One thing Bigsound 2019 taught us what the diversity of artists that Australia has produced. With last years showcases focusing on the pop movement, this year tackled every genre possible. From the heavy rock quarters of the industry to the hip hop fusions, PC pop movement and synth bending pop-rock.
With one of the most diverse line ups in BIGSOUND history, I sat down with four very different acts who are bringing the future of music to you in their own unique way and became some of the biggest talks of the town during the festival.
Here is part two of the Meet The Future series featuring interviews with Cry Club and LALKA.
Focusing on inclusivity through music, Cry Club are breaking barriers and delivering high octane pop-punk realness at the same time. The Wollongong duo made up of Heather Riley and Jonathan Tooke, have created quite the buzz through their in your face attitude of ‘DFTM’ and the nostalgic 80’s touch of ‘Two Hearts’.
TB: Your new single ‘Two Hearts’ is a pulsating pop-rock track with some 80’s influenced production. So what was sonically inspiring the creative process of this track?
HR: Eilish Gilligan was a massive inspiration for this song. We saw her at BIGSOUND last year and we’ve been huge of fans of hers for a very long time.
We were in a point of time where we were experimenting with our sound and imagining what it would be like to write for another band or artist and tap into the same sonically wavelength. We always question if we were writing songs for an artist like Cub Sport, what that would sound like.
So ‘Two Hearts’ originated from that as we were listening to a lot of Eilish Gilligan and I just wanted to write a song that was half as good as ’S.M.F.Y’.
TB: Oh my god, don’t even get me started on that song. Every time I hear the lyric “because wasn’t it the truth, so magic finding you”, my heart breaks.
HR: Yes! My favourite lyric is, “Your mum is missing me, and I miss everything”, ahhh she’s a queen, I love her so much. We are listening to a lot of pop music at the moment and that’s really inspiring us. But we just have guitars so it’s about writing music with that thought in mind.
JT: All of our songs exist in the spectrum of pop and noise, and each song is going to exist in a different end of that spectrum. Some are going to be super noisy and some are super pop.
TB: Lyrically ‘Two Hearts’ is quite strong too. So what is one of your favourite lyrics from it?
HR: I love the first verse actually. It’s so quiet and specific. It’s the most raw of anything we’ve got out. It’s just the guitar and me. It’s really vulnerable in a nice way. Some of our stuff is vulnerable in a cagey way where as this one is just open and pathetic in a good way.
TB: I feel that ‘DFTM’ is a great representation of that cagey side of Cry Club. So where does an angsty and empowering song like this come from?
HR: A bit of lived experience, and a lot of time when we get together I just need to get things off my mind so that day I was just so angry.
JT: I cant remember if there was a specific event attached to it but when you look at the local music scene you realise just how unsafe these spaces can be sometimes. Our mates from WAAX had an issue this year in Newcastle and it really highlight how a small collective can ruin the safety of something.
All it takes is one person to be an asshole. So whenever we play we always say that if there’s anyone causing problems to let us know and we will kick them out.
TB: Well you guys recently had a situation occur at one of your shows where someone tried to stage dive and made people feel quite uncomfortable?
HR: Yeah! It was at Vic On The Park and the stage was as high as a coffee table, it’s our last song, it’s a bit rowdy and we are having fun and then I turn around to see this guy on the stage and I’m like “ummm, hello?” and before I can do anything he just takes a run and jump off the stage.
The people at the front of the stage were kids They were people my height and smaller. Everyone just dodged and he fell face first.
TB: Kinda like that opening scene from School Of Rock?
HR: Literally! *laughs*. But what he doesn’t understand is that it is SO dangerous. Read the room! He had no context of what was happening. It was great that he was really jazzed and really into the music but there was a lack of awareness of the other people around him and that’s just not okay.
TB: You’ve been very open about creating inclusivity through your music and live show, creating a comfortable and safe environment and the importance of using the correct pro-nouns. So with the direction that society is heading towards, why do you think it’s important more than ever before to have a strong queer representation in the music industry that encourages the understanding and education of personal identities?
JT: There are so many situations that happen on a regular basis and it’s really sad that bystanders allow it to happen. The role of allies is that they need to step in at the moments where someone says something to a queer couple or a queer person and make sure everyone around them knows that “hey man, that’s fucked” and step in. If we just let everything slip like that then that person will never learn and go do it again next week. So we need to educate and that’s something that we try to do through our music and our life show. We want our shows to be a safe space for everyone.
HR: It’s also so humiliating for the victim too when there is verbal or physical abuse because they are just trying to live their life and be authentically themselves and it’s just turning into a big issue. And that can really affect someone who isn’t confident within themselves
JT: People just need to become more aware and need to start realising that we aren’t going to take it anymore and we will blow it up to socials if we have to cause this behaviour is not acceptable.
