Had it not been for a chance meeting on a flight to Japan 2019’s ‘most played artist’ on Triple J Unearthed may not even exist.
The duo of Jonathon Tooke and Heather Riley, best known now as Cry Club, first met on a flight to Japan as part of university trip. Surprisingly though the duo first began to develop a bond over something other than music.
“Funnily enough the reason we ultimately landed on the name Cry Club goes right back to that first meeting,” explained Tooke before continuing, “We bonded over all of the TV shows that we would cry over.”
Although Tooke and Riley became quick friends their musical collaboration took some time to develop. With Tooke performing in a number of other bands it wasn’t until “a couple of years” later that he had an opportunity to begin a new project.
“I had the start of a song but just needed someone to help finish it. I knew Heather could really sing so Heather came over and we finished the song that day. From that moment I immediately knew ‘oh this works’ and dropped everything to make Cry Club the sole focus.”
Since then the duo has done nothing but grow thanks to their distinctive sound, which Tooke described as, “trying to combine the post-punk that we grew up loving with the pop music that we grew to love.”
As part of their creative process Tooke and Riley often aim to blend disparate elements together. Tooke talked City Hub through an example of this process.
“If we have something that’s really heavy we think ‘what would Katy Perry sing over this?’ Or if we have something super pop we think ‘what would a punk singer sing over the top?'”
By creating music in this way it has meant that Cry Club has been able to build their following in a much more deliberate and discerning way than if they had a major radio hit right out of the gate. Something which Tooke says they are grateful to have had the opportunity to do.
“I’ve been playing in bands for 10 years now, so I’ve seen a lot of the things that can go right and wrong at shows. [For Cry Club] we wanted to make sure our shows were safe and people understood who we are before they came to see us, so we’ve been deliberately holding off on doing headline shows.”
For fans looking ahead to the show this week, Tooke told City Hub they can expect “quite a theatrical” performance.
“If I don’t come off stage completely drenched in sweat or feeling like I’m about to pass out from exhaustion I probably haven’t played hard enough.”
Jan 31. Oxford Art Factory, 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. $13.65+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.oxfordartfactory.com