Interview: Lisa Havilah from Carriageworks discusses the 2016 K-Pop Party

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Carriageworks in Sydney will, for the first time, be presenting the 2016 K-Pop Party in celebration of the 2016 Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year). Hello Asia! editor Johnny Au recently spoke with the Director of Carriageworks, Lisa Havilah, about the driving force behind hosting the 2016 K-Pop Party at Carriageworks and the two artist chosen to perform – Boyfriend and JJCC.

I believe this is the first time Carriageworks will be hosting a K-Pop concert. Can you tell me how it all came about?

Carriageworks have been part of the Chinese New Year celebrations for the last two or three years now. The idea of bringing out a K-Pop artist was something both we and Sydney City Council had wanted to do. The Sydney City Council had already set up discussions with SBS PopAsia about this project. So we decided to set up a partnership between the three of us to present a K-Pop project. And from that, Boyfriend and JJCC were the K-Pop acts invited. At Carriageworks we try to present a program that is culturally relevant to our audience and community and one of the fastest growing communities in Sydney is the Australian-Korean community. We really want to program and engage with that community. So that was one of the driving reasons for the idea of a K-Pop concert.

What do you know about the two artists performing – Boyfriend and JJCC?

I know that Boyfriend has a lot of fans! And I know that Prince Mac from JJCC is a Sydney local. I know that both groups are visually amazing from their video clips and press photos. Their performances are fantastic and I can’t wait to see them live in person.

Why were Boyfriend and JJCC chosen to perform at 2016 K-Pop Party?

Both Boyfriend and JJCC have a large following and well known in the K-Pop community. Since this is the first time that Carriageworks has programmed K-Pop we really wanted two well known and established groups. We were after groups who had a strong local following and who were creating some interesting music and performances.

What aspects of the performances are you looking forward to seeing?

All of it actually! I’m really curious and interested in seeing the cultural differences between a K-Pop act and an Australian pop act. And I want to see the fan’s reaction when they perform as well. I hear their devotion is quite impressive!

Will we see more K-Pop and in fact more Asian music concerts being held at Carriageworks in the future?

Absolutely! This is just the start of on-going programming we want to do. Carriageworks has a strong commitment to Asia and the Pacific and we haven’t really moved into the Asian contemporary music area so we see this as kind of the first step.

We mustn’t forget that the 2016 K-Pop party is celebrating Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year). Is Carriageworks hosting any other CNY activities?

The K-Pop Party will be the only event we are programming for our celebration of Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) and it’s the first time we are celebrating with artists from Korea. Our last projects for Chinese New Year has been with artists from China. Its our commitment to the expansion of Chinese New Year celebration as well.

What has been some of your highlights from Carriageworks Programming from 2015?

What’s been really good is that the programming in 2015 has grown from previous years and we’ve worked in new areas like Kaldor Public Art Project for the first time to present Xavier Le Roy. It was extraordinary to present such a highly regarded international artist and to present such seminal work of his as well as commissioning new work.

We love bringing back Ryoji Ikeda, who is one of our favourite artists, with his large video performance Superposition. We have Sydney Contemporary Dance which is always a great event at Carriageworks. And we did a large scale exhibition last June called 24 Frames Per Second which was an exhibition of 24 new works across the areas photography, dance and screen. At the end of 2015 we worked with Bangarra for the first time with the Sydney Dance Company. 2015 was a big and exciting year for Carriageworks.

Besides the K-Pop Party in 2016, what other events being held at Carriageworks at the same time should people check out?

At the same time as K-Pop Party people should definitely check out a major exhibition by an artist called El Anatsui which cover five decades of his work. He’s from Ghana and he’s presenting an extraordinary series of installations so people should definitely come early and experience that work as well.

2016 K-Pop Party featuring Boyfriend & JJCC will be held at Carriageworks on 5-6th February. Ticketing information is available here.

Check out the greeting message from Boyfriend about 2016 K-Pop Party!