Bluejuice’s Jake Stone and artist Alex Lehours reveal the Vivid 2017 events they’re most excited for

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Once again, Sydney has been transformed into a massive display of light, music, and ideas, as Vivid Sydney has entranced the city for its ninth year.

Last year, the festival broke records and became the biggest event in Australia, attended by 2.31 million people. That’s roughly the population of Brisbane!

This year, it’s already bigger, better, and brighter than ever, with over 400 music events, 260 idea talks and conferences, and 90 light installations – all across seven precincts, including the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo, and now, Barangaroo South.


With so much to see in so little time, the experience can be pretty overwhelming (but in a good way). So we got a little help from two experts in the creative scene.

Alex Lehours is a renowned artist and designer based in Sydney. He describes his work as “an eccentric explosion of chaos, humour, colour, and absolute randomness.” He’s spent the last eight years working with clients like Facebook, Stolichnaya Vodka, and Converse.

A post shared by Alex Lehours (@alexlehours) on

And Jake Stone is someone who needs no introduction to fans of seminal Australian band, Bluejuice. Now working as a solo act, Stone released his first track – called ‘Trick of Light’ – in November 2016 and continues to write, produce, and record new music.

A post shared by Bluejuice (@bluejuicemusic) on

Here’s a bit of advice from the two on what events you should watch out for at Vivid Sydney this year.


Alex Lehours

“As a Sydney-based visual artist, I am always excited about that time of the year when Vivid hits town. The city becomes emerged in a creative hub that tailors itself to such a widespread demographic that there is always something for everyone to enjoy.

“Although I am always keen to view as much of the Vivid festival as possible, this year I have picked five events that I am particularly interested in seeing.”

CONNECTIONS (Until 17th June)


Connections is a unique light display that visualises the transmission and reception of radio waves generated by our mobile devices. This installation listens to the signal levels on frequencies tuned to daily communications’ traffic and captures their intensity on a series of light columns.

“I am excited and almost scared, to see a visual representation of the amount of information that is transmitted and received by these devices.”

“In our chaotic, fast-paced, modern world, mobile technology has become such a vital part of our everyday lives. We have an unlimited amount of information in the palm of our hands and it has almost become second nature to consult our devices on a regular basis throughout each day.

“I am excited and almost scared, to see a visual representation of the amount of information that is transmitted and received by these devices. What has become such an integral part of the every day will now become a piece of art that represents a strong social connection in an ever changing modern world.”

TIDAL (Until 17th June)


“Living in Sydney it is important to remember the past, events, moments, and its people that have all had an impact and helped develop and transform this beautiful city

“To be able to feel part of the making of Sydney and to see how the city it has developed over time and transformed is a truly special thing and something I cannot wait to experience.”

Tidal is a 3D installation that draws on real-time tidal data and sampling audio to create different scenarios of Sydney’s landscape, history, and architecture.

“I am excited to be immersed into a wonderful narrative using audio and lights that will depict stories from the past to present. Starting from The Dreamtime, to the construction of the Harbour Bridge, and Opera House as well as present-day stories that focus on the Quay Quarter development which connects the harbor to the CBD

“To be able to feel part of the making of Sydney and to see how the city it has developed over time and transformed is a truly special thing and something I cannot wait to experience.”


What's Your Worth?

“As a freelance artist the ideas of money, worth, and value are an on-going battle that hurts my head.

“I constantly struggle to value myself as an artist. Although I don’t like the financial side of things to determine my art-making career, I still feel it is important to earn what you are worth as a creative.

I still feel it is important to earn what you are worth as a creative.

“It is becoming harder and harder these days to keep up with the ever-growing expense of living in a major city. Making sure you are getting what you are worth is vital.

“As part of a panel discussion and open forum with some of the leaders of the creative industry I am interested in hearing their stories but also being able to learn how to calculate your worth as creative and discover the tools to forecast an income we each deserve.

“I am also excited to be able to have a say on a potential impact on a change that is needed to the way creatives are perceived and to help mold the future of this industry.”


Shepard Fairey

“I have followed Shepard Fairey’s career for a long time now. A pioneer of the street art world, he is by far one of my all-time favourite artists.

“To have him in Sydney exhibiting, creating, and talking about his art is, to me, a very special moment for the Australian art community.

