From TikTok to Triple J?

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Words || Ella Scott

In the reality that is 2020, the world is pretty darn fucked. As a society, we’ve had to re-evaluate how we do things, creating new alternatives that hadn’t really been done before. As referenced a lot in this magazine, Tik Tok has been one of these things. Exploring various different styles and trends, the app has allowed musicians, artists, and dancers to get their work out there in a COVID-safe way.

While each individual ‘For You’ page differs, I have to admit I’ve noticed a lot of indie surf rock music being circulated on the app, and a lot of it seems to be coming from us Aussies. Now maybe Tik Tok has just been watching me and knows that I am ‘one of those people’ who listens to Triple J on the regular and loves a good festival. However, it seems that I am not the only one.

The Rions, a local Australian band from the Northern Beaches composed of Noah Blockley, Harley Wilson, Asher Mclean, and Tom Partington, are one of these bands circulating TikTok.  With a very distinct indie surf rock sound, I loved their music from the get-go. Sneaking bluesy guitar solos into each song gives the band a new dimension beyond its easy grooves. Flavoured with funk, rock, and reggae rhythms, their distinct sound is catchy and sophisticated, with a strong bass line holding each track. You can hear influences of early Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, or more locally, similarities to bands such as Spacey Jane and Ocean Alley. 

Since forming the band in 2016 for a school talent show, the boys have played around with various different styles and genres. Being best friends, they each have a strong passion for music, recognised through their impressive first two original releases. With guidance from their music teacher, Mr. John Stone (Indie pop siblings Angus & Julia Stone’s father), they have now formed the basis for what looks to be a very promising career.

It was back in December 2019, that lead singer, Noah Blockley decided to start his TikTok account (@noahblockleyy). Originally created as an avenue for amusement, he began to post style videos, showing different outfits and trends that were circulating TikTok at the time. With his quirky style and cheeky mannerisms, the account immediately gained attraction, now reaching over 80k followers, with 1.2 million likes.

Noah states, “I didn’t want anyone to see it at the time…but it was a blessing in disguise because now we’re promoting the band on it” 

In March this year, Noah posted his first TikTok with the band. 

Harley, rhythm guitarist explains, “Right before we posted anything we had just reached 1,000 followers (on Instagram) after three and half years of having the account. Then right as he posted the video, it started shooting up by the thousands. 

With the release of their first two songs ‘Sadie’ and ‘Halfway Out’ in early March, the band had already formed a new fan base on TikTok.

“The Friday morning that our songs were meant to come out I posted a TikTok about it, and it got about 70k views. Everyone was freaking out and asking where they could find them, but they weren’t actually out yet…They came out later that night and are now about to hit 100k (on Spotify)”

Noah continues, “It might be the algorithm or something, but I’m definitely seeing a lot more bands pop up on my TikTok, and I’m like yeah alright, this is cool”.

The band also has a segment on YouTube called ‘The Rions Show’. “We didn’t want to call it a vlog, so we decided to call it a show”, states Harley.

Giving insight into what they’re actually like as young blokes, each video shows their goofy friendship, reminding us that they are a bunch of true blue Aussie teens. Noah further explains, “it was a way to sort of show our personality”

Other Australian artists have also jumped at the opportunity to create this relationship with their audience. Local boys Louis and Oli from Lime Cordiale have a similar segment on YouTube called, “LIME TV”, which shows the behind the scenes of their surprisingly quite normal lives.

As viewers, and listeners, I think it can become quite easy to get detached from what you’re listening to. Sometimes you forget that a voice belongs to an actual person, or a drummer gets lost in the background of a track. This way forward allows the listener to develop a deeper appreciation for what they are actually listening to, and more so the meaning behind it all.

Talking to the boys from The Rions really allowed me to get an understanding of who they are as a band. They’re just a bunch of young blokes doing what they love. TikTok and Youtube haven’t just allowed them to get their name out there but has given them the opportunity to explore and play around with it.

“We’re only 16, we’re not adults yet,  you’ve got to get to know us”.

I really do see big things for these boys’ future, so I’d keep an eye out on Triple J Unearthed, as I am sure you will be hearing them there soon. 

They have also just started a new TikTok account @therionsband, so give it a follow if like me, you’re ‘one of those people’ and love and support all things Australian music.