There’s a lot happening on this year’s Beyond The Valley line-up – from the hip-hop double header of Schoolboy Q and Stormzy to The Presets’ live return. One of the brightest names on the poster is 21-year-old UK producer Alex Crossan, better known as Mura Masa. Here are five reasons why you want to usher in 2018 with this guy.
A Mura Masa Show Is Always On-Point
There are a few variations on the Mura Masa live show, and we’ll have to see which one makes it to BTV. The multi-instrumentalist favours a one-person band setup, with drum pads, keyboards, guitars and other hardware arranged onstage.
He’s usually backed up by either Bonzai or Fliss, both versatile vocalists and born performers who can stand in for any of the album guests. (Yes, even A$AP Rocky.) You might even hear Crossan himself on the mic. For an idea of how fun and all-out rowdy it gets at a Mura Masa show, check out the London album launch.
Recent Mura Masa setlists have hit all the moments you’d want: ‘Lotus Eater’, ‘Firefly’, ‘Love$ick’ and ‘1 Night’. Perfect material for a New Year’s under the stars.
Could A ‘Firefly’ Cameo Be On The Cards?
BTV has assembled an illustrious undercard this year, with hyped acts including Sampa The Great, B.Traits, FKJ and Princess Nokia. One star not to miss is London singer-songwriter NAO, who released her excellent debut album For All We Know last year. She of course also happens to be one of Crossan’s closest collaborators.
In addition to making ‘Firefly’ together, the friends have toured as a double bill and performed killer covers of Frank Ocean’s ‘Thinkin Bout You’ and Calvin Harris’ ‘Slide’ along the way. A live cameo from NAO would elevate Mura Masa even more, but be sure to catch her own set at BTV too.
He’s Super Versatile In The Studio
Growing up on the sleepy island of Guernsey in the English Channel, Crossan got his musical education from the internet. Inspired by the Gorillaz, video games and martial arts movies, his early productions on SoundCloud weren’t tied to any scene or sub-genre. Instead he channelled everything from James Blake to J Dilla into the Mura Masa sound.
In 2014, while still in his teens, Crossan released the mixtape Soundtrack To A Death on Bandcamp. Its 14 tracks covered trap, instrumental hip-hop and downtempo, with ‘Lotus Flower’ emerging as the underground hit. He then turned in remixes and edits for the likes of Childish Gambino, Foals, RL Grime and even Ed Sheeran.
All that work gradually built to the polished sound of his self-titled debut album, released this year. Inspired by the multicultural energy of London, where he now lives, Mura Masa plays with UK garage, Caribbean drums and African kalimbas, all filtered through a savvy pop sensibility.
Everyone Wants To Work With Him
For a producer in his early 20s, Crossan has serious pulling power. After working with the aforementioned NAO on ‘Firefly’ and Shura on ‘Love For That’, he attracted some big guns for his self-titled debut.
Second single ‘Lovesick’ features Harlem’s own A$AP Rocky (recorded on-the-fly at Abbey Road Studios in London), while elsewhere Crossan pairs up with Charli XCX, Desiigner, Christine And The Queens, Jamie Lidell and his musical hero Damon Albarn. He also co-produced ‘First Things First’ for his BTV line-up mate Stormzy (is another live collab on the cards?) and ‘Seven Months’ with Låpsley. His latest studio companion? None other than disco authority Nile Rodgers. We predict a very star-studded 2018.
He’s A Man Of Excellent Taste
There’s a lot of love for Mura Masa right now on the UK scene, and he’s flexing his influence well. In addition to his own headline shows (he recently packed out the O2 Brixton Academy in London), Crossan was invited to curate a night at Manchester’s The Warehouse Project in October.
The producer put together one of the best line-ups on the 2017 schedule. His collaborators NAO and Bonzai were there, alongside boundary-pushing club acts Girl Unit, Bok Bok, Mumdance, Jacques Greene and Special Request. In other words: You can trust this guy to get you dancing.
The first thing you need to know about the Beyond The Valley lineup is it never sleeps. “We have so many spots to fill over the festival that we are constantly booking right up until the flyer goes out,” says Nic Greco, one of the founders of BTV.
He’s not kidding either. Back in 2014, the lineup for the second BTV was all locked in until an 11th hour opportunity to book Jamie xx came out of nowhere. The entire team pulled an all-nighter, locking in their man just hours before the lineup dropped. “Luckily for my stress levels all our headliners were locked in nice and early for this year,” Nic jokes.
