How does one join Agapanther? According to Coen all it takes is getting a panther tattoo to be part of the band. I caught with Kyle, Harry and Coen from Adelaide’s 4-piece punk band Agapanther to chat about their latest tune Last Legs, their upcoming second single for 2021 Pseudo, tour stories and special vinyl collab with Grizzlyshark.
Interview Date: 5 Aug 2021
Kyle- Vocals & Rhythm guitar
Kenny (Dylan)- Bass Player
How did you guys become a band?
Harry: Kyle and Dylan (brothers) were living together at the time, so they were jamming together at home, and me and Kyle used to play when we were younger, when we were about 15-16. We just jammed in my shed, which was pretty horrific! Haha. But then we kind of didn’t play together for a few years, I had moved to the UK for a bit (for a working holiday) and Kyle messaged me while I was over there like ‘yo, we should start a band when you get back’, and I was like ‘Yup definitely down for that!’, and he was like ‘I’m teaching Kenny (Dylan) how to play bass so we can all jam together when you get back’, and sure enough I think I was home for maybe 3 months and then we started getting into it.
We were a band for about a year and a half?...
Kyle: Before Coen joined that band, we prac’d for about 3-4 months, then played I reckon a year’s worth of shows, cause Coen prac’d with us for a few months there and we had only played one show in that time with us…
Coen: It was very early 2019.
Kyle: Yeah so that’s pretty much how it came together.
Coen: and I was kind of just a #1 Fan haha.
Haha you were just at every show, knew all their songs
Coen: Yeah shamefully! I pretty much just knew Kyle from going to like heaps of local shows before and I had just met him once cause he worked at a show shop at the time, and I was wearing local band merch and he was like are you going to such and such show and I ended up meeting him there and then just seeing him at all the shows and what-not, and I saw that he had started a band and I was like That’s super cool, and always something I wanted to do. So, I went out and watched them a few times and then they were like ‘aw we do want to have a second guitarist in there’, so they messaged me and I had just skimmed through. I had just made the level of good enough so..
Kyle: The funniest test for you Coen was… ah so, Coen got a wireless receiver for his guitar and when he first got it I just blatantly was like ‘you better use that thing, or you’re not using it. It would just look ridiculous if you just stand there!’, and he met the mark for standard, the mark has been set high ever since.
He definitely didn’t just skim through! He like far exceeded any expectations.
Where did the name Agapanther come from?
Kyle: Basically we got to a point, when it was just me, Kenny and Harry, we were ready to display to people who we were and maybe test the waters. We decided to do a house show at mine and Kenny’s place, Kenny is my brother- our bass player, and we were like ‘Well, we can’t do our first show and not have a band name, it just wouldn’t work’, so, we had a prac and brainstormed for a bit like What could our name be?
We just sat down and started talking, and we realised that we all have traditional American panther tattoos, so surely that’s something, we gotta make something out of that! We kept on rambling on and having chats and stuff and Harry sort of looked over into his garden and was like ‘Agapanthus…’
Yeah cause it’s a flower
Kyle: We saw the flowers and sort of just merged the two concepts. That’s pretty much it, it was as simple as that.
And then we basically pinned Coen down and forced him to get an American traditional panther tattoo haha
Coen: yeah haha I didn’t already have one
Kyle: He went through 2 initiations haha. 1. A Shoey on stage for his first show, when shoeys were okay, and 2. Then he got a tattoo.
Was the tattoo done live on stage as well? haha
Harry: nah haha I wish!
Coen: No, but we could always add more!
Kyle: Let’s do it!
Yeah do a second panther!
So you all have panther tattoos and you’re all from Agapanther, Yes?
Kyle: that’s correct haha
That is awesome!
Okay, last year you guys released your debut EP called Overdue and you’ve returned back to the music scene with a sad but sweet song called Last Legs, and Kyle I believe the song is about yours and Kenny’s childhood dog Corky passing away. I noticed that the track has a lot of Bloom vibes with their In Passing EP, how it’s very relatable to the concept of grieving.
Could you talk about the emotion of writing and creating this new track? Also please don’t cry or make me cry!
