G.P.: How old were you in your first band?
D.K.: Uhh, 17.
G.P.: And, that was?
D.K.: The Clean, a very early sort of a lineup with Hamish on vocals and another drummer. It was very, eh, what to call it, ah, I guess it was punk. But we didn't know how to play, it was 1978 maybe.
G.P.: So when did the Great Unwashed come into being?
D.K.: The Great Unwashed came along in 1982-'83.
G.P.: It's a different mindset with the Great Unwashed.
D.K.: Oh, for sure. Well of course Hamish and I were the Great Unwashed, and it was to get away from the rock & roll thing, I guess. We'd split up with the Clean. A year or two later, Hamish had bought a 4-track and we started recording at home. And, that's kinda why really, it was to get away from that sort of electric thing. We just started playing around and having fun, without any desire to make a record and we sort of ended up with that Great Unwashed LP.
G.P.: Is there ever gonna be another Pop Art Toasters release?
D.K.: Who knows? Martin and I do talk about it, and we have a vague concept for it but, who knows? Eh, it was fun, it was just a fun party band that we formed for sort parties really, and fun. And Flying Nun found out about it and said why don't you record and yeah, yeah, okay.
G.P.: Can you name and bands or singers that inspired you to want to make music in the first place?
D.K.: I think initially as a young teenager it was Bob Dylan and I tried to be a Bob Dylan wanna-be when I was like 13, man. But, y'know punk came along and it gave us the excuse, or me, the excuse to get up and make horrible noise, And, out of that we learned to play, how to write songs y'know?
G.P.: There's still sort of a Dylanesque thing going on in some of your solo stuff.
D.K.: I try to get away from it, y'know, IÕve listened to Dylan since I was a teen or 12. People tell me, and I try not to, but, there is an inflection there I know. There is, also in the South Island of New Zealand we roll our R's, and there's a particular sort of accent too, you probably don't notice but in New Zealand we do. There's a particular accent.
G.P.: How do you feel about physical locations effecting the sound you make as a musician? Do you think it colors? Being in a New Zealand band and there are some distinctive New Zealand sounds, and I think that may be just the sort of incestuousness of people imitating each other or emulating each other...
D.K.: I think the musicians, we all seem to know each other. It's a reasonably incestuous scene for sure. So there's cross pollination and influence for sure.
G.P.: So how important are lyrics to a pop song?
D.K.: I think generally, y'know I'm pretty lazy. Or I have been lazy, I try harder these days. I think that it's extremely important. I mean we were talking about Oasis last night, and I really do love the odd Oasis song, but one thing that does annoy me is that, and the guy who writes the songs is the first to admit it, they're about nothing.
There's no substance to it, and I think it's really nice to have substance to your lyrics, but at the same time it's a tricky one for me, it's really easy to get self-obsessed. Me, me, me, this is what I think, that's a real problem with me. But, at the same time I find it hard to sing about anything else. But, I think lyrics are important.
G.P.: Waiting 'Round on You is like a really complete song with minimal lyrics. It seems complete while there's really only a sentence worth of lyrics.
D.K.: That's right yeah. I guess I'm just trying to convey the boredom of waiting around for somebody. (Laughs)
G.P.: Where do you live?
D.K.: I live in Dunedin, still, I did live in Auckland for a year, but, yeah, I'm in Dunedin. I own a house down there, and it's a very easy lifestyle for me, it's a small smokey little town, so...
G.P.: How do you account for the flourishing of music in New Zealand?
D.K.: The isolation has something to do with it. The whole Flying Nun phenomenon which happened basically out of the punk thing in the late 70's and early 80's. It's just one of those freaks of nature that happen, it's just like you could compare it to the San Francisco thing in the 60's, or not, Just, you know, stuff pops up like that, all around the world, these little scenes whether it's Seattle or wherever, every little area has it's own little vibe.
G.P.: What do you miss most about New Zealand when you're away?
D.K.: Ahh, relaxing. And being in my house, and taking it easy. (laughter)