Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Khancoban

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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Khancoban


1. Khancoban is a band!
And is not to be confused with the teeny town at the bottom of the Blue Mountains in NSW. Although it does happen to be where the fivesome got their name.

A few years back, a roadtrip ended with a perilous drive down the mountains and a strange experience in a local restaurant/pub in the town. Here’s how Andre Hooke, the singer and guitarist tells it: “It was pretty bizarre. We went for a dinner at a local pub and at the back they had a makeshift kind of sneaky restaurant in the middle of this Aussie outback town. There was this guy that was dressed up in, I don’t know if he had a cravat, but in my mind he had a cravat on and it was completely out of place. And he kept telling off the manager and each time he told him off he pressed the PA and everyone in the restaurant would hear him telling off the manager and then when he stopped, he thought he was turning on the PA, but he was turning it off. So yeah, it was fairly strange after a pretty stressful drive.”

2. Khancoban’s music evokes big open spaces, so the name’s not all about bizarre cravat-wearing technophobes.
“The landscape around there was pretty special and had a lot to do with it too,” says Andre. Their lyrics are testament to this evocation: “Everywhere I see the sea in me and everywhere I don’t see the sky,” sings Andre in a song called Everywhere I See The Sea.

3. As opposed to most musical themes that are centred around love and heartbreak, Khancoban’s lyrics are mature and largely about escape.
Indeed, some song titles from their self-titled mini album released in 2006 include Take Me Where I Might Want To Go and I Wish I Was On A Plane Somewhere.
“I seem to write a lot of songs about escaping (Andre writes the lyrics). I guess sitting down and writing a song is often about escaping day-to-day stuff anyway so I guess there’s something in that.”

Also, in the vein of the tortured artist, Andre looks to escape his own mind, “It’s probably exactly that actually. I think a lot of the newer songs are along that seam as well.”

4. The new album is called Arches Over The Sun and features the current single Until It Takes You Over.
“What I like about the new album is we worked with the producer Nick Huggins and we’ve never really worked with a producer before so I’m just most happy with the relationship we developed with him and the rest of the band and managing to get different sounds and styles on the record. The album’s not going to be released until July."

5. Khancoban are often compared to Wilco and Augie March. Two great bands!
Described as indie, country rock, Khancoban’s music is sweet, melancholy and beautiful. “Aah my cigarette went out,” Andre exclaims before proceeding with his first musical influences. “I remember being a teenager and getting into Sonic Youth and Buffalo Tom and Nirvana when I was really young. And I guess they were the first bands that I worked out made good, honest music. And I still listen to those bands. I guess they got me started. I listen to heaps of different music these days.

6. For girls who may have gotten excited after reading some of Andre’s poetic lyrics, hands off, he’s married. And she’s in the band!
Her name is Jemima Hooke and she plays the drums. The other members of Khancoban are Lucas Barbuto on the bass, Jim Patterson on keys and drums and Andrew Bonnici on guitar, lap steel and banjo. Correct, there’s a banjo.

7. Andre and Jemima work together as well.
"I work with my wife as a bookkeeper for bands. For the music industry and the film industry as well actually. We’re in the band together obviously and work together and even live together. It can be trying at times but usually it works fine. That’s why we manage to do it."

8. Khancoban will be playing their new album interspersed with older songs at the Northcote Social Club on Sunday March 13 (Labour Day Eve)
"I really like the venue. We tend to play things a bit differently live. We try to keep it a bit open to how we’re feeling at the time. The most fun I have in a band is when the five of us get together and play. And I’d hope when people see us play that we communicate that element of fun."

9. Surprising as it sounds, melancholy music can actually come out as fun.
"It’s not all about melancholy. There’s melancholy but the feeling of release can be pretty joyous too."

10. You can download the new album for FREE!
It’s true. They are a modern band and have their own website. www.khancoban.net
It’s comprehensive and quite pretty so go to it, download the album, listen to it and then come down to the NSC to witness a show put on by a brilliant stitch in the fabric of Melbourne music (I’m talking about Khancoban, obviously.)

Watch their last single, This Block, here!