There are some people out there at the moment doing some amazing things for the scene. Deaf Cult Initiative are up there with the best of them. A few months back they announced a $500 grant for unsigned artists and today they announce the recipients.

From Deaf Cult Initiative:

And here we have it, Deaf Cult Initiative’s inaugural grant announcement.

During our fledgling days, it was quickly realised that Deaf Cult Initiative had potential to do something special. You, the community, reaffirmed as much when you fostered your drive to provide community-centred projects and helped us to create an incredible community experience. It is now that we three, the Deaf Cult Initiative team, have a clearly realised vision and mission statement:

“Deaf Cult Initiative seeks to restore a sense of real-world community to the heavy music scene, establishing and strengthening pathways, connections and common cause between emerging Australian artists, and reconnecting them to a grassroots community of real, like-minded humans.”

You might have been following us as we worked towards this – first with raffles and now with the first of many grants for unsigned and local artists. Now more than ever, we feel that we can hold true to this vision. With this announcement, we hope you – our beloved community – can see well and truly what we stand for. So, without further ado, we present the first ever recipient of our community grant. We – Jake, Borchy, and Andrew – would like to introduce the artist that our community has funded $500 for…

Empire Within

A Brisbane metalcore outfit whose members include Lachy Lyne, Dan Northcott, Tim Molen, James Ring, and Dale Lister. Empire Within have taken a strong and professional approach to music, playing with a number of Australian acts including The Brave, Windwaker and Deadlights, solidly earning their place within Brisbane’s local heavy music scene. The Brisbane boys have shown without a shadow of a doubt that they not only have a passion for music, but a love for our artistic communities of Australia. Empire Within were able to provide valuable insight into the worlds of the Australian scene. For these reasons and more, we came to a decision. We could see a bright future for them.

It is no secret that these boys are ready to take on the world, gearing up to do some special things in early 2021. We have the confidence that Lachy, Dan, Tim, James, and Dale are onto something great, and I’m sure that they cannot wait to share some news with you all very soon.

As part of our grant, not only have we dedicated $500 towards their artistic pursuits; we’ve dedicated time and love into developing opportunities to further their musical careers. We’ll be working with them into the future supporting them in as many ways as we can, including involving them in media opportunities to support the band and our friends in different media outlets. We see a thriving local landscape and are effortlessly and tirelessly dedicated to closing that gap and creating a local network like no other before. You will see more of Empire Within over the next couple of months as we gear up to support them in the near future. We hope that you – the community that made all of this possible – enjoy seeing more of these faces, as we are absolutely privileged to be able to offer these opportunities to our community. We extend our deepest thanks to you – the community, all 23 of our applicants, our friends, our families – for making all of this possible. We thank Empire Within for being who they are and holding true to the values that define this community.

Congratulations to Empire Within.

Jake, Borchy, and Andrew : Deaf Cult Initiative


I got to chat to Jake, Tim and James last night after they were told about their win. We talked about what they are going to do with the grant and about the industry as a whole.

First off huge congratulations guys on being the chosen band to receive the grant. How are you going to spend it?

Tim: We are really going to dedicate that money to supporting the rest of the arts community as a whole. We know that it’s just not musicians that are hurting right now, it’s the entire arts community. So we want to use this money that we got from the grant to really support artists as a whole. We have a new EP coming out soon, so we are going to use the money to get our album art work sorted and also any supporting artwork as well. Whether it is new merch or single releases and all that sort of stuff. So dedicating it to that sort of use.

How did you guys find the whole application process with Deaf Cult?

Tim: It’s been great. The guys have been really transparent with us and have actually really protected some of the stuff we have told them during the process. Obviously through the grant process we have let them in on some of the details of what we have coming up, and some details surrounding our songs that haven’t been released. It was really great to be able to trust the guys with that and know that they were 100% respectful of the work that we are putting in to things at the moment as well.

James: Yeah it was really cruisy. The whole crew at Deaf Cult have been amazing the entire time.

Tim: Ever since we first chatted to the guys it’s just been really easy to just talk about music, bands and Corona virus and life in general.

Sounds like one of my interviews!! Talking about anything and everything to do with the scene and beyond.

James: There is so much to be unpacked I think for the wider community at the moment. Emotionally, mentally and physically people have been through stuff that they have never experienced before. It’s good for people to be able to decompress and I think music for us is one of those things. And we know that artist, whoever your industry is really you know coffee or whatever, they are just keen to get back into it. They just want to be doing what they love again. It’s good to be a part of an initiative that is aiming to do that with the community I guess. It feels really awesome to be a part of something that is going to be really positive

That is something that I think we are all trying to foster. Building that community around the arts.

