“We have a heap of fun. The minute it’s no longer fun is the moment we stop doing it. The most important thing to us is not the music, the performing or the media stuff; it’s the family. We are genuinely all best friends and I think that’s what makes us different from a lot of others.
– REAL Music
Creative collective REAL Music, was founded by Melbourne brothers Matthew and Steven Ondarchie (also known as Matthew Craig and Juñor). Officially launched in July 2013, the group is made up of nine creative individuals and runs to promote and develop artists. Read on to find out more about REAL music and their work.
Tell us about how REAL Music came to be.
REAL Music was born out of a vision to bring like-minded young creatives together, to work as one across all areas of media and entertainment. While we only launched officially in July as a collective, all our artists have been gigging and recording individually for years.
What does the name REAL Music mean to you guys.
The word “real” itself is an adjective meaning to be- genuine or authentic, being no less than what is stated; worthy of the name. This is an attitude we take to all our creative artistry. However, the name R.E.A.L is actually an acronym from a Hindi proverb which translated to English states “Roaming Elephants Always Lose” – it basically represents that you achieve success as a herd or collective rather than through individual pursuits.
Who runs REAL Music?
REAL Music was founded by myself (Matthew Craig) and my brother Junor who oversee all the official liaison work and representation for the group, however REAL Music is only one branch of the wider REAL Collaboration, with each branch supported and managed by individuals in the collective. REAL is comprised of REAL Music, REAL Media and REAL Studios – REAL Music is the recording and performing collective – REAL Media is a creative team involving photography, graphic design, videography, cinematography, journalism/copywriting and fashion design, and REAL Studios is the independent recording, mixing and mastering suite. Though all three branches work together to underpin the promotion and development of the REAL artists; the services are also available to external clients looking for opportunities in a semi-professional environment.
Who makes up the REAL Music family?
The REAL Music Family is an extremely diverse and talented group, including; Junor – Emcee, Producer and Engineer Codix – Emcee, Battle Rapper and President of Amped Up Street Battles Matthew Craig – Guitarist, Vocalist, Battle Rapper Downtown Abi – Vocalist and REAL Media (Fashion) Tyson – Emcee, Producer and REAL Media (Video & Graphics) Bally Africa – Emcee Calvin J – REAL Media (Photography) Dom – REAL Media (Video & Editing) Giorgio Christopher – DJ and Producer We also have numerous others who are crucial to REAL but prefer to work behind the scenes.
What do you look for when signing artists?
It’s hard to pin down a list of competencies that we value because we operate differently to most. The most important thing about REAL is not the talent or skills we have within the collective, it’s the character and caliber of the people. We operate less as a “label” so to speak and more as a crew or creative collective. We don’t like to dictate and prefer to foster creativity. All our guys are on their individual hustle, being entrepreneurial, working hard on their solo projects, we just like to offer the support and assistance that comes with being a part of a team rather than the burden of doing it all on your own. We don’t do official contracts or paperwork within REAL Music because we’re a family. We genuinely love supporting each other and see each individual success as success for the whole group.
Your collective Mix tape is coming out in December while you all work on individual projects. What should we expect from this mix-tape?
REAL Music Presents “Live. Write” is an opportunity to show the public the diversity of talent we have within the crew. Each artist has been involved in the project in their own way and has the opportunity to show off some of their skills whether that’s singing, rapping or design. It’s not a thematic album or anything too extravagant. It’s simply reflecting what we’re about and what we do; live and write. As you said we’ve all got individual projects in the works, this tape has come about more as a request from people at gigs and events asking for something that they can listen to in between shows. It’s a bit of a teaser of what’s to come from REAL.
Where’s your favourite place to gig?
That’s a tough question. We’ve been lucky enough to have performed at some of the best and most reputable venues around Melbourne including Revolver Bandroom, Prince and The Espy. Lately we’ve been playing lots of larger shows as REAL Music to a really energetic crowd, whereas previously we may have played individually to smaller venues including bars, pubs and cafes. The venue all depends on the mood and vibe we going for on the night but there’s certainly a rush you get from playing a really energetic set to a turnt up crowd. We’ve played a lot of great shows at Laundry Bar which is an iconic Hop-Hop venue in Melbourne and supported names like M-Phazes, Mr Hill & Rahkconkas and Suburban Dark so that feels like a bit of a home and we always love playing there.
What’s it like having your own studio?
The studio is like our home. It’s our creative space where we can all go to generate ideas and work on new projects. It’s awesome having our own spot professionally fitted out and it allows us the regular access to high-tech equipment which other people in the industry might not have. We’re pretty lucky that we have both the technology and skill base readily available to use when we need, it frees us up both time and money wise to pursue things like gigs and community events which we love. The studio is a bit of a safe space for us too, a place where we can lock ourselves away from the world and just focus on our own direction. There’s been plenty of late nights/ early mornings locked in there and coming out to sunlight. You get engrossed in what you’re doing and kind of lose track of time; it’s our spaceship.
You guys look like you have a lot of fun, what’s it like being a part of the collective?
We have a heap of fun. The minute it’s no longer fun is the moment we stop doing it. The most important thing to us is not the music, the performing or the media stuff; it’s the family. We are genuinely all best friends and I think that’s what makes us different from a lot of others. We often have family nights which have nothing to do with music. We’ll go out for dinner or to a movie together and just hang out, our relationship as a family is the most important thing – we support each other through our personal lives and the music and success that has come in a creative space is merely an extension of that. We have a huge passion about actually making a difference in people’s lives rather than just giving them something nice to listen to. And that starts internally. Music is merely a means to influence positive change. We run heaps of all ages drug and alcohol free events to support community causes as well as a series called “Brighter Days” which brings together some incredible artists from around the country to raise money for charitable causes. It’s never boring being a part of REAL, we’re always looking for new opportunities to grow but one of the biggest buzzes is playing an event to young people and seeing the look on their faces when we genuinely influence their lives. That’s why we do what we do. That’s what’s REAL.