The Brag Media
News April 20, 2021

First 20 winners of Music VR Backers Fund revealed

First 20 winners of Music VR Backers Fund revealed

Winners will also take part in the Beyond Boundaries Festival 

The first 20 recipients of the inaugural Music VR Backers Fund have been decided.

The grants of $2,500 go towards the artists using live virtual reality technologies to connect with fans in new and exciting ways.

They take part in the inaugural virtual reality festival Beyond Boundaries, with dates to be announced soon.

“This is an exciting opportunity to have work presented in an innovative way that will hopefully bring my work which for me is embedded into thousands of years of my cultural connection as a First Nations person into the now,” Yorta Yorta hip hop artist and activist DRMNGNOW said this morning.

“I believe one of the most powerful ways technology can be used is to bring forward the stories and song of our peoples, so I am grateful that through this project I may have an opportunity to do so.”

The fund was launched in January by streaming platform Inverse, Music Victoria, the Victorian Music Development Office and audio production and event services company Moon Mother Productions.

“Seeing the quality and quantity of applications for the Music VR Backers Fund has inspired us and is a fundamental driver to our vision – Victorian (and more broadly, Australian) live music has the potential to capture global audiences in the fast growing ecosystem of immersive entertainment,” said Inverse founder Darren Vukasinovic.

“Through true convergence of arts and technology, both of which Victoria are global pioneers in, we’re putting our creatives at the forefront of an entirely new art form that will deliver unique and memorable audience experiences.”

The others on the list represent a diverse range of acts from around Victoria.

Alon Ilsar is a drummer, composer and instrument designer, who co-designed the AirSticks and is researching its use in health and wellbeing.

Originally from Hobart, Close Counters are a seven-piece setup with live-percussion, woodwind and stringed instruments joined onstage by dancers.

Crown Heights are a reggae band whose backgrounds of its seven members – Jamaica, New Zealand, Mauritius, Brazil, Samoa and Sri Lanka – provides a slant on reggae fronted by three singers including Maxi Priest’s son Marvin.

The Delorean Project is presented by The Operatives, “a ride into the future of Hip Hop and RNB from Naarm/Melbourne from the year 3020 with a stellar cast”.

Fascinator is the psychedelic electronic alter-ego of Johnny Mackay, formerly with Children Collide.

FOOLS are a 13-piece influenced by Americana, rock and soul, centred around chief songwriter, singer and guitarist Luke O’Connor, complete with dual drums and horn section.

Hachiku, aka Anika Ostendorf creates dream pop with an avant-garde twist. The story goes that a friend who listened to an advance copy of her debut album I’ll Probably Be Asleep (Milk! Records & Marathon Artists) in November 2020, asked her “Why are you so angry?”

Louise Terra uses her computer to create electronic music, which she began as a solo project while singing in disco outfit Sugar Fed Leopards. Her August 2019 single ‘Nature Calling’ came with a VR video clip shot in 360 degrees while the new Follow The Moon Into The Ocean became 4ZZZ’s Album of the Week.

Zimbabwean born NIASHA uses a wide range of collaborators to bring out the best in her roles as singer, songwriter, spoken word artist and poet. Among them was the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Prog-acoustic rock Opal Ocean were formed by buskers Alex Champ & Nadav Tabak in 2014. Their single ‘J.A.M.’ received 30 million views and the 2016 album Lost Fables led to gigs in Canada, Europe and New Zealand. Second album The Hadal Zone came out in 2020.

Parvyn is a Punjabi Australian singer and dancer (born Parvyn Kaur Singh) best known as a vocalist in cult psychedelic band The Bombay Royale. She is as much influenced by electronica and jazz as by Sikh devotional music and training in Indian classical music and dance.

The four-piece lo mi-fi RAT!hammock got their name from Googling “rat hammock” and realising there were such things. Their single ‘Word Of The Day’ struck a chord with a generation of 20s-something making their way in the world.


Rubiks came together as an ensemble of young performers making a name for their virtuosity, storytelling and cross-art collaboration—leading to concerts as far flung as India, Germany, England and the Netherlands.

Rudely Interrupted are as known for their playing skills (keyboardist, singer and founder Rory Burnside is son of producer Jonathan Burnside) as for their award-winning disability carer work.

“We’ve longed for the virtual experience as an outsider act and the places we’ve toured, it’s not so easy for an act like Rudely Interrupted to get around the world for our fans,” they responded to their grant.

“Thanks to Inverse this is becoming possible again and we are thrilled to bits to be included in this new virtual space for artists to reach their fans.”

Speak Percussion made it their mission to collaborate with like-minded international souls such as Steve Reich, Ilan Volkov, The Necks and Tony Buck with resulting projects including a chamber opera, installation, notated works and spatial improvisations in festival contexts in Australia and Switzerland.

Tanzer is a well-known DJ and a mainstay within Melbourne’s alternative Queer community, performing at weekly gay/drag events as both a DJ and a drag king/super-diva. She is also a presenter on 3PBS, and curator of events.

Taylah Carroll said: “I think I would describe my music as alternative folk meets rock. I think especially the stuff I’m writing lately leans more into rock. [It’s] a bit darker and I’d say there’s a focus on lyrics”. She spent the pandemic lock-in recording with producer Tim Harvey.

Telenova is made up of Angeline Armstrong, Edward Quinn from Slum Social and Joshua Moriarty from Miami Horror, and was assembled by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla at an APRA SongHubs competition in early 2020. This year they signed to Pointer Recordings.

Using her violin and composing in pop, jazz, electronic and chamber music, Xani is in high demand by theatres, festivals and collaborators such as Tim Rogers, Jens Lekman, Kate Ceberano, My Friend The Chocolate Cake and Clare Bowditch.

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