Australian Alt-rock duo Teenage Joans chat about their debut SXSW experience, life in Australia, and MORE!
It was getting to the final days of SXSW and everyone was starting to feel the exhaustion kicking in, yet our spirits remained high as did our eagerness. As we were so wrapped up in SXSW we totally forgot that it was Paddy’s Day, a holiday that even the Texans go absolutely batshit for. On this day of Irish celebration we headed to the Scholz Garten, near North University to chat to Australian alt-rock duo Teenage Joans, all the while traditional Irish music tickled our ears the duo spoke to us about their debut SXSW experience, life in Australia, their new debut LP, and much more!
Kieran: So, it’s your first time at SXSW.. How has it been so far?
Cahli & Tahlia: Yeah, it’s been great!
Cahli: It’s been great, very hectic as we’ve been back and forth a lot, but it’s been really fun.
Kieran: You’ve played two showcases so far, how have those gone down?
Thalia: Yeah, they’ve gone pretty good!
Cahli: We played at Australia House last night (Wednesday) and it was a 1am set, way past our bedtime but it was super fun! Then yesterday we played at Valhalla for the Planetary Group showcase which was an amazing show, we had a full room which was awesome.
Kieran: Amazing! So how did you two meet and when did Teenage Joans become the musical project that we see today?
Thalia: We met at the end of 2018 so we’ve been playing together for like 4 years now, which is cool.
Cahli: Yeah, so we met in South Australia where we are from, there is a music community centre place called Northern Sound System. They run workshops and get kids into writing music, producing, stuff like that. We both did different stuff there, Tahlia did workshops and I did work experience. The guy that runs the place reckoned we would be a good match, so he introduced us to each other and it went from there.
Kieran: And the rest is history!
Cahli & Thalia: Yeah! (laughs).
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Kieran: Did you have a shared love for the same music or did you both bring something different to the table?
Thalia: I think one of our collectively favourite bands is 5 Seconds Of Summer but we do both have different music tastes. I am in to more heavier music, such a emo or pop-punk stuff. Whereas Cahli is into more pop oriented music.
Cahli: Yeah, but when we first met, our first conversation that really got going was chatting about 5 Seconds Of Summer. We spent the whole day talking about them and they’ve been a huge inspiration for us.
Listen/watch ‘Terrible’ Here:
Kieran: It seems like the Australian music scene is really flourishing at the moment and I’m curious to know how does it feel to be a part of that?
Cahli: Yeah, it’s really cool. I think Australia’s music is so unique because we’re so remote, I guess. We’re in our own little bubble where we’re creating our own really cool music. It feels really good to be a part of that.
Kieran: What else can we expect from you in 2023?
Thalia: Ooo Well, we are putting out our debut album soon, we’ve been in the studio writing and recording new stuff. We’ve also been recording some music videos which has been so much fun too. Hopefully doing some international touring too, fingers crossed.
Cahli: The main thing is our debut album though which should be released some time at the end of the year.
Kieran: Can you talk us through the recording process of the debut album?
Cahli: It’s super chilled, I will just bring a little riff or chorus to Thalia’s house. We will just chill out at on the floor of the bedroom and write from there.
Thalia: Yeah, we don’t have a fancy studio to go to, we literally write it at our houses.
Cahli: (laughs) I’ll just go round with an acoustic guitar and we go from there. We actually get used to our songs by playing them live and seeing what works and what doesn’t. We’re still pretty new to recording to be honest, we’ve only got one EP out which was like 5 songs. For this album what we’ve done is slowly add to our demos which means adding guitars, drums, and any little extras.
Kieran: Is it fair to say that Teenage Joans is very much a DIY project?
Cahli: Yeah 100%, I think it is very Australian to DIY till ya die kinda thing. I remember when we first started we hand made a lot of stuff such as the banners and that. We always tried to design and create the merch ourselves as well as posters too. Our close circle of friends and family have always been very involved. In the beginning it was a very much chew and DIY as possible and that’s still kind of the case to be honest. We still write our set list on a piece of paper 10 minutes before we go on-stage (laughs).
“Our close circle of friends and family have always been very involved“Cahli Blakers – Teenage Joans
Thalia: When we started I was 15 turning 16 so we didn’t have much money to do stuff anyways. We’ve always been super into DIY stuff.
Cahli: I remember the launch show for our EP Thalia hand made a bunch of candles to sell at the show which had the EP artwork printed onto it. Oh we also made party bags too actually (laughs) for the first 100 people that came to the show.
Kieran: What was in the bags?
Thalia: Lollies, stickers, and a handwritten note in every single one and weird illustrations.
Kieran: As the band grows do you think you will still try and do things like this?
Cahli: Yeah for sure! In whatever way is like the easiest and safest way we always want to connect with people who listen to our music. We don’t wanna see a disconnect between us and them as we’re only here because people listen to us and support us.
Kieran: Are there any particular artists that have infuenced you and your approach to music?
Cahli: I am a huge Youngblud fan and the way he connects with his audience is always super inspiring.
Thalia: I think Mom Jeans would be the one for me as they have such an interesting circle of friends they all work with. They have friends doing artwork, merch, everything, it’s so awesome.
Cahli: We’ve always said we want our team to feel like a family rather than like a business.
Kieran: Lastly, what advice would you give to anyone who’s thinking about starting their own band?
Cahli: My biggest piece of advice would be like fake it till you make it. Fake confidence which I know is hard, trust me there are a lot days where I don’t feel confident at all. But yeah, pretend to be as confident as you can because no one will ever know if you don’t tell them.
Thalia: It’s a bit cringe but staying true to yourself and have fun with what you’re doing. Stay humble as well and do what you want to do.
Cahli: Yeah, we don’t care about any of that, we’re just enjoying ourselves and doing what we wanna do!
Kieran: Alright, perfect. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us and have a good day!
Cahli & Thalia: That’s alright, thank you for having us!
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