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Big Rig Records

Redline Records

  An Interview with Waikiki

Vic managed to catch up with Kikisun, vocalist and bassist from up-and-coming Sydney three-piece popsters Waikiki.

Could you give us a little Waikiki history lesson, from beginning to now?

Well, it was a conception that started about a year and a half ago. I had been in a few other projects before and decided that I wanted to start my own shenanigan, so I got my brother who is also a guitarist, Joel, and I started writing songs. Then we placed an ad in the paper and luckily the first respondent was the right one which is Glenn, and that's how it happened.

Where does the name come from?

One night we were desperately trying to think of a name because we had a gig the next night so I just thought of the ingenious idea to flick through an encyclopaedia, and that's how we got the name. I just pointed to a word, and that's it. It meant like flowing water and Hawaii and things like that, so it was nice.

For all the people out there who aren't familiar with your music, how would you describe it?

It's a bit of lots of things. It's a bit of blues and a bit of pop and a bit of rock and a bit of dreamy twilight kind of music. It's just a bit of everything that we've put into this big bag and mixed up.

If you had to put yourself into one genre, which would it be?

I think at the moment people are finding it difficult to pigeon hole us. So I think the closest to anything they could get would be 'pop rock,' that's the kind of folder they always shove us in. It's a pretty broad one but that's the closest definitely.

You guys have just been signed by Liberation, which is part of the Mushroom group, and your debut EP 'Presents' is getting a fair bit of airplay around the country, do you feel the groundswell that precedes these things or did the interest come as a complete surprise?

I think we've been lucky in the sense that we've only been together a very short time and we recorded our demo pretty early on and only handed out a handful and we got the response very quickly, and the deal very quickly and the recording very quickly. Everything's happened within a year, so you don't really notice how quickly it's all happened until someone like you mentions it, and you think 'oh yeah, it's actually really lucky that it has happened that way.' You know we just hope and pray that it just keeps going and going and going.

It's been a dream run for you so far though.

So far, yeah! I've been very happy with how it's going and the response we've been getting. It's been great.

How hard is it to be recognised in the Sydney scene with so many quality bands around?

Well, I have this theory that I think people imagine that because Sydney is one of the biggest cities in Australia and is very well recognised around the world you'd expect a lot of quality bands, but I think some of the best bands I've heard come from the country and you know, really baron areas like Perth and, like really, really closed off, quiet areas.

The isolation factor.

Yeah, totally, and the best ones aren't really coming from the city, but that's just my opinion anyway.

Presents was produced by renowned Australian producer, Tim Whitten, who's worked with bands like The Clouds and Stella One Eleven, what did he bring to the recording process?

He brought a sense of independence to us because it was our very first recording. He didn't come bolting into the studio telling us what to do and how to do it, he gave us a huge amount of freedom and basically told us to do it the way we wanted to do it because we are so young and that's the only way we were going to learn as a young band. And that's exactly what we did. I mean he told us a few things here and there, but basically we learnt how to deal with it ourselves as a young independent band.

So you must've known exactly what you wanted before you went into the studio?

Yeah, I mean that helped as well. If we'd gone in there with no idea he would've stepped in a lot more but I think he could see that we were very adamant about what we want. I mean, as a band we've got a very, very distinct idea of what we want and I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted the songs to sound like before we went in there and it's still the same now. As I write songs I like to think that this is exactly what they'll sound like when we're recording them, like I'd like a bit of piano play here, and eventually a horn section here and all that kind of stuff.

Who contributes to the song writing? Is it a team effort or an individual process?

On the EP I wrote all the songs and at the moment Joel has started writing a lot more, so we've started performing a lot of his songs live, but the majority of it at the moment is me. But I can see that changing, as we get older as a band.

You're about to hit the road with Brisbane band George, what are your expectations of your first national tour?

Lots of fun I think. I think I'm expecting shitty hotel rooms and lots and lots of fun. We haven't really hung out as a band much. Whenever we have a show it's back to work the next day and we don't even get time to drink ourselves silly like every other band. This is going to be our first opportunity to really hang out and just get to play to a few different crowds.

So what does the next 12 months have in store for you guys?

I think we're going to try and start demoing songs for our first album. We're going to play Homebake in a couple of months which I'm really looking forward to, and just try and play heaps more shows and get better as a band.