Kitschen Boy Suck: “Walk To Your Problems And They’ll Soon Disappear”

band kitschen boy under illustration

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It’s hard not to smile when listening to Naarm band Kitschen Boy, though there’s often more going on than meets the ear.

At first listen, their new single, ‘Happy Place’, is a raucous, upbeat affair, but there’s a lyrical sting in the tail. Don’t let the booming bass and shimmering guitar fool you: ‘Happy Place’ captures the process of trying to work through a panic attack. Anyone who’s ever felt a wave of anxiety come on will recognise the practical advice within the lyrics “So breathe in five/And breathe out ten/I’m in my happy place again.”

To mark the release of ‘Happy Place’, we caught up with the band’s lead singer, Dylan Baddeley, to chat about his love of Maccas, recording through a microphone responsible for one of music’s greatest achievements, and how he was wrongly led to believe that learning music theory would dull his creativity. Dylan’s shared a lot of wisdom in this edition of Sucks, so get the notepad out.

Junkee: A mistake that turned into an opportunity?

When we were tracking the vocals for our song ‘Close Friends’, we didn’t notice that there was a horrendous crackly hum that reared its ugly head as we began mixing. This instilled a panic as we drew closer and closer to mastering and release deadlines, so we bit the bullet and booked a studio to do them again. Not only did we get way better takes but we (supposedly) got to record them through the very same microphone that Jeff Buckley recorded ‘Hallelujah’ through.

Cringe quote you used to live by?

A potentially cringe quote that I still do live by is from my grandfather; ‘Walk to your problems and they’ll soon disappear.’ If you’re stressed, in decision paralysis, procrastinating a task; just take one step towards it. Write that first email, send that first message, do the first task that is a step towards completing the goal, and you’ll find that suddenly things begin to snowball and just fall into place.

Worst advice you got and blindly followed?

When I first started playing guitar in bands, I was convinced by friends that I needed to play with 11s, which are a thicker set of strings, because they said it’d sound better. I then spent the next five years feeling like I had to squeeze and hit my guitar strings so hard that I was breaking a string every. Damn. Show. Then one day I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing wrong?’, so I grabbed a set of 10s, some thinner picks and chilled tf out, and now I never break strings. 

The worst failure you’re up for sharing, and what you learned from it?

On my 22nd birthday, we played a Gaso upstairs show to celebrate, which all our friends and family came to. I got irregularly tipsy for my usual game-day presentable self. I proceeded to forget the opening lyrics to almost every song, jamming out the intro for like eight to 16 bars before our guitarist would yell the lyrics at me and I’d start. My mum approached me afterwards with a scathing review: “Dylan. You can NOT perform drunk, you do a TERRIBLE job when you do.” Soooo now it’s two tins max pre-show.

Anything you used to be wrong about?

I began my music career under the impression that the more I learned about music theory and sound engineering, the less creative my songwriting would be. This is a lie sold to innocent young musos by big stupid to sell more dumb. Knowing how to play around with scales or gear in a way that isn’t just just shooting from the hip and guessing is not a reduction in creativity and I don’t know how I was ever convinced of that.

Embarrassing internet habit?

I absolutely love commenting wholesome encouraging comments on YouTube channel comment sections. There’s some channels I love and honestly, sometimes you just gotta tell them. There’s so many narcs out there who want to shoot people down so I’m out there on the other end of that see-saw. I just hope no one recognises my name in the comment section.

Ideal morning routine versus actual morning routine?

My ideal morning involves a view of the sunrise coming over the Dandenong Ranges from my room, a coffee from our home machine and a quick catch up on band emails and admin before heading off to work a touch early to eat breakfast there. In reality, my routine is a literal roll out of bed into yesterday’s jeans, throw on a hat for the bed hair and get straight in the car to be just one minute late every morning. You’d think with consistency like that I could figure out how to be there just one minute earlier each day but no dice.

Something very off-brand for you?

I am a TERRIBLE workplace gossip. I eat it up on the daily. Management changes, disagreements, tussles, upper management decision making… I’ll take it all and spend the whole afternoon getting the lowdown and speculating in a big way.

Bad health decision?

I don’t know how it happened, or how it’s so unanimous, but it seems I’ve become everyone’s example of a friend who eats Maccas more than anyone they know. I found this out when the band started asking me how many times I’d had it that week and I’d be like ‘Oh y’know the usual normal people amount; three to four times.’ Apparently, that is not the normal amount of McDonald’s to eat in a week which is certainly news to me… I just don’t know how people find the time to avoid needing to run in for a lil sustenance between tasks every week.

What do you waste money on?

Cars. Stupid old money pit vintage cars. You get into it, buy a cheap car, a few cheap fixes, some cheap upgrades then one way or another you end up spending 50 grand on a car that cost you 2500 bucks to buy in the first place. I’d say it’s a labour of love but the more I do it the more I think maybe spending the weekend on my back on a cold concrete floor covered in oil is NOT it.  

Worst procrastination habit?

It seems that at times of peak necessity for productivity I have the only interesting song ideas for that month right at the crunch time. So instead of opening up the laptop to do what needs to be done, I’m opening up logic and tracking guitars like, ‘Heeeell yeah this is the ONE.’

Kitschen Boy’s new single ‘Happy Place’ is out now.

Like our Sucks column? Check out our full catalogue of chats here.

Illustration credit: Ali Nooriafshar