Article contributed by The Push
Sounds like WHAT?!
No, they don't have a particular interest in poultry. Sounds like Chicken have a particular interest in Ska.
Two of the founding members of six-piece ska band sit uncomfortably in my inner suburban lounge room. The regular passing of a speeding car, honking train and gentle hum of the nearby freeway accompany our talk of roadies, riders and debt involved in the art of touring.
The Victorian six-piece are celebrating their recent single release of Take A Bullet to the Grave / El Chupanebre , with a national tour. It's not their first.
With sounds similar to the Voodoo Glow Skulls and the Mad Caddies, the band claim not to be a stereotypical Ska band. Since Sounds like Chicken 's conception in 1999, the band has released a two EPs, two singles, one full length album and played nearly 400 gigs.
“September 2001 was the first time we played outside of Victoria … and we were like erghre (makes drooling sounds),” tells 25-year old Nat (guitar/vocals). “I remember I turned to our bass-player on stage, we looked at each other and were just like… sweet! ”
“It's really cool when you're playing an interstate show and you can see a whole bunch of people you've never seen getting into it … you can see people singing the songs. It's like, oh sweet .” says Nyall.
“I remember the first time we ever played in Queensland . There were these people carrying these banners that said Sounds like Chicken and all this stuff, and they walked right past us. We were like, ‘Did you see that?!' They didn't recognise us. They came to see us … but they had never seen us,” tells Nat.
“We used to have a roadie…” tells Nyall. “But then he joined the band.” (Laughs) “Yeah, Mike, our drummer …” says Nat. “He was our roadie for about two years. He came on tour with us heaps, and now, he's in our band.” Mike completes the latest line-up of Sounds like Chicken . Dave (guitar and vocalist), Natalie (trumpet and vocals), Nyall and Nat, and Carlos (bass).
Touring has become a common part of being in Sounds like Chicken . “The thing with touring is it is much as getting a funded holiday as it is anything else,” explains Nyall. “Most of the places I've been in Australia I wouldn't have been if I hadn't been with the band.”
The band travels by car across the country. They purchased a van for themselves, and are paying it back off as a group.
“We bought a van, first, it died! It died on the way back from Brisbane , actually,” tells Nat.
I sense a spend money, make money philosophy. “It's like you borrow a grand to make a whole bunch of new merch, then you sell that but that money goes on something else, so you end up with another grand worth of debt,” explains Nyall. “It just accumulates.”
“We're doing pretty well in paying our debt off, because we're playing a lot of shows, and are selling lots of CDs,” tells Nat.
Both the boys agree that riders are one of the major delights of playing gigs. “Most shows, we will get riders anyway, without having to ask. When we do all ages shows, especially around Victoria , we actually have a booking agent who books FReeZA shows for us, and he gets us a rider,” says Nat.
“So then we don't seem like we're arrogant,” explains Nyall. “Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't … but it's great,” says Nat. “We played a really good show once in Geelong where we got to pick the food before-hand, and the moment we were finished playing it was like all there ready,” tells Nyall.
“It was sweet ,” says Nat.
Words and Interview by Kristy Theissling