Adelaide (or should I say, RADelaide) has always been home to an awesome underrated music scene for as long as I can remember. Ready to make a name for themselves are alternative rockers AGAPANTHER, a four-piece consisting of brothers Kyle and Dylan Kenworthy (vocals/guitar and bass), Harry Mason (drums) and Coen Miller (lead guitarist).
Together, they pen emotional lyrics, accompanied by brooding guitars and harmonies, and complimented by the additional scream or two. which are vaguely reminiscent of fellow Aussies Violent Soho and Tired Lion as well as US emo/pop punk boys The Story So Far and Citizen.
AGAPANTHER are set to release their new single ‘Dive’ this Friday, so we grabbed frontman Kyle to get to know the band and the new single, which delves into the effects behind anxiety (something I’m sure everyone can relate to).
Tell us the story behind AGAPANTHER and your life so far as a band.
AGAPANTHER started off with Dylan and myself, we’re brothers. Late 2017, Dylan asked me if we could start a band if he invested in some gear, and I wrote/taught him some songs on bass. I’d also been friends with Harry since middle school. We were the only kids our age who not only listened to heavy, more alternative genres, but played them too, so we clicked. As for Coen, he came into the store I work in, wearing an old Hindsight hat, so I asked if he was going to their next show (with Trophy Eyes). We then spotted each other at that show. When AGAPANTHER started out as a trio, Coen would come to every gig, so once we realised he played guitar, we asked him to play with us, and the rest is history.
So far our experience has been great. Over the last year we’ve watched ourselves improve a significant amount, and become more collaborative and more creative as song writers. We’ve also had the opportunity to play some of our favourite venues with some really cool local and interstate bands.
And what’s the go behind the band name?
We were really struggling to think of a name that we instantly deemed fitting for us, so we decided to take a break from playing one day to brainstorm. We got onto the topic of tattoos and realised it’s pretty crazy that all three of us (sorry Coen, this was before you joined) got traditional American panther tattoos on our own accord. Skip forward and mid conversation, I believe Harry just began to stare at some plants in his garden. Looking over at the splay of agapanthuses, and back at our panther tattoos, he had an epiphany and slowly the word “AGAPANTHER,” fell out of his mouth. We all pondered over it for a minute, before deciding it was the one.
Your single ‘Dive’ is giving me definitive soft rock emo vibes similar to Violent Soho, Basement and Citizen. What’s the underlying theme behind this track?
We love all three of those bands. They harness so much energy, something we definitely strive for and something we think we’ve achieved in ‘Dive.’ To put it quite bluntly, the track is about anxiety. It touches on the behavioural traits, of both mental and physical nature. I’ve always been somewhat shy, since I was a child, and the thing that scared me most about being a part of AGAPANTHER was the thought that one day I’d have to play to people. There’s so much overwhelming vulnerability in allowing people to experience your subjective work, hence the line, “get up there, stay sat down.” I’ve pushed past that fear now though, and I love playing shows, so I want people to take THAT as the real message. Sometimes you just have to take those smaller steps to reach a greater outcome in the future, even if it’s terrifying.
What are you guys influenced by when creating your music?
We’re influenced by a lot of things really. First of all, the bands around us in Adelaide. Adelaide is home to so many good acts and the music scene just keeps on growing, so we have a lot of love for so many of the artists around us and the great work they produce.
Secondly, we all have quite a wide array of music tastes, which travel through a bunch of great eras. We started off writing prettier, more mellow content, until we realised that it just wasn’t what WE needed get out. So far I’ve written all of our lyrics, and with every song, I instil more and more of myself into those lines.
I spent the better half of my teen years listening to bands like Counterparts, Trophy Eyes and The Story So Far, all of which are extremely passionate, and in the vast majority of their lyrics, they don’t really touch on positivity. I guess what I’m trying to say is that AGAPANTHER songs are and will inevitably become darker in theme, because personally I can put more passion, emotion and honesty into the negative.
What’s a typical AGAPANTHER live show like?
Our live shows are a heap of fun. We always have so many supportive friends join us, we love seeing them sing along and move around to our tunes. If you’re lucky, Harry will tell a joke or you’ll catch him doing stick tricks mid-song. Dylan is always bound to let his hair down and snap his neck to a riff, and Coen will bring some tasty, atmospheric lead parts. As for myself, I’m forever adding screams into parts of songs where they were never intended be. However, this unpredictability gives our sets an element that differentiates between a recording and a live show. Also, we enjoy sticking around to have a chat, watch the other sets and we love to have a beer with anyone and everyone.
What’s next for AGAPANTHER over the next 6 months?
‘Dive’ is really where it all begins. We’re doing a weekender trip with our friends in Sighclone, which kicks off in Adelaide on Friday, August 2nd, and we’ll be heading to Melbourne and Mount Gambier to play our first interstate shows on the 3rd and 4th. We’ve got a bunch of other songs in the works for an EP too, so the plan is to try and get more out by the end of the year. Other than that, we’ll just keep playing shows and continue to have a great time writing and playing music together.
Interview by Tamara May (@citylightsTAM)
‘Dive‘ is out this Friday!