“As an artist myself I am constantly looking for different sources of inspiration and motivation. To be able to hear and see, first hand, some of the ideas, stories, and experiences of one of the most renowned artists of our time, I think I will find plenty of motivation from the three events he will be taking part in.

“We are also very lucky that we will be left with a permanent mural in the middle of the city which will hopefully become an iconic mark in our surrounding landscape.”


Tumbalong Lights

Featuring 32 “dazzling beams of light” making their way through the evening sky, the Tumbalong Lights exhibition showcases intricate programming to create beautiful patterns as visitors walk between the raised lights. It’s a sublime display of lighting, which will inspire and excite.

Darling Harbour: Until June 17
This event is presented by Huawei


Jake Stone

“The Vivid Festival is arguably Sydney’s best citywide event, combining music, art and culture with a tech and fashion forward aesthetic.

“I used to front an Australian band called BLUEJUICE, and both my sisters work in the arts. One is a singer and the other is an actress, and we all grew up performing in various disciplines.

“Despite having moved from music over to presenting media and podcasting, I have an abiding interest in pop and art-oriented music and performance.”


Tuch Sensitive

“Here’s a crazy idea – why don’t we book one of Australia’s most talented techno, electro and pop producers to perform his infamous, multi-instrumental solo show RIGHT ON TOP OF CENTREPOINT TOWER?

“Michael Di Francesco played in some of Australia’s best indie electronic acts like Van She, and has since become a solo producer and DJ under the moniker Touch Sensitive. I’ve known him since Van She, who kind of came out of the original Purple Sneakers parties at the Abercrombie Hotel in Sydney’s Inner West around 2005.

“I used to party at Purple Sneakers, and loved dancing to Van She’s ‘Kelly’ single at the time.

“His musicality as a bass player and keyboard player is ridiculous”

“Since his original band broke up, Di Francesco signed with Future Classic, home to Australia’s Flume, and put out a fantastic, slow-moving Italo disco single called ‘Pizza Guy’ a couple of years ago. I have been RINSING that single at club shows, and it’s a great song.

“His musicality as a bass player and keyboard player is ridiculous, and his live show is a composite of programming and flashy, live bass, and looks like what I’d like a modern set up to be – combining club precision with live energy well.

“Touch Sensitive is supported by DJ and producer Elizabeth Rose, who contributed vocals to Flight Facilities hit ‘I Didn’t Believe.’”


Kirin J Callinan

“Kirin J Callinan is completely insane. It’s really the only way to describe the young art-noise-pop impresario without setting the audience up for confusion.

“Raised by a guitar-pedal expert and Roland/BOSS employee, young Kirin J Callinan was a crazy, curious kid, always clutching an electric guitar. He followed his passion from Sydney’s Mercy Arms group to Japan, and beyond, playing anywhere and everywhere.

“Kirin J Callinan is completely insane.”

“His scorching, expressive, and sometimes violent approach to lead guitar have seen him find success with at Paris’ Pitchfork Festival, opening for Tame Impala and Crowded House, and as a touring guitarist for UK hitmaker Mark Ronson, with whom he played huge festivals like Splendour In The Grass.

“His solo work is difficult to describe, but let’s just say that once I interviewed him and he turned up in green Elizabethan gear, top hat, tails and walking stick, and acted like nothing was out of the ordinary. I was managed by his current manager and industry style visionary, Todd Wagstaff.

“…scorching, expressive, and sometimes violent approach to lead guitar”

“We both came from a similar scene, though Kirin has always been one-of-a-kind, as an artist. My partner Che was surprised to find Kirin is basically a totally normal and lovely person in conversation when she met him at Oxford Arts Factory for some techno gig.

“His 2015 album Embracism was a no-holds-barred dip into Kirin’s noisy, perverse mind, most notably on ‘Way 2 War’, which featured an amazing, disturbing video.

“His upcoming 2017 release ‘Bravado’ suggests that the gruff-voiced maverick might be edging toward grand, expansive balladry and pop music, and Kirin is currently touring the UK with Mac De Marco and the USA with Pond.

“Don’t miss him, live at the Oxford Art Factory.”


Women in Electronic Showcase

“What a bargain! MusicNSW and FBi Radio put together one of the coolest festival bills for emerging women in dance music, all together in the one club!

“I worked at MusicNSW for a long time as the Education Officer there, booking talent like Linda Marigliano to do seminars and speaking events about the music industry. This is the second year of the Women In Electronic Music Showcase, and FBi have lent their cultural credibility to the event, making it a hot ticket indeed.