So how does a lineup featuring Schoolboy Q, The Presets, Matt Corby, Stormzy, Mura Masa and Stephan Bodzin, and many more, come together so seamlessly? Well, there’s this thing called the ‘rule of fives’, and it helps BTV promoters make sure every taste is catered to – from electronic to hip-hop, rock to indie. “We want a punter to see the lineup and be able to choose at least five artists that appeal to them, so that they are able to see value in the lineup,” says Nic.
Here are some other secrets:
The First Act Locked In Was…
Late Nite Tuff Guy. The vintage disco throwback has been racking up the spins on SoundCloud, and has turned the dancefloors of Lost Paradise, Rainbow Serpent, and Outsidein into Studio 54 love-ins. He’ll play the pivotal sunset slot at BTV. “After seeing some of his stellar sets at a few other festivals we knew we had to lock in him,” says Nic.
So what’s the vibe like in the BTV office when an artist gets confirmed? “Every confirmation makes us giddy,” he says. “The headliners are definitely a cause for celebration – there’s always a fair few vodka-lime-sodas on Saturday nights when we score the big ones.”
And speaking of big ones…
It Took An Entire Year To Lock In Schoolboy Q
The BTV team worked tirelessly to lock in Q, opening up discussions with his agent about a year ago. “He has such a huge fan base in this country and without him doing any shows in Victoria on his recent Splendour run most people would have missed out on catching him.”
Stormzy is another act who made a huge impression at Splendour, and word has definitely spread. The UK’s reigning prince of grime was one of the most requested acts from punters for this year’s BTV. “He’s is just the perfect festival artist and his live show is something else,” says Nic.
Stormzy and Q sit atop a diverse hip-hop program that features Princess Nokia and Victoria’s own Ivan Ooze, whose live set has gone to another level this year. “Hip-hop is such a strong piece of the BTV puzzle”, says Nic, “and we’ve been able to provide consistently strong hip-hop headliners year after year.”
Mura Masa And Nao Weren’t A Package Deal
The pair recently teamed up for a cover of Calvin Harris’ ‘Slide’, with Nao also featuring on ‘Firefly’ from Mura Masa’s self-titled debut. And while they’ll both be playing unforgettable sets in their own right, could a live collab be on the cards? “Little surprises are what make the BTV experience exciting.” Such a tease, Nic.
Aussie Acts Are Huge Drawcards
Believe it or not Aussie acts were once considered filler on festival bills, but times have changed and some of our local talent are bigger drawcards than their international counterparts. From Matt Corby to Meg Mac, Amy Shark to The Presets and Cut Copy, the BTV lineup is stacked with some big-name Australian talent.
Nic says the demand for local acts has never been higher. “I think it’s a really great thing when our local talent is on par with the talent from the rest of the world, and Australians realise this and want to see our artists on big festival stages.”
Locking In The Presets Was Pretty Personal
It’s been four years since The Presets toured Australia, and locking this dynamic Sydney duo in for BTV was pretty special for Nic and festival co-founder Mike Christidis. Mike’s first ever gig was a Presets show, while ‘My People’ was one of the first songs Nic remembers hearing when he started going out.
“As soon as we heard that The Presets will have new music out this year we knew that we had to have them play BTV,” he says. “They were a huge score for us this year and they’ll put on an unreal live show. They have so many classics that we all grew up with.”
Stephan Bodzin Will Get You In The Moog
The German producer has been massively influential in the global techno scene, but his futuristic live show and trademark “Bremen sound” is something to behold, especially when powered by BTV’s epic Funktion-One audio system. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Bodzin,” says Fil Palermo from BTV. “I know his Moog synthesiser and Ableton set up will both sound and look incredible on our dance stage.”
Other dance highlights include 2ManyDJs, Adana Twins, Andhim, a live set from Âme and local boy Harvey Sutherland and his “minimalist disco” band Bermuda. “I feel we always have a massive electronic music portion to BTV,” adds Nic. “Coming from a nightclub booking background this has always been one of our strengths.”
Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better
Discount lesser-known acts like Aussie house producer Dom Dolla at your peril. For the past four years, the Melbourne party machine has closed off BTV in style. 2017 will be no exception. “This year we are upping the production and making sure this is the closing set to close all sets,” says Nic.
Sometimes All The Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off
The BTV team went to great lengths to sign a big artist for this year. And while it didn’t come off in the end, all that legwork wasn’t for nothing. “Fingers crossed for 2018,” Nic says.
OK, so you really want to go to Beyond The Valley 2017 but your car rego was due a week ago, your rent is up, and you’re still paying off the laptop you bought last Christmas … for work.