Tim: We talked about this in our application as well. When you start out in a new band, we’ve been going for 3 or 4 years now, but I remember when you first start out every other band is the competition. So the last thing you want to do is go and start that community thing, but it is so necessary. I remember our first gig and looking at the line up and thinking who are we better than and how can we beat these people. But it’s not about that. It took us awhile to realise that.

James: Its definitely about sharing the love more and more. We realised that. You see some bigger artists working with smaller companies. Like Northlane working with a small vineyard in Geelong was really cool. We really are inspired by some of those connections people are making so we have got plans to bring in industries that aren’t necessarily usually involved in music or with the arts.  Get them involved in a different way. Start weaving some more networks that may not have existed previously. For example I’m in coffee and I do a lot of roasting and all the blend production, that’s another industry that has been suffering immensely during Covid. Hospitality has gone through the absolute wringer so looking at doing some private label blends with some bands. Producing some different products and ideas that haven’t really been explored. Out of necessity people are starting to become more creative and bold in mixing their passions together which is in a way a “positive” outcome of Covid. Obviously Covid is super rough but there are some things happening that may not have happened pre-Covid.

Recurrent Verse wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Covid. What was meant to be something smallish has turned into something amazing. The support from the scene has been incredible.

Tim: That goes back to that community aspect you were talking about before. That’s what happens when you build a community around the scene and the scene gives back as well.

The networking opportunities are there. Like James was saying with the coffee. How do you think the grant will help you with that side of things?

Tim: We were talking about this throughout the interview that we had with Deaf Cult the other day. Even just out of our talk the other day we are setting up some time with Borchy and Andy over the next couple of weeks to talk about how we can bring some of those ideas to life. Andy is really passionate about a festival type idea that he has got coming up and we were toying with some ideas as well around some art gallery walk throughs to link up band with artists. Even bringing the hospitality side into it.

James: I caught up with Andy last week and we bounced some ideas around. Getting small businesses from around the area to be involved. Just so that people know who they are and what they do.

It’s basically we are going to have to build a lot of stuff back from the ground up. A lot of venues aren’t going to be there.

Tim: I think the good thing that we are seeing, because it’s all starting to come back to life in Brisbane, is that for every show that we have seen be announced it has sold out. That’s been really positive to see. There is definitely an appetite for live music to make a comeback. It’s even to the point that Andy’s band is playing at the Brightside on Sunday and they sold out the Brightside. We’re playing there on the Friday night and we have sold out too. It looks like venues are starting to see a bit of a turn in the corner. It’s great for us to have our first show back knowing that there are going to be plenty of people there that are really keen to just see some live music again.

James: I figured Friday night I’ll just take the football along with me and announce it was a football game and it all should be fine. The rules won’t apply then so mosh pits will be all G.

You can just ball up into the pack!!! That actually gobsmacks me. That you can have that many people at the football, but we can’t have normal gigs still.

James: It’s enraging. Like I wouldn’t mind if the rules where the same across the board but it’s the unbelievable double standard across industries. Man it gets your blood boiling. I’ve been speaking about it with a lot of my music friends and it feels like a big slap to the face.

We were the first industry to go and we will be the last industry to come back.

James: Absolutely. Cafes can’t seat full numbers till and yet the football is back with 40,000 people. And these are proper small family businesses suffering and then corporations can just go do that shit.

So have you enjoyed the whole application process? Well I know you’ve enjoyed the end part!!

James: It was really cool because like we said we just got to have an awesome conversation about what we can do to work with the Deaf Cult guys on helping. We said from the start that we didn’t really care whether we won or lost because we actually do genuinely believe in what they are doing. We are just down to be involved in community type activities. We just want to see the music scene and other local industries pick back up. We were excited to hear what their ideas were and how we may be able to slot into those. Also being able to put forward ideas that we have had and work with each other to build it up. From the start I think we were just excited and almost a bit giddy to be working with people again on something is in the industry that we all feel so passionate about. From the get-go it has been a fun and exciting venture. Obviously winning is just the cherry on top. We couldn’t believe it. We all hung up the phone, from when we found out, and we were just like “No way! Really” The did the whole screen grab where the wheel was spinning with our name on it haha, with the congratulations sounds! It was so cool.

Tim: They even dressed up in suit jackets!

Jake: We wanted to take the piss a little bit! What you guys were expecting when we said, “Hey let’s get on a call”. We wanted to make it fun and light hearted. We wanted to build that anticipation and slight anxiety!

