The Coconut Kids amazed us with their sweet sound at the USASA Band Comp back in September – even taking out the competition. Kaitlin Kavanagh caught up with the (very adaptable) vocalist, guitar, violin, mandolin, and ukulele player Julian Ferguson for the exclusive.
How would you describe your sound/genre for people who haven’t heard your music before?
Hmmm…. That’s a hard one. To be honest we don’t really know. It’s sort of folky French acoustic pop with a hint of blues. Some songs you can dance to – others you can sip a coconut to. It’s a pretty eclectic sound. At the end of the day we want it to be fun – and hopefully put a smile on people’s faces. We don’t really take ourselves too seriously and I guess that sort of shows in our music.
How did you first meet and decide to form the Coconut Kids? How long have you known each other?
I moved to Adelaide from Belgium a few years ago and didn’t know anyone. Jeez – Adelaide was hard work back in those early days. I managed get invited to a party at Ash’s house and fell asleep on her living room floor after a glass of red too many. We’ve been friends ever since. As for forming the Coconut Kids – it sort of happened organically. Ash has got this incredibly tender voice – and it just sort of worked with my “I smoke a pack a day” husky vocals. It was really, really organic. We’d just sort of sit down with a glass of red wine and pen out a few tunes together and next thing you know we were calling ourselves The Coconut Kids.
What/when was your first ever gig and what was the experience like for you guys?
Haha – that’s a pretty funny story. Ash’s grandmother had been nagging her for years to take part in her local church’s annual Talent Quest up in the Adelaide Hills. So we thought why not. It was absolutely brilliant. We rocked all the oldies with their compression socks and pacemakers. Praise the Lord. (Luckily they couldn’t tell I wasn’t baptised…)
Could you tell me a bit about your instrument, and why you decided to play the ukulele?
I’m actually a violin player and I hated playing it growing up. My mother forced it upon me. I used to spend hours and hours training for classical music exams and school orchestras. I soon found myself migrating from the
violin to the mandolin, and next thing you know, I had a ukulele in my hand. I do play guitar – but there’s a certain simplicity about the uke that brings everything back to basics. Ash is pretty handy at the soprano ukulele too.
At the moment, a lot of what we do is on the Baritone Ukulele, which is like a really big Ukulele (or a really small guitar).
What is the direction you are taking with the Coconut Kids, is it a long-term profession for you?
At the moment we’re just trying to have a good ol’ laugh. We’ve just added a bass player and a trumpet player – so our little Coconut Empire is expanding rapidly. The four of us are all really good friends so it sort of shows on stage. Our ethos is, “let’s just have a good time”, but if we can start making money off it in the process we’ll definitely be happy.
We’ve got our sights set on hitting the Music Festival Scene next year in Victoria and South Australia – and who knows – WOMADelaide 2017? We’re just going to focus on the music and see what happens next.
How can fans get access to your music? Are you currently selling your songs/covers?
We’re in the process of recording some tunes at the moment, so hopefully we’ll be able to put out an EP before Christmas. But you can keep your eye out on our website – www.thecoconutkids.com. We’ve got a few recordings so you can get a bit of a flavour for what’s to come.
What were your most recent gigs and when/where can we see you perform next?
We played as a four-piece at the Melrose Music Muster in September – a folk festival in the Outback – and it was so much fun. We had the whole pub jumping around and they’ve asked us back in 2016. We’ve finally started gigging locally. We played a few weeks ago at the Crown & Sceptre. If you jump onto our Facebook Page (www. facebook.com/thecoconutkids) or website, we’ll keep it updated with all our coco happenings.
Words by Kaitlin Kavanagh