Kyle: I think this is one of those songs where like, sometimes I’ll sit and and have an idea where I want to write something but it doesn’t come out naturally. This was the opposite, I didn’t plan on writing it, I didn’t sit down and plan on writing it, I wasn’t like Okay I’ve got 10 riffs I’ve been trialling, they work together so I’ll try and write the vocals now.
I just sort of sat with my acoustic guitar, just like jamming and killing some time in between, you know, maybe waiting to go out or something like that. I just sort of had, what turned into the the intro I just played that but as chords as single strums, then I started singing the first verse over it, and I think I got maybe 2-3 lines in a row completely just like freestyled and was like aw shit that works! I’ll write them down, put them in my notes, didn’t touch it for quite a while cause I reckon I had started writing it maybe just after the EP came out, so I was sort of more just focussing on that. So, I didn’t touch it for ages, but I knew that it would probably be one of the next songs other than Pseudo, which we will be releasing soon as well.
Essentially it was one of those things where I started with the theme of the story of how Corky passed and then kept on following on that story, and the rest came pretty naturally. Now converting it from acoustic to electric and then playing around with the verses and bridges and stuff, that was where it got a bit more difficult, cause it went from being something super simple and super stripped back, then I was like okay, I want to add as much flare as I can to this, and make it a little bit different to our other songs without straining from what we already had in our catalog as well.
Do you have an acoustic version that you would possibly release in the future?
Kyle: Funny you say that actually. So one of our friends Zack, who’s in a skate-punk Adelaide band Lickity Split, and he does a radio show where he gets 2 bands on each week and they play a demo or one song that’s unreleased and he’d asked us to do it maybe 3 or 4 times over the last like 6 months, and every time it was like, you know, Awah we’ve almost got a song ready but it’s not quite ready, and then Covid smashed us again so we couldn’t do anything, and then he hit us up like ‘are you guys free this month to do it?’, we were meant to do it 2 weeks ago and then we got put into a lockdown, and then we were going to move it to the week after and the day it would have been was the last day of that lockdown, so ugh it didn’t work either. He’s very strict on it HAS TO BE AN UNRELEASED SONG…
Coen: Cause that’s the point of his show, that it’s unreleased songs.
Kyle: We were like ‘Ah we could do an Instagram Livestream on the Tuesday if you want? So we don’t miss out’, but he was like ‘Nah’ haha, so we were like ‘Okay you’ll probably have to miss it bro cause it comes out Friday’. We actually prepared a stripped back version that’s just like acoustic guitar, some relatively raw mostly single take vocals and then Coen did some really nice ambient clean lead over the top with some vocal harmonies as well. So that came out pretty cool considering it was just like meant to be so me and Coen could practice remotely for that one-off show, but it never got used haha.
I don’t know, we would probably consider doing that in the future just a bedroom thing, maybe doing a stripped back version. We were meant to do it for Saint off Overdue EP, but we never got around to it in the end, maybe we could do it with this one instead… or both.
Coen: If you’ve ever listen to Nothing, Nowhere, he’s an artist and he uploads one-takes on YouTube, so it’s pretty much just acoustic, stripped back or mainly just electric guitar ones, and they’re all sick! So, it would be cool to base something off that idea.
With the new song Last Legs, you guys released a music video along with it, and Kyle that was filmed in your family home, was that right?
Kyle: Coen’s family home
Coen’s family home? But it was about your dog. What? Haha
Kyle: haha it was also Coen’s dog in the video!
Coen: Well, we can’t use yours can we mate? Haha
Kyle: Yeah, so Coen’s just seemed like the best option haha. It was nice, it’s an aesthetic.
I was gonna say, did you guys have to go knocking on someone’s door like ‘Hey Mum, Hey Dad, can we use the living room?
Kyle: I think Barry was pretty open to it from the get go, wasn’t he Coen?
Coen: yeah I told my Dad and he was like ‘Okay, that’s cool’ and just like cleared out into the morning and let us do our thing, and I said ‘look Dad we need the house for the whole day’, we only finished when it got dark pretty much, so I had to kick him out for the day, but he got over it pretty quick.
