Robbie Phillips

0_6Open Mic Night @ The Balaclava Hotel

“I never thought I would ever get to play Spice Girls in a setting like that.”

In the comforts of the Balaclava Hotel, the dim lighting sets the scene amongst the warming audience and an old man dancing in the corner, the room is filled with eager listeners as Robbie Phillips hops up on stage and delivers a gracious performance.

“The whole set up here is just awesome. I reckon it’s one of the best Open Mic dynamics that I’ve played at. This one is so supportive and so natural.”

Originally from Western Australia, Robbie has been a bank relationship manager by day for the past 6 years. He loves his job because he brings colour and life to traditionally tense setting. After two years of playing live in the cosy spots of Melbourne, Robbie admits he’s still figuring things out when it comes to music and identifying the sort of musician he intends to be in the future.

“I like to travel to places that are scenic, just chasing that horizon. I think that’s evident in my songs.”

Robbie is inspired by Leonard Cohen and lyrical artists that represent the truth and storytelling in music. Growing up playing classical music, he became more intrigued by the lyrical aspect of music and how it can be a pursuit of self-discovery.

“My life can be very exhilarating – the stuff I do.”

Playing regularly at gigs just for the experience and for his passion for music, the commercial music scene isn’t high on the aspirations list – although he wouldn’t mind performing on the big stage if the time was right and the opportunities presented themselves.

“Music never fails; sort of spiritual I guess. It’s very therapeutic.”

Entertaining people with his music and capturing the attention of an audience is what encourages Robbie to keep doing what he loves when he’s not at his day job.

“Motivation for me is figuring out my voice and what this is about.”

One of his more memorable experiences playing live was at one of his first gigs at a gallery where he had no idea what to play for an hour and decided to light up the mood and get everyone moving to his version of ‘Stop Right Now’ by the Spice Girls.

“I never thought I would ever get to play Spice Girls in a setting like that.”

His advice to local musicians is to make sure you have stage presence and if music is your virtue then play to entertain.

Robbie performs at Open Mic nights once a month at The Balaclava Hotel and also at the Eugenius Café in Windsor (he’s playing there this Sunday, *hint hint*).

Check out Robbie’s latest music and adventures by heading to his Facebook page

Video: Max Hiscock

A fantastic original instrumental track, called “Shuttle Home” by Max Hiscock at the Acoustic Cafe.

Max is a previously featured Heartstrings Melbourne musician; check out his profile here:

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For an official recording of this track:

Max Hiscock

Max Hiscock
 Open Mic Night @ The Acoustic Cafe

“There’s never a wrong time to play, you just gotta get up there and play.”

With a couple effects pedals at his feet, Max’s instrumental originals were ambient, melodic and dynamic. Complemented by a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover, Max was up first on this evening of Acoustic music at the Acoustic Cafe.

With influences from John Butler, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and other 90s music, Max has been playing guitar and singing for 6 years; self-taught.

“I play open mics to get confidence as a musician, show some original material, and start my music career.”

Studying Animation at RMIT, Max never leaves home without his headphones, plays music to wake up in the morning, jams with friends, and ultimately wants “[music] to take the front seat.”

“Music and film are my two biggest passions. Eventually I want to start a band.”

Advice for other local musicians:

“I got some good advice from a busker on the street once. I said ‘when should I play an Open Mic?’ and he said ‘there’s never a wrong time to play you just gotta get up there and play’. That’s what I’d say to anyone who’s looking to play at a venue like this. Just do it.”

Encouraging people to listen to local musicians at an Open Mic:

“The material that people present at Open Mics is just gold; it’s raw, and it’s sometimes unfinished but it’s got a lot of soul to it and a lot of heart. Live music is the best.”

You can check out Max’s music live at the Acoustic Cafe on Thursday nights 8pm.

Keep updated with his originals here: