With nothing but American media to aid me, I’ve learned Australia has a reputation built on unfortunate misconceptions. Melbourne, Australia’s Woollen Kits as a band unfairly fits that stereotype only because due to my glaring ignorance, they were nothing that I expected. The vigorous three-piece have a prolific sound, blending the brash wails of garage rock yet the tender undertones of power pop. Having just toured throughout Australia as well as the United States and with a new LP Four Girls just released, Woollen Kits seem motivated to spread their gospel to anyone willing to listen. Guitarist Leon Applebee was kind enough to update us on Woollen Kits and see what’s next on the horizon for these Aussie lads.
For those who don’t know, please introduce yourself to the Selective Memory readers. How did this project get started?
Woollen Kits started with Tom H. doing his own thing for a little while on guitar, playing some solo shows and some recordings. Then Tom R. joined him and played drums and I joined to play second guitar. We were all friends before and all generally like the same music, so it was a pretty natural progression.
Where did the name Woollen Kits originate from?
Tom H. came up with the name when he was doing his solo thing. I still don’t know.
What are some bands that have helped influence Woollen Kits’ sound or have been personal inspirations?
We all like different things but along the same lines; VU, Modern Lovers, Television Personalities, etc. We all like power pop, and I think we take inspiration from contemporary Australian bands too. UV Race, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys and the like. I guess it’s an amalgamation of all those.
You guys call Melbourne, Australia home. How would you describe the music scene in Australia?
Australia is pretty good at the minute. There’s always good new bands around and that keeps the excitement up and people getting out to see them.
Having recently toured some spots in the United States, do you notice a difference in audiences between here and Australia?
Sure, no big differences but American audiences always seemed to go out of their way to tell you if they liked you. People would come up after shows and say nice things. That always boosts confidence, especially when you’re from out of town.
Your LP Four Girls just dropped this month. Give us some background on how the sound came together. What did you hope to accomplish with this album?
Tom H. recorded and mixed it. I think it’s a pretty good representation of how we sound live. I think because we recorded it straight after being in the US and playing these songs every night, we were all pretty confident with recording them. I think those are two things that we wanted to accomplish; getting it to sound right and being confident.
If you weren’t playing music, what would you guys be doing? Any personal aspirations before music became your profession?
I’m reluctant to say that we’d call music our profession. We all have different aspirations, and we’re all making our way towards them. Tom H. is about to start a teaching course, Tom R. is studying to be a youth worker and I’m (Leon) at culinary school becoming a chef.
With a new LP and a tour on the horizon, what’s next for Woollen Kits?
We’ve got some local Australian shows organized, and we were discussing hopefully touring the US again next year. We had such a great time this year.