Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?
I went to work (I write ads), snuck out early to get a new power supply for my guitar pedal board, beat the drums for a bit in my storage unit and am now sitting down to chat with you late at night.
Tell us about yourself, how long have you been performing/creating music for?
I started playing saxophone in the high school band until I realised that girls were not interested in that at all, and then picked up guitar immediately. I’ve been in bands ever since and am most known for being the frontman for Melbourne cult-favourite party band The Stiffys.
Who are your greatest inspirations? Why?
My greatest inspirations are musicians who are going to make music no matter what happens. People who could have a way easier life doing other stuff. Bands like Viagra Boys, Totally Unicorn, Sleaford Mods, DZ Deathrays, IDLES, even Queens of The Stone Age seem to stay true to their music no matter what it costs them. I think it’s really cool to believe in something.
How do you create music? Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first? Explain your process.
I’m all about the beat. Big brutal badass beats, and massive riffs that help pump them up even bigger. But since I’ve started making music by myself, instead of turning up and feeling tough with other people, I’ve started to become a melody guy. I love melody and the rhythm and rhyme of words. The actual lyrics come last. But I’m still most excited about getting behind the kit.
What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?
Probably naming my other band ‘The Stiffys’. If you listen we’re actually really nice guys and feminists, but on first glance I think a lot of people assumed we were meatheads or misogynists.
Tell us about your new release THE KENNARDS SESSIONS, how did it come about?
I was stuck in lockdown in Sydney, far away from my band. And even though I can play a lot of instruments, I’d never learned the drums. So I installed a kit in a storage unit and taught myself every night for ages. Now I go in there most nights and record music in a dark dank space that most people would find awful but to me is heaven on earth.
What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?
I wish I spent more time learning covers when I was starting out. I always got distracted by writing my own stuff from day one. But if I’d learned lots of covers I’d be way better at writing songs and I’d always be popular by campfires when the guitar came out.
Tell us your favourite Zen practice.
I don’t know if it’s a zen practice, but I write 750 words of consciousness every morning to clear my head and I keep a gratitude journal morning and night.