“There’s seriously no space to write about how good this bill is, but how ‘bout I just list some highlight acts to make sure you get down and sweat to this killer lineup of female dance talent?


“UNIIQU3 – A US producer out of the Jersey Club movement, hailed by THE FADER and VICE as the next big thing to happen to dance music. Starting her musical career as a vocalist, her original records are now smashing clubs and festivals to pieces via Diplo, Skrillex, A-Trak, Anna Lunoe and Nina Las Vegas.

“She’s signed to NLV Records, and will move seamlessly from bass music to hip hop, R&B, and her own live music.

“OKENYO – Newtown’s Okenyo is a producer with a pedigree in live performance via the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and an eclectic musical style. She recently performed at CMJ Festival in NYC, and placed Top 9 in the International Acts by BrightYoungThings there.

“I’ve known her personally for a long time because she was a friend to my sister Yael Stone at NIDA. I’ve also written songs with her, and know her to be a literate, progressive and very capable singer and performer, with an eye to the social and political issues of now.

Andy Garvey

“She also performed at Splendour In The Grass as part of the Red Bull Academy, and makes soulful, danceable modern electronic pop and hip hop.

“ANDY GARVEY – FBi Radio’s dance dark horse, Andy Garvey looks to be our Annie Mac, picking some of the most exciting dance music from around the world and showcasing it on her Triple J outlet Mix Up.

“She has managed to score exclusive mixes from AlunaGeorge and Roland Tings, so obviously she is going to destroy YOU at this event. Check her out.

“KUČKA – This singer and producer from Perth has one of the best dance vocals you’ll hear in 2017, and has already lent her talent to artists at the very top of the dance game, people like Flume, Vince Staples, A$AP Rocky and Fetty Wap.

Linda Marigliano

“Her solo singles are woozy electro pop and disco, with a stylish, literate edge. The single from her recent EP ‘Unconditional’ – ‘Divinity’ – reached number two on the US Billboard Twitter Emerging Artist chart, and she was awarded ‘Producer Of The Year’ by influential dance music blog Stoney Roads.

“I love her work on ‘Walk With Me’ by Cosmo’s Midnight, an exciting duo of techno producers, and she’s probably our most exciting young dance voice, just quietly.

“LINDA MARIGLIANO – Linda is a veteran of radio, and a dance music enthusiast. Also, her father is directly related to Al Capone. I’ve known her ever since I did my first Triple J spot, and she’s never been anything other than lovely, accessible, knowledgable and of good humour.

“Top chick. Marigliano hosts Triple J’s ‘Good Nights’ program, and has performed as a DJ alongside Tiga, DJ Medhi, Ratatat, and Simian Mobile Disco.”

DAPPLED CITIES present ‘IIIII’ (4th June)

Dappled Cities

“This is my favourite event to write about because they are my close friends.

“Dappled Cities are a band that couldn’t be closer to my heart, because they came up in the very same venues as my band Bluejuice. We both sweated it out at 150 person dirtbag shows at our favourite Surry Hills and Inner West venues, iconic places like The Hopetoun Hotel and The Annandale.

“Performers like Paul Kelly were known to put on secret shows at The Hopetoun, and international talent would often drink late at the unassuming Surry Hills dive bar after their shows in the city.

“I worked there as a bartender, in one of the most delightfully unprofessional environments of my life. Dappled Cities were almost the house band, either onstage learning the bones of their bright, surreal approach to indie pop, drenched in 70’s quirk and psychedelia, or they were drinking for free and playing pool.

“The band are specialists in whimsical indie pop that can turn psychedelic and ferocious by turns”

“It’s lovely to see one band of that period, other than us and the Red Riders, continue to play and make records. It’s been five years since their last album, which was their fourth full-length record.

“Dave Renwick, one of the two singers, was recently on my podcast Hash It Out, and he told me the pressure was ‘…really, finally off’ on this record.

“The band are specialists in whimsical indie pop that can turn psychedelic and ferocious by turns, and recalls bands like Grizzly Bear – incredibly, they’ll be performing with members of Australia’s Brandenburg Orchestra here.

“The combination of live orchestration, Dappled’s idiosyncratic sound, and the impressive concert hall at Angel Place makes this my most anticipated ticket for Vivid 2017.


Sydney Harbor

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