Melbourne’s music and art worlds collided last night at the launch of The Bakehouse Project, a fascinating art book celebrating a year in the life of Bakehouse Studios. On the heels of their Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award— the Facilitators Prize for their contributions to the Australian music industry and creative arts practice—Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean celebrated the release of The Bakehouse Project with Melbourne’s arts fraternity.
Saluting a year at Bakehouse Studios, The Bakehouse Project is a unique blend of music, art and photography. The walls of Bakehouse drip with the history of Australian music, and after the success of a giant paste-up tribute to Lou Reed, Helen and Quincy invited a group of visual artists to create installations in the Bakehouse rehearsal rooms. This full colour, hardback book documents a world-first collaborative project in the tradition of Melbourne Now and features artists such as Patricia Piccinini, Mick Turner, Peter Milne, and The Hotham Street Ladies.
Helen Marcou proudly took media on a tour of the facility prior to the launch proper and delighted in telling us tales of each room’s history, the characters who have inhabited them and the vision of the individual artists who have curated the refurbishment. It was also heartwarming to hear of Helen and Quincy’s recycling ethos, with the renovated rooms featuring re-used materials from iconic local landmarks such as The Corner Hotel’s old carpet and the Jam Factory’s theatre curtains, among many other sentimental artifacts.
Anyone who has visited the Bakehouse rooms will be familiar with the Glam Room’s depiction of the vibrant, mythical SOS band, the band without a song. One of the highlights of last’s night ‘s celebration was the coming to life of the uber-colourful SOS band in a wild, energetic live performance. Wrapping up a wonderful night, The Drones took on DJ duties spinning a quirky array of dance faves.
Congratulations and thanks to Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean, (the owners of Bakehouse Studios since its founding in 1991) not only for producing an amazing book but for their tireless service to Melbourne’s arts community. The pair were responsible for launching SLAM (Save Live Australia’s music), an activist group that staged the SLAM rally of 2010, which was described as ‘the largest cultural rally in Australia’s history’. Through SLAM, they were able to bring about the Agent of Change laws in 2014, which protects music venues from noise complaints by new residential developments.
Around 400 musicians, local and international, pass through Bakehouse Studios every week. Over the years, acts like The Saints, Paul Kelly, Rowland S. Howard, The MC5, Mark Arm (Mudhoney), Evan Dando (Lemonheads), Tool, Janes Addiction, Deftones, Augie March, Little Birdy, The Panics, X, Died Pretty, Steve Kilbey, The Triffids, Beasts of Bourbon, The Scientists, Dallas Crane, Sufjan Stevens, Dave Stewart, John Butler Trio, Jimmy Little, Blackeyed Susans, Vika & Linda Bull, Daddy Cool, Deni Hines, Underground Lovers, Wanda Jackson, Olivia Newton-John, Jessica Mauboy, Tame Impala, Powderfinger, Bill Callahan, Beth Orton, Cat Power, Elvis Costello, The Rockwiz Orchestra, Ladyhawke, Icehouse, Neil Finn, Pere Ubu and many more have passed through the Bakehouse doors. The facility has become a much-loved, iconic hub for Melbourne’s arts community.
The Bakehouse Project 128 page hard back book is available from Bakehouse Studios and all good bookstores