Made Now Music is a prolific Meanjin based independent music label, concert series and community of local artists. What started as a collaboration between three friends is now run mostly by Brodie McAllister with the help of his partner Catalynne.
Over the last 5 years, MNM has released 19 records across jazz, post-classical & experimental music. They've put on countless gigs at venues across the city, most recently calling KEPK a home away from home.
"We are committed to putting out art from artists that we believe in. MNM focuses on releasing music from artists not categorised by genre, but by a common ethos - quality, honest music, made now."
Musical beginnings & jazz
"My family wasn't strictly musical, but mum would thrash Enya and dad was super into his Aussie rock. If we go way back, it all started in Grade 4. My brother played euphonium and I picked up the trombone just so we could sit next to each other in band. From then on I actually just fell in love with trombone. I have vivid memories of playing along to S Club 7 back then.
In school I got into Jazz because (as with most people) I just got bored of concert band at some point. Once I was in high school the head of music there Andrew Butt was a real jazz head and actively facilitated my passion for the genre which I'm forever grateful for. He made sure to show me all these different records, transcriptions and just really helped me foster my love for the music."
Moving into more experimental territory
"By the time I got to Uni I was well ahead of the curve because of Andrew. At the con, I was super fortunate to have yet another amazing teacher Ben Marks, who just happens to also be a fantastic trombone specialist. I'd been pretty strictly jazz before he put me onto John Cage and Xenakis which blew my mind.
I feel deep into the experimental sauce in Uni, it's a hyper-focus thing; once I hone in on something I can often become obsessive with it which is awesome with music because I truly love it. Experimental is a weird term though. There's a lot of baggage that comes with that word. In Uni they call it 21st century classical or new music but it's still not the best phrase for it. Genres are weird.
Nowadays I really don't play straight jazz a lot as there's a whole lot of other incredible music that interests me a little more. But, it's still really important to hear what you love in something even if you don't love it musically."
Passion for community
"For most of my time at Uni I really wanted to be a performer, but towards the end of my studies I started to focus on building local community up. If community is good, then everybody eats. Sometimes all you need is one person to put in the work and the next thing you know everyone is doing crazy shit.
I think the love of community came from my interest in playing and composing for larger ensembles compared to smaller groups. Seeing everyone come to the table and contribute to the magic is amazing.
It was also through teaching - I work for an amazing program called Talkin' Jazz which is an education program run out of Brisbane Jazz Club. It's not even really about the teaching, it's mostly about giving kids the opportunity to have a jam session and it has been so fulfilling because of the community focus."
Start of Made Now Music
"At the time MNM started in 2017, it didn't feel like there was a space for people to come together that were making experimental/21st century music. Don't get me wrong, there were still people doing things at that time - but for the community coming out of the con, it didn't feel like it.
I was trying to start a live concert series at Fat Louie's which didn't end up happening (for obvious reasons) but my friend Caleb wanted to start a label so we thought screw it, let's combine our passions and make it one project.
When we had a larger team it was awesome - Caleb could track and mix the music, I could work design, and together we bounced off each other to fill in the gaps and just about take an album from idea to completion all in-house."
"Our goal from the very beginning has been about building a sustainable, empathic, compassionate community that comes together for all these types of music. Having a label alongside the shows has allowed us to document the work of the artists that were playing and it just worked great hand in hand.
We owe a lot to Peter Breen and Jugglers Art Space - he would let us put shows on that certainly lost him money and probably sucked but he just cared about community so much and it's stuck with me. He's an absolute legend. Jugglers was really championing underground art for such a long time and Peter has always been so amazing in helping us put things on. He also does The Stairwell Project which everyone should definitely check out.
The only thing that's really shifted from our beginnings is the frequency of what we do, now that I'm the only one founding member remaining. Also we aren't as strictly Meanjin with releases now which is great because there's so much good music from all across so-called Australia."
"In terms of the sound of the label we started with a focus on contemporary classical, and it's remained steeped in acoustic arrangement. But, as there've been more releases we've seen more electronic and other influences which has been refreshing.
Honestly we are open to all types of music, we don't fuss over genre. These days I am more picky with the releases just because I can only do so much on my own and I really have to love the record to put the hours in.
The thread really seems to be that we just work with people that we'd hang out with or have a meal with you know. I feel like I'm stealing that from somewhere... Anyone that has or will be a part of MNM are beautiful people. Now that I say that it sounds weird, why would you release music for people that you hate?!"
"I was born and raised here and I feel like we are having a real moment right now which is incredible. There's a lot of amazing stuff popping up, lots of people are coming out of the woodworks with this new energy which just builds community up.
Honestly, everyone here is just so lovely. The community is really open minded, people will go to a bunch of different gigs that aren't even that related and just show up for the scene which is beautiful.
The blank canvas of Meanjin is a big draw card right now I reckon, there's just so much room to do whatever you want. We have roots as a counterculture city and that vibe has come alive again in recent years.
We're getting even better at cross pollinating locally and nationally too. In other scenes, artists and musicians don't easily gel; scenes are clicky. That's way less of a thing here which is rad."
2022 and beyond
"We've got some music coming out this year that is genuinely some of the most humbling/exciting releases I've had my ears on.
It's all a bit covert at this point, but there is some ridiculous music incoming from friends, heroes and strangers-turned-friends all in the mix! They range from solo albums up to what is essentially a chamber orchestra and we're stretching out a little with every new project.
For me, this year is about getting creative with how to get the music to people and trying to make a safe space for people to experience the music - trying to tap into the essence of the label which is community-building and sharing amazing music/art! There's a very special event happening in April (a multi-day long series that will involve some pretty wild music), but of course, that's covid's call whether we can go ahead.
Beyond 2022, the ethos is much the same MNM is here for the long haul. Would be awesome to just keep connecting people to the music and hopefully provide the space for people who might not otherwise have found music like this to take the leap of faith."