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EXCLUSIVE: Keelan Mak looks back at his first ever BIGSOUND

26 September 2018 | 9:44 am | Emma Jones

BIGSOUND is a rite of passage for many emerging artists in Australia, and can be quite an intense but, in many cases, rewarding experience. One such artist that found himself diving head first into the frenzy of the week-long festival and conference this year was KEELAN MAK, an artist whose star is firmly on the rise.

With his single 'Weigh You Down', Mak delivered a slice of modern pop heaven with eccentric production and soaring vocals. Following in the same vein as that of TROYE SIVAN or even CUB SPORT, his weaving of pop sensibilities with exceptional electronics makes for an electrifying experience, and while he may just be finding his feet, people are really starting to take notice.

With a collab with TORA already under his belt plus more music on the way, there's no surprise that Mak was selected by Triple J Unearthed to showcase his artistry at this year's BIGSOUND. Noting the event as a "first" for him in a lot of ways, Keelan Mak has now given us an exclusive insight into his experience during this year's biggest industry event, and you can watch and read all about it below. Keep your eyes peeled for new Keelan Mak as this guy is going to be BIG!

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Bigsound was a first for me in a lot of ways. For most artists at my level, they’d be familiar with years of trying to make some kind of pace the industry. Having my music heard by industry professionals that I look up to was pretty dumbfounding. The Fortitude Valley felt like entirely different world. 

The preparation leading into Bigsound was pretty interesting. I have a bit of a perfectionist attitude which can be a detriment at the worst of times. I last minute decided to change my entire live set up and bring in an extra player which turned into a lot of work. My band member Michael and I did our last rehearsal 2 hours before the show. In some ways I was glad to place a harsher standard on myself as I felt it pushed me to elevate my performance to those artists around me.

I felt my showcase went super well. The crowd was filled with a lot of familiar faces and also some new ones. Five out of six songs I performed were unreleased so it was great to see how people were reacting to them. It’s a great way to trial new music and see how the unreleased tunes resonate with people. Afterwards I got to sit down with a few of the Triple J presenters and get to know them a little better, it was really cool to meet some of the people who have been playing my music.

There was some amazing showcases on this year. A lot of them I had never gotten around to seeing live so it was awesome to see them in the flesh, doing their thing. Some of the acts I got to check out were Asha Jefferies, CXLOE, GRAACE, Genesis Owusu, Moohki, Two People and Pink Matter. All of these artists were insanely talented and give a well constructed, tasteful performance. The best part about being an artist at Bigsound is getting to be around so many gifted musicians and getting to soak up all the energy. 

Introduction by Emma Jones

Image: James Hornsby