A Baa Baa Blaah with Tom Kenny (Koi Child) Talking Volume 2016, Crowds and Pre-Game Rituals

Jack 2Koi Child have been making a pretty big splash in Australian music scene with their energetic and eclectic sounds. As fans of their music, showmanship and professionalism, we couldn’t afford to miss an opportunity to lock Kenny down and see what it’s like to be riding an amazing wave of local talent.

You’ll be playing volumes tonight; the lineup is looking amazing. How’s the mood over there pre-show? Anything acts you’re particularly pumped for?

TK: I’ve been looking forward to this festival for ages. We’re playing straight after Godriguez, Sampa the Great’s producer, phenomenal. There’s  DZ, Dro Carey and Rainbow Chan all on the same night, it’s such a tasty festival. The only thing dampening the mood is that 30/70 are playing at the same time as us. I’ve smashed their album several times, I’ve loved it, I’d to hear them. Oh! Silent J and Jace XL! So many! We thought we were going to be able to see Nick (Allbrook) but we’re flying out tonight for Melbourne tomorrow.


You’re playing Howler tomorrow right?

TK: Yup, yup, I’m actually hell gutted because I won’t get to see Nick. I think Jaala was playing tomorrow night or are they playing tonight? But yeah, if Jaala was playing tonight that’d be sick. We’re missing out on Donny and Nick and if Jaala is tomorrow night that’ll suck. We’ll take what we can get!

Let’s talk a little bit about where you guys are as a group. How’s working together compared to working together two years ago?

TK: We’re still just as amateur. We’re more used to the process of figuring stuff out as it goes along though. We’re catching up with where we ought to be musically and in terms of our skills as musicians, catching up to the quality of what we’ve already had the pleasure of being received as. We’ve still got this imposter syndrome thing going on though. It’s been kind of fun because most of the time we have to kind of collectively learn a new technique.

It’s kind of fun having a group of people to learn with. At the same time it can be kinda frustrating if there’s an imbalance with people not understanding some harmonic something or other. But yeah, it’s been very educational and I think we’re getting the hang of the pace of things now.


The logistics of a seven-piece band have got to be a lot of fun.

TK: Yeah, but the whole democratic aspect as well is really good. Having the music sound like it’s from everyone is important.


This time last year you would have been gearing up for Bigsound, correct?

TK: Yeah, that was the first show we did outside of WA. It was a dream! The whole excitement of playing, even just getting up on a stage to play music, just going into an environment where people that I had heard before; just seeing them on the streets and then seeing them live that was phenomenal. And then playing a gig that was packed out, with a great vibe and I think Rory from Acid Travels, Brisbane hip-hop big-band group, he’s an old friend of Shannon’s, he got up  on stage and it was a perfect moment.

How are you finding the differences between home crowds and eastern states crowds? Are you kind of blown away by the reception you’re getting over here?

TK: It was definitely not expected. I guess that sometimes you kind of get an inkling, like we knew that for instance in Sydney that FBi really smashed us which was awesome and we hell appreciate that. But then the first time we played in Sydney, where was it? It turned into this awesome like, reggae night afterwards in the CBD. It was a really sick place and this crowd knew the lyrics which was really bizarre because I think people hadn’t even known the lyrics in WA at that point. We played this improvised jam at the end and our drummer Blake started playing this quiet groove and was crouching down and the whole audience started to crouch down with us it was so weird. It wasn’t just a few people at the front either, the whole audience. Moments like that we hadn’t ever seen anything like that in WA so we just kinda thought to ourselves, wow, Sydney goes really hard.


I guess they have to because they have to be home by 11 o’clock.

TK: Haha! Yeah, go hard then go home. There’s definitely a different character to Sydney crowds then there are to Melbourne crowds, and to WA crowds. Sometimes it’s hard to place but they’re all different.


Given the crazy momentum of Koi Child, do you guys have any pre-show rituals or any habits that you do to calm yourself down before a show?

TK: It kinda depends, sometimes the whole day is bliss and then you get on the stage and everything’s easy. Before the last Sydney tour we had three shows in a row without sleep and I just took it hell heavily and had to go outside for like an hour. Just like find a quiet spot in the street and do nothing. Performance anxiety, basically. I can never really tell exactly how it’s gonna go.


You’ve got a few festivals lined up over the next few weeks, you’re playing Fields and Southbound as well right?

TK: Yeah, Strawberry Fields, This That, Southbound, I think those are all the ones that we can say. It kills to say that, there’s a couple coming which are a probably a bit too much for us to handle.


So we’ve talked about Volumes, who are you looking forward to at Fields and Southbound?

TK: Fields is crazy, it’s just crazy. Basically all the jazz and American rooted artists in Australia that are really big, that are so important to our sound. Everything relevant to how we play, Rhythm Section are great, Wondercore. The label feature idea is a really cool concept, I’m keen to check out the entire Wondercore roster. Nai Palm and Swooping Duck of course, Sex on Toast, theres so many more that have such a huge influence on the Koi band members. It’s gonna be an absolute dream to play that.


Given the difficulty of the cross-over, it’s not often we get strong talent out of Perth making it big over east. Let’s rectify that, what Perth artists you’ve been listening to a lot lately?

TK: Yeah, I guess the representation outside of Perth is very different because those well known artists who kind of cross-over into national acts aren’t always the ones you expect. It’s not brand new but Mathas’ album Armwrestling Atlas is just phenomenal and his live show is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen him like fifty times now he’s really something else. Leon Osborn! He’s sitting on this bank of unreleased tunes which he plays live and he doesn’t put out anything and it kills me because you could hand these tunes to Mt Kimbie, to Jamie xx, to Aphex, you could release it under some pseudonym of Aphex’s and everyone would be happy with it and it would be received to acclaim. He’s an international level genius producer and its kinda like crazy how much, almost self-sabotage he engages in by just avoiding the whole kind of promotion and release. He just makes tunes and he’s incredible at it. He’s signed to Pilerats now I think, I hope the things that deserve to come for him, come for him. There’s so many more, once we stop talking I’m going to think of dozens more artists. Literally last night one of the Sex on Toast guys was asking who should support him and I had a list of like ten different acts and I can’t remember any of it.


Let’s expand that nationally then.

TK: It’s funny just how much of that is just Wondercore, it’s crazy how much taste they’ve got. Sampa the Great, her mixtape, obviously all the Vulture St Tape Gang mixtapes. One of my favourite albums period which I only listened to recently was Kirin J Callinan, his album Embracism is a truly beautiful, landmark album. It’s funny the responsibility we all feel now with all the attention we’ve got to highlight the people who deserve it, it kills to miss people out.