It’s no secret that Australian dance music has become an integral part of America’s continually evolving electronic scene. At this point in 2016, it almost doesn’t need to be said with flocks of Aussie producers and singers becoming so commonplace in America that is sometimes feels as if Australia shares a border with the states. There was a time though and only a few years back where everyone was just beginning to preach about the Australian invasion with newfound enthusiasm.
It was the perfect moment around 2013 where America’s obsession with heavier styles like dubstep, festival trap, moombahton, and electro house seemed to be tapering off and the next big wave was leaning towards lush and vocal influenced styles like future bass, garage, tropical, and deep house. That is where Australia stepped in. Sure, it was the UK that made the first move with artists like Disclosure, Rudimental, Bondax, and Snakehips, but Australia followed right along with Flume, Hermitude, Chet Faker, What So Not, Anna Lunoe, and Wave Racer catching steam.
Labels like Future Classic and Sweat It Out were churning out fresh Aussie talent at record pace, Soundcloud was reaching its peak as the primary place for music discovery and becoming a mecca for rising producers, and soon enough kids in the states couldn’t stop talking about the Triple J Top 100 like it was the official radio station of North America.
Three years have passed since that initial boom, but Australia hasn’t let up in the slightest with a continual flow of fresh talent making its way towards the states with each passing year. The influence has been undeniable, and we continue to see Australian musicians playing a major role at festivals, clubs, and shows across the country.
It was the last week of October 2016 that reminded me once again just how important the Australian invasion has been. By some strange coincidence, or maybe even a Thanksgiving miracle, I ended up seeing Alison Wonderland, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) at three separate shows across two states during one wild seven-day stretch. When it was all said and done, I couldn’t help but reflect on Australia’s continued takeover of America.
Alison Wonderland - Club Bahia - Los Angeles
It all started at a Red Bull 30 Days In LA show on the night before Thanksgiving. LA’s highly revered party crew Brownies & Lemonade was throwing down a lineup of secret guests and promised big things, so you knew it was going to be a wild night. Lines were forming hours before the show began and the venue started to get packed within 30 minutes. After performances from artists like AOBeats, Oshi, Alexander Lewis, KRNE, Falcons, and GTA, the one and only Alison Wonderland arrived at the decks and instantly grasped the audience's attention.
A small club mostly known for Latin music was quickly filled with palatable elation and vitality as Wonderland gripped the mic and through a haze of smoke screamed “My name is Alison Fucking Wonderland and tonight I want you to fuck me up on a spiritual level.” It was now in the early hours of Thanksgiving day, but that didn’t stop a room full of a few hundred partygoers from losing their minds as the Sydney musician commanded the crowd with everything from her own visceral music to tracks from fellow Aussie artists and even Nirvana. The night ended with Lido by her side as they each played unreleased remixes of each other's tracks. It was beautiful.
RÜFÜS DU SOL - Wonder Ballroom - Portland
After getting around two hours of sleep following Alison Wonderland’s breathtaking performance the night before, I made my way to the airport in complete struggle bus mode and took a flight to visit family for Thanksgiving in Portland, Oregon. A few days later, I ventured to the Wonderland Ballroom for an all Aussie lineup of RÜFÜS DU SOL, Kllo, and Yuma X. Although taking place during Thanksgiving weekend and in one of Portland’s larger concert halls, to my surprise the show sold out well over a month in advance.
That’s not to say I was doubting the ability of RÜFÜS to pack a venue, especially after witnessing them draw substantial crowds at Coachella and well over 20,000 people at their Santa Monica Pier show, but that was Southern California and this was Portland. In true RÜFÜS form, the Sydney residents proved to me once again their ability to consistently stun audiences with entrancing instrumentations and alleviating vocals. Staying true to their homeland, the trio also gave those in attendance the chance to witness the sounds of upcoming Aussie talent in Kllo and Yuma X with both stepping up to the plate and delivering memorable performances.
Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) - The Theatre At Ace Hotel - Los Angeles
Following my Thanksgiving visit to Portland and flight back to LA, I made my way to the final night of Red Bull 30 Days In LA for Nick Murphy, who most still know best as Chet Faker. I remember hearing his pensive vocals for the first time on Flume's “Left Alone,” and since then have watched his career develop as he transitioned from Flume collaborator to building his own dedicated fan base in the states. And while he might have changed his moniker to his birth name recently, it was clear that the old Chet Faker was still very much alive throughout his performance.
The biggest disparity was his stage setup, which went from performing as a one-man band when he first started making waves in America to a cluttered setup filled with a large group of fellow musicians and various instruments strewn across the stage including seven different keyboards and synthesizers as Murphy performed songs both new and old. It was the perfect way to end another edition of Red Bull 30 Days In LA, and also capped off a walk down memory lane with some of my favorite artists from Australia’s electronic invasion of North America.