Words by Jemah Finn.
Try removing the bass track of any popular tune and suss out the audiences response. You can guarantee they will point out that “something’s missing”. That’s because, even though they can be overlooked, a bass guitarist is often the backbone of a band’s rhythm, and is essential for a good tune. Bassists really do hold the key to a groovy rhythm!
The current ‘backbone’ of up-and-coming band, Young Offenders, is talented bassist, Anthony Katern.
Anthony has been around the music scene for quite a while and his current band, Young Offenders, is making quite a name for themselves. They recently opened for indie pop band, San Cisco at Adelaide’s Fat Controller, playing an electric set. I was front and centre for this gig, and I can tell you right now, they have something special. They also just did a tour of the East Coast which received some rave reviews.
The energetic indie punk band have been on the Adelaide music scene since early 2013, and have recently launched their debut self titled EP. The band definitely have a Artic Monkeys meets Red Hot Chili Peppers sound but maintain their originality. Oozing an organic sound coupled with an electric vibe, it is no wonder the group have been gaining a positive reputation around Adelaide.
I had a chat with Anthony to find out more about being the ‘backbone’ of the Young Offenders and to see what’s next for the band…
When did you start playing music?
I started playing music in 2007 when I was 16. I originally started on the guitar, but after a week my dad said “don’t take this the wrong way but you’re a bass player. You should play bass.” I just immediately found it more natural using my fingers bass style as opposed to using a pick.
And then you joined your first band?
I joined my first band later that year or maybe it was the year after, just a bunch of my good mates. We had a few originals and did a bunch of old covers by blues rock bands like Cream and Hendrix.
You’ve played in a few bands? Who are they?
The very first band I ever played a show with in Adelaide were called The Brotherhood of Sonic Bliss, when I was 17. The band I was in the longest was Seventeen Fifty Seven and now play with Young Offenders and another project called Heinous Crimes. I also played bass for my mate Josh Bills band, These Wild Animals.
I wouldn’t call it a career pinnacle haha but a highlight so far of playing music would be the East Coast shows I did with Young Offenders in October this year. Also. the Seventeen Fifty Seven EP launch at Jive in 2013, that was a crazy night.
Do you have a musical inspiration?
As a teen, the band that made me go holy shit I want to play music were the Chili Peppers and from that as a bass player, obviously Flea was a big influence. Even to this day I love listening to him, he’s known as the crazy funky dude originally, but I love how dynamic he is as a player and his passion, energy and love for music in general. As far as other bassists, Peter Hook, Eric Avery, Les Claypool, Joe Lally there’s more but we’ll stop there. Also a shout out to my parents who always had good music playing, a lot of which I still love today such as Neil Young and Joy Division.
What is it about music that you love?
The two things I love about playing music, is getting in a room with mates and just improvising. That feeling when it all gels is pretty special, but also that vibe factor that occasionally it can just go nowhere haha and playing live, when you’re just in the zone and it’s all clicking there aren’t many better feelings.
What’s the year ahead look like for you?
Looking ahead will be getting stuck into writing, gigging and continuing to tour next year with Young Offenders.