A candid conversation with boisterous punk rockers The Chats

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A candid conversation with boisterous punk rockers The Chats

Photo: Kane Hibberd
Words by Dan Watt

The cult pub punks are about to drop into Melbourne for a pair of shows.

Over the summer that bridged 2017 and 2018 Australia was besotted with the brogue pub-rock of The Chats. Three blokes, barely out of high school, had refined the proud nostalgia of the Kerrigan family from 1997’s The Castle into three minutes of bone-rattling pub punk named after the tradesmans’ conceptual oasis, ‘Smoko’.

The extensive mainstream media coverage of the band that is made up of the effortlessly authentic Eamon Sandwith, Josh Price and Matt Boggis began on December 17, 2017 when Channel 7 news lobbed up at their rehearsal shed.

Such deference has generally been afforded to The Chats as fans in the Northern Hemisphere digest the songs ‘Smoko’, ‘Pub Feed’ and new single ‘Identity Theft’. That was until a video interview the band did with NME at last month’s Reading Festival was published on YouTube revealing an interviewer whose lack of ‘nuance’ seemed to stem from a lack of research.

“It was really funny coz we walked into the interview and he was like ‘how was your set guys?’” Retells Sandwith. “We were like, ‘we haven’t even played yet’.”

Even the bold and outgoing Chats guitarist Price, who did his best to salvage the interview seriously engaging each flakey question, was left speechless when the interviewer fumbled through broaching the topic of ‘Smoko’ only to pose the question: “Do you think people think that you’re just a one-hit wonder?”

However, while the stringency of the internet could be said to have directly contributed to the demise of the ‘interview’, this was the avenue for which Sandwith became enamoured with the sounds of The Ramones and Cosmic Psychos, two punk bands that have informed The Chats. Yet, Sandwith concludes that “It’s not all bad”, with music streaming service earning the praise “I think that’s really good and good for the bands”.

Elaborating further on how music is broadcast these days Sandwith makes a point to pay tribute to Queensland community radio station 4ZZZ.

“I didn’t listen to it religiously but through 4ZZZ I found a bunch of Brisbane bands that I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise coz they weren’t on Spotify. Community radio exposes you to a cool little underground scene in each city.”

In context to promoting their own ‘cool little scene’ and the topic of their current national tour that sees the band performing at 170 Russell this Thursday September 3, Sandwith enthuses, “We have brought a band over from the UK, this garage band, named Abjects, then we got our mates from the Sunny Coast, The Unknowns, opening the show”.

The Chats first met Abjects’ Yuki, Noemi and Alice from when they played with them in London on the band’s 2018 UK tour. “They hadn’t been to Australia before so we said yeah ‘that’ll be pretty fun’. We going to put a 7-inch out for them on our label Bargain Bin.”

The Chats are playing two shows at 170 Russell this Thursday October 3 – an all-ages gig from 2pm and an 18+ show from 7pm. Tickets available from the venue website.

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