We are giving away a pair of tickets to The Chats High Risk Behaviour Tour @ Crystal Ballroom on April 13. To win, comment on this post why you’d like to attend. Winner will be drawn and emailed April 6.
From our sponsors:
High Risk Behaviour Tour
April 13, 2020
7p Doors, 8p Show | $22.50 ADV, $25 Doors | All Ages
More info: crystalballroompdx.com
1332 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
The Chats have the cops to thank for the title of their debut album, High Risk Behaviour.
If they didn’t keep hassling drummer Matt Boggis about skating in places he shouldn’t – and giving him tickets listing that as the offense – who knows what idiotic title the self-proclaimed “dropkick drongos from the Sunshine Coast of Australia” would have come up with.
And yet it’s the perfect name for an album that does not fuck around. An album that sounds like Aussie greats the Cosmic Psychos downing beers with The Saints before doing shots with the Buzzcocks and then spewing it all up behind the kebab van. An album that’s over in 28 blistering, funny, sweaty, unforgettable minutes, with half of its 14 songs failing to reach the two-minute mark. Some might call the Queensland trio lazy. Singer-bassist Eamon Sandwith sees it differently.
“I don’t want to make the songs boring, so I just keep them short and sweet,” shrugs the man whose mullet became an international talking point following the success of 2017 viral hit “Smoko.” “We try not to think about it or complicate it too much. You don’t want to force it or the song’s going to turn out crap.”
Since forming in their mate’s bong shed in 2016 while still in high school, that attitude has taken The Chats – completed by guitarist Josh Price, who once wrote a song called “How Many Do You Do?” in which he boasted of doing 52 “dingers” in a night – from the sleepy coastal village of Coolum (located roughly two hours north of Brisbane) to venues around the world. Their fanbase includes Dave Grohl, who loved the video for “Smoko” so much he showed it to Josh Homme, who then asked the trio to support Queens of the Stone Age on their 2018 Australian tour. Iggy Pop is also a card-carrying member of The Chats’ fanclub, requesting that they support him in Australia in early 2019 and peppering them with questions like, “What’s a smoko?” and “What’s a dart?”
The rest of 2019 was spent taking the world by storm armed with nothing more than guitars, drums, shorts, shirts and thongs (or, if it was a formal occasion, sandals and socks). Shows across Australia and the UK were sold out, and they performed their first gigs in America (the LA show was attended by Homme, Grohl and Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner). The band capped off the year with a return visit to Britain, selling out venues such as London’s 2,300-capacity 02 Forum.
Suffice it to say, life has changed a fair bit for The Chats over the past two years.
“Well, I don’t have to work at the supermarket anymore,” Sandwith says.
That he does not. In fact Sandwith and his mates have been too busy touring, writing songs and, when their gigs took them to Victoria, dropping into engineer Billy Gardner’s studio in the coastal city of Geelong for a day of recording. That face that they chose this piecemeal approach explains why the album took 18 months to finish – a luxury considering 2017 EP Get This In Ya took four hours to record one hungover afternoon.
“If we’d just done a week and slogged it out we could have had an album before now but we just kept going in there and making newer and better songs so it’s hard to put a stop on it,” Sandwith says.
The sessions were fast. “Some of the songs were first-take and we were like, ‘That’s good, whatever’,” Sandwith says. “We’re really not perfectionists.”
Remarkably, they still found time to experiment with exotic instruments such as… a tambourine.
The end product is an album that buzzes like an out-of-control chainsaw, propelled by Sandwith’s spoken-spit-sung vocals, their three-chords-is-one-too-many approach, and an exacting combination of youth, vigor and drunkenness. But don’t mistake simple for stupid – if it was easy to make songs this short, this catchy and this downright brilliant, everyone would be doing it.
“I think they’re good songs,” Sandwith says. “And at the end of the day, if I like it then fuck it, who cares if other people do?”