We sat down with Henry and Meg, the organizers of PJ Party; a Naarm-based booking and events group - aiming to create performance opportunities for emerging local acts. With a residency just about to commence this week, the duo talked about all things exciting about PJ Party.
Welcome PJ Party, tell us about yourself?
Hi! We are Meg and Henry, RMIT Music Industry alumni, lovers of music in Naarm/Melbourne, and bedsock enthusiasts! Henry has been playing in bands and booking gigs for a few years, while Meg is a graphic design and social media wizard. Together we are Pyjama Party, a small events organisation dedicated to creating a community for local and emerging musicians in a safe and diverse space in the music industry.
What made you want to start running events and hosting residencies?
Well, it all started in the 3rd year of our music industry degree in our 'events' elective, the irony being that literally no live events were being held at the time for obvious reasons. Taking inspiration from Isol-aid and other artists' live streaming performances, we had to come up with a way for smaller local artists to be able to continue performing. Our goal was to take the stress and effort of organising an event away from local and emerging artists so they could just perform alongside other artists of their ilk, simultaneously connecting people in a very socially distanced time, while still helping performers do what they love the most.
Tell us about the shift from live events to your live streams during the lockdown period, is it something you would consider doing again?
I think the opposite of this was more important to us, as our first two events were live-streamed on Instagram. It was a huge moment for us to be able to actually achieve our initial goal of putting on a live show with the bands that we love and had missed seeing in person. Putting them in an actual bandroom with an in-person audience was a lot more uplifting than we thought it would be. That being said, if there was ever a time when we needed to go online again, I think we are even more equipped than before and especially with ever-evolving technology, live-streamed events are highly plausible and effective ways to get music straight from the performer to their audience. That being said, nothing beats being face to face and feeling the thump in your chest of live music.
Photo Credit: Anthony La
What do you look for when finding artists to play at these residencies?
We love artists whose music is like a warm and fuzzy hug, tunes that make you wanna move your butt and sing your heart out; from rock and roll to indie, to pop. But above all, we look to maintain an inclusive community, especially through gender and racial diversity. We have no intention to propagate an all-white all-male music industry, and we believe that dogma should be left in the past. As an organisation that puts on events, we believe it's our duty to make the right choices.
How important is live music in Naarm/Melbourne, what have you learnt since starting Pyjama Party?
Pyjama Party is a product of the Covid lockdowns, the result of us having a live-music-sized void in our souls as we were all cooped up in our bedrooms. We had to find a way to keep people playing music and keep people listening to performers in any way we could, and being able to put on live shows since then has been paramount to not only the industry in Naarm/Melbourne, but to our own well being, the well being of artists, and the well being of our audiences. Live music is unearthly therapeutic, and an outlet not only for performers but as an audience and a community as a whole. This city wouldn't be the same without it, hence why we find it so important to continue booking artists, sound engineers, photographers, and everyone involved in the industry.
What’s been the best highlight for you guys, whether it be a show etc.
There's been a couple, as we've been able to work with so many talented people on a few different events so far. A big one was the moment when we finished our first online event and we realised "oh shit this actually works and we could keep doing it". So we did. And then again live and in person. And now here we are putting on a 4-week residency with 12 groups of performers and a bunch of crew!
If you had to put together a playlist for the artists you are loving at the moment, who would be in it? (Top 5)
We actually do have a playlist! It's always fun collating music from the local scene and especially those who have been a part of some of our events, just coz we love who we book! Ella Clair, Blue Nude, Stella Farnan, Keaper, and Hot Glue to name a few.
What's next for you guys?
There's so many things! The amazing thing about technology and finally escaping the clutches of covid restrictions is having a lot of options. Who knows, big festival? World tour? Fly to the moon? Anything's possible.
Tickets + more info on PJ Party's residency can be found here
Every Wednesday night during the month of July!