Former Triple J Host Sally Coleman Launches Virtual Science Fiction Band

Image courtesy of Sally Coleman

Sally Coleman has launched a new virtual science fiction band which she has dubbed “Australia’s answer to Gorrillaz”.

The former Triple J Breakfast host has called the project Big Sand.

Big Sand features animated characters and a narrative set on a beautiful but harsh desert planet.

Coleman awning TMN that Big Sand brings together a number of her passions.

“I just grew up loving science fiction and fantasy books. I’ve been a big reader for a long time and it’s just something I never really grew out of, so it’s kind of been my secret second love for ages, and I just got to a point where I was like ‘I wish there was more of this in music, because it’s not an area where there’s heaps of overlap for some reason’,” she said.

“There’s not enough aliens in pop music.”

Courtesy of Sally Coleman

Big Sand has involved Coleman familiarizing herself with motion capture and teaching herself to use game development software Unreal Engine.

Despite the extra steps, Coleman said there’s actually just as much manufacturing and working when artists have to heal a person and perform as ‘themselves’ every day.

“I know I said that part of the reason I did this is I really love science fiction, which is true, but the other thing is, it actually gets quite exhausting for me [as an artist] having to perform my identity all the time,” she told TMN.

“When you’re performing as yourself, you’re still kind of in character, you’re still putting your life out there for other people to see and criticize, and I actually found that a little overwhelming at times.

“So… yes, it’s extra work creating this narrative around the characters and visualizing them, but in a way I think sometimes audiences don’t realize that artists have to do that for themselves anyway.”

Coleman wants to bring audiences a sense of mystery, fun, silliness, curiosity and adventure with Big Sand, with the ultimate aim that one day they could play along, interact with the characters she’s invented and become a part of the story as well.

Initially, Big Sand will target a younger demographic, perhaps teenagers, but she’s open to finding a passionate audience from any walk of life.

“I would love to connect with a teen audience,” she said.

What is Sally Coleman doing after Triple J?

Courtesy of Sally Coleman. Credit: Harley Lewington

“That being said, I feel like there’s just this huge spectrum of people of all age groups or demographics, they get really drawn to this kind of narrative fantasy. So my dream would be to reach an audience that I didn’t even know existed, I think.

“That would be something that I would love… is to find a new demographic of fans that are really drawn to this story that I’m like ‘Oh, nice to meet you’.”

She says a really deep emotional connection with a comparatively ‘tiny’ audience would feel successful to her and she isn’t chasing 1 million streams or an arbitrary number of radio plays.

And in addition to effectively being her own artist, label manager, publisher, sync agent and PR operative, Coleman said the next challenge is to work out how to bring the virtual project to real live audiences.

“So that’s a challenge I’m trying to solve at the moment,” she said.

“I’ve got some really exciting ideas coming up and I’m keen to show everybody.”

Big Sand’s debut single ‘Take Me Home’ is out on Apr. 27. It’s written and performed by Coleman, with co-production from ARIA nominee Alice Ivy. The next two singles from the EP Welcome to Big Sandfeature Tia Gostelow and ARIA Award winners SAFIA.

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