The results are in! The jury has made its deliberations and the FOCUS MARKETING projects have been chosen. In March 2022, Austrian Music Export put out an open call for its FOCUS MARKETING stipendium to support domestic music creators, in all genres, with project funding to further develop their creative and professional work. Musicians, labels, publishers, management, agencies and other industry players were all invited to apply. Austrian Music Export, together with the esteemed jury of music professionals, are pleased to announce the nine recipients, from whom we can all expect to see even more of in the near future.
ABOUT FOCUS MARKETING
After a successful pilot year, the FOCUS MARKETING funding project of Austrian Music Export heads into its second year. FOCUS MARKETING aims to enable a professional, international presentation of Austrian music under the conditions of a rapidly changing environment and global music scene.
The support is aimed at the international marketing and communication of Austrian artists and their artistic projects, such as publications, digitalization strategies, tours or international collaborations. A focus will be placed on innovative approaches to communicate domestic repertoire to an international audience.
SELECTED PROJECTS 2022
Apart from each other they are Beyza and Ezgi, together they form Aze. Since 2020, the duo provides us a nonchalant insight into their deepest inner selves with their sound mix between sad & sexy and the charming, yet playful lyrics. Aze combine all facets of RnB, Indie and Pop with sparks of oriental music; in it they find and offer space to feel, to express and to process – for themselves, but also for their audience. But after all, no drama is too big to not make it more acceptable with a humorous twist – a tried and tested coping mechanism that also works for Aze.
Their single “Call Me Back”, which was released at the end of 2020 without a label or big promo, landed directly in the top 5 of Austria’s influential radioFM4 charts. This was followed by the release of their debut EP “Dead Heat”.
With the creation of the double single “Sweet Talk / Sidewalk”, the mood for their debut album “Hotline Aze” was set – in a moment of cosmic synergy, an atmospheric guitar track and a weepy voice memo from Beyza’s phone found each other and everyone in the room could feel: This is it – A psychopharmacological cocktail of RnB, indie pop and dream rock. The Album “Hotline Aze” was released in Summer 2022 via Ink Music.
The Viennese band, Bipolar Feminin, released their debut EP “Piccolo Family” on Numavi Records in April 2022. The self-described indie, pop & punk band has been playing together for a couple of years already – during this gig-tested period, the six songs of the EP were created, as well.
A band like a falafel sandwich at 5am. It’s not sure how good it is now and what’s inside, but it’s awesome and was long overdue. Impulsive, emotional lyrics address, among other things, a view of the unbearable dreariness of the never-ending search for a party that doesn’t exist. The monotonous life in capitalism and life as a woman in the still ruling patriarchy. Originally, it was not the music that brought the band together, but growing up together in Ebensee. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the genre cannot be clearly categorised. The band is built around front woman Leni Ulrich, who is full of rage and love on stage. At her side: Jakob Brejcha on guitar, Samuel Reisenbichler on drums and Max Ulrich on bass. Together they create a form of rock, a form of punk, or even a form of pop.
Friedberg is an all-female-four-piece based in London, centred around singer, guitarist and master of cowbells Anna Friedberg. Their music has often been described as a blend of post-punk and alt-rock doused in alluring pop sensibilities – something that is immediately familiar, but also like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
They first stormed onto the scene in 2019 with their debut single ‘BOOM’, a dissonant siren’s call with its ominous riff and seductive, benign vocals. Follow up track ‘Go Wild’ quickly yielded placements with FIFA 20, the BBC’s Normal People adaptation, Netflix’s Biohackers, and other shows around the world. Their debut EP ‘YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH’ (released 19th March), features critically acclaimed singles ‘Pass Me On’, ‘Lizzy’ and ‘Midi 8’. Recorded in equal parts across Berlin and London with collaborators Daniel Brandt (Brandt Brauer Frick), Matthias Biermann (Roosevelt) and Matt Allchin (Florence & The Machine, Soak, George Ezra), ‘YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH’ is a punchy fuzzed-out foray into the inner workings of Anna Friedberg’s mind.
With impressive radio and press support across Europe, and festival slots at Reeperbahn, Eurosonic and BBC Introducing under their belt, Friedberg have already earned a reputation as one of the most exciting new bands around right now.
2021 saw the release of the EP “YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH” as well as a couple of remixes by Daniel Brandt. 2022 brought the single “Never gonna pay the rent”.
Good Wilson is: Günther Paulitsch’s project, which invented the term “sky gaze” to describe their music, to fill in a blank space on their Facebook page and to undertake a redefinition of the genre. The distinctive characteristic of sky gaze is a dash of clumsiness, which could be heard on their debut single “Walk The Talk”, released in summer 2019 together with a sports ground-vibey music video. With their second single “Divine”, released later in the same year, Good Wilson stuck to their signature sky gaze vibes.
While Good Wilson’s singles are currently rotating on over 50 international radio stations, the self-titled debut album Good Wilson, written and produced by multi -instrumentalist Guenther Paulitsch, came out in the midst of the pandemic in 2020 and already hit 2 million streams on Spotify.
