Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Tom Kunzman: Vocals & Guitar
Kait DiBenedetto: Vocals & Guitar
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to 18th & Addison? How long has the band been around?
Kait: I was a "solo artist" in a project called Just Kait. Stylistically it was a cross between pop and rock, with the pop aspect being a little more prominent which is why I love 18th & Addison so much more. It's way more aggressive and honest.
Tom: I was in a band called A Criminal Risk for too long haha. We started 18th & Addison after I ended that band which was around November of 2013. We weren't really active with shows or recording though until the beginning 2014. We focused primarily on writing since we were both sorta fed up with the "scene" in NJ and just wanted to lock ourselves away and create something we liked and felt was different.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Kait: 18th & Addison was actually one of the first and only names we came up with. It came to us so organically which was surprising. Normally when it comes to making up a name it's easy to overthink it too much but luckily for us it stuck. We've never changed it and so far we aren't sick of it. We'll see how we feel 20 years from now hahaha.
Tom: I'll never get sick of the name. It represents us as a duo. It just sounds like 2 places that stand for 2 people, but it's a band name, which when you see "band" you think of 3-5 people, and that's the atmosphere we try to create with our records but it's really just the 2 of us doing everything pretty much. Besides drums, we record everything, and when you see "duo" everyone mostly assumes pop music or country music or some indie rock type thing. It sets us apart & aside from all that, it represents our homes, our families, where we were when this all started for us meaning our relationship as well as our music. The name is awesome.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Kait: We both write the songs. Each song is a little different as far as how it comes together but we both write everything. The best part of us writing together is we can each bring a different element to each other's ideas which always lends itself to the songs in different ways. As far as my songwriting goes lyrically, I write a lot about self doubt, struggles I've had in the past, dealing with my anxiety, all very personal things. I think over time, people change, they grow into better (or worse) people, and it inspires you to write new things which is what is so special about music and songwriting.
Tom: Albums should be like a scrapbook for musicians. It's a moment in that persons life. At this time, whatever is on 'Makeshift Monster' lyrically is where we were whether it be emotionally or mentally when we wrote & recorded it. Same goes for 'Little Parasites'. You have to be honest so yeah, topics will change over time. They should change & they should grow with you and take the listener along for the ride.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Kait: That's so tough. Elvis Presley and The Everly Brothers are two big ones for me. Melodically, both are incredible. The harmonies between Don and Phil Everly have inspired Tom and I a lot as far as writing tasteful, tight harmonies with each other which is something a lot of people really seem to like about our band.
Tom: That's impossible for me to answer. There's obviously music we love & artists we love who make their way into our music, but we don't think about them when we're writing it. Everything kinda just happens the way they're supposed to in this band. It's actually amazing. Very organic at all times. That's something beautiful honestly, so we don't try to taint it with what we think another band would do.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Kait: For me it was bands like Green Day, New Found Glory, even Good Charlotte. I was always really musical from a young age but once I got into those bands and watched them live, I remember getting that itch to want to do it myself with a band and more than just an acoustic guitar.
Tom: My dad gave me 'Dookie' by Green Day and that pretty much changed everything for me, but I just wanted to be able to play guitar & sing at the same time. Fast forward a few years later, I got to see The Living End, No Doubt & Blink-182 live. It was Blink's last tour with Tom DeLonge in 2004 and that show was like fucking magic. It just looked like so much fun to be in a band. In 2005 I got to see Green Day and that was another moment that only solidified it. I had to be in a band no matter what & hopefully give people the same feeling they gave me at those shows. Thanks to all these bands we've mentioned though, we've discovered even more bands as kids that continue to inspire us to keep working. Music is a seriously awesome thing haha.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
Kait: I like to stretch a little bit and jump around just to get my heart rate going. Especially when you go from sitting at merch for a few hours to jumping on stage, running around, it's important to prepare your body for that. Then the band gets together and we do our little pre-show ritual right before we play.
Tom: I've started to sorta disappear a lot before our set. I like to warm up my voice and not talk loud as much as possible. Especially since we're doing a lot more traveling now & several shows in a row. It's a hard task when you play small places that are always loud & you're with friends who make you laugh so often but I do what I can. I also like to stretch my legs and arms since I get pretty lost in our songs then regret it the next morning. Our "ritual" is just simple fist bumps with the band. Nothing crazy. Just like to get everyone's heads in the right space so we kill it every night. There's only been 1 show where we didn't do that & it was a train wreck hahah.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Kait: We just released our first full length record titled "Makeshift Monster" and we had our release show and the show exceeded all our expectations. It was incredible. So many people sang our songs that we didn't recognize, they were involved, everyone was sweaty and having fun. It was the best show we've ever played.
Tom: Yeah, that's probably the highlight for me too. That show was unreal for a show in our town. Those shows are usually just bands playing to their friends & the other bands which isn't terrible, but it was cool to see more strangers there singing along & having fun with us than there usually is. We got footage of it actually. It's on our YouTube channel right now for anyone interested in seeing what they missed out on haha!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Kait: Green Day for sure. They are definitely one of the best live bands of this generation and I think to two of us on a tour would be one of the most fun, energetic tours ever.
Tom: I'd be able to die happy after that for sure. That band changed my life. There's so many great bands though! If Joe Strummer was still alive, touring with the The Clash looks like it would've been a lot of fun. The guys in New Found Glory are so funny & cool to hang with so I think we'd really enjoy touring with them too.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Tom: Thank you Kill The Music for having us for one, and to everyone reading this, thanks for taking the time & we hope you get a chance to listen to our new album that we just released! If you're already listening, thank you so fucking much & we can't wait to see you guys at some shows this year!
Kait: Yes!! Thank you so much and keep up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and all that for shows, music updates and whatever else we do hahaha