GEORGE Petridis knows full well the potential of Newcastle music when everything clicks. He was at Newcastle High School when fellow students Silverchair became international teenage rock stars.
More than 25 years later Petridis has developed a successful career of his own in electronic dance music as DJ Fuel, and in radio with Hit 106.9 Newcastle and Hit 101.3 Central Coast.
Petridis has also long held a burning desire to foster and promote Newcastle EDM through his own label. Last week that ambition was finally realised when the first track was released on Pumping Records.
Do You Think About Me? by York & 23rd is a collaboration between DJ Fuel and Nelson Bay's Sabro, aka Aaron Sabrowski.
Newcastle model and DJ Shiralee Coleman, who boasts 227,000 Instagram followers, will release Pumping Records' second single, Can You Feel It?, on December 4.
"Newcastle has given me a platform to make music, have connections and a make a career out of music," Petridis said.
"I really wanted to focus on Newcastle artists, as I know so many talented artists. They've got the drive they just don't want to give it a go because they're scared of failure or they give it a lot, but not giving it 100 per cent.
"I feel I can give them that little bit extra push, that motivation. Plus the experience I've got in day to day working on radio."
Pumping Records' roster currently boasts DJ Fuel, Coleman, York & 23rd and Ibazz, aka John Ibrahim, but Petridis is keen to uncover and sign more talent.
Ultimately, he hopes showcase the diversity of Newcastle's music scene.
"It's always been that rock town or rock city, and it still does," he said. "But over the last 20 years I've been involved in dance music and we have some of the biggest artists in the world come here to play and Australian touring DJs.
"They always say how much Newcastle goes off. They love coming here because we're so receptive to the music."
AUSTIN Mackay has left a parting gift to his hometown of Newcastle as he prepares to tackle the next phase of his music career based on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Mackay's debut solo EP The Distance Between was released last Friday and marks a dramatic shift from the surf-rock of his band Honey Hills towards a more radio-friendly brand of folk-pop, which even features elements of country.
The 19-year-old was joined by experienced Newcastle musicians Dane Baldwin (drums), Jono Burgess (bass), Jeremy Minett (guitar) and Leith Dixon (keys) on the five-track EP.
"My goal with this EP, as the same with single [Edge Of Unknown] was to have songs that I could play acoustically, but I could also play them with the band and be two completely different feelings," Mackay said.
"Then be able to take the songs and switch them into different styles and versions. That was my main goal, to make them as versatile as possible."
Becoming a singer-songwriter has also become the focus for Mackay. Honey Hills have disbanded and next month he'll move to Mooloolaba and concentrate on performing at venues between the Sunshine Coast and the Northern Rivers region of NSW.
"I feel like that area really does cater for the singer-songwriter genre and original music in particular," he said.
"Newcastle was really good for me to grow a fan base and be able to get the experience of playing gigs all around town, but I really wanna hone my craft as an original artist and I feel like there's more venues up that way that cater for original artists and music."
NOBODY could accuse Gooch Palms' Leroy Macqueen of not experimenting.
Back in March the Newcastle pop-punk duo, which also includes Macqueen's partner Kat Friend, announced they were disbanding after three albums in 10 years.
Soon after Macqueen unveiled his solo project L.M Queen and the synth-pop and dark wave single S.M.A. This week it was announced that the Melbourne-based Novocastrian would soon be releasing alt-western music under the name Leroy Macqueen.
GRETA'S nine-time Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell will play an almost hometown gig on December 11 when she closes out the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre's 2020 Studio Sounds series.
The Studio Sounds series was launched following the reintroduction of live music after the COVID-19 lockdown and has seen local legends Outback Radio and Newcastle jazz band The Terence Koo Trio perform in Cessnock.
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