Liam Devine is the recipient of Australian Institute of Music’s first ever Indigenous scholarship. The Darwin-based musician sees his audio production degree at AIM as his first step towards ensuring Northern Territory musicians have a place to lay down tracks for years to come.
“There are few quality recording facilities in Darwin so I intend on completing my undergraduate in music production and opening the first Indigenous-owned and operated recording studio here in Darwin,” Liam says. “I already have a lot of the equipment and a lot of experience as a performing/recording artist. I would really like to take on the challenge of recording and producing our local talent.”
Liam’s runs on the board with his hip hop trio DT3
Born and bred in the Northern Territory, Liam Devine has had an incredible run as a solo artist and with his hip hop trio DT3. He has been nominated for multiple honours at the National Indigenous Music Awards, won the “People’s Choice” category for the Northern Territory Song of the Year and has had a series of songs feature high on the Triple J Unearthed countdown. DT3 has also been named by Aussie hip hop star Illy as one of the top 5 emerging artists in the country. The fiery live performers have graced the stage on tour with the likes of Hilltop Hoods, Ice Cube, Illy, Xzibit, Drapht, Lil Jon, Briggs, The Thundamentals and Scribe to name a few.
“Overall, my biggest highlight was performing with the Hilltop Hoods in Alice Springs and Darwin followed closely by performing our song “One Day” with ARIA Award-winning artist Illy at Bass in the Grass,” Liam said.
Australian hip hop: bringing live instruments to life
Australian hip hop is a burgeoning movement punctuated by performers who bring a uniquely live approach to the artform. “The thing that has always stood out to me the most is the live performances from Australian hip hop artists,” muses Liam. “Most big acts around the world put a big emphasis on effects alone, whereas I always feel the live music and instruments integrated into our shows is the norm for Australian rappers.”
Studying music and moving from raps to recording vocals
Liam joined forces with the other members of DT3 at a youth music workshop in 2009. “The youth workshop was incredibly important as we formed our group and learned basic recording techniques that we then built upon and began recording from home,” Liam explains. “I had always written raps and poetry but the workshop is the reason I started taking it more seriously and recording vocals.”
“The most inspiring thing that comes to mind is just seeing how music brings everyone together and no matter the struggles they are dealing with that they can put positive energy in to making music,” Liam says of his own experiences running workshops.
A musical family supporting big dreams
Liam’s family have been supportive from the very beginning, when he was attending his dad and uncles’ band rehearsals. “My family have always been big supporters of my music and have helped me to the point I was allowed to build a $15,000 recording studio at the family home, so I couldn’t be more thankful,” he says.
Breaking the stigma around mental health issues
As someone who has overcome mental health challenges with determination and channelled his emotions into music, Liam is stoked that the stigma is lifting around this important issue. “I think it’s very refreshing to see how open the topic of mental health has become for both adults and young people as well as the amount of services that are now available to assist them. I struggled with my mental health from a very young age but was also mentally strong enough that I could keep moving forward and look after others. Writing was both my escape from my problems and my way to voice them and get them off my chest and for that reason music will always be an important part of my life.”