IT was a Zionist camp like any other for aspiring musician Gab Strum, until he got the call that could change his life.
Strum, who goes by the stage name Japanese Wallpaper, was trying to find a reception hotspot when Triple J called to tell him he had edged out five other finalists to win the Unearthed High competition, which kickstarts the careers of young artists.
The Leibler Yavneh College year 11 student won for his unique brand of electronic music and told The AJN that he was rapt at winning the competition, which he described as a “pretty prestigious thing”.
The spoils start this weekend when Strum will be flown to Sydney to record a single at the Triple J studios, before his track gets a national release.
Fellow students get to ride the wave of fame with him as Australian hip hop legend Seth Sentry is set to perform a concert at the Elsternwick campus as part of Strum’s prize, with the FM station broadcasting it live.
Musing that should be “interesting”, Strum said, “I don’t know if anyone listens to that at Yavneh. It’s not the type of school where kids would get into Aussie hip hop. Hopefully people get into it so it looks good”.
Receiving the call on Friday morning came as a shock for Strum who didn’t believe his electronic music would be considered.
“I was pretty surprised and I didn’t expect it because it’s not a normal thing for electronic producers to win. Usually they go for indie rock bands”.
His music has already received attention from Hollywood with a feature track played in actor and director Zach Braff’s movie, Wish I was Here, released last month.
“It was pretty surreal because that’s a big movie,” Strum said.
At only 17, he has performed at a range of venues across Melbourne and even had a gig at Australia’s hippest music festival Splendour in the Grass. “That was a really awesome experience,” Strum said.
“I feel like it’s every Aussie musician’s dream to play at Splendour and I was really lucky to get to do that this year”.
As an underage performer he said it can be “a little intimidating” especially because “[his] friends can never really get in” to the gigs.
“Everyone is so much older than me at gigs. But I am a little less nervous now”.
After finishing school, Strum hopes to perform around the world before “getting a real job”.
Listen to Japanese Wallpaper at www.japanesewallpaper.info.
Gab Strum, aka Japanese Wallpaper, was crowned Triple J’s Unearthed High winner.