INTERVIEW: Vincent Kinna from Teenage Dads Chats Upcoming Tours

A conversation with the subject of our latest Moshcam concert film.

How is the Exit Sign tour going so far? 

Vincent: “Yeah heading to Adelaide. We play on Thursday so we will drive up tomorrow. We like to try and drive as much as we can, just save a bit of money and we also really enjoy it.  After the gig in Adelaide, we're going to start driving home and we'll just camp on the side of the road somewhere and then keep it going, send it to Geelong  and play same, same, but yeah, looking forward to it.”

So where are you playing in Adelaide?

Vincent: “It's at Jive bar, we played there for the first time in March. We've done Adelaide heaps, but we've always wanted to buy Jive because it's got a good reputation and you can do all age shows there.”

Is that important to you guys to have all age shows as part of your tour? 

Vincent: “Yeah we really like to because we get lots of messages about it. Particularly with Adelaide we felt that when we played with Lime Cordiale there in 2019, that was an all ages show and i think we might’ve had a lot of fans from that show just lots of begging (for shows). The last few times have been just unsuccessful, like the one in March was meant to be all ages and then because of COVID and the restrictions and stuff Jive just had to make it 18+ because I think it was, might've just been too costly to, to be running the gigs in the first place. 

So then to add the license on top of that, I think at the time was the reason why they had to pull it, which was a shame. It was something like that. And everyone's like: “you said it was all ages last time and then it wasn't!” I’m like: “believe us, it is this time.” It's really hard. I mean I didn't understand that when I was an all age fan, but you just like always begging and I, I guess they (fans) just don’t realize that it is a lot more challenging for bands to do it and more expensive and stuff.”

I didn’t know that, with the licensing and whatnot. I would have thought it would be easier to do an all ages show? 

Vincent: “I’m pretty sure, I mean that’s just our experience, I think with certain venues. We did one in Sydney, that was our first all ages and that was at a place called 107 Projects and it was more like a creative space and they just had this big warehouse, there was like an art gallery,and a little cafe sort of thing. They would have all sorts of things happen in there. Probably like conferences or seminars, things like that. And then, yeah, they can just turn it into a gig room. So lucky if there's places like that it's a bit easier. But at like a proper venue with a bar and stuff, I think that's when it gets tricky.”

And touring with Lime Cordiale and Spacey Jane later in the year how do you connect with them? 

Vincent: “ Um, that story began a little while ago now. Yeah. 2019 was when we first kind of connected with them. And it was just through Instagram, they shared one of our songs and we were really like shocked, it was like: “oh my God!” and we even had some of our own fans message us saying: “oh my god, Lime Cordiale shared your song!” So just over time we kind of kept hassling them and sent our music to them. Eventually, they just put us on the door for one of their Melbourne shows and so they wanted to hang out. And so we did, very fortunate and then that led to us playing with them for the first time later in the year in 2019. And we just kind of got along really well, I think we really liked them, I’m sure they like us. 

The tour that just happened was meant to happen a while ago, but COVID pushed it to, April just gone. So that one was a long time coming. We had done the first tour and then a few little pop-up shows. When we got the offer for like the big album tour we were really psyched and then, yeah, it didn't disappoint at all. The shows were unbelievably big and awesome, and just a great experience for us to, to play another step above and see how it all works.

So much fun and now we are going to New Zealand with them on Sunday. I think they had another band sorted for the New Zealand shows, but something might've happened and then the offer came through to us, which was cool. New Zealand let's go somewhere that's even colder than the Melbourne!”

You said it was like pretty memorable what were some of the things that you did to roll out all the stops for those shows that were delayed? 

Vincent: “Oh it was all COVID the album came out in 2020. So obviously that wasn’t going to happen. Crap I think the tour wasn’t meant to happen until 2021 like quite awhile after and then even then it was like so close to like things being okay. I think it was meant to happen in October last year, maybe. 

So it was kind of really, really close, but they decided not let's push it to a definite time-frame and I'm very glad they did because they made it all worthwhile. Lots of shows were done where it was kind of trying to make it work, which it did like we played plenty of seated shows and stuff, and still glad we did, but it’s just not the same. I can’t imagine you know when you’re doing shows that big like the music bowl and stuff they would be much harder to navigate that and everything.”

You guys played at the bowl as well yeah? Was that a huge experience seeing that vast amount of land and people in front of you?

Vincent: “It’s so steep!”

It’s an interesting venue in that you can see literally everyone in the crowd!

