Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cassette Kids interview

My interview with up-and-coming Sydney band Cassette Kids appeared in this week's Drum Media. Here it is:AS CASSETTE KIDS PREPARE TO TOUR THEIR DEBUT MINI-ALBUM, VOCALIST KATRINA NOORBERGEN HITS THE SUPERMARKET WITH ROB TOWNSEND

It’s unlikely that Woolworths has been the venue for many music interviews, yet Drum finds itself dashing around the supermarket at 10.30pm with Cassette Kids’ frontwoman Katrina Noorbergen (above). So hectic is her schedule that it’s been forever since she has found the time to buy her groceries. Earlier in the day, she took phone interviews while doing her washing.

“We definitely work hard and play a lot of shows,” a tired Noorbergan says as she rushes through the aisles. “We all have jobs and we’re giving a lot of our lives to the band, so it’s nice that we’re getting some recognition. It’s a bit of a worry though, on the brink of releasing your mini-album, thinking ‘what if we’re just over-hyped?’”A year of relentless gigging, including being main support on the recent Australia-wide Presets tour, has ensured that the Sydneysiders are one of this year’s buzz bands. However, in spite of their growing popularity within the scene, they don’t consider themselves as being part of The In Crowd. Indeed, Noorbergen displays an endearingly shy and slightly awkward nature as we sit in a Surry Hills pub for a quick pre-Woolworths drink. “In terms of ‘the scene,’” she says raising her fingers to use as inverted commas, and knocking a full beer all over the table in the process. “We’re not socially a part of it. All the guys (drummer Jacob Read-Harber, bassist Daniel Deitz and guitarist Daniel Schober - above) live two hours away, so they’re never out, and I just don’t have enough time. We’re not friends with many bands. So when people call us ‘scenesters’, it’s really just that we are playing lots of shows.”

But while they are keen to avoid wrongly being tagged as scenesters, it’s undeniable that Cassette Kids look pretty fucking cool, and their sartorial elegance is something that Noorbergen is very proud of. “We didn’t consciously decide we were going to be a fashion band, but everything so far has been dependant on our live performance, and part of that is what we wear. Essentially, it’s another form of expression. It is a creative process and we are in control of what we want to look like.” With fashion being notoriously fickle, I wonder whether the band regrets any of its style incarnations. “We went through this massive silver phase. It was hilarious. I was chucking glitter on people, and I got a silver leather jacket which I’d make little Dan [Deitz] wear, even when we had to walk through the streets of Perth or wherever. People would be like [sarcastically]: ‘Nice jacket.’ Luckily, we got over that phase.”As talk turns to from the past to the long-term future, it becomes clear that the quartet are not the kind of band that will chase fame for fame’s sake (in fact, Noorbergen talks of her desire to one day get back to university to complete her Masters and become an art curator), yet it seems the foundations are in place for Cassette Kids to be as big as they want to be. “Obviously I want some level of success, to keep writing music and to gain some recognition. I’d like to know what it feels like to have a year of which eight months are spent overseas on tour. That sounds like an adventure, and I really want to have an adventure with this.”

In the shorter term, the latest episode of the Cassette Kids’ adventure is a debut headline tour to promote their appropriately-titled mini-album, We Are Cassette Kids, which is a record that has been causing critics a headache in terms of pigeon-holing the band. “People call us: ‘Electro/indie/pop/rock/dance outfit Cassette Kids.’ But we’re not electro because we don’t use laptops or keys or synths or anything like that. Everything comes out of the key components of a band; guitars and drums.”

However you want to define it, the deliciously vibrant mini-album goes some way to capturing the fervent live energy the Sydneysiders bring. Their sweat-drenched shows see the captivating Noorbergen stomp around stage with an energy that makes Karen O seem lethargic. It’s visceral stuff, and you won’t find the singer pausing to pull poses to please the photo pit. “I get in trouble for that, but it’s a real physical thing and I don’t really have a lot of time to think: ‘Oh I need to stand up more and let people see my face.’ It’s a high-energy set and sometimes I get halfway through it and think: ‘I’m going to die. I’m exhausted.’ I think people respond to that though.”


Owl said...

You're awesome, like, lutes awesome. Oh, as are cassette kids of course. But you, oh my.

Owl and the Grapes said...

oh my.