RVG wins Aus Music Prize: ‘Who I am in music means being subjected to an insane amount of bullshit’

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RVG wins Aus Music Prize: ‘Who I am in music means being subjected to an insane amount of bullshit’

Photo credit: Izzie Austin
Words by Staff Writer

Australia’s most prestigious music accolade, The Soundmerch Australian Music Prize has today been awarded to Melbourne-based Alt band RVG for Brain Worms album, released via Ivy League Records.

Taking home $30,000 thanks to Soundmerch, RVG acclaimed record joins the highly esteemed list of previous award-winning albums including last year’s self-titled album King Stingray and Genesis Owusu – Smiling With No Teeth in 2021.


RVG was chosen as the winning album of The 19th Soundmerch AMP from the Shortlist of 9 albums – the other 8 in contention were:

Angie McMahon – Light, Dark, Light Again
Floodlights – Painting Of My Time
Genesis Owusu – Struggler
Gretta Ray – Positive Spin
Jen Cloher – I Am The River, The River is Me
Polaris – Fatalism
Troye Sivan – Something to Give Each Other

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Following a hot performance from brand new hip hop collective 3% Nooky (from Triple J’s Blackout show), Dallas Woods (accomplished writer and rapper) and rising newcomer Angus Field, The Soundmerch AMP was presented to RVG by Soundmerch owner Tim Everist, at the 19th annual ceremony held at APRA AMCOS HQ in Ultimo.

Fresh from their successful European tour RVG said:

“Winning the AMP is a huge honour!I would like to thank everyone from Our Golden Friend, Four Tone Artists and Ivy League Records / Mushroom here in Australia and Fire Records, ATC Live and Sub Pop Publishing overseas for supporting us. I want to also thank all the other nominees, such an amazing group to be included in. I just wanna say that being who I am in music means being subjected to an insane amount of bullshit, and a lot of the songs on this album began as a targeted reaction to the kind of situations that most bands/artists would never have to go through. So to win this award goes a long way and makes me feel less insane and alone in what I do, so thank you!” – Romy Vager, RVG

RVG’s third album, Brain Worms, was recorded in London at Snap Studios with James Trevascus (Billy Nomates, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, The Goon Sax), all ten tracks surge with lush sounds and clear intentions and the magic of an acoustic guitar once owned by Kate Bush, given to her by Tears for Fears (who, legend has it, wrote ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ on it).

After a momentous first five years, finding critical acclaim for debut, A Quality of Mercy landing on countless end-of-year Best Of lists, and playing alongside some of the world’s biggest acts in Pixies, Kurt Vile, Pete Doherty, Sleaford Mods, Camp Cope, Shame, and more, RVG released sophomore album Feral as the world was locking down and on June 2, 2023 Brain Worms was unleashed receiving critical acclaim.

Originally inspired by the UK’s coveted Mercury Prize, the Soundmerch Australian Music Prize continues to rise above genre, popularity and sales to focus entirely on artistic merit.

RVG was chosen from over 450 eligible 2023 releases (between Jan 1 and 27 Oct) of which the judges chose 107 as official nominations to form the Top 9 Shortlist.

Showcasing the strength of the Australian music landscape with this year’s stellar list of high-calibre releases, the AMP’s diverse judging panel of over 30 industry experts, including artists, music writers, presenters and music retailers respectfully considered and agreed on the standout album choice for 2023.

Says, Scott Murphy, AMP Founder/Director, “From lyrics, to production, to their creative vision, Australian artists are pushing artistic boundaries. The AMP are so excited each year to keep the artist’s music a primary focus as they continue to explore and evolve.  Congratulations to RVG as this year’s well-deserved winner.”

Adds Alice Ivy, AMP Judge: “This band took a huge financial and personal risk in making this record, it almost didn’t happen. You can feel the catharsis and honesty yet a sense of humour amongst the pain. It’s a timeless album that myself and my fellow judges spoke so passionately about in a tense meeting. Couldn’t be more deserving. It also has the best Drops of Jupiter reference of all time”.

Find out more here.