‘Heavy music is probably the healthiest scene in this country’: Parkway Drive on the ‘very humbling’ inclusion of metal in the APRA Music Awards

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‘Heavy music is probably the healthiest scene in this country’: Parkway Drive on the ‘very humbling’ inclusion of metal in the APRA Music Awards

Parkway Drive
Words by Juliette Salom

The introduction of the brand new category of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in the 2024 APRA Awards is giving a well-deserved nod to one of the country’s leading music scenes, says Parkway Drive frontman Winston McCall.

The music industry is a constantly evolving beast of a machine, with new technologies, devices and methods for listening to your favourite artists always on the rise. The APRA Music Awards is one step ahead of the evolution process with their Most Performed Works Awards, recognising artists and the noises they’re making in the scene based on the hard stats.

For over fourty years, the APRA Music Awards have been celebrating excellence in contemporary music, recognising the work of APRA AMCOS member songwriters, composers and publishers who have achieved artistic excellence and outstanding success in their fields. For the first time this year, the 2024 awards on Wednesday May 1, held on Gadigal Land at ICC Sydney, will be implementing the brand new award category of Most Performed Works for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, paying tribute to artists in the local heavy music scene whose works have had incredible success in performance exposure.

APRA Music Awards

  • Wednesday May 1
  • ICC Sydney
  • More info here

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

How the Most Performed Works awards are determined

The Most Performed Works Award winners are determined by statistical data of broadcast performances on radio and TV, as well as digital downloads, streaming and live performances. The award is divided into twelve categories that take into consideration a plethora of genres (alternative, blues and roots, country, dance/electronic, hard rock/heavy metal, hip hop/rap, pop, rock, R&B/soul), as well work that regards geography (Australian work, international work, Australian work overseas).

To be eligible for a nomination in this category, works must have a minimum Australian APRA writer share of 20% and have been released in the 15-month period of July 1 2022 to September 30 2023. The way in which the award is determined is by the measure of domestic performance activity, with also a consideration of the reflection of earnings according to APRA’s statistical analysis over the 12-month period of 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023.

Ultimately, the Most Performed Works Awards are ones that consider the hard data of an artist’s performed work in an age in which subgenres and niche music scenes are rising to the forefront of fans’ music consumption; APRA’s new Heavy Music Award is evidence that the organisation is making sure they’re recognising that.

Parkway Drive lead a very talented pack

Included in the nominations for the new Most Performed Hard Rock / Heavy Metal category is one of the most prominent bands to come out of the heavy music scene in Australia, Byron Bay’s Parkway Drive. Nominated for their track Darker Still, lead vocalist Winston McCall says the nomination “means a massive amount to us as artists”. “[Darker Still] is the furthest we’ve ever stretched the musical sound of what Parkway’s capable of,” McCall says of the nominated song. “It makes me really proud that we’ve been able to evolve that far over these years, so being [nominated for] an award for it is very humbling.”


Formed in 2003 when, McCall says, “the biggest show for heavy music in this country was the friends of people in a pub,” Parkway Drive have grown exponentially over the last two decades of their career, with a twenty-year anniversary national tour coming up in September to celebrate the milestone. McCall himself can’t even believe it: “Twenty years on and you’re still hitting the peaks, that’s a pretty crazy thing,” he laughs.

Whilst the music scene in many ways has changed over the last couple of decades, McCall takes note that the metal subgenre is one that has risen to prominence, as evidenced by APRA’s new category. “I honestly think the heavy music genre at this point in time, in terms of people coming out to gigs, is probably the healthiest scene in this entire country,” he says. And, no doubt, thanks to bands like Parkway Drive that are continually pushing the envelope of what is possible in the musical spectrum of heavy sound, and beyond. “The music coming out of this country has gotten better and better and better. It’s been a really cool evolution to watch over the years.”

To be nominated alongside some of the others bands that are making waves in the Aussie heavy scene (like Alpha Wolf & Holding Absence, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Polaris and The Amity Affliction) is an honour for McCall. “The rest of the bands in the category have done amazing work,” he says, pointing out that the heavy music scene, although somewhat smaller, is hyper-focused on supporting each other. “I really want to continue pushing this scene up and bringing more people into it. You want to push so everyone else can lift up together; when the water rises, all boats rise.”

Recognising this role within a community of music is what enthuses McCall most about the award nomination. “This award actually encapsulates how important [heavy music is] and how many people it is actually reaching.” The implementation of the new award, he says, helps recognise “the amount of time and energy that people put into listening and engaging, and the industry created around it. Every single band out of this genre in this country is killing it.”

You can get tickets Parkway Drive on their twenty-year anniversary tour from September here.