HTRK turn 21

Wed 8 May

“We don't want to get too emotional about it but we've managed to obsessively collect our dream line up for our 21st birthday party. In all these acts we see something in them that we see in ourselves.”

Few groups elevate mood to such singular, smouldering supremacy as the Australian duo of Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang aka HTRK. They formed in 2003 alongside friend and bassist Sean Stewart and released their first EP Nostalgia on Fire Records—a lo-fi post-industrial record, alive with nihilistic energies of the 80s underground. Rowland S Howard’s Teenage Snuff Film was cited as an influence and, as it turns out, it wasn’t long before HTRK caught the post-punk legend’s attention with their live gigs. Howard ended up co-producing their debut full-length Marry Me Tonight, which stripped back some of the noise and exposed more of their songwriting's sensual core.

In 2010 Sean Stewart sadly passed away in his London home. But Standish and Yang persevered. Across years of work and wounds, their sound has shape-shifted between densities and intensities, noise and nakedness, but it’s never wavered in its delicate poetic gravity. They’ve released music on Boomkat Editions (Over the Rainbow), and Ghostly International (Work (work, work), Psychic 9-5 Club, and Venus in Leo). For their most recent full-length, the celebrated slowburn suite Rhinestones, they founded their own artist imprint, N&J Blueberries.

The band will mark their 21st Anniversary in 2024 through a series of collaborations, installations and performances including their massive 21st party at RISING’s Day Tripper. In their words it’s been “21 years of thinking deeply about pop, art and relationships, not fitting in, being popular, not having any ideas, losing a best friend, accepting being bad at life, talking more than making music". 

The lineup includes Danish experimental-composer-turned-singer-songwriter Astrid Sonne and British art-rock trio Still House Plants. Old friends and hallucinatory beat-makers CS + Kreme are doing a special collaboration with renowned improviser James Rushford. NTS Radio favourite Pandora’s Jukebox is bringing renegade soundwaves and noir-dreamscapes from the UK. Dubbed-out postpunk explorer YL Hooi is in for the session. And lastly, eclectic DJ Emelyne is on the decks, and sure to spin an appropriately subterranean set. 

If you're in the CBD during work hours head to Night Trade where you'll find a sensual sanctuary has been created for transcending the 9 to 5—soundtracked by a version of Psychic 9–5 Club that’s been stretched into a generative sprawl. A small range of non-alcoholic drinks are on offer to enhance clarity, energy, focus and mood.

To celebrate the big two-one, cult Melbourne/Naarm duo have made us a playlist featuring artists on the guestlist for their big bash at Day Tripper.

Astrid Sonne. PHOTO: Conrad Pack


The days get shorter. The trip gets deeper. Shake loose under the chandeliers and behind the bins in a live mixtape of music, performance, art and film.

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Astrid Sonne. PHOTO: Conrad Pack
CS + Kreme. PHOTO: Courtesy of the artist
Emelyne. PHOTO: Courtesy of the artist
Pandora's Jukebox. PHOTO: Courtesy of the artist
Still House Plants. PHOTO: Courtesy of the artist
YL Hooi and Tarquin Manek. PHOTO: Courtesy of the artist

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