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  • An Interview with 18th & Addison

    What I really enjoy about the Spring and Summer season is that I always seem to find new bands to listen to, or bands that I should have been listening to way before. It’s not everyday that I find a band (or in this case, finds me, specifically on Instagram) where I immediately fall in love with everything from their sound down to their aesthetic.

    Based in New Jersey, rock-punk duo 18th & Addison started in separate bands but eventually linked up to create a band together through a mutual love for bands like Good Charlotte and Mess. What I really enjoyed about 18th & Addison and seeing them at Rams Pub a couple of weeks ago is how they can make a small crowd and venue seem large and lively. Tom and Kait both bring such a lively and, without sounding too cliché, rock-and-roll spirit that is infectious in the best way possible. For me, they truly are redefining genres like punk and rock and I am so happy to have been able to speak with them and experience them play.

    Read on to hear my conversation with this (cliché intended) dynamic duo!


    Band: 18th & Addison

    Members:

    Tom Kunzman

    Kait DiBenedetto

    Where can we find your music:

    Facebook

    Spotify


    Describe 18th & Addison in a couple sentences or less

    Kait: I think we’re an eclectic punk rock but it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what genre we are…we just write what we feel like we want to write.

    Tom: Basically the same thing it’s definitely punk rock at its foundation but really it’s because of the melodies and the harmonies, between the two of us singing and everything you don’t really have a like a band in pop rock or whatever you call it that has a guy and girl singer with the type of energy that we put out…definitely a different thing since we started i haven’t really seen anything yet, we didn’t see it when we started so we just decided to go do it.

    How did this all start? Tell me your origin story.

    Kait: We were both playing in separate things, separate bands, which both fell apart. I actually pressured Tom to join a band with me, he didn’t want to be in a band with me at first, not with me specifically he was just not ready…once everything disbanded we just started jamming and writing to whatever we thought was fun, I think we first jammed on a Mess song.

    Tom: Yeah, we started off by just covering bands that we both liked that none of our other friends were into like the bands that we kind of got mocked for liking but we didnt know each other as kids so in a way we were on our own with certain styles, at least I was because I was like a dude who liked Good Charlotte and Rancid and Operation Ivy and things like that…I wasn’t liking music to be cool, I liked it because it was good so we were both like that and when we met each other we were like “oh my god you like this too? Here’s this other thing you might like!” and like trading music and that was when it was like “okay this is cool we have something in common”. That was when we started hanging out and writing stuff, and then once the bands all disbanded and went away it was finally a clear head where it was like “okay we made this mistake back then, let’s avoid it this time so we can be successful with this one and actually enjoy it, 100% enjoy the music that we’re writing” and that’s kind of where we’ve been.

    Kait: I think even before we were actually taking it seriously we always took music seriously. Even when we were covering songs we were like “this is cool let’s record this” we wanted to put it out and we were excited to make it something.

    Do you guys share the creative process?

    Kait: Yeah, we’ve always both written the songs and I think now more than ever we’re collaborating as a whole. In the beginning it was definitely more like let’s say Tom had an idea and basically have the whole song written and I would add my part and vice versa. We would kind of just bring it to each other and make it better but then i think on our second full length record that we put out, Makeshift Monster, that’s when we started creatively getting together…now we just do what’s best for the song it’s come more naturally.

    Tom: I think a mistake a lot of bands make is they all want to be so good at that one thing and they’re ignoring the things they’re actually good at and that was something we both kind of did since it’s just the two of us, trying to be really good at singing and playing guitar when really it doesn’t have to be that way. All it had to be was “oh I’m flying through tracking guitar but I’m struggling a little to sing these parts, maybe I should pass this along to Kait” and vice versa…you start to lean into those a little more and start to really refine the creativity…ever since we’ve been doing that we’ve been writing the best music I think we’ve ever written.

    Kait: There’s less pressure on how [Tom] wants to sing a part when I can just figure it out, I don’t have to sit there and figure out what riff sounds cool when Tom can just figure that out, we don’t dwell on that stuff…as far as inspiration we can never like listen to something during the process of writing a record that makes us write like that person. We listen to The Stones a lot we’ll listen to The Clash then we’ll listen to Greenday and then Good Charlotte, we’ll have our moments where we’ll just listen to everything and I think that just molded us into who we are again cause we’re not trying to copy them.

    So you’re working on a new EP? Album? Or..?

    Kait: We have a ton songs that we have written, we have some recorded we’re just writing, waiting for the right moment letting all of it come out before we say “hey have an EP” or “here’s two songs”.

    What are you hoping to accomplish in the next couple of years?

    Tom: Right now, it’s just to put out way better music than before. We’re proud of the stuff we’ve already done, of course, because it definitely did capture where we were at at the time but in terms of just better sounding records putting things out and away that’s just a step up from how we used to be…we’ve always taken pride in being our own label, the whole DIY thing and that’s been really fun and now it’s a matter of wanting the next thing to be bigger and better than the last…there’s influences we haven’t touched yet, getting them on there and figuring out a way to make this next release bigger than the last three put together.

    What are some of your favorite moments on stage?

    Kait: The engagement! We played main stage at warped tour! It’s great because not only were we like slaying on main stage, I didn’t even have a clue what was happening. We’re together almost ten years at this point but at that time we were together seven or eight years, we were playing and I was like “this is the best day ever!” and then he got down on one knee which was super cool…my anxiety was through the roof too I was like “what is he doing, he’s taking so long to introduce this song”…I had no idea! Even when he proposed I was still like “wait, for me?” you never know what you’re gonna do in that moment and it was definitely weird but I’ll never forget it.

    How does being in a committed relationship affect being in a band with each other?

    Kait: We talk about it all the time actually how people say that “oh it must be so hard” and how its weird…but we’re really good at shutting it off and toning it down, we know for example we’re going to dedicate one night for a date or something.

    Tom: I think it’s made us stronger, because you get to see two different sides of who you’re with, you get to see all dynamics of how they are.

    Kait: Our relationship though we don’t bicker much in our regular relationship, like if we bicker at all it’s because we’re trying to planning ahead or [Tom] gets so excited about things and again we’re two different people who have different views on things at times, that’s the only time we ever fight.

    Tom: It’s just one of things where if you can separate it you can pull it off. There’s a lot of people that can’t separate it, like there’s guys that I’m friends with that I can’t be in a band with, but they’re great people and are extremely talented but as bandmates there’s little things that I can’t connect with and that’s fine.

    18th & Addison will be coming back to Long Island around the end of summer so keep your eyes and social medias peeled!