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March 20, 2017

Live Music in Adelaide: Big Window

Big Window is more than the sum of its bar and studio parts.

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  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Julian Cebo

Big Window, as a venue, is a sleek looking 100-capacity room, but what makes the space special is the culture that emanates from below.


CityMag is celebrating Adelaide’s status as a UNESCO City of Music with this series on the industry – from front bars to the local talent that’s gone abroad.

Produced in association with the City of Adelaide.

You can find Big Window at 99 Hindley Street, Adelaide and it is open to the public 10pm-5am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Beneath the venue there is a recording studio under the stewardship of sound engineers Liam Roche and Ben Golotta (the latter of whom you may recognise). And more than just giving the venue an added revenue stream, the two offerings work hand in hand.

“We have a lot of amazing artists that come through the club… because they’ve come here and used the studio with Ben, really loved it, and they want to play a show,” Big Window Managing Director Michael Zabolocki says.

“So even though we may have your staple RnB hip hop night on a Saturday, there’s a lot of things going on outside of that because we have the accessibility to the studio.

“[And] a lot of the artists that record here during the week, we’ll see them on the Saturday, or you see them the next Saturday… It’s simply because they have that space that they can kind of claim as their own.”

The studio has accommodated some incredible names during the short time it’s been operating as Big Window; Basenji, Tkay Maidza and Flight Facilities have all stopped by, but for Ben and Michael, the benefit of having a space like this is being able to support Adelaide’s local scene.

“Liam Roche and I… we’ve really started to try and approach, I guess, younger guys that are doing their first EPs or first albums, and who are really trying to build something out of Adelaide,” says Ben, “because there’s not too many really good quality studios that are as affordable as we are at the moment.

“We’re pretty lucky, because we have the club… we don’t have to rely too much on the actual stability of the studio itself, or upping our prices to a major degree to be able to stay afloat.”

Not only is Big Window able to support the local scene through high quality affordable studio time, but it seems to be an almost holistically artist- and industry-driven venue.

“A lot of the people involved with the business, like the management side or even the bar staff or DJs, they’re all local acts,” Michael says.

“So Matt [Khabbaz] who’s part owner, he’s Tigerilla, then I used to be in Skies – well still am – Ben obviously works with a lot of other agencies through Repeater, one of the DJs, Shi’LO, is a rapper. It’s kind of like you’re feeding into that local scene.”

With Big Window having so much influence from Adelaide’s music community, both Michael and Ben are keen to build on the culture that’s found a home in the venue.

“There’s some seriously good music coming out of Adelaide, and it’s frightening how good it is, and how insanely young they are… and we want to try and jump on that market as much as we can and try and support it,” Ben says.

“If we can be a part of that process, I think that means a lot more,” Michael continues.

“I’d much rather support someone up and coming. And if we can do it through cheap prices and someone like Ben doing his thing and doing an excellent job, I think that goes a lot further and supports the scene in Adelaide as well.”

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