interview with Breaking Kebabs

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How is it that you started playing music and have any of you played in other bands? Our band began back when we were all in high school. Originally, Hubert (our drummer) and myself (Steven) got together and jammed most weekends. This would have been about 8 years ago. I had personally played in one or two other high school bands prior, but being quite young I would hardly count those as band experiences. Eventually our duo grew into a foursome and the band we are today.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Breaking Kebabs consists of four members, Hubert Tam: our drummer, George Tong on the bass, Matt King on the lead guitar and myself; Steven Andritsos, on rhythm guitar and vocals. We are all 21-22. 
Have you had other previous members? Back in high school we had a different lead guitarist named Scott Macdougall. After high school finished he left our band to join a band called Move on Be Strong. They had amassed quite a decent following and were also made up of older kids from our high school who Scott had befriended. 
Did you make music even when you were young?
I’ve (Steven) been writing music from as early as I can remember. It hasn’t always been good, but I can recall the first song I ever wrote at age 4 “Thunder, Lightning, Struck”, an uninspired rip off of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”. 
Where are you from? We are all from the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia! 
What year did the band form? Our musical project began back in 2010, but “Breaking Kebabs” officially became such in late 2013.
What's your style of genre? I like to think our genre blends the better elements of heavy music and pop music. We like to play hard, fast and violently, but that only gets you so far so we balance it out with choruses you can sing along to. So maybe something like Heavy Alternative Rock. 
What inspires you? We are inspired by many things. As a songwriter I try my best to channel my perception of the world into the music and the lyrics. To me it isn’t so much about the content of what you say necessarily, but more so the emotional weight of it. As a band I think we are inspired by artists that see success but don’t let it change who they are. Dave Grohl is a good example of this I think because he’s the biggest rockstar in the world but seems like the kind of guy who’d help you move houses if you bought him a slab of beer!
How often and where do you reherse? We used to rehearse weekly at our drummers house, but over the years we’ve become quite good at the songs we play and can afford to practice only when its necessary like before a gig or when I have enough new material to run through. We’re testing out using rehearsal spaces now as it allows us to practice much later into the night. 
How have you developed since you started with the music? I think the music we play has developed through the bands we’ve listened too. In the early days, the focus was sounding like the Foo Fighters, but in recent years, the wave of awesome Australian rock music in bands like Violent Soho, British India and The Dune Rats has helped round out our sound and given it a unique flavour. I think the fact that when we started we were all around the age of 14 also means that we’ve gotten a lot better at our instruments, our music is tighter and our confidence is far superior. 
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? We do have interests outside of the band, primarily gaming and sports. Matt is quite an accomplished goalkeeper. We’re also all studying at university heading into our final undergraduate years of study. I myself am doing an honours year at Monash University for Psychology. 
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? I don’t think we’re against the idea of a booking agency, and perhaps if the right one came along we’d look into it, but I think theres something to be said for learning the craft yourself. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to work really hard in 2018 in terms of networking, building our own lineups and booking our own shows, and so far, its been beneficial.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? I think the same can be said in terms of looking for a label. Maybe the right label would be worth it, I’d love to be signed to James Tidswell’s new label Domestic La La. But at the same time, in this day and age, I think it is conceivable that a band can achieve widespread distribution without the need of a third party. 
What made you decide to make this music? Music has been a part of my whole life and I have always been writing. Riffs, poems, they all just fly out of me and sometimes they’re actually not shit! I think its just a really fun way to focus our creative energies and we’ve developed a bond between the four of us that is hard to quantify or explain.
What are your songs about? I treat the music I write like a diary. I don’t necessarily focus on events in particular but rather the feelings surrounding them. I then try to recreate those feelings through the lyrics and the music. I’ve written about love, politics and everything in between.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? The best way to describe it is that I (Steven) plant the musical seed. I write the lyrics and I bring the concept of the songs. We then water them together as a band and it grows into and end result we are all happy with. My intention is never to be the sole creator, but at the same time, I like to take the reigns and make sure the music is encapsulating the right emotions. 
