Ahead of their performance at RTRFM’s and Fremantle’s Hidden Treasures festival, WAM’s Marie Herr talked to Canny (Alto Sax) and Yanntastic (Bass) from recent Pilerats signees and hip hop/jazz genre hoppers Koi Child about their unique sound, why Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker is a fan, and their secret to making it in the music industry.
A history in brief:
In April 2014 we played a gig at X-wray Cafe on a whim for a loose jam. Our bands Child’s Play and KashiKoi played and then we finished the night with a collab. Kevin Parker was in the crowd and watched us play. Afterwards he chatted to us and asked us to play with Tame Impala on Rottnest Island. We didn’t have a name or any songs yet. We recorded our debut single, Slow One, in our friend Brod’s house with the horns in the kitchen. It premiered on Rolling Stone Australia and has aired on Triple J, BBC Radio 1 and community radio nationwide.
Since then we have supported @Peace, The Preatures, The Sunshine Brothers, played at Beaufort Street, Norfolk Lanes and State of the Art festivals and Groovin the Moo. We’re playing RTRFM Winter Music Festival this year and also Hidden Treasures for the second year in a row, if last year’s anything to go by it will be great times.
triple j’s Stacy Gougoulis says you sound “like nobody else in the big biz right now”. How did this unique sound develop, and how much of a role did growing up in Fremantle and the West Coast play?
Some of us are trained in jazz and classical, some of us are self taught. The combination of seven musicians’ different experiences and tastes set us apart, and Fremantle probably has a lot to do with that. It’s the kind of place that embraces and celebrates our differences. As it happens, Stacy played bass in a band called Goodnight Tiger in 2011. Previously, Jamie had been filling in on bass for Bex Chilcott when she was busy with Ruby Boots. That’s how him and Stacey became friends. Small world. We wonder if he’s figured it out yet, everyone knows everyone.
With seven band members how does the songwriting process work? Could it be called a democratic process?
The songs initially start with grooves, conjured up by the rhythm section, though sometimes it’s an idea that’s preconceived. Shannon writes his parts and as he adds his lyrics the songs come together. I don’t know about democracy, but we’re all contributors to the process at large.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
Alright we’ll admit it, we do the group huddle before momentous gigs. But who doesn’t okay!? Haha. Pre-gig nerves manifest differently for us as individuals, so it helps us get in tune with one another before we play.
Who are you looking forward to see at the Fremantle Winter Music Festival the most?
Mudlark, Leon Osborn, Old Blood, Edie Green, The Floors, Dream Rimmy and we’re gonna check out a whole bunch more.
Tell us about how you impressed Tame Impala’s very own Kevin Parker enough for him to produce you, and what was the experience like?
You’ll have to ask him- honestly we have no idea! He graced us with his presence in South Yunderup to set up and record the album sessions. His drum sound and his meticulous ear are the fruits of his labour. He’s mixing/producing the album for us. We write, arrange, edit and overdub he mixes/produces and turns it into something that blows our minds. He has a great sense of humour and we love him lots!
You’ve recently been signed to Pilerats for your debut “Black Panda”, how did that come about and why did you decide to sign on the dotted line?
Harris Waters is a thorough and talented band manager that’s made sure to make the contacts worth getting. Dan Dalton runs the label and he’s a well-meaning guy with some brilliant ideas. They worked together previously then we came onto the scene and they continued to bond. We trust them to help us achieve bigger and better things.
How has RTRFM helped your career so far?
They had us in the studio early one morning to play a song, they’ve been spinning our two releases so far, and they’re helping us out with the winter music festival. They’ve also supported previous bands and other projects of band members. RTRFM is great, you need it in your life!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given or have learned for making it in the music industry?
Look after yourself- artists are the worst offenders when it comes to the detriment of their health. Relax. Take things as they come.
What’s happening for you in the near future?
Did we mention we’re playing the Fremantle Winter Music Festival!? Hidden Treasures is also coming up, plus a few very exciting shows being talked about that I have to withhold from you- for now…