How Catnip Kaiser Became an Atomic Commercial Success
Written by Max Bruckmann on 11 December 2019
What do you think of UFO’s?
Josh: My favourite quote is that the surest sign of intelligent life out there is that none of it has tried to contact us. (all laughs)
Is it a sign of your intelligence then that you got in contact with these guys to join Catnip Kaiser recently?
Jack: Josh messaged us originally in January saying ‘hey if you need somebody hit me up and we had only just gotten Doug’s brother, and then six months later when he had to leave we were like to Josh, “hey are you up for a jam”?
What’s everyone’s role in the band?
Josh plays lead guitar, Doug is the drummer, Pete is the bass player and Jack is singer/guitarist.
You boys recently sold over 100 songs on the Atomic music space, making you the second artist ever to go Radium. As well as being the most commercially successful artist on Atomic of all time, how do you feel about that?
Josh: Wait what? That’s unreal!
Jack: That song had been rewritten about three or 4 times. Starting off with me writing it on the toilet and then taking it into a standard 4 chord song before bringing it to these guys and building it up into something more and so the fact that its something we’ve spent a fair bit of time on and its gotten such a great response from everyone means the absolute world.
Pop punk is such an underrepresented genre in the area, what made you think let’s start a pop punk band and write a couple of original tunes?
Jack: When it started it was just gonna be a once of thing. I was working at the uni bar at the time and they needed an act for one of the parties they had. And I said a a joke, “put me up there”, and they said, “Okay, you’ve got it. October fest, get people together.”
With Pop punk it’s one of those genre’s that brings people back, you know, their teenage years, the nostalgia. As soon as you hear you know, the start of All the Small Things or the Amercian Idiot riff,. People just go nuts!
Josh: plus power chords are really easy (all laugh)
Jack: Yeah so we basically just molded into the pop punk thing because we got such a good response about it, and it’s also been my dream to be in a pop punk band.
We heard your demo before you went down to Dave Wilson [laughing ensues]
Josh: I’ve heard some stuff on Atomic. And there’s a lot of great stuff on there, but to hear that it wasn’t good enough to go on there in the first place….
That’s a pretty rare thing to hear to be honest.
Doug: It was fairly rough for sure, I mean we recorded it in a bedroom, we just wanted a track more than anything and we didn’t really think about ironing it down.
How did you find working with Dave?
Doug: He’s bloody brilliant. Yeah, he knows what hes doing, he’s fairly quiet as well like he wasn’t really intrusive which is what we wanted. We still wanted to keep it an original track and we didn’t want to go down there and unbeknown to us end up getting it rewritten.
Jack: The thing that was cool with Dave too is that, as soon as he got us to play through it all as a band, he was like, “Oh yeah, this is my kinda stuff”. And straight away we were like ‘righto this is gonna be a bit of fun here’.
Did you know Dave is an ARIA nominated producer?
Josh: Yeah, he definitely is. He’s had artists who’ve won ARIA’s.
And now he’s a Radium producer as well. How does it feel, the thought of having an ARIA award winner producing having done your track?
Jack: It’s actually really cool to think that, I just found out.
Josh: I didn’t have the benefit of being on this track with the boys, but I have worked with Dave and he’s always been a great bloke to work with.
Doug: I’m tickled pink. And you can tell, when we were going through our processes recording with him. You can smell it, that he knows what he’s doing.
Jack: The thing I liked about him, with my vocals is that he’s the first ever person to say, “Nah I didn’t like that, do it again”. And there were lines where we’d sort of done like 20 attempts, just because we didn’t quite nail it. And that was cool, it’s like this bloke cares about what he’s doing.
Well, Atomic were the first people ever to tell you to record it again*
Josh: Oh, I see where this interview is going, we are just getting cut down [all laugh]
Jack: Well it’s all your fault then, thanks for the success!
What is the goal for your music?
Josh: I’d love to see a pop-punk track playing in the ARIA’s.
Jack: 5SOS came into the scene in 2014 and they had this pop punk vibe about them, and that was awesome. Turning on your radio and hearing guitars on there again, and that’s our aim. To eventually get guitars and drums and bass back on the radio, because 5SOS did something that hadn’t been done since the early 2000’s.
Josh: Yeah, and not having our third album come out sounding like Shaun Mendez. (laughs)
Doug: Nah, our main aim would be to work ourselves up, make some good pop punk and then get ourselves to the point where, a producer tries to get us to use auto-tune and then just bash the living shit out of him [stunned laughter] Process of elimination bro, get all the trash off the radio.
So, you guys seem to have high aspirations, what is the plan from here to there?
Josh: We’re planning to do some more recording with Dave.
Jack: We’re meeting with Ionei Heckenberg from a band called Ocean Sleeper, who we have come tight with. We reached out to him and asked if he’d be keen to feature on one of our songs. And he’s been really cool, getting around us playing at the Antagonist AD gig. One day we plan on getting that song out. It won’t be on this EP though.
Jack: Will King from Windwaker who I know through Jesse Crofts (Windwaker) has designed the cover for us, we just need to get our songs recorded now.
What’s in the pipeline for gigs?
Josh: At the moment we’re setting up some in-ear monitors and getting ourselves happy with how we sound. We practice pretty regularly. And finding bands locally that we’d like to play with. But, yeah the focus is definitely on recording and getting a feature from a bigger artist in order to get some extra exposure.
Pete, you’ve been really quiet. What do you think of Doug’s watch?
Pete: [looking at Doug’s flamboyantly blingy watch] I think it speaks for itself really [all laugh]