Nicolai Kozel (lead guitar), Andrew Parkinson (percussion/vocals), Lorant Polya (bass guitar), and Justin Ross (rhythm guitar/lead vocals) met at a house party and found a room with a drum kit and a few guitars. They started jamming some covers from the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys and formed the indie-rock band The Bandicoots about eight months ago.
They have already played their upbeat tunes at some of Hamilton’s best venues: The Casbah, Baltimore House, Homegrown Hamilton, The Absinthe, and This Ain’t Hollywood. People of Hamilton caught up with band members, Justin and Lorant, to talk about their first EP released April 14, called This is why we can’t have nice things, produced by Michael Keire and mastered by Brian Lucey (the Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys). Aside from my favourite single, Mind Your Manors, the EP consists of Just After Dark, No Turn on Red, and A Fit of Lovesick Despair.
Listen: No Turn on Red
I love to sing along to Mind Your Manors, it’s so infectious. Is there a love story gone wrong behind this song or is it a general commentary on relationships?
Thank you! I like to leave it to the listener to make what they want with the songs, that’s why they’re slightly cryptic. All I’ll say is that there is a reason why ‘manors’ is spelt how it is.
Can you tell me a little bit about the creative writing process and how you all vibe together?
It changes all the time. Sometimes we just get together and bang one out – or Justin will come in with a demo made on garageband using a cheap drum machine etc. – but usually we have the instruments all worked out before we write the melody/lyrics – but sometimes it works the other way. Hard to say.
How do you like the Hamilton music scene and where you fit into it? Do you have any favourite Hamilton bands or venues?
It’s great. We’re overflowing with cool garage-ish rock/psychedelic rock/hip hop etc. We try to borrow from everybody’s good qualities. The show we’re playing at the end of May is definitely a good power-house Hamilton/Toronto show. We love ‘em. Plus, Emay (who opened for us at our SOLD OUT EP Release show at The Casbah) is one of my favourite Hip-Hop artists, and not just from Hamilton. Baltimore House is probably our favourite place to play in Hamilton.
How do you get pumped up before a show?
We won’t play unless someone hand picks us a bowl of 1000 brown M&M’s, and delivers them in a Brandy glass.
Who is your musical inspiration? Do you have any favourite Canadian musicians?
Right now we’re trying to blend 60’s Brit Rock/70’s Punk/90’s Hip Hop. Who knows if that’s working. For Canadian Artists: Can’t go wrong with some Mac Demarco/Mother Mother/Dirty Nil/Michael Buble/and this band called Weaves, check out their tune Motorcycle. Too dope.
What are you listening to these days?
Lately we’ve been digging the new Mini Mansions album/BBNG w/ Ghostface Killah/Courtney Barnett albums. I’ve (Justin) been listening to that old Richard Hell & The Voidoidz album ‘Blank Generation’ a lot.
I heard you guys on Y108s indie music show not too long ago. How does it feel to be making an impact in the scene and getting your first EP out? What can we expect from you in the next few months?
It’s cool to see that people have been taking an interest in what we like doing. I mean, our full EP hasn’t even been released yet, and it’s been creating a visible buzz. ~~ We’ll be back in the studio next month to record a 7” which we should have out for the summer. We’ll also be playing a ton of show to support the EP/7”.
Catch The Bandicoots at This Ain’t Hollywood on May 29 with their friends, Billy Moon, The White Crowleys, and Pet Sun for Pet Sun’s tour send off show!