Hilltop Hoods partners with R/GA Sydney and Google Play Music to create interactive film for Through the Dark

Hip hop outfit Hilltop Hoods has partnered with R/GA Sydney and Google Play Music to create an interactive film for ‘Through the Dark’, a song written by the group’s Dan Smith as his son underwent treatment for leukemia.


The film combines mobile and digital technology to explore a father and son’s journey, with the use of dark colours illustrating fear, while light represents hope.

Viewers are able to navigate on desktop by using their mouse.


R/GA Sydney executive creative director Hamish Stewart said: “This is a deeply moving story and a powerful song that had to be brought to life in a way that conveyed the emotional journey at its heart.

“We wanted to push the capabilities of mobile to their limit to do it justice.”

The interactive film is driven entirely by code. The 3D environments are rendered in real-time with WebGL, enabling users to choose their own experience of the story based on the orientation of their device.


“Balancing the technical and creative requirements was a significant challenge. The end result was achieved through close collaboration with some incredibly talented people who shared our passion for this project,” Stewart said.

‘Through The Dark’ is part of Google’s commitment to supporting Australian artists with projects merging art and technology to create innovative music experiences.

Google Australia product marketing manager Sophie Hirst said: “For anyone that’s been to a Hoods concert, hearing this song live is a magic moment. We wanted to recreate that feeling for anyone, no matter where they were, to give depth to the musical experience and help raise awareness for young people living with cancer in Australia.”

The interactive film also enables fans to listen to the latest Hilltop Hoods album on Google Play Music which results in a $1 donation to CanTeen.

Dan Smith from Hilltop Hoods said: “Through The Dark was inspired by my son’s fight against leukemia. It’s a story of hope and perseverance throughout the journey of his recovery.

“Cancer is something that affects us all at some point in our lives, whether a personal struggle or someone close to us. Through a collaboration of music and technology we seek to empower and give strength to the suffering. Our listeners can do the same by donating generously.”


  • Client: Google Australia
  • Artist: Hilltop Hoods
  • Agency: R/GA Sydney

Production Co: Exit Films

  • Director: Mike Daly
  • Executive Producer: Kim Wildenburg

Animation Studio: XYZ Studios

  • Design: Eran Hilleli
  • Senior TD: Richard Osellame
  • CG Lead: Stevie Watkins
  • Executive Producer: Garett Mayow

PR: Poem


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