Australia’s best genre defying artists, according to Up Late

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Australia’s best genre defying artists, according to Up Late

genre bending
Words by Up Late

Up Late gives us his top-five up and coming Aussie genre defying artists that defy characterisation, defying descriptives of punk, metal, bubblegum pop, emo revival, mumblerap, hardcore and so much more.

Australia has forever been home to bands and artists that have taken the road less travelled, breaking the tired genre moulds and defying labels to fight their way to significant cult or mainstream followings.

Think Parkway Drive fusing European metal riffs with American Metallic Hardcore; The Presets reinventing the EDM scene with their own brand of in-your-face, distorted bass music.

Or Frenzal Rhomb birthing arguably the most ubiquitous Aussie music sound – fast, lo-fi and tongue-in-cheek punk rock. We’ve always been ahead of the curve, and never has that been more apparent than right now in 2021.


Donatachi is like musical candy, you just don’t want to stop that sugar high. They’re glistening Y2K bubblegum pop sounds lift you right up off the ground – as if you’re floating through a 3D, digital wonderland.

Although Donatachi is a master of the hyperpop melody – their basslines and 808s are as equally in-your-face. Think DJ Sammy meets Dylan Brady.


daine is leading the way when it comes to the new emo revival movement. You can hear early mid-west guitar riffs a la Modern Baseball right next to Misogi style Trap drums.

She plays on the same field as artists like guccihighwaters or Convolk but daine’s infectious vocal melodies set her leagues above the sadboi, modern emo trope.

With songs like ‘SALT’ she’s able to create a dreamy, drowned-out atmosphere, soaring vocals that really tug at your heartstrings.

But then she backs it up with songs like ‘boys wanna txt’ – where she’s much more intimate and pop-centric. daine’s knocking on the door of Australian (and international) pop and she’s bringing with her an unwavering vision of modern electronic music doused in 00s emo.



The self-professed “Deftones of mumble rap” – I first met Hearteyes playing hardcore shows in and around the South Coast of NSW in the early 2010s.

After shifting gears from bands to a solo project in 2019, Hearteyes quickly made his presence known – releasing 40+ genre bending tracks in the span of 18 months.

Each one was different to the next, but all shared his own brand of hard auto-tuned crooning – effortless melodies floating across fuzzy production that borrowed from rock, indie & rap.

In 2021 he dropped HEADBANGERS 2 (shameless plug but I’m featured on All Black) which is a colossal 9-track that bleeds 90s alt-rock, hyperpop and rap into one mixtape.

Now, hearteyes is priming the release of his next tape which distills the sound of artists like Sofaygo and Slump6s through his own lens.



There’s no one doing hardcore or metal as original as DREGG.

From their painted faces and coloured hair to breakdowns and Nerve features, DREGG are genre bending, pushing the boundaries and limits of what it means to be a heavy band in 2021.

Instead of resting their laurels on drop tuned guitar breakdowns, their fusing 90s inspired guitar work reminiscent of Pantera or Machine Head and their lyrics do-away with the hyper-masculine, hyper-aggressive tropes of metal.

Instead they opt for much more self-aware and playful tracks – songs like ‘Trunks’ (about the famed Dragonball Z character) or ‘INTERNET’.

Listen to Up Late above or head here.