Today was a holy day for emo Australians aged 25 to 40: riding on the high of their comeback at the Good Things festival, Kisschasy announced that their return to the spotlight would last a little longer, slating a theatre tour for next May.
At the festival – which ran over the weekend in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – the band performed their 2005 debut album, United Paper People, from cover to cover. According to bassist Joel Vanderuit, it was a long-belated celebration of the record’s 15th anniversary, picking up where they’d left off on their 2015 farewell tour (on which they also played UPP in full).
Last Thursday – two days before the Melbourne edition of Good Things, where Vanderuit and I caught up – Kisschasy played a semi-secret floor show at The Gem, a cozy pub in Collingwood. I wasn’t able to head along, but judging by the dozens of Instagram Story clips I saw, the gig was batshit crazy and all kinds of life-affirming. The setlist, too, was unexpectedly stacked: in addition to a full run-through of United Paper People, the band performed a solid dozen other songs, with cuts pulled from 2007’s Hymns For The Nonbeliever, 2009’s Seizures, and even their 2004 EP Cara Sposa.
There was never any potential of these making it into Kisschasy’s Good Things setlist: their billing gave them 45 minutes, and United Paper People clocks in at 42. Surely, if they’d put the effort in to rehearse all those other tracks, there must be another tour on the cards…
And, lo and behold, there is! Confirmed this morning, Kisschasy will embark on a tour of theatres – with no “X album in full” billing or other gimmicky caveat – across nine cities in May. They’ll be hitting all the main stops along the east coast, as well as Adelaide and Perth (thank fuck, those comment sections can chill out for once), and with no restrictions or prerequisites imposed on them, we’re sure to see the band at their absolute peak.
In announcing the tour, frontman Darren Cordeaux said: “We’re really excited to breathe new life into these songs that we remain very proud of. It’s humbling that our fan base endures almost a decade after we hung up our instruments and it’s reminded us that we created something very special together; a body of work that has managed to stand the test of time. This tour is for those who still hold our songs dear and have been waiting since we closed that curtain in 2015. We can’t wait to see you again.”
But what does Kisschasy’s future hold between now and May? And what does it hold beyond then?
We know that after they dropped Seizures in August of ’09, Kisschasy kept writing material, and came ever-so-close to committing they fourth album to tape before scrapping it altogether. Having spent the last seven years on the bleachers, do the band still feel as though their “new” material is below par? Has the potential of new new music been floated in the jam room? Have they kept writing?
These are the questions I, as a hopeless romantic for the golden age of Australian emo (2004-2009), was desperate to find the answers for. So at Good Things, I sat down with Vanderuit to pose them to him. Worth noting is that I only found out about the upcoming tour a few days ago – after I’d spoken to Vanderuit. I would have asked so many more questions if I’d known about it beforehand, and tinkered with the main angle a fair bit. Nevertheless, Vanderuit offered some great insight into the past, present and future of Kisschasy.
Have a listen to – or read – our chat below, and grab tickets for the May tour here.
First of all, welcome back – the year is 2022 and Kisschasy are an active band, I still can’t believe it. Is it surreal for you guys as well?
A little, yeah! It’s been a long time, and when we finished up [in] 2015, we honestly believed that that was sort of where it was going to be. We all have different things going on now, so to get a call-up, and enough interest from all of the guys, was really exciting. And yeah, it’s a little surreal still, but it’s cool to be back in the mix.
Well you did say that when you broke up in 2015, the general consensus was [that] that was it. Was there that kind of thought, that like, “Yeah, you know, we’ll dust off the kit and have a jam again one day”?
I don’t think so, at the time. We were all heading in pretty different musical directions at that point, so it was just like, “You know what? This isn’t going to come back to a good place, so…” Personally, it was all fine, but from a musical perspective, I think we pretty much felt like we’d done what we wanted to do. So yeah, [it was] just a surprise to come back.
How did it happen? Was it something you were pitched by Good Things?
It actually started a little bit before Good Things became involved. 2020 was the 15-year anniversary of our first record, and a different promoter had actually asked us if we wanted to tour the record. So we had a conversation and though, “Eh, this kind of sounds cool.” Had dates booked in… Obviously what happened, happened over the last couple of years – and during that time, instead of ditching the tour, Good Things sort of reached out and said, “Hey, we still want to see this album live, so come along.” And yeah, here we are.
Was it pure keenness across the board, or was there anyone that needed a bit of convincing?
Nah, everyone was pretty into it. I reckon if it’d been two or three years earlier, it would have been a bit more tricky, but yeah, everyone was keen to hang out as mates and have a bit of fun on the road again.
I want to know what it was like [when you had] that first rehearsal back – did you all kind of slip back into “Kisschasy mode” super easily?
Yeah, surprisingly easy! So we all did a little bit on our own at home, playing along – I bumped up my Kisschasy Spotify plays, trying to remember a few of the songs – a few we haven’t played since probably 2006 or ’07. But a lot of it just came back pretty organically, and once we all got together, it just sort of clicked straight away. So yeah, it was great.
And the first show back, a semi-secret show at a club in Collingwood – what was that like?
