Indigenous youth in the south-west are falling through the gaps, and three young musicians want to do something about it.
Shylee Corrigan, Doreen Austin and Nathan Douglas all work at the Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative in Warrnambool and each love listening to and creating original music.
But there's nowhere in the south-west region for them to share their music. They want to establish a music studio here in Warrnambool which will be a place for artists from across the region to come together and make music.
Nathan was 18 when started taking music seriously as a DJ. Since returning to Warrnambool from Melbourne he hasn't been able to record any of his music.
"There's lots of bands and artists out here but there's just nowhere for them to really go anymore, especially after we lost The Loft," Nathan said.
"A lot of bands now have to resort to having gigs in the city which is expensive, and when they want to record something they can't do it here.
"So that's part of the idea for this music studio, it could be open to the public to rent and record whatever they want."
For emerging rapper Shylee Corrigan, music has changed her life, but she hasn't had any avenues to take her music to the next level.
"I was always brought up around music as a young kid, especially rap, it had a huge impact on my life," she said.
"A few years ago I got really into rap and started writing a few songs but because there's not really a high demand for music around here there was nowhere to go and produce that music.
"So I just really kept it to myself. I'm not a big artist or anything but I do love music, I listen to a lot of music and I think music is a really awesome way to express your feelings without having to sit there and do it in conversation.
"Especially for our young people here because there's not much to do for us and it's hard to get out of that cycle when you don't have anything to look forward to."
There's not much to do for us and it's hard to get out of that cycle when you don't have anything to look forward to.Shylee Corrigan
She said young people have nothing to do, and are turning to crime as a result.
"A lot of kids are bored, they're struggling with their identities, they don't know what to do in life so they're turning to all these bad habits and I think a music studio would be an awesome way to try and get rid of those bad habits," she said.
"Not only would it be a good hobby but it would also be a good socialising space where you can work on your social and emotional well-being as well.
"It would give young people a place to be and to feel like they're wanted."
Doreen Austin has penned her own original rap music, and wished there was a music studio when she was growing up in the area.
"They need to have something down here for us, for the youth," Doreen said.
"There's just way too much crime and drugs, I think this is going to help so many kids, it's going to get them out of that.
If that was around when I was a kid, things may have turned out a little different for me.Doreen Austin
"If that was around when I was a kid, things may have turned out a little different for me.
"I think it is important to have it here on country, and it would be open to everyone."
A region gripped by the scourge of ice
Leonard Clarke is a Gunditjmara Elder and sits in on Koori Court hearings in Warrnambool, dealing with young Indigenous offenders every day.
He said a music studio would be the perfect way to get kids out of the justice system.
"There's nothing here for young people, both for Aboriginal kids and non-Aboriginal kids," he said.
"I think this is a great idea, it would be empowering for our young people. It would be easy to do and has already proven to work.
"My old father Banjo Clarke once said music is the language of all societies throughout the world. You can really communicate with people through music, people have been doing it for centuries."
He said there's an appetite for change in the community.
"The Warrnambool area is teeming with talented people in the music industry, south-west councils should get behind them to keep the music industry going in the south-west," he said.
"There is evidence within the legal justice system that a lot of our people are sitting idle and haven't got anything to do, and they become bored."
Mr Clarke said he had seen many lives ruined by drugs, particularly ice.
"There's a scourge of ice within the community, and there's no boundaries of who takes ice, they can be from any section of society, they get on it and become useless to themselves and useless to the community," he said.
"If we can find something that diverts young people away from the scourge of ice and other drugs, that would be good for families, the community, police and everyone involved in the justice system.
If we can find something that diverts young people away from the scourge of ice and other drugs, that would be good for families, the community, police and everyone involved in the justice system.Lenny Clarke
"We should all be looking at alternatives to keep our young people involved in the community. I don't believe we can jail our way out of it."
Other communities are using music and song to engage young Aboriginal people at risk, such as Yulga Jinna.
A few years ago Indigenous Hip Hop Projects joined forces with Kirrae Health Service to tackle Indigenous smoking with kids from the Framlingham community by producing a song and video clip.
It was through this same organisation that rising Indigenous talent Baker Boy was able to break in to the music industry.
Baker now works as a mentor at IHHP, travelling to remote communities to engage with young people through music, dance and art.
Nathan Douglas said he hopes the music studio project could do the same and become a 'hub' for the whole community.
"If we were able to get a full-blown proper studio it would open up a whole new world of different jobs. There's different sections of a music studio that brings it all together," he said.
"People could come along and learn how to use the equipment, and if they want to go in that direction they can. You don't have to be a singer or a musician to walk into a studio.
"I could be something for Indigenous people here to be proud of."
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