Growing up in Burnsville, Austin and Taryn Durry were never especially close. Then the pandemic hit, forcing the two homeschooled siblings back under the same roof.
The Durry household had always embraced creativity. Mom, an art teacher, and dad, a music teacher, made a point of that. When Austin came home to quarantine with the whole family, he brought a boatload of ideas that didn’t vibe with his “cinematic alt-rock” band Coyote Kid—cheesy ‘80s synths, grungy guitars, intentionally relatable lyrics. Taryn proved an eager collaborator with her older brother, and their duo—Durry—was born.
“The writing process was all about honesty,” Austin says. “Kind of an open embracement of a mediocre life; we’re not rock stars, we’re not that cool really, we’re just a couple of goofy suburban kids doing our best with what we’ve got.”
Durry debuted in July at a sold-out 7th St Entry, just as live music began its comeback. Test-driving their bedroom recordings in front of a crowd was a blast, the siblings report, and their successfully crowd-funded EP, Suburban Legend, dropped in mid-August.
“Honestly, we were never really buds until all of this came about,” Taryn says. “Our friendship has kinda blossomed through this project, and so far it’s been a really sweet process.”
Suddenly, as we saw with defunct locals Hot Freaks, the curious alchemy of TikTok hit. Austin had all but given up on the social network; Durry videos were struggling to attract double-digit views. That changed in late September, when Durry posted the following snippet of a half-formed song to their 112 followers.
“That one got 200,000 views for some reason, and we shot up to like 3,000 followers,” Austin says. “So we decided to jump on it.”
That song, “Who’s Laughing Now,” catapulted Durry from obscure to buzzy overnight. The duo smartly seized on the momentum, documenting the single’s completion via TikTok and recording the finished product at Tangerine Studios in Woodbury. The music video, shot in the family garage on a smartphone, exploded past 500,000 views since being posted six days ago.
A garage-rock singalong with vocals that alternately summon My Chemical Romance and Post Malone, “Who’s Laughing Now” has stirred up attention from “very big name” management firms; the band is booked solid with industry Zoom meetings, and the single is scoring placement on Spotify-curated playlists. “It has been the craziest couple weeks of my life,” Austin says.
Along the way, Durry attracted an unlikely super-fan: Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, the nu-metal god who’s been making headlines this year from HBO’s Woodstock 99 doc and da Bizkit’s strange, grandfatherly Lollapalooza ’21 comeback. From early on, Durst has been spraying the flame emoji all over Durry TikToks. “[He] messaged us on Instagram just saying he loved the tune–he only follows like 34 people on Instagram and we’re one of them,” Austin says with a laugh.
“Record labels and artist teams recognize TikTok as one of the most powerful promotional tools in the business,” Ole Obermann, TikTok’s global head of music, recently told NME. The Gen-Z-driven social network is changing the music industry, as Business Insider details, even if the actual musicians it popularizes are sometimes left scratching their heads.
“It’s a strange platform, but when it hits it really hits,” Austin says. “I think it’s the future of indie music, honestly.”
Durry intends to strike while the TikTok iron is hot. In the coming weeks, the siblings “have gotta make some big business decisions and finish up this record we’re cooking up,” Taryn says. A new single is slated for next month, as is a yet-to-be-announced headlining show. Austin predicts the “post-TikTok” concerts will be wild.
“We’re ready to really get out there and put in the hustle to make it happen,” Taryn says. “This feels like the start of something big.”