But thanks to the festival’s new payment plan, you don’t have to miss out on seeing ScHoolBoy Q, The Presets, Matt Corby, Stormzy, Mura Masa, Stephan Bodzin, and many more, ringing in New Year’s Eve.
So how does it work?
Well, it’s super simple actually. You just need to chuck down 25% of the ticket price to secure your ticket to BTV 2017, and then continue to pay off a portion of the ticket on the 11th of each month until it’s completely paid off. It’s like layby, but for something you actually want – not the $350 golf club your dad desperately needed for his 60th.
Festival co-founder Mike Christidis says the payment plan is a response to the numerous requests from punters who missed out on tickets to the 2016 event because their bank balance was cooked at the time.
“It’s an initiative we’re happy to finally introduce,” Mike says. “Festival tickets are in high demand and often sell out quite quickly. We don’t believe that punters who might not be able to afford a ticket while they’re available should miss out, especially if they are budgeting or taking action now to ensure they can afford and purchase a ticket in the future.
He says the plan – which is being offered for the first time in 2017 – ties in with BTV’s fully inclusive ethos.
“We want to bring music lovers from all walks of life together, and this is an attractive option because everyone’s disposable income varies vastly over periods of time due to so many factors that can often be outside of our control. Plus we don’t want people to upset any landlords or bosses,” he jokes.
Beyond The Valley takes place from Thursday, December 28 to Monday, January 1 at Lardner Park, in Warragul, Victoria. For more information on the payment plan click here.
Love the festival experience but cbf pitching that $20 Kmart tent you bought on the way to Beyond The Valley one year? Well, there’s this thing called glamping – or glamorous camping, you may have heard of it? – and the team at BTV are really stepping it up this year.
“This is the year we’re going all out,” says Mike Christidis, one of the directors of Beyond The Valley and the guy behind the festival’s appropriately titled Lux Camp. “There will be multiple communal areas, charge spots, hopefully a pool bar.”
Wait, what?! A pool bar? At a music festival?
“So we have three 12-metre shipping container pools all arranged in a U-shape. And what we’re trying to get through council is a bar in the middle. It’ll be a pool bar, essentially,” he explains.
Mike says the Lux Camp experiences are the first things that sell out when tickets go on sale for BTV. And to cope with demand they’re introducing the Deluxe Lux package for punters that really want to go “all-out” this year.
“It’s got a twin bed and mattress in there and a twin sofa, so it’s like having a festival experience in your home essentially,” says Mike. “It’s $500 a person, but if you break that down into four nights accommodation over the New Year’s period it’s actually quite cost effective. You can pay $250 per night for some glamping accommodation in the city.”
It’s safe to say Mike and the BTV team have taken glamping very seriously since starting the festival back at the old Phillip Island site in 2014. Back then they had a full service hangover spa, with a qualified masseuse and “30 minutes of hospital grade 100% oxygen”.
But over the years they’ve learned that it’s the creature comforts – a warm bed, hot showers, clean towels, fluffy pillows – that bring punters back to Lux Camp each year.
“For the first year we sold 58 packages. Last year there were 250 packages sold. That’s over 1000 people in that Lux Camp area,” Mike says.
So what’s driving the demand? “Punters have realised that paying that little bit extra means they can just enjoy the festival experience. They can arrive and everything is set up. They can go see the artists straight away.
“Not only that, but they’re the closest to the site. The best experience at Beyond The Valley is the Lux camp area. It’s really caught on how beneficial it is when you go that extra mile for the festival experience.”
The planning for Lux Camp begins about four months out from the festival, and Mike says the experience is not too dissimilar from booking an actual hotel. In fact the Lux area is so large now they actually need a hotel licence to operate.
“We have a 24-hour check-in and concierge service. We have a maintenance team that changes the sheets and gets rid of the stains.”
“Let’s just say they weren’t food stains,” Mike jokes.
The seven-person Lux Camp team are still accommodating bedding and tent configurations and requests right until the very end. At last year’s BTV, a couple broke up a few days before the festival. To add insult to injury they had booked a double bed.
“The girl showed up with her arms crossed and the guy wasn’t looking at her. They had just broken up and they needed two singles. We couldn’t make them sleep in the same bed, so we had to accommodate them.”
Mike says a lot of effort this year is going into creating a village feel in Lux Camp. He says the team take inspiration from festivals from around the world, including Melt in Germany, where they were blown away by the communal vibe.
