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Games Gig is Freeplay 2021’s Thursday night indie afterparty

And features some very queer friendly indie music!

Games Gig is the official Thursday night Freeplay Festival 2021 event, described by its organisers as “a music focused afterparty featuring a line-up of indie, pop, and electronic game composers performing their music from Melbourne indie games.”

Taking place on 10 June 2021 at Melbourne’s The Toff in Town, tickets for the event are now available over at Eventbrite.

Video World‘s Monster Mansion (aka Jacob Leaney) will headline the event alongside Maize Wallin, a composer who has worked on titles like the PS5 console exclusive Godfall and indie titles such as Receiver 2 and Wayward Strand. Leaney and Wallin have also organised the event, intending it as a showcase for electronic and pop music, two genres that often don’t “get a chance to be seen and heard live, performed by the people that wrote it,” as Leaney explained to Stevivor.

“It’s really uncommon in Australia for video game music events to even happen outside of larger scale orchestral events, let alone game music events featuring indie game music,” Leaney continued, adding that two of the show’s acts “have a contemporary music side to our music, so the gig is also a way to bring that into the games scene and start blurring the line a bit between ‘games composer’ and ‘performing artist’.”

“Chiptune and orchestral music is always what comes to mind for most of the videogame music audience, as well as usual music audiences,” Wallin added. “But we know that a really dedicated music lover, seeks their local indie bands, and artists they find exciting, and not mainstream. It’s the same with gamers and developers, celebrating the original, unique and experimental. In Melbourne we have a really booming music industry with so many exciting musical acts, and we’re hitting well above our weight with exciting indie games and art.

“My work with the Victorian Music Development Office last year saw punk band Cable Ties making a game with indie dev Cecile Richard called Hope, and for me this gig is a kind of continuation of that vibe. The line up is of people who perform outside of games whether it be River Boy’s sold out show with Mo’ju, or Allison Walker’s underground algoraves.

“Over my own almost 10 year career in game audio and community here in Melbourne, we’ve also seen more warehouse parties and events that aren’t just conferences and conventions, and Freeplay has been a real support for that in Melbourne. So I’m glad to be a part of Freeplay this year, with this gig that I think really makes sense! And at The Toff no less, a really iconic Melbourne indie music venue, that I know Jacob has played at in the past, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet, and I’m pretty stoked for it.”

A total of four fantastic local indie game musicians will perform at the event, with three of the acts identifying as queer or transgender and another as a first nations composer.

“You know marginalised people are used to having to perform at 200% in order to get anywhere in toxic industries,” Wallin said. “So you know, it makes sense that when looking for people who really are doing a lot of work being in game audio and performing live, that it’s going to result in this lineup. It’s just awesome to have queer, trans, and first nations representation at this concert, and really show off that this is what we’re about. Our game is strong af, and we’re going to blow everyone away.

“I’m so proud and excited by how easily and naturally this lineup came about,” they continued. “This gig is a must for indie devs and musicians in Melbourne. It’s something that I think is really defining for our scenes.”

“Our lineup was literally just who we thought would be the best acts for the show, to keep it on-theme but also balanced musically,” added Leaney. “Maize and I both champion diversity, but this event [and] its lineup came together really naturally without making that our focus. I’d like to think it’s a great sign that more diverse voices are cutting through and have to talk about diversity will someday be a thing of the past!”

Fellow Melbournians River Boy (aka Narayana Johnson, one half of the group Willow Beats) and Allison Walker — a composer, live-coder and sound designer — will be rounding out the event’s roster.

“River Boy is both a pop music artist and a games composer, so it was pretty easy to see that he would fit on this lineup,” Leaney said. “He’s recently performed at Brunswick Music Festival supporting Moju, so is very much in the ‘music industry’ world as well as in games.”

“River Boy has been around games for a few years now, and when I first was introduced to his work in 2019 I saw how he was combining his live music and production skills, and diving in to more games specific audio knowledge,” added Wallin. “Last year he performed during IsolAid, and this year and Brunswick music festival with a sold out show. River Boy keeps releasing these absolute bangers and collaborating with other amazing artists. And to top it off, his work with Massive Monster on their upcoming game which we’re all excited for.”

“Allison showcased her amazing skill and penchant for generosity last year during an online audio+game event AGJam, where she shared with us how to do some of the amazing live coding work she does, and a taste of what an algorave is,” Wallin said. “Allison had been working with some of the big names in games here in Melbourne for years before that on Sokobond and Intergalactic Space Princess, but I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing her live work before. Her new experimental musical game work Hidden to be Found shows her stretching her muscles too.”

“Allison is more instrumental [and] soundtrack focused, but can perform doing live coding which is really exciting for us,” Leaney added. “The draw card with her was to see how game [and] coding can impact live performance.

“For both of them we love their music and they very much fit within the vibe we’re going for the evening so we’re really excited to have them on the lineup!”

“You need to be the best of the best along with a lot of perseverance, solidarity, and grit,” Wallin said. “When Jacob and I were looking for who there is; Allison and River Boy stick out like shining stars! Two people constantly kicking goals with how they shape their exciting careers.”

After a long day at Freeplay, Leaney said Games Gig would be “focused on relaxing, enjoying music, and socialising, but we hope that a byproduct of the gig-style vibe will be that people might be able to mingle and socialise with people that they may not usually.

“Often musicians have to go to a game dev event to be around game devs, so we’re bringing game devs to a music event,” he continued. “That being said, absolutely everyone is welcome. There’ll be not only Freeplay attendees there but other contemporary musicians and of course just people who want to enjoy a great gig!”

Doors for Games Gig open at 6.30 pm AEST and music kicks off from 7.00 pm AEST.

“For those unfamiliar with the Toff, you can get food, dinner and drinks there — so we would love to encourage attendees to come out early and give themsleves a well deserved night out,” Leaney exclaimed.

The Freeplay Independent Games Festival 2021 takes place over 8-13 June. For more information, head here. We’ll have more with Wallin and Leaney ahead of the event.

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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.