HR: There’s a really cool underground queer community in Wollongong called Queer As Fuck and it’s run by this one drag artist who is very gender-bending. Full drag with a beard, it’s beautiful.
They turned up to our gig in full get up and the gig we were playing was very traditional Wollongong. Beach town, surfer vibe, with a lot of bros and then a couple of drag artists turn up and people didn’t know what to do. They were making fun of them and taking photos and posting to their pages. So that was a learning curve for us as we need to make all of our shows a safe space for people. We exist and without us you don’t have this event so don’t disrespect the people who turn up to see us. People just don’t get it.
TB: Your streaming traction with ‘DFTM’ and ‘Two Hearts’ are HUGE. So as independent artists how have you gone about promoting your releases to ensure they still had the right opportunities to reach the platform it deserved?
HR: Part of me doesn’t know *laughs*. But the other part is all about having a direct message within the song. Like for example, with ‘DFTM’ we were like ‘here’s a song for you, have it” and we wanted people to feel empowered by that and embrace it. Then with ‘Two Hearts’ we were like “here is our heartbreak anthem, feel our emotions and have fun dancing and crying”.
We have been very lucky to be picked up by some Spotify playlists. In particular ‘Out Now’ has been a HUGE help for us. I think it’s so great and important to be on a playlist with other like minded artists because people discover a bit more about you and wouldn’t have found us otherwise.
Listen If You Like; Yeah Yeah Yeahs and 80’s influenced pop rock
Finding her expression through PC Pop music, LALKA is an artist who isn’t afraid to get in your face and deliver you something different. The Brisbane based singer, songwriter and producer is creating quite the name for herself with her energetic live show that is visually and sonically engaging.
2019 has been a huge year for her after she performed at the Brisbane dates of FOMO and Laneway Festival before making her way onto the coveted BIGSOUND 2019 line up. With her new single ‘Bang Bang’ in tow, she’s ready to shock and impress people with her commanding sound.
TB: Your new single ‘Bang Bang’ is out now and it’s a playful future anthem about living in the moment and being authentically yourself. So where did the storyline behind this track come from?
L: You know what, it’s not that deep. It’s just like have fun, call me a loser, call me a poser, I don’t care. I’m just here to have a good time. It’s not a deep philosophical moment about finding and embracing yourself, it’s just about learning to have fun.
TB: Well, I really love the lyric, “You can call me a loser, a poser, whatever” because I feel like it really embodies that sassy nature of living in the moment and being your true yourself. So what does that lyric mean to you?
L: As an artist you do a lot of shameless promotion. Definitely over the past couple of weeks I’ve been online saying “listen to my new song”, “come to my showcase” etc, and I just imagine people going “oh, her she goes again *sighs*, give me a break already”. I realise that it can be a bit cheesy but I’ve learnt to realise that this is what I do and I’ve got to embrace it.
Is tonight your first time performing it? Because I feel like it’s going to be really liberating live?
L: No, I have played it live before and it’s so fun. My whole set is quite empowering as there is no slow song and I just have a lot of fun. But I’ve learnt to embrace all the criticism. Like call me a poser if you want because at the end of the day I do use Instagram filters to make my skin look better *laughs*.
TB: So from bringing this lyrical idea into the DIY world of PC music, how did you go about tackling the production to make sure it had the right balance of experimental layers and managed to convey the right feeling to listeners?
L: I do it all myself. I love interesting sounds. I have this joke I tell people and some people don’t get it but when they ask what I do for fun I say that I listen to different kick drum samples on my computer until I find one I like and I fuck with it and flip it,stretch it, reserve it, whatever *laughs*.
TB: And where did a song like ‘Go Psycho’ come from, because it’s quite different?
L: Yeah, that song definitely has a deeper meaning than ‘Bang Bang’. I wrote that because I was experiencing people telling me that I shouldn’t be wearing clothes “like that” because “xyz” and it really steamed from that.
Whenever I would receive feedback like that I would feel a real sense of shame about my own body. I started to believe there was something wrong and for years I had so much shame. But then one day I realised that it wasn’t okay. I was like “get your hands off my body” I can wear and do whatever I want. It’s my style and if you don’t like what I’m wearing the fuck off.
The concept of ‘Go Psycho’ is like, watch me go crazy with who I am. I’m not going to hide it anymore.
TB: With the current focus and directional shift on DIY music with artists like Charli XCX bringing it to the forefront of the commercial pop realm, how reassuring is that for you as an independent artist, knowing that there are platforms for your music to be consumed in a bigger way being created?
L: It’s something that will take time, I am realistic about it. But it is people like Charli XCX and SOPHIE who are putting a spotlight on this genre and artists like myself through musical awareness.
I don’t know what the future holds, so I’m just doing my thing. There isn’t really anyone in Australia doing what I’m doing, so hopefully more people will come along to my shows and find their own expression through the music.
Listen If You Like; Charli XCX, SOPHIE, Brooke Candy