“They created these amazing hubs and friendship groups,” he says. “Last year we did see a few renegade parties and we have to be mindful that for certain Lux campers it’s not their cup of tea. So this year we’re mindful of that and creating specific areas for people to come together. There’ll be a giant teepee, bar areas, charging spots, a ping pong table room.”
Any other surprises?
“We’re bringing back the DJ,” says Mike. “We had Thomas Jack and Bakermat playing a surprise set in Lux Camp in our first year, so expect some special guests.”
TICKETS ON SALE NOW.
The first line-up announce for the 4th Beyond The Valley is here, and as you would have come to expect, it’s bloody massive! A hand-picked selection of quality acts from Australia and across the globe, chosen to resonate as the perfect soundtrack to your New Year’s Eve party. Along with the impressive collection of artists, further upgrades to our beautiful home at Lardner Park, Warragul and a bunch of exciting experience based enhancements which will be revealed over the coming months will combine to create what is sure to be our greatest festival yet. Beyond The Valley 2017 welcomes:
Schoolboy Q // The Presets // Matt Corby // Stormzy // Mura Masa // Stephan Bodzin (live) // 2MANYDJs // Adana Twins // Âme (live) // Amy Shark // Andhim // Anna Lunoe // The Belligerents // B.Traits // Crooked Colours // Cub Sport // Cut Copy // Dean Lewis // DMAs // Dom Dolla // FKJ // GL // George Maple // Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda // Hayden James // Hot Dub Time Machine // Ivan Ooze // Jack River // Lastlings // Late Nite Tuff Guy // Little Dragon // Marek Hemmann // Meg Mac // NAO // Patrick Topping // Pleasurekraft // The Preatures // Princess Nokia // Ruby Fields // Sampa The Great // San Cisco // Skegss
Although ScHoolboy Q has only been rapping since 2007, his bluntly charismatic presence on wax should’ve already put him on your radar as one of rap’s emerging voices. Hot off the back of his 2016 second major-label album Blank Face LP, ScHoolboy Q brings cutting edge of hip hop this year’s BTV bill
Multi- instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Matt Corby made his big jump into the stratosphere of Australian music with the release of his 2011 EP Into The Flame, spawning the mega singles “Brother” and “Resolution”. This release of his debut album Tulleric in 2016 sealed the deal landing the coveted number 1 spot on the nation’s album charts proving that the country had indeed fallen under the spell of this great Australian talent.
After being named triple J Unearthed Artist of the year in 2014, Meg Mac has since inspired glowing praise from all corners the globe with her golden, soul inspired voice and assured song writing talent. After a string of well-received, and much played radio singles, the stakes have well and truly been raised with her debut album Low Blows dropping to resounding universal acclaim.
No name looms larger on the Australian electronic music scene than The Presets. Since 2003 the synth obsessed duo have achieved just about all there is to achieve in this country, winning multiple (7!) ARIA Awards, being awarded APRA Songwriters Of The Year, number 1 album spots, gold and platinum sales and tours with the likes of Daft Punk, but above all they have delivered an indelible cannon of music that has become part of the nation’s dance music fabric.
UK Grime king Stormzy is one of the most hyped MC’s of the past decade, and deservedly so. After launching himself unto the general consciousness of the British grime scene via a series of YouTube freestyle videos in 2013, everything he has touch since has turned to pure solid gold. From his 2014 debut EP Dreamers Disease through to his latest grime gospel opus Gang Signs and Prayer, the 24 year old has taken on all-comers and in the process won a global fan base.
When it comes to 21 year olds, Channel Islands born producer, multi-instrumentalist and self-proclaimed beat slayer Mura Masa is a high achiever to say the least. After cutting his teeth in live punk, hardcore and deathcore bands, he discovered the world of beat making as a 16 year old, taking formative steps in trap production. Dropping the track “Lovesick” in 2015, Mura Masa fast became a worldwide sensation.
Yukimi Nagano, Erik Bodin, Fred Wallin and Håkan Wirenstrand make up Gothenburg’s Little Dragon, the zeitgeist band that blend strands of R&B, electronic and indie into beautifully and meaningfully crafted songs. Having steadily grown from being the biggest underground secrets to resounding international acclaim, their energetic live set and unique recording process has made fans out of some of the biggest names in music.
Beyond The Valley is a four day event with 4 and 3 day tix available.
Pre-sale tickets for the event are on sale Wednesday 16th of August, register now to have access to pre-sale.
General tickets on sale Thursday 24th August.
Beyond The Valley is held amongst the rolling hills of Lardner Park, in Warragul, 90 minutes-drive from Melbourne.
More acts to be announced soon!!