Wollongong band Cry Club wrap up huge year in 2019 with triple J Unearthed honour

MUSICAL CAREER: Friends Heather Riley (vocals) and Jonathon Tooke (guitar) formed Cry Club early last year. Picture: Giulia McGauran
MUSICAL CAREER: Friends Heather Riley (vocals) and Jonathon Tooke (guitar) formed Cry Club early last year. Picture: Giulia McGauran

A chance encounter between University of Wollongong students Heather Riley and Jonathon Tooke was the unlikely inspiration for their band name, Cry Club.

"We met on a uni trip to Japan - we were sitting next to each other on the plane," Tooke said.

"I was watching a show on my laptop, Heather was like, 'I love that show', and we bonded over how when we first watched it we were crying our eyes out.

"So when we landed on the name Cry Club, it was like, 'wow, this is perfect'."

Riley (vocals) and Tooke (guitar) formed the band in January 2018.

Tooke was born and raised in Wollongong, while Riley grew up in Western Sydney.

In February, the duo relocated to Melbourne to further pursue the group, whose music blends the contrasting genres of post-punk and pop.

"So much stuff that was happening with the band was based in Melbourne, and there were a lot of opportunities that we were missing," Tooke said.

"I might move back to Wollongong some day, but it's nice to have the wider range of experiences that comes with living in different places."

Cry Club has played the Laneway Festival, and supported the likes of WAAX, The Midnight, Holy Holy, Alice Ivy and Bec Sandridge.

Their dedication has paid off.

The group was recently named the No.1 most played act on the triple J Unearthed digital radio station in 2019.

"I grew up spending a lot of time on the Unearthed website, so to have their support feels great and like a full circle kind of moment," Tooke, 26, said.

The band's released four singles so far, and at times sought to tackle major issues.

Walk Away was written during the height of the 2017 marriage equality plebiscite. DFTM is a scathing call out of when physical boundaries aren't respected at shows.

"I think some people can be almost surprised at how candid we can be in our songs about some things," he said.

"For us, we talk about what our lived experience is.

"There are songs where the lived experience is, 'I had a shitty day'. Then there are sometimes the bigger, more over-arching things that we do end up talking about.

"But we always have a thing in our songs where we just try to be as honest with ourselves as we can be."

The group has a series of upcoming shows and festival appearances, including a gig at Wollongong venue La La La's on Saturday, February 1.

Tickets from Moshtix.


This story Wollongong duo tops triple J Unearthed station's 'most played' list for 2019 first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.