He was stoked! He loves any sort of like band contributions, he comes to all of our shows and everything.
How did the creation of the music video happen? Who did you work with and who’s idea was it?
Kyle: The clock was ticking cause we had a deadline to have the concept ready, because we had already locked in a date for the filming before we had thought of a video concept yet.
So we sort of spit-balled ideas in the group chat and nothing was really resonating 100% with all members. I know that Coen did maybe like 3 concepts and I also had my own concept as well, and then Kenny and Harry were sort of just open to whatever sounded the best fit.
I took one of Coen’s concepts which sort of focussed on cycling through the 5 stages of grief vaguely but not too obviously. The original concept does brush over that, then I sort of applied that and wrote a bit of a story to it, and then sent that off to our videographer Caleb Rose (works for himself at Vitality Visuals Media). He also did our video for Vacant, and he’s done a bunch of other videos for friends as well. So we did that, and his wife was heavily pregnant at the time and she gave birth later that night aha so, we were pretty lucky to get the video done before that!
It was a pretty hectic day, it was like a 12 hour day for us, I think we got there at like just before 8am to start setting everything up, cause we pretty much had to tear out Coen’s living room and get rid of like the TV unit, TV, couple of chairs and stuff, tidy it up a bit….
And take out the family photos?
Kyle: Yeah, we kept a couple up that could still work, like the really old ones of I assume Grandparents and stuff. You can actually vaguely see it behind me in one of the band shots, I had photoshopped a photo of Bella (who was the dog in the video- Coen’s dog) to our main actor Jaz and one of his photos, and like from a distance it’s passable but we all just laugh pretty hard!
Cause nobody else would know haha (until this interview goes up, sorry boys!)
Kyle: Yeah exactly! No one else knows. But yeah, there was just one little thing off about it haha, like I think it might have been something to do with the lighting or a shadow that just made it look like it was done in MS Paint haha. It was passable for the video! And no one’s questioned it yet. So, that came out pretty cool!
We were originally 2 hours behind schedule before we had even started doing the shots that weren’t the band shots, so luckily our actors absolutely pulled it together and just smashed through them and we just got straight into it. They far exceeded our expectations, we just didn’t really know what to expect cause we had never had acting in the videos before, it had always just been band shots.
But yeah we got there, and I think that we were actually finished dead on 5:30-6pm, which was pretty much what we had the schedule set to. The last 2 hours we weren’t really filming, it was more so just beers, chats and pizza.
So, you’ve previously toured with bands such as WAAX, Sly Withers and The Dead Love (on their Adelaide Tour Legs), and an upcoming supporting gig playing with Bad Juju on their single launch In The Clouds alongside some other local Melbourne and Adelaide bands. What can people expect on tour?
Harry: We love just bringing a whole heap of energy to every single performance! I don’t think that we are every just sitting or standing still, I mean sit [being a drummer] haha, the whole time we are always just doing something on stage or kind of just going nuts.
We just like making friends and getting rowdy, getting people excited and into the music, and making sure people are having fun!
What do you love to see at shows?
Harry: singing back is always good
Coen: Hearing the lyrics being sung back is pretty sick! But also seeing pits is awesome!
Kyle: I still can’t get over the stage diving…
Harry: Yeah that was nuts!
Kyle: Were pretty much ready to go on stage for our vinyl launch in May, and restrictions had just been eased a little bit, so the cap was 300 and I think we sold like 280 tickets in the end or something like that and we were like 2 mins from going on and security comes up to us like ‘ah I’m going to be on stage’, and we were like ‘okay, no worries’, and she was like ‘I’m going to be here for crowd surfing’, and we were like ‘ah I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that. I don’t think anyone is going to crowd surf here, we haven’t really had an issue with that before’ haha, and she like ‘no, no, no, I’ll be here TO CHAPERONE PEOPLE TO CROWD SURF, but you’re only allowed to have 5 people on maximum on the stage at a time’, and we were like ‘ha I don’t think that’s gonna be an issue, but THAT’S FUCKING SICK!’.
So I reckon like, 1-2 songs in I sort of made an announcement like Look, we’re filming some of this footage for a video and you’re allowed to crowdsurf, it’s the first time in like you know a year and a half that you can do it. So, do your best!
