INTERVIEW: Kuz from Soundbreak Live

Starting out as a weekly band night at the Five Islands Brewery, and quickly becoming a firm favourite among gig-goers, Soundbreak Live has recently been responsible for a host of fantastic gigs at venues all across the Illawarra. After successfully staging a benefit concert for the New Zealand earthquakes last month, Soundbreak organiser Kuz was spurred on to put on a similar charity event for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Starring a recently reformed Inanimate Objects, along with a host of upcoming Wollongong talent, the formal-themed gig will be raising much-needed cash for the Red Cross’ Japan work. With the gig slated for this Friday – click here for more info – Kuz spoke to Radar about why he felt compelled to lend a hand to the Japanese relief effort, making “six or seven million dollars,” and the future directions for Soundbreak.

Tell us about the fundraising gig on Friday
It’s an excuse to get your best clothes out of the closet, get dressed up as Schmickey Mouse as you can, raise money for a good cause, watch some awesome local bands and party hard!

Where will the money be directed?
The money made from the door ($5 entry) will go to the Red Cross working in Japan.

How much are you hoping to raise on Friday?
Somewhere between six and seven million dollars…or just as much as possible!

You also organised a fundraiser after the New Zealand earthquakes. How successful was that night?
In all honesty it was Jevon Tawhai who put most of that together, I just got onboard and helped out with the promotional side of it. Jevon deserves maximum credit for that as does the Otis Bar because they bent over backwards to make that night happen, as well as donating some money from their own pocket for the cause. It was a massive success, they made about $1700.

Why did you decide to organise these charity events?
20% of the reason would be that I’ve never made any money out of any of the Soundbreak shows (I never expected to, so I don’t mind) and at the end of the day I guess I’m just pretty sick of making money for other people that don’t need, deserve or appreciate it (yes Brewery owners, that means YOU).

50% of the reason would be that I think there’s a different feel to charity events, there seems to be good vibes everywhere; everyone seems to have more fun and it’s a positive atmosphere.

23% of the reason would be that a charity event is a mad excuse to have some kind of dress up theme, because dress ups are fun…FACT!

The rest of the reason (7%) would be that it’s the best way I can see my favourite local bands together all at once.

…..A pie chart would’ve been perfect to answer this question.

Were the venues (Otis and CBD Bar) supportive of your idea for the charity shows?
Yeah as I said, the Otis Bar was fantastic for that charity gig. This will be the second fundraiser I’ve put on at the CBD Bar and I must say that apart from it being my favourite venue in the Gong, the staff are always so great; they help out so much with everything. I’d definitely encourage more bands to put on shows of their own there.

Apart from Inanimate Objects, the bands on the bill are largely lesser-known acts. Was this a conscious decision, to try and give exposure to some newer, smaller bands?
Well Jevon Tawhai blew everyone away at the Palm Court gig he opened for a while ago, his acoustic show was just mind-blowingly amazing. If anything I want everyone to see it for themselves, so he does more of them.
A Cat Named Kessey would do some damage if they played more shows. I’ve only seen them twice but both times I thought it was such a cool and fun show so hopefully they get a good response and that gets them hungry to play more shows.
I haven’t seen Tainted Fist as yet, but Pat from Inanimate Objects recommended them to me, he said they were awesome and well received at their Harp show. As well, Alex Barker – my drum teacher, or Yoda if you will – is the drummer, so any excuse I get to watch him play I’ll take it, as should everyone; seriously, he’s a freak!

Rydges CBD Bar seems to be again embracing the live music culture, with several bigger Wollongong bands set to play there in coming months. Do you think that the venue will be a long-term prospect for live gigs?
It’s good to hear that bands are taking advantage of that place and putting on their own shows. If people or bands want to organize shows there they can, the staff make it very easy for you and it’s a great venue. To put on a show there would probably use the same amount of energy as it would take to whine about the how the Wollongong music scene is dying or whatever everyone keeps crying about. Get into it people, it’s right there! Use it!

Soundbreak has organised a number of one-off gigs at various venues around Wollongong since the agreement with the Brewery ended. Are there plans for Soundbreak to move to a more permanent home, or are these one-off gigs more likely to continue?
At first I was keen to find another home for Soundbreak, which was going to be at the Palm Court Hotel in Corrimal; but after Frothfest at the Charles Hotel in Fairy Meadow, which was a massive success (organized with Dom Connor of Arc Icarus; check them out at www.arcicarus.com) I decided I’d rather have bigger nights every now and then that I can put more time into, rather than smaller nights more often. It’s quality not quantity.

What future plans are there for Soundbreak?
Another Frothfest with the scrumptious Dom Connor should start being planned soonish, last time was way too much fun to not have another one. Otherwise nothing is set in stone; if I do anything else it will be fun charity nights similar to the Formal Fundraiser…this Friday….for Japan…this Friday…CBD Bar…dress up… THIS FRIDAY!

The Soundbreak Live Japan fundraiser takes place this Friday, April 8th, at the CBD Bar, Rydges Wollongong (opposite Wollongong train station). Entry is $5, and Kuz encourages patrons to dress in formal attire. It starts at 7pm, so crack out that tux, dust off that bow tie and get along to a gig for a good cause!

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