Hottest 100: AB Original and Dan Sultan praise date change at Arias
Australian musicians, including Dan Sultan and the Indigenous rap duo AB Original, have praised Triple J’s decision to move the date of the Hottest 100, calling it “a beautiful gesture” that marks “the difference between whether you’re an arsehole or a nice person”.
Speaking on the red carpet at Tuesday night’s Aria awards, Briggs, of AB Original, said the decision reflected “how the majority of people feel” and was a welcome “step towards equity and inclusivity”.
“It’s a dumb day, it’s stupid. Australia Day is trash. 14 years old. We’ve got 80,000 years of history here and you want to celebrate Australia Day?”
Sultan said Triple J’s decision to change the date was an act of empathy that made him “proud to be an Australian”.
“That day commemorates the beginning of the ongoing genocide of our people,” he said. “Empathy is important. It shows a sign of intelligence and it shows a sign of compassion and it’s the difference between whether you’re an arsehole or a nice person.”
Last year, Briggs, fellow MC Trials and Sultan released the protest song January 26, which calls for the date of Australia Day to be moved away from the anniversary of British invasion. The song reached No 16 on that year’s countdown.
Sultan welcomed Triple J’s decision, which came after consultation with Indigenous groups and a public survey of the station’s listeners. For the next two years, the annual music countdown will be held on the fourth weekend of January.
“It’s not the answer but it’s a step in the right direction,” Sultan said. “It’s very important, it’s magnificent and I’m very proud to be an Australian. And I’m very proud to have a bit to do with Triple J as well. And anyone who doesn’t like it, they’re not necessary bigots or racists, but they can get fucked.”
Briggs and Trials said the change was long overdue.
“People always ask us whether we dropped it [January 26] on purpose because we felt it coming or something,” Trials said. “But these are all very old issues, it’s all old hat.”
Briggs added: “If anything, we were late.”
Trials said: “If this album dropped when we were kids we would be making different records now. We made this record because it didn’t exist.”
Triple J’s move comes after a long-running campaign among Indigenous Australians to change the date of the national holiday.
Other musicians backed the change. Lindsay “the Doctor” McDougall, the former Triple J host whose band Frenzal Rhomb got their sixth Aria nomination this year, said the move was “obviously going to happen”.
“[The Hottest 100 has] only been on January 26 since 1998, it’s not that historic really,” he said. “I’ve been coming to these things longer than the Hottest 100 has been on January 26.
“Hopefully they’ll stick to their guns and don’t get pushed around by those weird old people in government who would never listen to the Hottest 100 and yet have an opinion on it.”
Dave Le’aupepe, who was nominated for eight Arias as lead singer of Sydney band Gang of Youths, said he “stood in solidarity” with Indigenous Australians who wanted the date changed.
“I’m an Indigenous person to the Pacific Islands so of course I’m not going to protest it being moved,” he said. “I advocate for it being changed ... if not, I can’t look my Indigenous friends in the eyes and say I stood by them as a person of colour.”
Isabella Manfredi, the lead singer of the Preatures, said the decision was “contentious” but “all brave decisions are”.
In August, Preatures released the single Yanada, in which Manfredi sings the chorus in the Indigenous Darug language, co-written with Indigenous woman Jacinta Tobin.
“We’ve spent the last year working with the Indigenous community in Sydney writing in Darug and that was a big part of this record for us,” Manfredi said. “We’ve heard the stories first hand from people in the community why it’s important. And it is important to have a day that we can all celebrate. So I think it’s a fantastic decision and very courageous.”
Briggs and Trials were nominated for best urban release and best independent release at this year’s Arias for their debut album as AB Original, Reclaim Australia.
“I think it’s a good trajectory for the industry,” Briggs said. “It’s also a good indication of how the majority of people feel. They’re reasonable folks who know that Australia Day is trash and we can’t enjoy the countdown that includes our songs on that day.”
Trials and Briggs of AB Original at the Aria awards. Briggs says moving Triple J’s Hottest 100 from 26 January was ‘a step towards equity and inclusivity’. Photograph: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images for ARIA