Sonic innovators: An interview with Vinyl 45 on the thriving music scene of Greater Western Sydney

From the heart of Greater Western Sydney comes Vinyl 45, a genre-blending musical collective that’s been making waves in the local music scene.

With their infectious blend of jazz, alt-rock, and rap, Vinyl 45 has quickly become a fixture of the Greater Western Sydney music scene, captivating audiences with their unique sound and dynamic live performances. Their dedication to collaboration and experimentation has earned them a loyal following of fans and fellow musicians alike, cementing their status as one of the most exciting acts to emerge from the region in recent years. 

This rising Western Sydney band, has recently released their sophomore single “Top Down,” a sublime blend of jazz, alt-rock, and rap that showcases the band’s impressive range of musical influences. With blissful guitar strums and keys courtesy of bandmates Jayden Williams, Alex Ancora, and Curly J Russel, the track transports listeners on a cruisy road trip filled with sunlit joyrides and danceable grooves. Vocalist Aaron Gunawickrema’s rustic vocals add to the track’s laid-back vibe, creating a unique sound that sets Vinyl 45 apart from their contemporaries.

In this interview, we delve into the creative process of this talented group and explore the influences that have shaped their music and their place in the vibrant musical community of Greater Western Sydney. They discuss their average workday, their love for collaborating with fellow artists, and how their families introduced them to the music they love. With a dedication to bringing danceable grooves to their listeners, Vinyl 45 is a band to watch as they continue to make waves in the Australian music scene.

vinyl 45

Happy: What are you up to today?

Vinyl 45: Finishing up some new tunes. Outside of that, it either work or uni.  

Happy: Tell us about your suburb, what do you love/not love about where you live?

Vinyl 45: We’re all from different suburbs in Greater Sydney & there’s a great scene of up and coming bands here. We’ve made good mates with some fellow indie groups like Splendid Fiasco and Sun Affair and networking has been an instrumental part of our journey.

In terms of what we don’t love, probably the housing prices and the lack of attention the arts scene gets here in greater Sydney!

 Happy: Describe your average work day.

Vinyl 45: We all do different jobs. Aaron gigs full time, Lachlan’s at a music store, two of us tutor music and Jayden’s phone is two cans and a string but he makes do

Happy: What about your ultimate day?

Vinyl 45: A successful gig with a happy sound guy, on a Saturday, a good party afterwards, a record deal and a feature on Happymag TV. Also Alex gets to meet Steve Lukather

Happy: Tell us about your creative community.

Vinyl 45:We’ve got go to bands we like gigging with like Splendid Fiasco and Sun Affair. Tearing it up with them and collaborating has opened us up creatively and introduced us to some killer musicians we want to work with.

vinyl 45

Happy: What did you read or watch growing up that fueled your passion for music?

Vinyl 45: A lot of us got our musical taste from our families. Our parents, grandparents and siblings introduced us to the bands and artists we love. We grew up in the YouTube era as well so not having to wait for David Letterman to host your favourite band and having access to all these great recorded performances really expanded our horizons.

Happy: Can you share some insight into recording Top Down? Can you talk about the creative process, from coming up with the song ideas to recording and producing the track?

Vinyl 45: The initial idea was from Jayden. A guitar part he had in his back pocket since high school that he brought up in the early stages of the band. Aaron came up with the lyrics and melody. It was the first super collaborative effort between us all where we felt we gelled as an ensemble. We got help from two of our good friends from uni. Sydney Foster aka the notorious ‘truboy’ to feature on the rap and Hilary Saltis on backing vocals. Both of whom really helped take the track to a whole new dimension.  It was the first time for most of us being in a professional recording environment, under the microscope so to speak. Our mix/recording engineer Mitchell Hart really helped bring out the best in us and fostered a comfortable environment to work in. 

Happy: How has your music evolved over time, and what do you see as the key themes and ideas that run through your work?

Vinyl 45: Some of our music comes from personal experience like ‘Top Down’ but songs like ‘Infomation’ take more of a narrative approach, setting a scene, creating characters etc. We started off trying to fit into boxes like funk-rock or neo-funk but we ended up more in the broader umbrella of indie with elements from funk, rock, disco and reggae blended in.

Happy: What role do you see music playing in shaping and reflecting the current culture, and how do you hope your music contributes to that conversation?

Vinyl 45: We’re definitely a product of the music scene in Australia right now. However we’re injecting some of our own cultures and experiences into it. We have songs that fit more into a pop sphere, but we also have songs like ‘Down To the Water’ that deal with specific world political issues that hit close to home for some of our members. Such as social unrest and corrupt government rule in countries like Burma or Sri Lanka. We hope the digestible nature of music helps bring awareness of issues like these to more people than the news would.


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Happy: In the current music industry landscape, where streaming and social media play a huge role in how music is distributed and consumed, how do you navigate the business side of things while staying true to your artistic vision?

Vinyl 45: Letting fans see we’re ordinary people. A lot of artists have this larger than life persona but we feel it’s important to connect with our audience and other musicians. Hanging out after gigs, having conversations and supporting other artists’ performances. Business wise, you’ve got to treat the band like a company and that part we take as professionally and seriously as we can. Take the music and business seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously y’know?

Happy: Can you talk about a particularly memorable performance or moment in your music career that stands out to you?

Vinyl 45: Our headlining gig at The Bridge Hotel to our first sold out crowd, two big milestones for us. Having people in the audience know the words to our songs and singing it out at the top of their lungs was a big indicator for us that we wanted to do this more, and that we’re on the right track.  

Happy: Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future, both in terms of new music and your overall career trajectory?

Vinyl 45: Record, release, review, reward. Collectively we want to hone our musicianship to the finest point we can and eventually be able to tour Australia and hopefully internationally. In the immediate future however we’ve got a gig supporting Sex on Toast on the Sydney leg of their nationwide tour. They’re the biggest band we will have supported so far and that’s really exciting for us. Both to meet the Sex on Toast crew and the hopes that it’ll open us up for opportunities later on. We’re also planning to release three more singles this year showing more of our range as an ensemble so keep a lookout for those!


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