Meet Wollongong natives Heather and Jono of noisy queer pop duo Cry Club, who deliver addictive pop-punk anthems encased in the perfect blend of grit and glitter! Carefully threading together themes of vulnerability and empowerment, the two inject authenticity and an irrefutable energy into their latest releases ‘Two Hearts’ and ‘DTFM’. Unabashedly candid in their lyricism and spirited in performance, there’s no surprise that the pair have been standout acts at massive festivals such as Yours and Owls, Bigsound, and Laneway Festival! Between their various exciting ventures, we managed to chat with Cry Club, getting to know a bit more about their musical inspirations, dream lineups and plans for the future:
When did you start writing songs? How did you get into it?
Jono: After doing a bit of time as a touring/session player I really wanted to kick off something of my own that I could really take the reins on so I think in maybe 2016 I sent Heather a handful of demos that never really went anywhere haha – but maybe a year later I started working on something more pop and actually got them to sit down in the room with me and we worked on our first song together that immediately just worked. I’ve been playing in bands for like 10 years so I recognised how in sync we are creatively and made sure we book more time in to write – since then we’ve been thick as thieves!
Heather: Oh my god I wrote one song when I was uhhhhh 10 or 11? And my choir teacher loved it so much she put it into this performing arts festival in Sutherland… I thought that would forever be my peak until I started writing with Jono!! We figured out that I need to be in a room with someone to actually write something, so we work together on almost everything. I’ve started mucking around in Garageband and Ableton, so we’ll see where that goes!
What is it that inspires the lyrics in your songs?
J: The classic question I ask Heather to kick off vocal writing is “what’s bothering you at the moment?”, so many of our songs are quite honest to what we’re experiencing at that point in time. We first started writing for Cry Club during the plebiscite for same-sex marriage so a lot of early songs had the working titles like “Angry Gay and Mad #3”
H: For sure it’s like how we’re feeling at any given moment! We try not to get too wrapped up in complicated metaphors- not that there’s anything wrong with that, we’re just not very good at it and it doesn’t feel authentic for us lol. So we have no choice but to lay it all out very openly and hope people can connect.
Do you have a particular writing process?
J: Our writing has always been pretty structured, with me coming up with the core instrumental idea and then us figuring out the vocal together, which often ends up influencing where the instrumental ends up. For the first whole big chunk of demos on my end (like the first 50 something) I had a rule of writing with just 1 guitar, bass and drums but now I’m starting to branch out a bit more which is exciting but also a little scary in not having those same limitations.
H: Yeah, it’s a really fun way to work, I’m always combing through instrumentals in the car or when I’m traveling anywhere. There’s enough that I’ll always connect with one on any given day, and it’s possible for us to bounce between demos when we get sick or stuck writing a certain one.
Who are some of the biggest influences on your music?
J: For me I’ve always wanted Cry Club to get a mix of all the noisy post-punk I listened to growing up with pop songwriting sensibilities that I’m really interested in now. So for actual names I think bands like Autolux, Unwound and Liars alongside the likes of The 1975, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande etc.
H: Jono and I are such polar opposites, but we always manage to find common ground in the weird stuff. There is as much Mclusky and IDLES in our references as there is Doja Cat, Rico Nasty and Kpop. I think it’s about taking that addictive pop hook and punching it in the gut :^) Watching our peers is also huuuuuge motivation, getting to talk to Candy and Moaning Lisa, and pals like Sweater Curse to see where they’re at and what they’re doing, I eat it all up!! I love watching everyone grow and being a part of that community makes me want to do better every day.
What differences have you found being an artist in Melbourne as opposed to Wollongong?
J: There’s just so many more gigs on. Wollongong when I was growing up had so few local live venues that would put on original bands there were community meetings on what we were all gonna do about it, whereas it feels like there’s an absolute deluge of great venues in Melbourne that are all putting on great gigs on the regular. Still love Wollongong and its scene of course, but it’s an absolute shocker coming to somewhere so engaged with the culture of live music.
H: It rules in both cities for different reasons tbh. You can play a gig on any random night in any crevice in Melbourne and have an audience (albeit a quiet and crossed-arm brunch). Whereas there are faaaaar fewer opportunities in Wollongong, but the audience you get is RABID. They froth it, it’s such a rush to play to Gong crowds. It’s really kind of liberating to show up in a big city where you have to work harder to stand out- you’re given permission to get freaky and scare people a bit. I’m so into it.
What would be your dream line up to be a part of?
J: God, that Sandtunes Festival that just got announced has some dream acts on it hey. I would absolutely die if we got to support a bonafide pop act like Carly Rae or Charli XCX but in terms of our favourite bands in our scene, any time we get to play with Sports Bra feels like a dream come true.
H: GAY! TIMES! Aaaaahhhhh damn I’ve wanted to go for years but life keeps getting in the way. Playing it would solve all of my problems, a proud and diverse queer lineup and the opportunity so support so many LGBTQ+ artists? A dream come TRUE. Stonefest is also a super super exciting fez I’m looking forward to! Mallrat is someone I’ve been dying to see for a long long time, and Japanese Wallpaper!!!
What has been the highlight of your year so far?
J: So far I think getting Two Hearts and DFTM out in the wild have been my highlights. Since starting in January last year it’s been a bit of a whirlwind – so actually releasing stuff that feels exactly like us has been a real challenge just because of things like scheduling and money, all the boring stuff haha. Being able to actually show people – “this is what Cry Club is about” though is really satisfying, especially in being able to show the different sides of ourselves.
H: Our DFTM tour, and the run we did with Alice Ivy straight after we release Two Hearts!! Our live shows are such a highlight for me, it’s in our blood. It’s the first time we had a huge crowd of people sing along to something we made, and the feeling was so humbling and beautiful. Touring with Alice Ivy was such a wonderful learning experience, the way she performs is something I really really aspire to, I was out there every night taking notes. I want to make an audience feel the way I felt every night. m
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
J: Most of our plans for the rest of the year just focus around recording and playing shows! There’s a bunch we want to do to amp up the production of our live shows which involves a bunch of tech stuff which I absolutely live for, but also just getting more songs recorded in our back pocket will be a major relief!
H: Play shows! Release music! Refine our live show! We’re playing more festivals in the latter half of this year than I think we did through all of last year, it’s so so so exciting! We did agree to chill out on writing songs, but… we’ll see if we stick to that 😉
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing music and performing?
J: I think if we’re not doing those things as a band, we spend a lot of time just hanging out. I’m really lucky that I’m in a band with my best friend so for as much Band Stuff needs to get done a bunch of other stuff is going to a bunch of gigs, playing video games and watching youtube cooking shows (like the entire Bon Appetit youtube channel)
Where can people keep up with all things Cry Club?
J: we’ve got the standard set of socials like our facebook, instagram and twitter – but we’ve also started our own little facebook group where we want to communicate with our more invested listeners a bit more directly!