We thought we’d have maybe 2-3 people come up, but like everyone was...
It was the full 280 haha…
Kyle: It just non-stop! It was so much fun! So cool.
Harry: the security guard was kind of like a life guard at the top of a waterslide, you know, she was like wait… now you can go… literally that’s what it was like.
And someone’s Mum, like a 50 year old lady got up and did it as well!
Kyle: that was sick!
Yeah good on her!
Coen: It was one of the band’s that were supporting us, it was their volcaist’s Mum.
Kyle: Sasha, from Mum’s Favourite, it was her Mum I’m pretty sure.
You mentioned that you’re going to be releasing another song, very soon, called Pseudo, what can you tell us about it?
Harry: Pseudo was the first out of the 2 songs on this kind of release, we wrote it at the start of the first lockdown at the start of last year, virtually. Kyle and I were sending files back and forth to eachother and pieced it together. It basically stems from people just not being true friends I suppose, like pretending that they support you in your life but they are never really there when it comes to it.
Kyle: At the time, soundwise, I was listening to a hell of a lot of Drug Chruch, if you’ve ever listened to them they are just straight up punk, they are the most riffiest band with just excellent guitar tones, but vocally they are quite minimalistic cause their vocalist Pat, like he would be the first to tell you like ‘I don’t sing, I can’t sing’ haha. So a lot of it is just spoken word, real easy stuff to chant along to. I wanted to do something that was sort of like that, heaps riffy and not too much of a strain on the vocals in terms of having to get it ‘pitch perfect’. I wanted it to be something where when it was released and out it would be something that people would resonate with, or with people that it resonates with they can sort of just yell it back and not have to think about, you know, am I pitchy? Or am I on key? They can just yell it out.
As Harry said, it’s essentially about those friends that you get who are always preaching like Yeah I’m here for my friends, I’ll support you, or they’ll even go sort of out of their way to say like Let’s do this! Or I’ll come to this of yours, and then they are always the first person where you think Where are they? And they just never show. Then 2 days later you’ll get some shitty excuse.
It was originally about 1 person when we started writing it to begin with, then in the process of writing it we sort of had a few people where it was starting to maybe shine a bit of light on some other people, and you know what? If the shoe fits… it’s more of a reflection of them and not us writing the song.
Just people with shitty excuses for being shitty friends, we sort of reached a breaking point and that’s how Pseudo came about.
We are running out of time, did you have any final messages you want to say about the band, the latest single Last Legs, or anything you want to say to your fans?
Kyle: Just a touch on these releases, so tomorrow we will be officially announcing that Pseudo is going to be a song that’s paired with Last Legs, and that will be available via from shows after tomorrow… if we get to play any. I think our next 2 shows might be canned because they are with Bad Juju who are from Melbourne. But yeah, we will have them, they are on recycled vinyl 7” split with a Brisbane band called Grizzlyshark and that will be through Deaf Cult Initiative. There’s 2 songs on each side, two from each band.
And to any friends and fans out there hopefully we get to play some shows for everyone…
Kyle: Yeah we will just sort of wait it out and hope that everything gets a little bit better soon and that restrictions will ease in the next month or so.
That was my Moody Music chatty interview with Kyle, Harry and Coen from the Radelaide band Agapanther, Last Legs is available right now along with the music video! Keep your eyes open for more news about Pseudo and go to some shows to track down a copy of the Agapanther/Grizzlyshark split 7” vinyl.
Music Release Dates:
Last Legs (single)- 30 July 2021
7” vinyl w/ Grizzlyshark- 6 Aug 2021
Pseudo (single)- 3 Sept 2021 *** 2 weeks to go!
AGAPANTHER’S SOCIAL MEDIA
AGAPANTHER UPCOMING TOUR DATES (updated 14 Aug 2021)
Bad Juju Tour Support w/ Bukowski & Rex Dante *rescheduled as of 13 Aug 2021*
Melbourne / Friday 24 September / Worker’s Club / SOLD OUT
Adelaide Aug 13/ Crown & Anchor/ CANCELLED
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