COVER STORY: On Smoko with The Chats

A Chat with The Chats: Rebellious Pop-Punk for All

The Chats have the element of youth on their side, with both their sound and their attitude; they’ve still got the element of no worries, jangly, stream-of-consciousness pop-punk sounds and laissez-faire attitudes that can sometimes be lost as we get older. [editor’s note – in short, The Chats are everything punk rock should stand for, and might just be the saving grace in today’s rock-free musical landscape].

They embody the DIY spirit and release all their music on their own terms. They’re just having fun, and they’re doing it well; their viral single “Smoko” asserts it. They’re beloved by rock greats like Dave Grohl (and you bet they’ve got a picture to prove it). We chatted with drummer Matt Boggis about their goofy music videos, their progression as a band, and more.

You started creating music as a band when you all were in high school; how have your creative process, production techniques, and overall band identity shifted since then?

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Well, we don’t record with a two-track interface into GarageBand anymore, so you could say things are getting pretty serious. We got a bit tighter too, as a band. 

Your recent videos for “Smoko” and “Pub Feed” are both hilarious and illuminate the band’s persona. Tell me about the process that went into making these two videos and what you wanted to portray to your listeners?

We like to keep it kind of simple and display a bit of Aussie humor in the music, and not take it too seriously. Making both of those videos was pretty simple and we all had a good time doing it; we got to ride a three-seater bike.

Your catchy hit song “Smoko” went viral on YouTube; what was that experience like?

It was pretty cool! We made it thinking only our friends would see it…turns out a lot more did. We definitely wouldn’t be where we are today without it.

When the band takes smokos, what are your topics of conversation? (Unless you want to be left alone!)

Eamon and I don’t talk. We just listen to Josh talk about his [Toyota] Hilux.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your quippy, no-bars-held lyrics, and what’s the songwriting process like?

Sometimes we’ll write a song and it will be pretty clear before we even play it, but most of the time we just jam and figure it out as we go.

How do you translate your worry-free, raucous persona into your live shows, and what’s the energy been like there?

We don’t think about it too much. We just play. I think a lot of people can relate to the Aussie humour and enjoy the old punk sound.

I feel like you all have the most legendary party stories. Tell me about one!

Eamon shat in a caravan once, that was pretty legendary.

You all were recently spotted in a photo with legends Dave Grohl and Alex Turner. Who do you want in your next photo entourage?

We want to get a photo with Korn and Limp Bikkie [Bizkit].

What’s next for the band?

We are just about to head out on our Australia New Zealand Identity Theft tour, and have a European headline tour at the end of the year.

If you had to list your favorite desert island instruments, what would they be?

Would just be a guitar, bass, and drums, I suppose. Maybe sneak in the harmonica?

And like that, just like the band’s songs, the interview ends with a punchline, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. If you haven’t experienced the band live yet, you’re in for an incredible treat. Catch The Chats on their tour throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Europe in 2019; in 2020, there’s no telling where this band will go (and what rad new music videos they’ll gift unto us).

Fascinating Facts about The Chats (as told to us by The Chats – so take that for what it’s worth!)

  • Josh Homme personally requested the band to open for the Queens of The Stone Age, after being sent the “Smoko” video from Dave Grohl.
  • Drummer Matt got expelled from a school for stealing a golf buggy and driving it around
  • The “Smoko” video has over 7.5 million views (and counting!)
  • Guitarist Pricey [Josh Price] has never read a book from start to finish.
  • The band all turn 20 this year.
  • On their recent Australian tour, Idles covered “Smoko” during their set.
  • After their sell-out debut UK tour last year, the band played Reading and Leeds this year.
  • Drummer Matt is a pro skater.
  • Eamon worked at Coles.
  • To maintain his lucious Mullet, Eamon trims the front every coupla weeks, and when needs be, his mum trims the back.

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all photos by Matthew Walter

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