Tim: The anxiety was real. We had been messaging each other all afternoon saying “They want to talk to us…” I’d offered to just talk to them myself because we had practise, but they said they wanted to speak to all of us. It was the back and forwards of all of our minds. Is it really bad or did we get the grant!!

Jake: It was what we wanted honestly! We needed that build up and anticipation and I guess we got it.

James: The payoff was real.

I think it’s awesome that you guys are going to put it back into the community. Like you said spreading the love.

Tim: I think it makes a lot of sense. At the end of the day Deaf Cult’s whole purpose is all about building a community and networking so to us there was no other way that we could spend the money. Obviously there is other ways you can spend the money, but it wouldn’t be right to so it any other way. Like James was saying it is something that we really believe in. I remember when Andy jumped on board with Deaf Cult at the start. I remember him doing the post about being involved in something and it being really cool to watch it grow. I looked into it at that point and I kind of had FOMO straight away wishing that I had jumped on it when he did, to be involved as well. So it’s great that we still get to be a part of it.

I remember as soon as Jake posted about it I flicked him a friends request and was like right what’s going on???

Jake: The hype built up straight away and I haven’t been able to catch wind since.

I remember you messaging me going I can’t believe what the fuck is going on! It’s just crazy.

Jake: I’m still saying the same thing!

That’s that whole community thing again. Your supporting the industry and the industry is supporting you back.

James: Exactly. That’s how healthy relationships should work. I think it’s good for bands to remember it is the community that looks after them just as much as we enjoy giving them content to enjoy. It is definitely a relationship.

Its been good during this time watching that build on social media too.

James: Pages like UNFD Social Club have been great hubs to get frustrations out or talk about new music and still engage with people across Australia. I imagine a year ago when I joined that group it was mainly people selling vinyls and occasionally having a bitch about an album.

Anything else you want to get out to the world?

James: We have new music coming out early next year. We are starting the tracking process this week for that.  We are just in the process of finalising our plan for releases and all that kind of stuff. I’ve just sourced some local videographers who we are looking to work with for some music videos and content productions for the EP as well, playthroughs and all that kind of stuff will be part of the package too. There is a lot of content that will be coming out hopefully early next year.

Tim: And I think the other part of it as well is, probably as a band and as a whole, anyone that has listened to our first EP is going to be surprised when they hear what we are doing next because it has definitely taken a bit of a turn. We have still have elements of what we loved over our last EP but this next one is definitely going to be a whole lot heavier.

James: It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Tim: We are really keen and excited for it to come out. We are playing the first two songs live this Friday, so everyone is going to get a bit of a taste of it.

James: We also want to say thank you to Deaf Cult Initiative on a public platform for everything they are doing already, and for what they are going to do for the community. I mean this grant directly affects us and some of the artists that we will be working with, but we know that we are probably just a small portion of the people that are going to be helped, united and networked through what Deaf Cult is going to be doing. We just want to say thanks to the team for letting us be a part of it. We are genuinely super excited to see the community grow together and bounce back. The local scene has got some serious talent shining through at the moment. I’m just so excited honestly for new music and new ventures with new people. I think this community will bounce back stronger and people like Deaf Cult are going to foster that. So to be involved is a genuine pleasure.

Jake: That’s fucking insane to say the least. I’m gobsmacked. It feels good to know what we set out to do is making such big impacts in so many different ways. How people are keen to see that evolve.

Jake was actually pretty speechless at this point!!

James: Love it. That’s all that needs to be said.

We had a chat about the industry and moving forward too:

Jake: While She Sleeps campaign is relevant to how the industry will look moving forward. Over the next 18 months what they have set out to do is very similar to what we have set out to do. How that is going to move the industry forward. It will be unrecognisable in 18 months’ time.

That’s the thing we have to look at doing the industry different because this is more than likely going to happen again, and we need to be prepared for the next time.

James: Absolutely. I think people have underestimated the music scene in a sense because they see musicians as people who are creative but at the same time I know a lot of people in the industry who work in very logistical environments that have really great ideas for how law infrastructure and government can plan and help curb some of the loses that occurred due to a pandemic like this. I would love to eventually see those guys get a bit more of a voice as well and see the government take our industry a bit more seriously. I think that is a long term goal that will happen and bands like While She Sleeps and initiatives like Deaf Cult and people with a bit more of a voice, once that community get s strong, I think our voice will be very loud. I look forward to the day that they have to listen and understand that in Australia the music industry is huge, and people love it. It is such an integral part of being Australian, being a part of the local music scene. It’s part of what we do.

Empire Within are pretty worthy recipients of the grant and I’m stoked to see that they are going to use that to share the love around in the community.

All links to Empire Within and Deaf Cult are below:

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