“How’d your Hottest 100 votes go?”
It’s a conversation we’ve all had year on year. Whether you put your votes in on day one, or annoyingly swiped through your friends Instagram stories as they showed off their votes, you’ll struggle to find anyone who didn’t have one eye on the triple j countdown.
Understandably, it was quite the uneventful countdown for those whose listening habits sit firmly in the alternative and heavy music genres. Besides the charting of The Amity Affliction (#94), Trophy Eyes (#93), WAAX (#88) and Bring Me The Horizon (#45) there was little to celebrate for heavy music fans. Or was there?
See, the celebration for alternative fans doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) arise from where their beloved songs chart on a countdown that is, all things considered, a popularity contest. This scene has never relied on the countdown to be a determining factor in the measurable success of its most popular bands.
And if you really feel like your votes meant nothing, that the dwindling levels of heavy and alternative music in the Hottest 100 spells out a grim future, fear not. It isn’t a neon sign signalling the impending doom of the alternative scene because there’s so much that we, as a collective, can all do to ensure that it continues to thrive.
1. Go To Shows
First and foremost, if not the most obvious point is to go to local shows. Go see local lineups, check out the support bands if you can. Speaking from my own experience, I’ve fallen in love with an immeasurable number of bands after seeing them live first. Not only does the money you spend go directly to the pockets of the artists, your new favourite band is potentially just around the corner.
2. Get Involved
To extend on that first point, involve yourself in your local music community. To plug something I’m personally involved in, there’s amazing groups of people such as the Housewarming Collective doing fantastic things to sustain the Australian music scene. It’s so important to get behind groups like this in your local area. These groups give upcoming artists a platform to project their art, by supporting them you enable them to continue helping the artists we all so dearly love. I became involved through friends and word of mouth, asking if they needed a hand. Be open and willing to be involved.
3. Buy Merch
I understand this won’t apply to some people, but if you can spare the coin buy merchandise. I recognise that for some, it’s a simple case of not being able to afford it, and for others not even that stops them! Buying merch is the most direct way of supporting your favourite artists, and not only does it put fuel in their van and food in their stomachs, it also furthers their brand. Be a walking billboard for your darling bands, get their name out there!
4. Spread The Word
Regardless of whether you can or can’t buy merchandise, there’s something everybody can do; tell all your god damn friends! Hustle them to shows with you, share new finds with them and most of all, don’t hesitate to support bands on social media! Word of mouth continues to be one of the most integral components in the success and growth of upcoming bands, and you can ensure that it continues to be.
5. Support On Socials
Furthermore, certain social platforms right now have terrible algorithms that are stopping artists from getting noticed even by their own fans. It is integral to support bands on social media, whether that be simply liking posts or commenting and sharing for others to see. While appearing minor, they can have a helpful impact on post reach. If you see something you like, take a second to engage with it, you’re helping more than you know.
6. Support Everyone
Ensure that you support female and non-binary members of the music scene. Give them your time and attention, grant them the platform and opportunities that for so long has been ill-afforded to them. There are an enormity of individuals working their asses off behind the curtains and in front of them, and supporting them in their endeavours will only ensure a better and brighter future for our music scene.
Of the very top of my head, here’s a list of bands with representation that you should be checking out: Stand Atlantic, Yours Truly, Cry Club, Caged Existence, Pagan, Sports Bra, Madura Green, Headstrong, WAAX, Rachel Maria Cox, Grenade Jumper, Camp Cope, Just About Done, Saviour, E^ST, and The Beautiful Monument.
7. Be Respectful
Lastly, be respectful of others. Perhaps the simplest, yet arguably the most important point is to make your local scene the best that it can be. Make it a safe space that others can feel comfortable in, so that they feel welcome and can in-turn welcome others into it as well.
8. Notice The Good
If you’re still disheartened that your votes didn’t make the Hottest 100, take a look into what made the second countdown to prove that our scene isn’t just sitting in the shadows. With the inclusions of Stand Atlantic (#191), Slowly Slowly (#190), Parkway Drive (#174, #168), Hellions (#163) and Architects (#161), it is obvious that Australia’s alternative scene is still going strong.
We can’t rely on a mainstream music outlet to cater for our heavy niche, and we won’t. There are a lot of positive signs for the Australian alternative music scene, and if Triple J’s countdown didn’t prove that just look at the Australian acts making waves both down under and internationally. From pop punk sweethearts Stand Atlantic, to metalcore titans Polaris, there is so much to look forward to.
As our friends in Hellions said, “take a step out your door and flood the streets.” Now maybe that applies to a different context, but it’s safe to say that the future of our alternative music scene lies in our own hands. Let’s make it the best one in the world.
#195 Trophy Eyes- Friday Forever
#191 Stand Atlantic- Lavender Bones
#190 Slowly Slowly- Ten Leaf Clover
#174 Parkway Drive- Prey
#168 Parkway Drive- The Void
#163 Hellions- Smile
#161 Architects- Hereafter
#119 Bring Me The Horizon- wonderful life (feat. Dani Filth)
#118 Luca Brasi- Clothes I Slept In
#113 Camp Cope- How To Socialise & Make Friends
#099 YUNGBLUD- Polygraph Eyes
#094 The Amity Affliction- Ivy (Doomsday)
#093 Trophy Eyes- You Can Count On Me
#088 WAAX- Labrador
#045 Bring Me The Horizon- MANTRA