It was fun! It took me back to the very early days. It was a very small little venue, it was absolutely heaving – they filled it out, a little 100-seater in Collingwood – and yeah, it was great. I had a guy so close [that] I kept hitting him with the guitar… Yeah, it really reminded me of the early shows that we had,
Especially after seven, eight years: you’re walking out onto a stage for the first time as Kisschasy—
—A floor. It was a floor show. Proper DIY.
What’s going through your heads [when the show begins]?
We were just amazed people turned up, to be honest. We announced at eight o’clock that morning, and yeah, by the time we went on it was full. It was a good way to sort of just make sure that we knew that we could do it in front of people, before doing on a much larger scale here.
That selling point of “United Paper People in full”, for this entire comeback – because you did that for the farewell run, that was the ten-year anniversary thing – what made you want to do that record again when you came back?
They just pitched it to us because [of] the anniversary of it. And obviously when we did that  tour, we were a self-touring band, so we were able to do whatever set we wanted and we chucked in a whole second set of all the other songs. So to do it [on] its own, start to finish, was kind of special, I think – and finishing with that last song, and being able to walk offstage to it.
Do you personally consider UPP to be the best Kisschasy album?
No… Ohhh… I like Hymns a lot. I actually like a lot of our really old stuff a lot, too – the really old stuff, the pop-punk stuff. But I think Hymns – as a whole piece, for me – is probably slightly ahead.
I promise, no bullshit – I have it on my [cheat sheet] to mention that Hymns is the best Kisschasy album. But honestly, just objectively, Seizures is so fucking underrated. Every time I revisit that album, it pains me that it doesn’t get the love it deserves.
Yeah. It was a bit of a departure from what we were good at, I think, and what people expected from us. So look, those songs have a place for us, but they’re certainly not quite… They didn’t quite get the recognition that some of the earlier stuff did get.
Do you reckon at some point, you’ll revisit those and maybe do a Seizures tour?
I don’t see a Seizures tour coming. I don’t think so.
Maybe like a one-off floor show?
Yeah, maybe, yeah.
Well, seven years is obviously a decent chunk of time. What have you all been up to since the first death of Kisschasy?
A couple of guys have got growing families. We actually had the kids here today – not mine, I don’t have kids, but two of the guys had their kids, they came up onstage and the crowd gave me a little wave, which was great. And we’re all basically… Karl [Ammitzboll, drums], Sean [Thomas, lead guitar] and myself, we’re still in Melbourne – I run a business, Karl runs a business and Sean runs a business, so we’re all sort of self-sufficient businesspeople now. And Daz lives in LA these days – he’s been there [for] five or six years, I think, and he manages a couple of bars and events over there. So yeah, very different.
Do you want to hype up the business? Is that something that’s public-facing?
No, it’s not, it’s a wholesale business – I do a lot of work to keep it hidden from the general public.
That’s totally understandable. So is this Good Things run just a little one-off nostalgia trip, or is it safe to say that Kisschasy is back in full swing?
We’re working on something. [I’m] not at liberty to discuss [it] just yet, but it won’t be far away.
Is it touring or is it musical?
Touring. I don’t know if there’ll be any new music – never say never, but yeah, there’s nothing being discussed on that front.
I spoke to Darren before the farewell tour in 2015, and he’d mentioned that since Seizures came out in 2009, you’d all still kept writing, but nothing had ever really, like—
We’ve got a whole album sitting there.
Like a whole album written, or finished?
All the demos are recorded. So there’s recorded music.
Why did that never come out?
After that was written, we sort of decided that we probably weren’t going to meet in the middle, musically, anymore. And instead of pushing through it, [we] decided just to shake hands and reflect on what we had done.
Do you still feel that way?
Yeah, I’m glad we pulled the pin when we did. Me personally, I didn’t want to sort of… We sort of went out and a bit of a high, which is always a nice thing to do if you’re able to do it. If [I] have the choice, that’s the choice I would make every time.
And is that just in regards to the record you made, or is that the general sense now as well?
To be honest, we have not discussed it since we broke up. I tried to convince Daz just to release a song or something in the lead-up to Good Things, but I couldn’t bend his arm. He’s very proud, and they are just demos, so he didn’t really want to do that. But look, as I said, we might even have [a] discussion whilst we’re all together again at the moment – Darren is staying down for another week after the festival, so see what comes up. But yeah, look, everyone’s got pretty intense lives these days, with other commitments, so…
Do you still jam just for the fun of it?
I had to find my guitar – it got closed in a case from the last show in Melbourne, 2015, and it did not see the light of day until three weeks ago.
I saw the set – it was fucking fantastic. Just the fucking… Kisschasy’s back. I saw Kisschasy in 2022…
Nostalgia is a powerful drug.
I feel like this has been a good year for it – we got Faker, Sunk Loto…
There’s heaps of it going on! I think it’s great.
I’m manifesting the Operator Please comeback – and then I want, like, a huge tour of all the 2000s bands that [made those] comebacks.
I think that would be a great festival. Absolutely. I saw… Ah, just heaps of bands have been popping back up – and [are] planning to over the next 12 months as well, so… I think people are hungry for live, real music again – especially after the last couple of years. I think all the bands are like, “Well, if they want it, let’s fucking give it to ’em.”
Huge shoutout to Janine Morcos and Sose Fuamoli for making this happen!