Music

The Hardest 100: “We like being the outsiders”

By On

You needn’t even be all that invested in heavy music to know that it’s often overlooked. The Grammy’s don’t televise the Heavy Metal category, the ARIA’s ham-handedly smoosh anything with distorted guitars into the category and even triple j’s Hottest 100, the so-called greatest music democracy in the world, only ever manages to feature two, three, maybe four heavy songs in a good year.

Take a cursory glance at the domestic album sales charts, or upcoming touring schedules, and you’ll see heavy acts strewn throughout – old ones, new ones, Australian ones, international ones…

This highlights a frustrating disconnect. One between audiences, who seem willing, nay, eager to support heavy music but a media climate that balks at the idea. “Pfft” they say, “this is far too aggressive for audiences…”

Aggressive though some of it may be, this habitual snubbing of heavy music from mainstream media is odd at best, and at worst, an insult to the entire heavy music industry and certainly something worth complaining about.

But rather than simply complaining into the void, The Faction and its helmsman Tim Price devised a work-around: The Hardest 100, a Hottest 100 style democratic countdown specifically dedicated to the more alternative, heavier side of things. Now in its third year, The Hardest 100 is bigger – and harder – than ever before.

Ahead of this year’s countdown and the inaugural East Coast-wide listening parties, we spoke with Price about the whole sitch.

For the initiated, The Hardest 100 makes perfect sense. For the uninitiated, why does heavy music need it’s own Hottest 100-styled countdown?

We created it because we wanted to highlight the amazing heavy music from around the world that, by virtue of being a niche genre – and being a genre where fans don’t necessarily focus on the singles – perhaps miss out on spots in other countdowns. We want to put it up on a podium and give it the spotlight that it deserves!

Given how popular and fortified the heavy music community is in Australia, why do you think it’s so often snubbed by traditional media?

I honestly think that people are scared of heavy music. It’s dark, it explores the sides of life that aren’t usually talked about, it can be forceful, it can be aggressive, but it can be cathartic, and it is intelligent and it is therapeutic for so many. It always does my head in that there are so many heavy bands talking about such positive things in their music, and yet mainstream music is basically putting soft pornography on screens and marketing it towards children. At least there is honesty in heavy music in what is being talked about and depicted.

I see it all the time, I have pitched songs (wearing my publicist hat) to media outlets that are VERY much just rock songs, some even bordering pop – and have had responses like “this is too heavy.” Like? I truly think that mainstream media don’t know what to make of heavy music and still think we are weirdos. But that’s OK – I think we like being the outsiders – it gives us something to rail against.

In previous years, word of The Hardest 100 spread far and wide. How was the response when you announced its return this year?

Truly, this has been the biggest year by far. We have had double the amount of votes we had last year and matched the same amount of votes we had last year within 3 days of voting opening!

You’ve also announced a series of listening parties to coincide with the countdown. What inspired you to bring the countdown into real life? 

I just remembered throwing parties at the pub I used to work at in Rockhampton for the Hottest 100 back in the day and remembered how much fun it was. Having competitions to see who got the closest top 10 votes etc, drinking games, the “SHOULDA BEEN HIGHER” calls, it’s just always so good.

We love stats and numbers here at Blunt Magazine. What are some interesting figures / takeaways from this year’s numbers compared to last years?

Over 30,000 votes have come in this time around, and there were more songs to vote for this year than last, which I believe correlates to the absolute tidal wave of amazing music that was released last year – and seriously, the list to vote for there, is just what I played on The Faction. I had to remove the ability to add new songs unfortunately, as people quickly demonstrated they couldn’t be trusted to not troll the system or add songs that definitely were not released in 2019.

Ok, let’s hear it then – which artists and songs earned your vote?

Look, it’d be:

Sleep Token – ‘The Offering’
Dance Gavin Dance – ‘Head Hunter’
Don Broco – ‘Half Man Half God’
Spiritbox – ‘Bleach Bath’
Windwaker – ‘The Sitch’

What do you reckon, let’s do it again in another 12 months?  

Abso-Fucking-Lutely…


The Hardest 100 Listening Parties – CANCELLED

For more info check out The Faction

Sunday, 22nd March CANCELLED
Crowbar, Sydney – Presented by Blunt Mag
Free Entry

Sunday, 22nd March CANCELLED
Crowbar, Brisbane
Free Entry

Sunday, 22nd March CANCELLED
Stay Gold, Melbourne
Free Entry


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