The Australian producer Flume has released a new track in a video protesting against Sydney’s lockout laws.
The video for the track, Heater, shows the Keep Sydney Open group at work last week, installing plaques around the city at various venues where musicians – including Flume, Flight Facilities, Peking Duk, the Presets, the Preatures and Lorde – had played some of their first Sydney shows.
Flume’s plaque was placed outside Goodgod Small Club, where he played one of his first shows supporting Chet Faker. Lorde played her first Australian showcase in the same venue.
Goodgod Small Club announced in September 2015 it would be closing. While founders Jimmy Sing and Hana Shimada clarified their decision to close was not due to regulatory or financial challenges, they cited the “challenging terrain that Sydney’s nightlife finds itself in” in a post on Facebook at the time and have since said “the laws made a hell of a year for us”.
The video follows the Keep Sydney Open activists as they place plaques and shrines outside various venues in Sydney that have closed since the lockout laws were introduced, including Goodgod, Q Bar, Spectrum, Hugos, Club 77 and Phoenix.
The video also includes interviews from the bands Art vs Science and Gang of Youths, who talk about how important it was for their careers to get those breaks in small city venues.
The introduction of the lockout laws, they argue, is damaging Sydney’s live music scene, with venues forced to close, leaving a lack of late-night places for musicians to cut their teeth on the live scene.
Speaking to Guardian Australia, the project’s creator, Jonno Seidler, said the artists featured in the plaques were chosen by three criteria: “Everyone had to be from Sydney (with the exception of Lorde, who was a bonus), everyone had to be recently active and they had to be internationally famous.
“I think it’s really important that people realise that every single one of these artists started in Sydney and now they tour around the world.
“That’s a way to shift the conversation ... away from Sydney, and making it a global conversation.”
According to figures released by Apra Amcos and the Live Music Office earlier this year, there was a 40% drop in live performance revenue at Apra and Amcos-licensed venues within the Sydney CBD lockout area after the laws were introduced and a 19% decrease in attendance figures at Apra and Amcos-licensed nightclubs and dance venues.
But, according to research from the anti-alcohol lobby group the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, the costs to nightlife have been overstated and are outweighed by a drop in crime in the area.