Following a whirlwind BIGSOUND appearance and their first headline national tour, Perth jazz-hop outfit Koi Child are fast becoming the name on everybody’s lips. As they chill out in sunny Bondi the boys chat their journey to becoming one of the biggest buzz bands in Australia and how their relationship with Kevin Parker is a lot like Dragon Ball Z.
HAPPY: Man, it’s nice today. It’s a Friday, the sun is out, and I’m hanging out with three of the Koi Child guys!
SHANNON: Man I’m so cold right now, it’s so windy!
JAMIE: It’s those southerly winds, it’s mucking up all our weather!
HAPPY: Well regardless of weather it’s good to see you guys. I missed you dudes at BIGSOUND, I got to the venue five minutes after your set started and they stopped letting people in, there was a line going around the corner.
HAPPY: Really! So how did you guys find your time in Brisbane?
YANN: It was great.
SHANNON: It was amazing! The crowds were insane. They were loving it, we were loving it. There were great vibes between all of us.
HAPPY: Did you expect that kind of turn out?
JAMIE: We didn’t expect a turn out like that.
SHANNON: I didn’t know what to expect (laughs).
YANN: But that helped a lot I reckon because it made that turn out all the more special I think.
JAMIE: We did get this really nice message from a girl who was really nice. She messaged us asking for a door spot, I don’t think she had that much money that week. So we said “Yeah sure, we’ll see what we can do“. We went to see the venue and the place she happened to work at, according to Facebook, was right across the road. So we went over, we gave her the tickets, we took some photos. So we knew we had one fan that night!
YANN: She was overjoyed.
JAMIE: Yeah she was really happy to see us. It was beautiful.
HAPPY: That’s a pretty nice moment. You guys should do that every date on tour, just show up at a fans house and surprise them with tickets!
HAPPY: So other than that, your time in Brissie went over pretty well then? Did you see anyone else you dug?
YANN: Yeah, everything went over so well. The days were pretty packed.
SHANNON: We saw Baro, he was really good. Sex on Toast were really good too.
YANN: Oh man those guys were crazy!
JAMIE: We actually had Baro come up on stage with us last night and rap a few verses.
YANN: Tomorrow we have Mathas coming on stage with us, so that’ll be awesome too!
HAPPY: That guy is pretty sick, his video for Free Shit is something else. Speaking of mad videos your one for Black Panda is pretty nuts too, there’s some mad Beastie Boys vibes in that clip man.
YANN: Yeah! It’s a bit tongue and cheek.
JAMIE: I’m glad you picked up on that man.
HAPPY: How was it filming laying waste to a piano and dancing in the rain?
SHANNON: It was a lot of fun! It was a bit dangerous. Jamie, didn’t you hurt yourself?
JAMIE: Oh! I cut my hand open when I smashed a saxophone. It was an old saxophone that couldn’t be repaired. On the first day I threw a tantrum, I threw something and ended up getting my arm scratched (laughs). But it’s alright, I bled for the video, I feel it was worth it.
HAPPY: If you’re not bleeding for your art then you’re not doing it right!
HAPPY: It’s amazing how these days you’re more likely to discover a new song on YouTube, and having a gun video helps communicate things sometimes more powerfully than the music.
SHANNON: That makes a lot of sense!
JAMIE: They’ve been at it for over ten years now and they’re the best in the business for a reason!
HAPPY: Considering that, did you keep in mind what Koi Child is aesthetically when it came to making the Black Panda video?
SHANNON: Well when it comes to image we have Matsu following us around, and I think he’s the best photographer around.
YANN: There he is over there, snooping around taking pictures!
SHANNON: He has the sickest photography, he’s done so much great stuff so it’s pretty great to have him with us.
HAPPY: So how did you guys meet up?
SHANNON: He was at one of our fits band’s Child’s Play, at one of our gigs and he took photos of us. We loved those pictures so we asked if he wanted to do something with us so we did a photo shoot. Since then we’ve always had him around helping out.
JAMIE: That’s fantastic. When was that?
SHANNON: It was about three years ago?
JAMIE: Dude, three years ago I was also working with Matsu on another old band of mine. It was a completely different genre, we were called Hurricane Fighter Plane, it was a 60s Mod power-pop. We did a video with a mutual friend Alistair who goes by the name This Guy, and that’s when I first met him. That was when he first started getting into photography is he was just getting into his game. So we all just kind of found each other.
SHANNON: Perth is super small, so if you find something good you want to hold on to it.
HAPPY: Different art forms really help in this kind of business, it’s pretty awesome you guys found each other. It’s really cute actually, like a love story!
JAMIE: Look at his face! It’s like “I resent you, but I can’t tell you” (laughs). We’ve damaged the working relationship!
HAPPY: Speaking of working relationships you guys hooked up with Pilerats earlier this year, how did that come about?
SHANNON: Out manager used to work there. When he started managing us he was friends with Dan…
YANN: They just started the label I’m pretty sure.
SHANNON: So our manager pitched it to Dan, and that connection really helped a lot.
JAMIE: One day we had a rehearsal and then went out to Quarry Street, which was where these guys lived. There was this conversation of “Hey, there’s a possibility you guys might get signed somewhere“, and it all snowballed from there really. It went form this could happen, so now that could happen. Then this has happened, so what can happen? (laughs). It’s just been a snowball of a happy journey.
HAPPY: Until the snowball rolls off the mountain, then you’re fucked.
JAMIE: That’s true, unless it’s in a controlled environment. Or some kid keeps picking up that snowball and taking it back up the mountain to roll it down again.
YANN: A koi child…
HAPPY: The koi child, the chosen one.