Vincent: “and everyone can see you, that’s daunting. We’ve done it twice with Lime (Cordiale) We did the first one in, uh, the start of last year and it was. Um, I think it was part of an issue, an initiative from the government in Victoria, where they were putting on shows at the bowl in summer and they had them like COVID safe and they built all those, platforms and stuff. I'm not sure if you ever saw what was happening there, but yeah, we did that. So the capacity was severely reduced. But like they still made use of the whole area. And it was really weird looking up and just saying like scaffolding everywhere. It made it look like there was more people because there was just so much obstruction.

So it was really cool to do the bowl again obscured by the platforms and just seeing the sea of people it was next level. Like: “Wow! That is a big difference.” I think that was like 8 or 9 thousand people or something and yeah it was crazy when we were watching Lime Cordiale you would stand up on the balcony and if you had your head like perpendicular to the band, you could hear the crowd at the back singing and then Lime playing and the delay. Just because of the distance it was trippy as! So that was cool. 

Then we did Riverstage as well which is like the same set up but in Brisbane. So the whole time we're like, which one's going to be better? And I think Melbourne music bowl, Sidney Myer Music Bowl is a cooler venue. But the shows were equally as epic.”

Do you think there was a difference, because you guys are from Mornington, Melbourne right? So having like a home crowd was there a difference? 

Vincent: “No I don’t think we felt like: ‘yeah this definitely feels like a hometown thing.’ Just, because we're not really that popular yet. But it was, I know it was still cool to see the reaction between the crowds. I think Brisbane was the loudest crowd. I think that the crowd was the same size as Melbourne or very close, but they just shout a lot more. So, yeah, that's probably the only sort of difference we could pick up. Everyone was really engaged and dancing and stuff and yeah, it was awesome.”

I heard you are playing with Spacey Jane later in the year as well? 

Vincent: “Yeah I think that hasn’t really sunk in yet. So it's in August. Which is actually not too far away now, we have like really busy month this month, in June. July, we have off and then August and feature on it's going to be busy again. But yeah, the Spacey Jane stuff was really cool. Um, when we got that offer a few months ago, it was like, wow, this is really cool.

Like, don't get us wrong. All the Lime (Cordiale) stuff is awesome too. It just feels cool to, like we've played with Lime Cordiale a lot, and they're the biggest band we've supported. So it feels cool to jump over, to support another big act as well. We love Spacey's music and that sort of thing. We got to meet pepper and hang out with her! She plays bass is Spacey in January when we were on our own tour. We hung out with pepper and our friends, The Moving Stills up in central coast of New South Wales a lot. 

So yeah, it was just really cool getting to know her and we're hoping we just get along with the others, fingers crossed we do! Yeah those shows are going to be sick! Very cool.” 

I’d love to talk your Club Echo EP.

Vincent: “Yeah fur sure let’s go for it!” 

What song are you most proud of from it or what resonates with you most of all from your Club Echo EP? 

Vincent: “Me? Specifically?! That’s tough, it kind of changes. Like, you know, different maybe have different association or like pick different things about different songs. First one maybe ‘Cheerleader’. Which is the first song we, oh, wait technically there's a song on there called ‘Thank you for the honey, honey’. And technically that was the first song, although, when we were putting the EP together, um, ‘Thank you for the honey, honey’ wasn’t meant to be on there because that came from a different time. Whereas the rest of the songs came from the same time and were recorded and mixed all the same. Whereas the honey song, it was kinda separate.It was like a whole other thing.

I think maybe ‘Cheerleader’ because when Jody first send that song through, it's kind of maybe one of the first songs. Not that I don't like other songs, but it was like, the first song where I really liked this kind of direction. It really reminded me a lot of the music that I love and still love. And history and stuff like the really like indie rock from the early 2000’s. 

So yeah, maybe that song and that one definitely took the most to get to where it was. We changed it so much. Like the, the music and the mixes and stuff where you really kind of wanted to get it right. It was also our first release with Chugg Music since signing on with the label. So there was also a lot of like, um, discussions and working out how they like to work and getting to know each other.

I reckon there was maybe like 6 or 7 different versions of the song before we settled on one. Not drastic changes but yeah I’m going to say ‘Cheerleader’. The others I really love to play too they are super fun to play live and they all have their own sort of thing about them in my eyes.

Is there a story that you were trying to tell throughout the EP? Like a singular theme or did the songs come from like experiences? 

Vincent: “So Jordy writes all the lyrics and um with this one it definitely felt like the first time there was a bit of a narrative across all the songs. Although I don't think it was set out like that. I think it just naturally sort of happened. And we kind of realized that looking back on the lyrics and, and that sort of thing, and also in the process of, cause certainly some lyrics changed while we were recording and that sort of thing. So we kind of worked out that the theme was just more or less a bit of a reflection on the last few years of our lives, like growing up together and doing the whole band thing, because all the songs are born in lockdown, basically.

