way to meet other artists, especially for people who might not be part of a “scene” in their local area. And also a way to “level up”… I can help artists who might not otherwise have local resources to improve their recordings.

For people starting out in their production career, it’s a great way to meet artists. There are many artists and producers looking for collaborations too, so as a way of broadening your artist network, it’s a very useful tool.

How did it play out – and why Alibii? What made them stand out?

AB: The first single we didn’t even meet. I took their parts, added some production and mixed their song, and we planned the release virtually.

By the time of the second single “Just Another Minute,” I had seen them play live. With that one, I was giving feedback on their production and they were re-recoding parts and adding ideas based on my feedback, and this continued for “Figure 8.”

For “June,” we went into a studio and recorded live drums, which was an element the band and I had been keen to incorporate but unable to facilitate previously.

And for the forthcoming single “Repeat,” we used a bigger studio and re-recorded most of the live parts (vocals/drums/guitars).

So each single so far has been more involved.

It’s been a slow-burn process. But post-COVID, we’re ramping up the releases and the live set has developed significantly.

Several things made them stand out. The boy/girl setup is more unusual than a standard “female front person/bloke behind keyboards doing the instrumental.” 

Their approach is more democratic. I like that they can play as a two-piece with backing tracks, which makes them portable as a duo, able to play small venues and travel cheaper. Or they can expand where possible to play bigger stages with a full band.

And of course – they seem to have no issues writing catchy tunes.

Where to next for Alibii?

Alibii: We’ve got several new songs in development. I’m keen to maybe see some sort of bigger release by the end of the year.

The band are keen to start to grow their following, playing bigger gigs, and just keep going upwards. If you’re on Vampr, come say “hi.”

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