JAMIE: Yes, a koi child. (laughs).
HAPPY: So how have things changed for you guys since the snowball?
SHANNON: They get us really good gigs, they’re crazy good with promo. They do stuff that we couldn’t do. We’re just normal dudes with normal jobs. Our manager did really, really well for us before we got signed. Now it’s times ten, and it’s just cranking. (Shannon imitates Freeza) “But it’s not even our final form!“.
JAMIE: (laughs) Who’s Goku? Who are we fighting? Does that make us the bad guys? Koi Child, the bad guys!
HAPPY: Are you guys all Dragon Ball Z fans?
YANN: Yeah we are!
JAMIE: Dude, check it out. (Jamie reveals a sick Dragon Ball Z wallet) It’s so good, I’ve had it for three years now.
HAPPY: Have you guys seen the new movie?
JAMIE: That’s Return of F? Still haven’t but really looking forward to it. Battle of Gods was amazing! They made a new series but it’s quite modern. They can’t do what they did in the 80s with dirty old Roshi with his magazines. It’s gotta be all family fun, because parents these days are more sensitive than ever.
HAPPY: But you’d think those parents grew up on the show.
JAMIE: Exactly! But what was Akira thinking?
SHANNON: And they’re remaking a live action one, a trilogy or something.
JAMIE: I was talking about Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball Z, but I’m glad we segued to that movie because I have not finished that movie.
HAPPY: I love that you guys are so into anime, forget these questions! (Tosses questions away).
YANN: I wish you could’ve seen that, it was pretty spectacular!
HAPPY: Dudes, your next video has to be a DBZ inspired clip.
JAMIE: Well actually one of our friends Max gave us an idea last night, this awesome concept for what the band might be. It’s like the seven of us are dragon balls, and when you bring us together fucking Shenron, or Kev-ron, will grant out wish.
Shannon and Yann begin laughing hysterically.
JAMIE: And then he grants our wish and makes us really happy. We’re useless, no not useless. We’re pretty and nice balls by ourselves, but you put it together and you get to make a wish.
SHANNON: (laughs) We’re pretty and nice balls!
JAMIE: You need all seven to get the dragon. That’s better than the pizza analogy.
YANN: He analogised the process of writing a song like the process of making a pizza. What was it? The bass was the cheese and it’s all built form there.
Tame Impala’s Cause I’m A Man starts playing overhead.
SHANNON: Hey, it’s Kev-ron!
JAMIE: I remember hearing this ages ago at Max’s house and thinking, “Shit this is incredible. This is good for him, and it could be good for us. This is the next chapter“. We have no idea what to expect from him. But essentially where Kevin comes into the pizza scenario is when you delivery it to the wrong place, so he takes it and legs it to the right place. That’s what it feels like!
HAPPY: I feel Kev-ron is amazing, that has to be in a video.
YANN: (laughs), Yes! I have so many ideas for that.
JAMIE: I remeber the show always came on at 8 on Cheese TV, just when I had to leave for school. And there was always that one kid who lived next door to school so you’d ask him what happened. He’d say something like “Oh, Krillin dies and Goku got angry and maybe he’s a Super Saiyan?”
HAPPY: More like, they just powered up that whole episode.
SHANNON: Yeah, they power up for one episode, then the next they discuss how long it’s taking to power up…
JAMIE: Then Krillin will offer some pessimistic commentary about how they won’t win. Really everything was his fault. He had the chance to end Vegeta and he didn’t.
SHANNON: I feel bad for Krillin, he always dies.
YANN: How did this become all about Dragon Ball Z? (laughs).
JAMIE: I love that it has. How many bands do you talk to Dragon Ball Z about?
HAPPY: It came up with Tired Lion once. But this is way better. I remember people didn’t like it because they thought it made kids fight which wasn’t true. There’s much worse anime out there.
JAMIE: I’ve started watching Hellsing, it’s just blood and bullets. It’s awesome.
HAPPY: Before we go too far down that rabbit hole I wanted to ask about Kev-ron, how is it working with the magical dragon?
YANN: We’re not done with him yet, we still have a lot of stuff to go through. He’s still in the process of producing the record. It’s incredible, we do it very casually when he’s in town, which is a week every three weeks.
SHANNON: He’s a very busy boy.
YANN: We all catch up at his house, we have beers and have laughs. He orders pizza and we sit around and mix.
JAMIE: I find that old process of we’d send it to him, he’d mix, send it back, we’d give feedback and he’d have another crack. It ended up well for Black Panda but for the record there’s so many more tracks so we decided it’d be easier to sit in with him.
YANN: So we’re all doing it now in the studio there.
SHANNON: He’s doing it but now we can see exactly what’s happening.
JAMIE: We’re learning while we’re there. He’s teaching us which is pretty cool. The guys who know how to use Ableton, they’re having a field day watching him work!
HAPPY: Has it changed how you approach writing music now?
YANN: I don’t know, in my own my endeavours or the band. But he’s certainly taught us a lot about writing songs, or at the very least what sounds good when recorded.
JAMIE: I think we trust in our style of writing. I guess I trust what we bring to him he’s able to embellish. It could have effected our new stuff but really we just have fun and just jam. If he likes it that’s cool and it works for us.
HAPPY: Sweet, you guys are a pretty fun band. We’re almost out of time so let’s talk things that make you happy? We always write about stuff we like, so what do you like?
SHANNON: Performing. I know that’s the lamest answer.
YANN: Tour has been amazing, you feel like a kid in a candy store looking at all this new stuff.
JAMIE: Hmmm, old friends. That makes me happy. I had an amazing run in Melbourne with some old friends. People change over time, but when you see those old friends nothing else matters!