10 March 17
Not only can A.B. Original lay claim to releasing one of the boldest debut Australian albums of 2016, the provocative Reclaim Australia, but the collaboration between Briggs and Trials has now taken out the $30,000 Australian Music Prize.
It’s the first time in the AMP’s 12 year history that an Indigenous artist has won the coveted annual prize, a proud victory for Briggs and Trials, who respectively come from the Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri tribes.
The duo were awarded the $30k cheque in a ceremony hosted at The Toff In Town in Melbourne (another AMP first), besting eight strong contenders to the prize, including shortlisted albums from D.D. Dumbo, Camp Cope, The Avalanches, Olympia and King Gizzard.
“When we made this album – we thought it was career suicide,” said Briggs in a statement.
“For us to be afforded this platform with so many people listeners is not lost on us. We went all out because we thought it was the last one we’d make. All of this support is igniting us to do another one! We are very grateful.”
The seeds for A.B. Original were planted at triple j’s own Beat The Drum 40th anniversary concert in January 2015 when Briggs and Trials linked up for a powerful collaborative set. They haven’t looked back since…
They first revealed to triple j they were “almost done” with a follow up to Reclaim Australia during their high-profile Like A Version with Paul Kelly. That ‘Dumb Things’ rework ended up at #45 in the Hottest 100; landing at #16 was their Dan Sultan-assisted anthem ‘January 26′, arguably the most topical song of the countdown and the highest-charting position by an Indigenous artist in Hottest 100 history.
The 16-strong AMP judging panel listened to 364 Aussie albums released in 2016 (yet another for the AMP history books) and Hoodoo Gurus’ Dave Faulkner, who chairs the panel, praised Reclaim Australia as a “cultural landmark.”
“It’s an angry, funny, heartfelt, slamming hip hop album that takes its inspiration from ’90s gangsta rap, and filters it through a modern Aboriginal perspective. It hits hard politically, musically and emotionally and the stories A.B. Original are telling are ones we all need to hear right now.”
A.B. Original joins an esteemed AMP Hall of Fame that includes last year’s winner Courtney Barnett and (running backwards) Remi, Big Scary, Hermitude, The Jezabels, Cloud Control, Eddie Current Suppression Ring, The Mess Hall, Augie March and inaugural winners The Drones.