KEROSIN95 is: figure, project and performance.
Kerosin’s world seems like a playground of possibilities. A place where every story gets its stage and every feeling is given expression. Fear, softness, hardness, fun – everything is packed into texts, sometimes seriously, sometimes playfully. Kerosin revolves around topics such as the relationship to oneself, the world in its heaviness and how to deal with it. There is contra and criticism on the program – and Kerosin with a big grin on stage. They try to create spaces in which confrontation can take place.
Besides small odes to queerness and energetic beats, fragile, very personal songs are presented. Lightness and brokenness carry the listeners alternately in highs and lows and allow them to quickly find themselves in the songs. An unusual honesty opens the view for essentials, without forgetting the fun. Kerosin95 released their EP in April 2022 on Ink Music with the title “Trans Agenda Dynastie”.
It is said to choose your superlatives wisely. However, leaving them out, describing Soul & RnB whizkid LOU ASRIL is close to impossible. He might still be a teenager, but manages to extract the Soul in his voice exactly from where it lies within – in between a fast pumping heart, and a tingly feeling stomach, leaving us both breathless and tongue-tied.
Starting a classic piano education at 11, he formed a band at 15 and began performing his songs right around this time. At 17 he won the Joe Zawinul Award, landing him a spot in a songwriting sessions in Los Angeles. 2019 brought his first public offering “Divine Goldmine“ as well as a definite start to his live career, conquering the stages with his groovy, velvety sounds that draw inspiration from acts like Solange, The Weeknd or Drake. His mini-LP “louasril” (Ink Music) was then released in 2020 exclusively on vinyl and digital.
pol.D (Polykleitos Dialog) is a quartet founded in 2017, dedicated to modern and contemporary jazz. The band’s objective is to enter complex musical worlds in an innovative and challenging way, but at the same time to attach great importance to the lightness and freedom of organic music-making. Unconventional and precise compositions, off the beaten track, play a central role and offer a consciously created space that serves as a playground for extensive improvisations. In keeping with the essence of jazz, intercultural influences, for example intercultural influences, such as those from the hip-hop avant-garde or new music, are equally and companions of the quartet, as well as elements of experimental electronic music or electronic music or the classical Indian rhythm theory. All this interaction creates musical contrasts, contrasts and parallels and unites the potential and unites in itself the potential to let the most diverse musical-cultural currents enter into dialogue.
Stepan Flagar | Reeds
Michael Tiefenbacher | Keys
Tobias Vedovelli | Upright Bass
Valentin Duit | Drums
Styrian Klezmore Orchestra
Based on the album “Klezmer Explosion”, released in spring 2021, the Styrian Klezmore Orchestra was founded by clarinettist Moritz Weiß and accordionist Ivan Trenev. A concentrated load of young musicians from Styria came together in a large orchestral format in varied instrumentation and embarks on a musical search for cultural traces. The broad musical approach leads to a stylistic pluralism in the field of tension between Klezmer, Yiddish, Eastern and Southeastern European music. The Styrian Klezmore Orchestra explores a repertoire of traditional dance music from Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria to Jewish wedding music from Podolia and Bessarabia, flirts with the music of the Lautari from Romania and Moldavia, and plays with the repertoire of many a gypsy brass Combo – on a constant search for what else can be found under the term “Klezmer”; “Klez-more”, in fact.
Besides the music of a European Klezmer scene, the Styrian Klezmore Orchestra also goes back almost 100 years into the past, exploring the Yiddish swing, theater and cabaret scenes of New York City at the beginning of the 20th century á la Barry Sisters and tying the bow with Yiddish Kreisler arrangements from Austria.
Go to your record shelf and pick out that quirky (and unforgettable!) folklore vinyl you once found on a flea market somewhere on your travels. And now imagine that sound being complemented by vintage synthesizers, flutes, twangy surf guitars, a hell lot of space echo … & electronic downtempo beats! Takeshi’s Cashew (Laut&Luise, Berlin) is a psych-funk group that explore the boundaries of club culture, world music & 70’s psychedelia.
During summer 2020 they recorded their debut album “Humans In A Pool” in their tiny DIY studio in Vienna. A journey into cosmic krautrock, cumbia, Afrobeat & disco, which can only be surpassed by one of their live performances – for which they teamed up with pojpoj agency, who already feature artists like Khruangbin, l´Eclair and Yin Yin. Takeshi’s Cashew plans to release their next album in Spring 2023.
The selected projects were carefully chosen by a jury made up of music experts and professionals. This year’s jury consisted of: Michel Attia (Radio FM4), Astrid Exner (WUK), Lukas Handle (Sargfabrik), Eva Kohout (BMKÖS), Ingrid Köhn (BMEIA), Martina Laab (ORF Kulturhaus/Salam Orient), and Lea Spiegl (SAE)
FOCUS MARKETING is a joint project of Austrian Music Export, BMKÖS – Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport and BMEIA – Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.