Kid Sam are two similarly named cousins from Melbourne, Kieran and Kishore Ryan. Their music carries with it a unique aesthetic that draws on elements of post rock and ambiance, with themes of violence, romance and the politics of the everyday. It’s the perfect remedy on a Sunday afternoon; a mix of swoony vocals, evocative melodies and the right balance between acoustic and electric guitar, with each song different than the last.
Earlier this year they released their debut album and despite scoring a nomination for a J Award, vocalist/guitarist Kieran still holds a job at a call centre. Daniel Clarke caught up with Kieran to chat about their lyrical approach, playing with kitchen utensils, and the fans that just can’t seem to find Kid Sam on LimeWire.
Music Feeds: So what’s been happening? Have you guys started touring The Philly Jays [Philadelphia Grand Jury] yet?
Kieran Ryan: Yeah we’re pretty much through the dates that we’re doing. We’ve got four Queensland dates and then we’re done with that, we’ve done a whole bunch already.
MF: So how’s all that been going? How’s the reception from the Philly crowds?
KR: Yeah it’s been good, lots of fun.
MF: I wanted to go back a bit and ask you about how Kid Sam got together, because I was reading somewhere that you guys played your first gig in January 2006, and then you went away for the rest of the year?
KR: It was really… I don’t really count that, we played this weird gig once and then, we really got together at the start of 2007. I just had a whole bunch of songs lying around that I’ve written and I was thinking about forming a band, and then I got Kishore in to play the drums, so yeah, we got together.
MF: Had you been writing stuff for long?
KR: I’ve been writing for, I suppose when I think about it, I’ve been writing for a couple of years or something.
MF: So what got you into music and writing songs?
KR: I’ve been playing guitar for years and years, since I was seven or something, and I played big, Metallica solos and stuff like that, and I got really bored of exploring the guitar, so to say, and just felt the urge… I realised that most of the music that I liked had guitar bits and song writing in them, and I tried to do that, which was terrifying at first, but ultimately a bit more rewarding.
MF: It seems like guys have taken off quite quickly, the debut album only came out in March, and you’re already nominated for a J Award. Was that unexpected for you?
KR: Yeah, totally. It was really funny, because we kind of played little gigs for a couple of years before we toured that album around and it was all much of the same level. And we honestly didn’t think it would be any different after putting an album out, which is what we wanted to do, for it’s own sake, so it’s totally unexpected.
MF: So what do you think has been the biggest thing that’s got your music out there is it being on Triple J and Triple R, being featured on stuff like that, or is it through the Internet and your MySpace page?
KR: That’s been a huge thing, yeah. It’s hard to say, but I reckon that’s really, in terms of making us known, it contributed a lot, I’m sure.
MF: I was watching a video of you guys playing the MySpace Music Studios, how was that? I didn’t actually know they had a studio.
KR: It was a performance space down… where are you calling from, Melbourne or Sydney?
KR: Yeah, I don’t even know, but near like ACCA, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art down in Southbank. It was kind of good; it was a free gig, all ages, which is kind of playing for the kids earlier in the evening before the drunk people turn up.
MF: This all ties into the idea of the digital realm, the Internet being a big vehicle for band these days. I was reading a comment one of you guys had put on your Facebook group, saying someone had come up to you after a gig saying they couldn’t find your album on Limewire.
KR: Oh that wasn’t me who posted the comment, but that doesn’t surprise me.
MF: That’s the thing; I wanted to ask you if you think it’s ever OK for people to download music off the Internet or do you think it should only be…
KR: I think it’s not OK, but I do it myself. It’s like speeding or something. It’s not right to do, but everyone is going to do it anyway. It does have some benefits for sure, but all in all, it’s not the right thing to do but it’s something that’s not gonna stop, and it’s something I do myself, so… (laughs) I can’t really complain. I don’t think we’re that downloadable though, if you can’t find us on Limewire.
MF: I wanna ask you about the process of writing for you guys. I just listened to some of your tracks and I think one of the best words I read to describe it was, there’s ‘tension’, this whole idea of a subtle tension behind the music. Do you think that would be fair to say?
KR: Yeah, well there is… I don’t know if you’re including lyrics, in that I find that it’s easier to write something and you have something to work with if you have tension in the ideas that you’re writing. I try to find ideas that have stuff like that. And then, I guess the other thing, the musical thing, there’s a lot that you work out by feel, but you certainly try to have some kind of tension.
MF: And I noticed that Kishore plays with cookware and other stuff on stage. What prompted you to bring pots and pans on stage; what gave you that idea?
KR: It was just one of those things, when we were just working stuff out, and Kishore wanted to get a certain sound and hasn’t been able to find it and just walked off to the kitchen to grab something’s and realised ‘oh, that works’.
MF: It seems like you guys have a pretty big summer coming up with all the festival dates and tour dates. Have guys been out on national, kind of big tour before?
KR: We’ve done a couple of shows with Fire Kites and we did a little tour with, a couple of dates with McKisco from Brisbane and Fergus Brown from Sydney. The biggest one we’ve done was with Jack Ladder, we went pretty much everywhere supporting him, and this tour with Philly Grand Jury is pretty huge. But it seems like we’ll be pretty busy over summer.
MF: So what’s on the cards after that? You guys gonna tour through summer and then are you going to be writing more?
KR: We’ll try and have our own tour next year, early next year, not sure what time exactly, and then just keep trying to write songs. There’s only so much you can plan, I mean you can plan out a tour, which we’re planning now, but so far we’ve just been offering ourselves and things have been happening.
MF: Do you get a change to write on the road or it really something that you need to take time off?
KR: You can’t really write songs when you’re out on the road. I just try to find some time when I can, when I’m back and when I’m not working or whatever. I guess you’re pretty busy after you’ve been away for a while and you come back and you go back to work, and you have to try and find some time for it.
MF: Is that tough, balancing work with rocking out on the weekend? Suppose the first few days would be tough.
KR: Actually, the other day we came back from a Philly Jays show somewhere in the afternoon and we jumped straight in the car and raced to Triple J to do an interview and I walked from there straight to this call centre where I work. It was kind of a hectic day, and you have days like that but you know, that’s what you gotta do.
Kid Sam are coming to a town near you soon, so make sure you don’t miss out.
Wednesday 9th December
Oxford Art Factory Sydney NSW
With: Crocodiles, Skull Squadron and Kirin J Callinan
Moshtix: www.moshtix.com.au or 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849
Saturday 12th December
Meredith Music Festival Meredith VIC – SOLD OUT
Also appearing: Animal Collective, Jarvis Cocker, Akron/Family, and loads more
Sunday 27th December
Annandale Hotel Sydney NSW
With: Sherlock’s Daughter and Emma Russack
Tuesday 29th December
Peats Ridge Festival NSW
Also appearing: Lamb, Dappled Cities, Sarah Blasko, The Panics and many, many more
Wednesday 30th December
Falls Festival Lorne VIC – SOLD OUT
Also appearing: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Moby and plenty more
Saturday 9th January
Southbound Festival Brusselton WA
Also appearing: Wolfmother, Editors, Midnight Juggernauts
Moshtix: www.moshtix.com.au or 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849
29th January – 6th February
St Jerome’s Laneway Festivals across the country
Also appearing: Florence and the Machine, The XX, Echo and the Bunnymen