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? In the earlier days I used to start with the lyrics and then write the music, but it has since swapped and now I find myself mostly writing music and only writing lyrics when a song is ready for them.
Do you compose in a certain inviroment? There is nowhere in particular that I compose. I write anywhere and everywhere, whenever inspiration strikes.
Have you done any covers live? We like to chuck in a cover at nearly every gig. I think its a good practice because, while you want people to hear your music, you need to acknowledge that its not always fun to listen to an hour of things you don’t recognise. A nice popular song with a unique take on it can do wonders to a waning set.
What language do you sing in? Our music is in English.
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? We once played a gig with no people there for the first 10 minutes before my parents rocked up, to which I am still so happy they did. The most people we’ve played in front of would be in the hundreds due to the opportunities given to us by the school, however, the best we ever drew was at our first post high-school gig and that was 78.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? Our demographic is shaped like a 2-humped camel. We have a decent following in the 18-25 age group, near nothing in the 26-39 age group, and then another sizeable following in the 40-60 age group.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We like to keep our set fairly variable and aim to do different covers or songs from our library. However, we always play the songs we want to get the most exposure to, so a fair portion of our music is played every time.
Do you have a regular place you play live often? We like to play in as many venues as we can, but would love to land a residency at a venue at some point.
What was your first gig like? Our first gig was exciting as it was a battle of the bands. We were the last band to go on and I remember being incredibly nervous but I noticed that every other band presented themselves as nervous (to be fair they were all in high school). So then and there I decided to just go full pelt, 100% and have as much fun as possible. Its a mentality I use to this day.
What was your latest gig? Our latest gig was at the Rack em Up Pool Hall and Bar back in December.
Have you had to cancel a gig? We’ve never cancelled a gig.
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? We are just about to start gigging for this year and will be playing at the Tote and Whole Lotta Love Bar first and foremost. We would love to support a band at a venue called The Russel in Melbourne.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I think bands can no longer rely on record sales to make a living. In this day and age, streaming platforms are king and a band needs to focus on marketing themselves as a brand instead if they wish to make music their full time work. You gotta find ways to sell not just the music but you as a band and artist and things like, gigs and t-shirts are the way to do it.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? I think live music has taken a big blow due to the popularity of streaming and digital music in general. People are more interested in finding music through recommendations on Spotify than through pub crawls. Although I don’t necessarily think that its all bad, its just a matter of who can adapt.
What do you think of my work? I think you do a very thorough job and clearly reach out to a wide spread of bands given we’re from Australia! 
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? I would like to think this allows more people to find our music, exposure is like food to the starving musician! 
Do you have any role models or idols? Role models of mine include, Freddie Mercury, Dave Grohl, Barack Obama and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? I think its good to draw your inspiration from older bands but tweak your sound with ideas from your musical peers in those active today. The best music bridges the old and the new, but also manages to stay relevant. Then again, our interest isn’t primarily to be popular for the sake of popularity. We want to share our vision of music to as many people as possible, not just follow the trends.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Our biggest obstacles have definitely been building a following and organising shows. 
What advice would you give other bands or artists? I would say to other artists, if you aren’t setting yourself tangible goals and updating them weekly or monthly, you aren’t serious about growing. We’ve done it both ways, and theres nothing quite like an objective measure to tell you if you’re working hard enough.
How do you get psyched for a gig? I like to channel an alter ego of myself who is the coolest person in the world. I’m not him 95% of the time, but when I’m on stage, everyone better be looking at me and wishing they were me because that stage is mine! 
Do you have any new material? We will be releasing new material later this year, but you can find our most recent release “Dreamer” on Spotify. 
How can people reach you? People can reach us through most social media platforms as “Breaking Kebabs”. We’re also on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal etc. Any business enquiries can be made at Breakingkebabs@gmail.com
What are your plans for the future? This year we plan to grow our audience larger than ever before and publish our second release to widespread approval. 
Do you have something to add? It might only take 5 or 10 minutes of your time, but it means the world to musicians and artists to give their music attention. Anyway you can help us or anyone else in this industry is so invaluable. If you like our stuff, let us know about, let your friends know about it, and make sure you stay in our circles to hear when we release more!
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