Brisbane’s Max Chillen and the Kerbside Collective may have only formed six months ago, but they are already shaping up to be the addictive broody post-punk outfit of your dreams. Today we premiere Max Chillen and the Kerbside Collective’s debut single, Treat Me Rough. The single is steeped in an array of sonic influences with deep wailing vocals reminiscent of a baby Nick Cave laid over a propulsive beat, eerie guitar and unexpected lyrics telling of a masochistic relationship (I want you to punch me in the face / I want you to put me in my place). We had a group chat with the band to get to know MCTKC and their new single.
How did the Max Chillen and the Kerbside Collective project come to be?
(Darcy) I made bedroom pop by myself for a few years, then started making dark dancey punk music as ‘Max Chillen’ in 2015. Through this I met Liam, who’d been doing similar stuff for ages, and when we were asked to play a show, we brought in my old mates Rob and Gabe to bring the songs to life. After that gig, we decided to “go pro” and become a legit band. We thought ‘the Kerbside Collective’ sounded dope so we added that to our name, and here we are!
Can you tell us a bit about ‘Treat Me Rough’ – what it’s about and how it came together?
(Darcy) I wrote the lyrics about a dream I had where I was in love with a skinhead girl who would rough me up all the time. It’s far from a romantic thing to dream about, but I thought it’d be funny if I channeled that idea into a love song.
(Liam) Darcy came to us with three chords and Rob came up with the lead guitar riff which we said sounded kinda like New Order
(Gabe) I was messing around with jungle-style drums and tried out a breakbeat groove half as a joke, but it stuck. We set the tempo at 130, but ended up kicking it up to about 155, which is pretty ridiculous but it works.
Is this single going to be part of a forthcoming EP?
(Darcy) We’re not sure yet. We’re keen to record an EP and we have a bunch of songs, but we might let this single stand alone. It’s totally up in the air though, I guess we’ll just see what happens.
You describe your music as ‘Art-Punk / Art-Rock / Art-Pop’ – what can we expect to see from your output as a band as time goes on?
(Darcy) I’d definitely like to experiment with some more electronic elements (that’s my LCD Soundsystem obsession kicking in) or possibly some INXS style sax badassery.
(Gabe) Yeah, definitely keen for some electronic stuff. I’ve been producing EDM and beats since I was in year nine, so that’s my specialty I guess, it’s what I bring to the band.
(Rob) Yeah, I think that because we come from different backgrounds and have lots of different influences… That leads to like a melding of genres.
(Liam) Mainly I want us to work on our sound – we are trying to carve out our own unique foothold in the market. I reckon we should continue to define that sound.
Who are some figures that in the field of art and/or music that you think might have inspired this musical direction?
(Darcy) Kirin J Callinan is a big one for me and I’ve had the privilege of discussing my admiration with him, face to face. Bowie’s my #1 idol, with Iggy Pop and Ian Curtis close behind.
(Rob) Well, there’s King Krule and Mac Demarco, but the biggest influence for me has been Last Dinosaurs. Like, their level of technical prowess is something that I try to emulate, and they’re just the coolest.
(Gabe) I can’t think of any specific drummers I take after, but I’d definitely say that my grooves are heavily influenced by 70’s funk, classic rock, and even a bit of hip hop.
(Liam) I just want to be the male Nelly Furtado.
What kind of stuff did you listen to growing up?
(Darcy) My dad introduced me to a bunch of 60’s and 70’s pop, which had a real formative affect on me. All through high school I was obsessed with The Wombats, and I’ve learnt a lot from them in terms of song structure and lyricism.
(Rob) Yeah, I can see that. Like, conversational lyrics rather than being dead serious.
(Gabe) I was raised on classic rock and my mother would play Mozart while I slept.
(Rob) I was raised on Neil Young, Steely Dan, Sting, The Eagles…
(Liam) Mostly 80’s pop to be honest. My mum loved George Michael and fuckin’ Take That.
What have you been listening to lately?
(Darcy) The new Cub Sport album, ‘This is Our Vice’ (shouts out Cubbies) and ‘The Life of Pablo’.
(Gabe) ‘The Life of Pablo’ and a lot of Childish Gambino
(Rob) Wild Nothing, Steely Dan.
(Liam) Literally just that fuckin’ Kanye album.
You’re very young as a band (and age-wise) – so far, what do you like about the Brisbane/Australian music scene and what changes would you like to see happen for the next batch of young bands breaking out?
(Darcy) Honestly the biggest thing for us has been how open people have been with us and how readily they’ve accepted us into the community. Not that we are big dogs by any stretch of the imagination, but being able to have a chat to all these bands I listened to on Unearthed in high school is pretty great. Everyone’s been real nice and we appreciate that the most, considering we’re basically the weird new kids on campus.
Catch Max Chillen and the Kerbside Collective’s next gig at Control’s Dark Party, details here.