The Chats Are Finally Bringing “Shed Rock” To The States
As stripped-down Australian act The Chats can tell you, Mother Internet is a strange mistress. When the trio uploaded the brilliantly awkward video for their track Smoko to YouTube back in 2016 — a cinematic masterpiece made for all of $5 — they were just school friends playing all-purpose rock’n’roll in a shed in Coolum. Then, Smoko blew up, earning the Chats over six million views and praise from the likes of Iggy Pop, Josh Homme, and Dave Grohl. Not bad for three dudes performing self-described “shed rock.”
Now, the Chats have a second viral video — this one for Pub Feed, an anthem for those gruffling dinner down at the pub — and their first U.S. tour scheduled for July. With all of America watching them and shows selling out fast, the band suddenly find themselves vaulted onto the international stage on the back of a video made for a fiver. All of which raises one very important question: with all this attention, have the band gotten too big for the shed?
“Unfortunately, we lost that shed last year,” says vocalist and bassist Eamon Sandwith. “We have a different shed now, but it’s not as cool as the last one.”
You’ve got the first U.S. tour coming up — how does that feel? Are there specific cities you’re especially stoked to play, or areas of the country you’re excited to see?
Yeah! We’re super keen to see everywhere, but mainly looking forward to Reno, California and Texas. We’re looking forward to seeing the desert, too.
Has the viral success of Smoko changed things for you guys? Are you getting recognized on the street, et cetera?
Yeah, we do get recognised a bit now, but other than that our lives aren’t much different.
Why do you think the videos for Smoko and Pub Feed have blown up so much? What is it about them that people love?
I think people love the outright Australiana of those videos, and the home video aesthetic, particularly Smoko. We did that video on a budget of $5 so it looks a bit like a video you’d do for a school project.
How’d the Chats come together? Did you know what you’d sound like initially, or did it take some time to figure out your sound?
It took us a while to figure out our sound completely, but we knew we wanted to write fun songs that we could play for our mates when we had a party.
You guys aren’t easily one thing or another — not quite punk, or indie rock, or alternative. How would you describe The Chats’ music to a total newcomer?
I just call it shed rock because it doesn’t necessarily tie us down to one genre. shed rock can be punk, surf, rock n roll, even rockabilly. You just have to practice in a shed.
How does being from Coolum inform The Chats’ music?
Being from Coolum has been an influence on a fair few of our songs, especially Wrong Way Sekisui, which was about a building company called Sekisui who wanted to build high rise apartments right on our beloved Yaroomba Beach.
Both the terms “on smoko” and “pub feed” don’t exist in American slang. What are some other Australian terms your average American ought to learn?
“Suck piss” (means drinking alcohol)
“Dog act” (if someone lets you down or betrays you)
“Dead horse” (tomato sauce)
“Bowlsie” (local bowls club)
“Lung Buster” (cigarette)
“Billy” (a bong)
Finally, describe your perfect pub feed.
American shed enthusiasts can catch The Chats at one of the following dates:
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