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KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS Old time rock and roll

Touring Australia right now on the back of their forth record Superscope (released September 2017) and playing Chevron Gardens in Perth this Friday, February 16 for Perth Festival, ZAC NICHOLS chats to Lewis Durham of London three piece Kitty, Daisy and Lewis about the album, upcoming show, and hairstyles.

Hey, Lewis, first of all welcome back to Australia, it’s always great to see you here…

Thanks, we just got in last night and played three shows in New Zealand and Japan, we were in Japan before that. So Sydney tomorrow night, Melbourne on Thursday and then Perth on Friday for the end of the tour!

So how’s the tour been so far? How does your audience differ from Japan to New Zealand and Australia?

Yeah the Japanese audiences are really different. They don’t make any noises in between, when you are playing or anything, and when you finish they go into a mad applause and stuff. Which is different from an European or Australian audience who will be just going mad for it the whole way through, if you know what I mean?

I think it’s quite fitting given the scope of inspiration that Kitty, Daisy and Lewis seems to draw from in your records that you will be playing in the Perth Festival this year as there is a little bit of everything on display on each night, does that excite you that the audience is so varied and looking forward to seeing you play?

Yeah I think that’s the really important thing, and lucky for us that in Perth we’ve always had a really mixed and awesome audiences coming to see us play, from young people to older people and people into all different kinds of stuff. I think its always good to have things like that, where its not just one group of people that come out, you know it means that people get to explore stuff that they wouldn’t usually hear or see or whatever, so that’s the most important thing.

Is there anything different that you are bringing to your live show this time around? A fresh tour and your new record, Superscope coming out last year, is there anything different to expect from you on Friday night?

Yeah, we have definitely upped our game with our playing and stuff, but that should come naturally to a band that’s rehearsing and recording so much that you are always just developing your playing and there is also a whole bunch or new songs with us taking on different avenues of music, so, yeah it’s a different show, but its still very important to mix in the old stuff as well. I know what it’s like when you go see a band and they don’t do anything that you want ’em to do, so we definitely bear that in mind.

And as you are a full family affair with Kitty and Daisy, along with having Mum and Dad in the band too, what’s it like living, working, writing, touring and recording with each other?

Well the last record we made, mum and dad weren’t involved. It was me and Kitty doing the instruments and stuff because Daisy just had a baby, so she couldn’t really spend much time in the studio, so me and Kitty were the ones who laid down most of the instruments. Mum would usually play the bass, but instead we just sat there and worked it out then laid it down, you know? So things change that way, and also this time on tour, my Mum’s not playing with us because she’s ill at the moment, so Daisy’s boyfriend is stepping in on bass instead.

So still keeping it close to the family then?

Exactly!

You must be tight but do you ever get those moments of cabin fever where you want to kill each other too?

Haha, we all get on but there’s always still gonna be arguments and that but we’re all pretty good and used to each other by now.

And because you’re all such multi-instrumentalists does that make for some good, healthy competition between you when you are in the writing or recording process?

I think we all play different things, but we all kinda know that about each other as well. For example, if we’re in the studio working something out and I’ve got a bassline in my head and Kitty may do as well, sometimes I may be more suited to playing it, and for other tracks she will be best suited. Or whether it’s drumming or something but I think everyone recognises who can do what to come out the best, so it’s never like, “I wanna do it!” or “No, I wanna do it!” It’ll just come to whoever can play what we’re trying to lay down the best.

I was keen to ask you about your home studio, I know you’re always collecting vintage recording gear, how much has that grown or expanded since the first record was released?

Since the first record, a hell of a lot! The first one was pretty much just a tape machine, a primitive kind of mixing desk and a few mics and volume controls, and now there’s quite a lot more stuff.

Your latest release, Superscope, it’s a very funky, soulful record mixed with blues, ska, jazz, rock and roll, but it sounds really, really clean. And you are still going for that analogue sound?

Yeah, it’s still in that analogue domain but I don’t really think there’s an analogue sound, I mean you can get a different variety of sound from the equipment. I mean you can either sound like Little Richard or Michael Jackson. They are both recorded in the analogue domain and still sound worlds apart. I think the most important thing is what you’re doing with the song, and if I have the ability to go “I want it to sound like this,” and if I can achieve that sound then that’s really what it’s about.

I have been getting a real 1960s American “pop” feel from it as well – especially songs like Broccoli Tempura, the organ work on that track has a real Ray Manzerick/Doors feel to it…

Cool! But yeah some stuff was just made up, like Broccoli Tempura, that was just made up on the spot and kind of written and recorded in about 15 minutes. But it’s fun to have stuff like that when you’ve worked on and arranged other tracks for weeks at a time.

It seems you are still being referred to as vintage, rockabilly or retro, do you find that mainstream media or audiences can brand you just because the way you look or sound and does that have any influence on the music you set out to produce?

I think years ago if someone wrote something or said something I didn’t agree with I’d find myself getting quite agitated. But now it’s not that we don’t care but all you can try to do is to try and speak through your music as to what you are doing. So I’d never blame journalists or media or anything because if you have to portray someone in an article very quickly or something in a way that people will understand that’s cool, otherwise people get bored and they don’t read stuff. Any press is good press but we never let it affect our music. We always just say we do the music we want to do and the way we want to do it rather than saying “lets try and prove a point here”. I think once you start getting in to that game then that’s not what music is about, really.

I’d love to know your thoughts on any Australian music, are there any particular Australian artists that you’ve heard and or liking?

C.W. Stoneking is actually a good friend of ours. So whenever we’re over we usually try to catch up with him, or whenever he’s over in the UK or on tour. I actually recorded a session at my Mum’s old house when we had a studio there, which I think was the first time I met him. I was like, “hey, come over and make a record”.

That would be an amazing collaboration to hear, if you guys ever actually fully laid something down, and played together…

Well we’ve only ever jammed together, go round to each other’s houses and start playing music, but never played on a record together.

Oh well, always a possibility for the future?

Yeah, yeah, that would be fun! I’m sure that’d be good! I think he’s great, he’s always changing up styles and stuff. I remember when I first met him he said that he’d never touch an electric guitar, and then later he came out with one and its was so cool!

Gon’ Boogaloo?

Yeah and I completely understand because sometimes you do something and you get stuck in what you do, because people just seem to love it, but then you feel like you wanna move on a bit, but you wanna keep your audience happy and also give them something more at the same time.

I’ve always wondered what kind of pomade you use in your hair to get that pompadour so slicked?

I used to use Murray’s, comes in an orange tin. But I don’t use that no more because it’s just ripping my hair out!

I’ve heard Murray’s is near impossible to get out! Sometimes it’s worth it for a great slick?

Yeah well if you put that stuff in your hair, you’re not really supposed to take it out, I used to just keep topping it up every now and then, so I can’t use that stuff anymore , it just rips my hair right out, so now I‘m just on the water-based stuff, and I don’t have to wash my pillowcases every day.

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