Words by Natalie Blacklock
Widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s premiere alternative-rock bands of the 2000’s, Kisschasy are one of those bands that holds a special place in the heart of many of us now 30-somethings who never really let go of that ‘phase’.
Forming on Victoria’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula in 2002, Kisschasy first hit the mainstream with breakout single, Do Do’s & Whoa-Oh’s in 2005, from their now-critically acclaimed debut album ‘United Paper People’. Across their initial 10-year career, the band released two EPs, three studio albums, a documentary DVD and a compilation album, selling in excess of 90,000+ records, earning a dedicated fanbase along the way. Following on from their return to form as part of last year’s Good Things Festival, Kisschasy announced they’ll reunite for a one-off Australian headlining tour, set to kick off later this week. This will be the band’s first national tour in eight long years, with lead singer Darren Cordeux making a special visit back to Australia after relocating to Los Angeles in 2015.
As you might have guessed, the crew at Good Call Live are absolutely stoked that the band are headed on the road again, so I *digitally* caught up with Bassist, Joel Vanderuit, to have a chat about this and a whole lot more.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Kisschasy before, can you give us a quick 25-word-or-less blurb ‘summary’ of the band?
An eclectic mix of alt-rock, pop, punk… Hell I don’t know, we’ve never been good at answering that one.
We’re keen to know a little bit more about the band. How would you describe each of you in three words?
I’m just going to take some licence here and answer on the band’s behalf;
Darren Cordeux (lead vocals / rhythm guitar):quirky, creative, tardy
Sean Thomas (lead guitar): relaxed, grounded, (also) tardy
Karl Ammitzboll (drums): engaging, intense, loud
Joel Vanderuit (bass guitar): pragmatic, nihilistic, punctual
After forming in 2002, Kisschasy has been a band for over 20 years! From the release of your EPs in 2004, to the release of 3 studios albums, an *emotional* farewell tour and most recently a reformation at Good Things Festival, how has the ride been?
To look back on is quite surreal. We watched the transformation of music from physical to digital, played in front of some crowds that were truly mind-blowing to some kids from the Mornington Peninsula. Met some amazing people. And when I reflect, we did it kind of old-school, went to shows to harass bands and industry people with demo’s to try and get ahead however we could, made stickers, printed fliers. Overnight drives, borrowing money from friends and family etc. But it was such a fun ride and we’re all so grateful we were able to achieve what we did.
Since that Farewell Tour in 2015, what have each of you been up to (music-related or not)?
3 of us have businesses in various industries. I grow trees, Karl has a building company, Sean works in building and has recently started teaching guitar with younger kids. Darren has since moved to LA, where he is still involved in music, either writing, producing or performing.
Who were / are some of your biggest influences as a band – sonically, stylistically and thematically?
The four of us are very different musically, which I think was both important in forming the music we created together, but was also, in the end, the reason we decided not to make music together any longer. But from an influential perspective, and to take some influence from the whole band, I think you would cover most bases with; Silverchair, Saves The Day, Nirvana, New Found Glory and most of the early 2000’s pop punk cohort.
With an extensive back catalogue of tracks behind you, which track/s do you most enjoy playing live and why?
Some of the songs we play the most, whilst you think might get old, are still the most enjoyable. We’re a very crowd-oriented band, and feed from the energy coming back to us from them. So, when you’re playing any of the more popular songs like ‘Opinions’, ‘Do Do’s’ or ‘Spray On Pants’, the audience are very engaged, which in turn comes back at us. And seeing people enjoy themselves is a good as it gets!
Life on tour can be pretty crazy for many artists and bands. Has being on the road changed as you’ve gotten older / become more experienced musicians?
Prior to good things we hadn’t toured since 2015. Even toward the later years of our active touring I think we started to recognise and prioritise rest, especially compared to the first ten years. On Good Things, I think we a had couple of beers, ate some good food and went to bed at a respectable hour. We will all still have a night out here and there… Just not every night now!
Are there any major differences to the way you approach playing shows now to when you first started out? How does it make you feel that people still want to hear the songs they grew up with now they’re grown up too?
I think we approach our live shows in much the same way as we always have. We found a bit of a formula that works for us, we have a bit of a sweet spot for rehearsing, and have found we can actually ‘over-rehearse’, which we found could sometimes dull some of the energy on stage. It’s a bit hard to believe still want to come out and watch us do our thing, but I do understand it, I think music that you find during your formative years digs a little deeper than most into your being, and it stays with you. I’ve recently had the chance to see a few bands from those years for me, and it’s a warm, enveloping nostalgia that washes over you during the set. And I think we (the band) are incredibly lucky to have been that band for others.
Thinking back to tracks like Opinions Won’t Keep You Warm At Night; the band obviously weren’t afraid to make political statements. Do you think those songs still have the same relevance today?
In some ways, I think some of those messages are more relevant today as people seem to be more engaged in politics, after the last few years, than in any other time during the band’s history at least.
In recent years, music streaming services (e.g. Apple Music / Spotify) have been getting a workout as many of us search for a more convenient way of consuming music. What’s your favourite pre-show ‘pump up’ song/s?
It tends to be whatever Karl wants to listen to, as he is a very big “listen out loud” guy! He carries a speaker on his backpack. And he does have a very eclectic taste in music, but most importantly, he always brings the vibe, so it doesn’t really matter which jazz / fusion / sci-fi / electronica band he has on, he is always up and about which is all we need pre-show!
Can you share with us your favourite new / upcoming artists that you’re vibing right now?
Obviously very excited about Bec Stevens and Towns who are coming out with us on the upcoming tour, they both carry enviable amounts of energy. I heard a song from a band I’d not heard before called Grenade Jumper which I loved. Waxflower, Dear Seattle also jump out. I’m not sure how “new” these bands actually are, but compared to us…. You know….
The news of another Kisschasy tour excited A LOT of fans (this writer included). What can fans hope to hear if they’re heading along to an upcoming show? Are there any new songs in the works?
With Darren living in the States, we don’t get much time to rehearse anything new prior to tour, but who knows what we can figure out in that period… The set conversation has started which is a bit of an arm-wrestle typically. So, we’ll see how much we can agree on.
Kisschasy are headed out on tour alongside TOWNS and Bec Stevens. The tour is kicking off this week and you can find all the ticket details HERE.
KISSCHASY 2023 TOUR DATES
Wed 3 May – Crowbar, Sydney
Thurs 4 May – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Fri 5 May – The Gov, Adelaide *SOLD OUT*
Sat 6 May – Badlands Bar, Perth *SOLD OUT*
Sun 7 May – Badlands Bar, Perth *SOLD OUT*
Wed 10 May – UC Hub, Canberra *SOLD OUT*
Thurs 11 May – UOW Uni Bar, Wollongong
Fri 12 May – Metro Theatre, Sydney *SOLD OUT*
Sat 13 May – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle *SOLD OUT*
Sun 14 May – Drifters, Central Coast
Wed 17 May – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*
Thurs 18 May – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*
Fri 19 May – Torquay Hotel, Torquay *SOLD OUT*
Sat 20 May – Hobart Uni Bar, Hobart
Thurs 25 May – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
With thanks to Maric Media