A chat with Medium
Medium are a Melbourne based collective hoping to give young creatives a voice by organising events and other projects that connect them to a wider audience.
Tell us a bit about Medium, how did it form, and what prompted its creation?
Maxine: Medium has always been so hard to explain, but I guess being a creative platform is the best blanket statement we can make. We’re primarily events based; hosting gigs and exhibitions to showcase Melbourne’s creative community. We also have a website where we’ve been able to interview local talent and support upcoming releases.
We came together towards the end of 2017, which was the year we all graduated high school. Admittedly, we didn’t have much direction in the beginning, but knew we wanted to make something for ourselves and our community. The four of us operate within different creative fields (music, film, design) but found a commonality in wanting to collaborate between these mediums. We just wanted to find a way to keep us all together and support the many talented people we had been surrounded by throughout our teen years.
What kind of projects does Medium produce?
Kyle: In the earlier days we had initially started Medium through the process of hosting and organising music events/ gathering’s - with most of the lineups stemming from close friends or friends of friends. I think this aspect is definitely what allowed things to grow, the more people we began to meet the more new ideas for projects would circulate, eventually taking us away from solely prioritising music events. These projects to name a few include; making our own zines, starting up our own website, hosting art galleries and shooting short film/ music clips. These different avenues continue to be explored and discovered, creators would know - we can’t stick around in the same area for too long, and it is this understanding that keeps us looking for new niece areas of unexplored projects - in attempts to bring some form of justice to new ideas. I think as we continue to learn more - new avenues will open, and previous projects may end - however that is the beauty in not having to define the brand, it evolves with us.
Medium has developed such a diverse creative community, how do you engage with so many mediums haha, and creatives?
Kyle: I think following on from Q4, not having to define medium is a key factor in engaging with so many different audiences, this was noticed to us once we initially started branching out into different creative areas and began hearing positive responses from those who were involved with our project’s. It also helps greatly that each member has a different range of skills-sets and roles across relevant avenues such as; photography, digital media, visual design, editing, digital promotion, event staging/ organising, film, engaging in interviews/ written articles and lots more. I think that an important component in engaging with different avenues is that it opens us up to new experiences and people we probably wouldn't have met if we had stayed solely doing music events. There's a lot to be gained from trying new pathways in the art’s community - even if the idea seems out of reach, more than likely if you put yourself out there you're gonna meet like-minded Melburnians who live for the same ideas. I highly suggest collaborating and sharing progressive ideas and thoughts with like-minded people because it motivates you to try new things and encourages unwalked pathways to be explored. As for staying connected, it's important to try and maintain a consistent social media presence. A lot of the planning, organising and arranging of our projects occur through the internet (email, instagram, facebook, website), whether it's us reaching out to people or people reaching out to us, it's very crucial in this day and age that we manage to take advantage of the power that social media has in opening up new opportunities for creators.
In 2019 you won the Hobson’s Bay Most Inspiring Young Persons Award, Hobsons Bay City Council being the council for Melbourne’s south-western suburbs, tell us about that experience and what the award meant for the Medium team?
Charles: It was pretty unexpected for all of us when we found out! We have always made it a focus of ours to give the spotlight to creatives around us instead of doing what we do for our own recognition so it was a first for us as a team. However it was super exciting and really nice to be recognised by the community because it’s that same community that we have spent years trying to help enrich through creative opportunities and platforms. Furthermore it was also so cool to share a room with and to learn about the other young people of Hobson’s Bay that were also nominated.
What’s it like operating in the west of Melbourne? What makes it different?
Maxine: I think initially, the divide from the other suburbs felt a lot clearer. Maybe we just perceived it that way because we were younger, but it definitely felt like we were in our own creative bubble.
For the first few years of high school, I went to a school in the inner south-east. There was this mentality that I was so far away - people would jokingly say “oh my god you live over the bridge, do you need a passport to come here?”. It wasn’t until I moved schools closer to my home in the West that I realised how much there was to love here. There’s so much talent and so much support. A lot of people in the West are first or second generation Australians, and following a creative pathway isn’t always something that’s been encouraged. There’s a lot of people challenging that notion right now.
That divide has definitely faded as we’ve grown older. Melbournians are just down to support anyone from our city and it’s been really exciting to see people from all over Melbourne interacting at the same events.
Who are some of your favourite local artists, collectives or businesses at the moment?
Maxine: One of my favourite artists leaving their mark on our scene in 2020 is Emma Volard. An incredible future soul vocalist with an equally incredible band. Her new track ‘Femininity’ explores the ideas of strength and empowerment backed by a rich and soulful instrumental. Volard is also the events coordinator for Attaboi magazine run by her bandmate Jake Amy. The online magazine works towards creating and maintaining a “strong, supportive and progressive” local music scene that connects artists creating positive change. They have plenty of educational and inspiring articles on their social media and website.
Record label ‘Music in Exile’ is a non for profit organisation aimed at showcasing Australia’s artists “working in culturally or linguistically diverse communities in Australia”. The artist driven initiative has recently added some absolute gems onto their catalogue such as Gordan Koang’s ‘Unity’ and Ausecuma beat’s - Keleh (River Yarra’s Situationist Rework).
What’s next for Medium?
Charles: Oof, big question! Well if you’d asked us in January we would have told you that we were moving towards curating and designing an art space for Finding Figaro’s (now indefinitely postponed) Echo Beach, an electronic music festival in Williamstown and creating our own lineup of merch designed by both us and in collaboration with local artists. This stuff is all still on the cards in the future but for now we’re hibernating through this cold winter in preparation for the great surge of energy and passion for local arts and community that undoubtedly follow the return of normal life.
Medium is run by Kyle Mclelland, Maxine Zanoni, Zeb Lethwaite & Charles Jensen.