Joelistics (Joel Ma)

Producer, artist, multi-instrumentalist and rapper

Producer, artist, multi-instrumentalist and sometimes rapper, Joelistics (Joel Ma) is recognised as a unique voice in the Australian music scene.

In 2002 he founded seminal alt-rap group TZU, who built a solid reputation around their electric live performances and inventiveness in the studio across four albums, Position Correction (2004), Smiling At Strangers (2005) Computer Love (2008) and** Millions of Moments**(2012).

Along the way they picked up nominations for the Australian Music Prize, a J Award and an APRA Award.

Under the moniker Joelistics’ his anticipated debut album** Voyager** arrived in 2011 and was nominated for an Age Music award. Written whilst traveling with a laptop between China, Mongolia and Europe, it opened up a new lane in Australian hiphop.

The Age wrote, “Joelistics’ love of beat poetry takes his narratives and vistas to a level as vivid as any great Australian poet.”

His second album Blue Volume was one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Top 20 albums of 2014.  Rolling Stone described it as “a celebration and mourning of the current state of the world, voiced by a smart, incisive writer.”

In 2014, he co-wrote a piece of musical theatre In Between Two with James Mangohig exploring his mixed race identity and family narrative interlaced with searing hiphop premiering at Darwin Festival (2014) and enjoying seasons at Carriage Works for Sydney Festival (2015), Adelaide’s entertainment center for OzAsia Festival (2017) and Arts Centre Melbourne for Melbourne Festival (2017).

In 2015, Joel focused on producing and co-writing for other artists notably with internationally acclaimed group Haiku Hands  cowriting and providing production for their debut album and at the same time worked closely with Mo’ju (AKA Mojo Juju) including providing production for the celebrated track Native Tongue which was nominated for an Aria award, an Age award and won the Triple J best film clip award (2018).

In 2019 Joelistics collaborated with Mo’Ju again on the joint album Ghost Town under the name Mojo Juju x Joelistics, earning him the inaugural Music Victoria award for best producer.

He has written for and collaborated with noted artists such as Tim RogersEmma DonovanEcca VandalHermitude, Wil Wagner, Parvyn Singh and even Madonna amongst others.

In 2021, Joelistics is set to release an album of production based work and collaborative tracks under the name Joelistics Presents Film School.

The album is a departure for Joelistics as vocalist and instead concentrates on his production of beats and synths, 70’s Asian pop samples, psych-rock journey music and studio improvisations also ambitously exploring experimental compositions for strings, guzheng (Chinese harp) synthesizers, samplers and drum machines.

In 2018, Joelistics starred in the ABC young adult science fiction show Nowhere Boys playing the main villain Zeb in Season 4.

Currently, Joel operates a series of music studio in Brunswick, Victoria called Oven’s Door studios.


Past project

Mapping Melbourne 2020-21

Wed 2 Dec 2020 - Thu 28 Jan 2021

As with most arts offerings in 2020, Mapping Melbourne has had to reimagine itself in the context of COVID-19, adapting to new and ever changing conditions for public events.

Past project

Project ReWIRE

Mon 24 Jun 2019 - Fri 29 Nov 2019

Project ReWIRE is a new artist development initiative for mid career culturally diverse musicians, singers and songwriters produced by MAV in partnership with key Australian music influencer Joel Ma. Through a process of self assessment, music business up-skilling and one to one mentoring, 15 culturally diverse mid career artists will explore the positioning of their music in Australia and will tailor their own artist development plans. The artists will be empowered to challenge, re-define and contemporise their direction. Project collaborator, Joel Ma, says, “Being a mid career artist myself, I am keenly aware that the music industry is fluid, ever changing and difficult to navigate, and it can be intimidating trying to keep up. Project ReWIRE is born from the idea that mid career artists can adapt, remain relevant and continue to make a living doing what they love, by knowledge sharing, up-skilling and recognising new opportunities. It will also help industry tap into talented but marginalised artists who work outside of the mainstream.’’ Project ReWIRE builds on over 15 years of successful work, that Multicultural Arts Victoria, has been doing to produce bespoke, responsive artists development programs for culturally diverse musicians. The program will facilitate new pathways and opportunities for mid career artists while also contesting the marginality of diverse music practice in Australia.