And we are all 24 now, So in 2020 we were 22 and so just before that jumped out of high school and went straight into the band thing and just doing normal teenager stuff. I guess it was more a reflection of looking back at these memories. 

I think the way we kind of described it was like the inspiration for the artwork. Was that it was as if you're like looking into a party that you're not invited to like through a window. So it kind of felt like the themes are about all these memories that you you've kind of got to be happy that they happened. Like saddened that they're over but happy that they happen. So it's kind of like a happy, sad dynamic. I think a lot of our songs are like that. Some sad, but their happy music behind them.

That’s how the artwork for the EP came to be as well. We’re really proud of that. For ourselves anyway we kind of established this style that we really like and we’ve been running it ever since. So the EP is like a collage of photos from over time that Jordy put together in this way and it kind of emcompasses just kind of growing up more or less. Some imaginative aspects, some sad aspects and also happy.”

Yeah that nostalgia of that teenager/young adult time. So, since starting in high school how do you feel your music has evolved since then? 

Vincent: “Good question. Cause the thing is we are still figuring that out ourselves. And I think honestly, it's probably just something that we'll never be like, alright, we found our sound or whatever. I feel like all bands probably feel the same way. No that’s kind of a lie. There has been certain times where we felt that sounds a bit more like something we would do or although we don’t want to bind ourselves to any specific genre because we do enjoy playing all sorts of things. 

I guess in the beginning, none of us has been in bands before or in any musical projects. Jordy has been playing keys for awhile just at home. I think his mum made him start when he was young because she wanted to get him off the Xbox. Then Connor and Angus had also dabbled a little bit, not a lot.

And myself I'd never played drums until the band. So we were all very new to music and it was a case of We didn't care what it sounded like. We were just so stoked that we had an original piece of music. So the EP was Wett Weather and the album was Potpourri Lake, we called it that because we really felt it was just like, a mixed bag of songs. It was very much like yeah this one sounds sick! That one sounds sick, this also sounds sick. Who cares if they sound a bit different, like let's just put them together sort of thing. So, yeah, there's like a few heavier songs or more surf-rocky, fast paced stuff, but then there's also like, um, softer songs or more songs with synth.

But going back to your question, I think now, over the course of time, one particular thing that's kind of been established was this dynamic between songs with two guitars or songs with a guitar in a sense. Because when we started Jordy, our singer would only play synth and Connor was our only guitarist. But over time, Jody's realized that he needs a guitar to write songs or likes writing songs on a guitar.

So now we have songs with two guitars instead of synth. For a little while, we were kind of like, oh, how are we going to like, balance that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Um, and eventually it's a case of no, who cares, like just do whatever. And particularly when we first started doing it, we would craft our sets very specifically to make changeovers between songs easier.

But now we still keep that in mind, but now. The way we deal with that is we just try and write a transitional piece of music that gives Jody time to swap. So in that sense, our sound's developed in that, like, we just want to incorporate both.

Thats a really smart way to plan your sets. 

Vincent: “So we've been doing that a lot I think maybe through COVID we decided we wanted to try it a bit more almost like a DJ set, right? So there's no break or you at least make breaks, but keep it interesting and keep the flow going and that sort of thing. There's other bands that do it for sure. But we like to try doing it our own way. 

So for a little while we were doing a Western thing to transition like a classic cowboy sounding groove and then lately we’ve been doing this like Bossa Nova type thing like a sexy sort of thing. We do sometimes throw in like a little cover. We used to do Thomas the tank engine tune, Now we’ve been doing the Bunning’s theme song but changing the words to plug our merchandise. 

What’s one way that you like to interact with fans when your performing live? 

Vincent: “So Jody is our lead singer and he does a very good job. He's very animated and a weirdo. There is a part in one of our songs called ‘Come on, Cowboy. Fire Your Gun!’ and right at the end there’s this big outro thing and in the instrumental break Jordy pretends that he’s a sheriff and everybody but their guns up in the air because the lyrics at the end are like bang, bang, bang, bang. So he kinda like encourages people to dance that way and shout like that.

In Brisbane the other night Jordan made everyone get down low and jump up at one point. We like to keep it as entertaining and as involved for the audience as possible. So even if they don't know lyrics, there's sections where they can hopefully pick up on it really easily, like in the bang bang bit.

Ready for four fast final questions? 

Vincent: “Yeah let’s do it.”

What’s your go-to hangover cure? 

Vincent: “I don't drink anymore. So a swim.”

In a movie about your life which actor would play you? 

Vincent: “Sean Penn”

What’s you first memory of music? 

Vincent: “My dad and sister got those old, had those old Motorola flip phones and I remember Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry play on that phone.”

What’s surprising song is sitting in your most played on spotify right now? 

Vincent: “The New Garden song. They just put out a song called Freight Yard.”

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