Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Kait DiBenedetto- Vocals & Guitar
Tom Kunzman- Vocals, Guitar & Bass
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to 18th & Addison? How long has the band been around?
Kait: 18th & Addison has been around for almost 4 years. Before this, I previously had a solo project. It was pretty much your typical manufactured pop type thing but when I was 16 I looked at it as a way to get my foot in the door in the music industry. It really wasn’t me though so I parted ways and moved on. Once that dissolved, I joined What’s Eating Gilbert, Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory’s side project, as the touring guitarist. I still tour with them whenever NFG isn’t busy and when 18th & Addison isn’t touring and writing.
Tom: I played in a lot of bands when I was younger. I love a lot of music so I played in a couple different genres. No bands anyone would know or care about though. We did a lot of cool shit but it seems to have flown way under the radar. Learned some great lessons though and met some of my favorite people who I consider family & mentors at this point.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Kait: Luckily we didn’t have much of a problem thinking of a name. It came together pretty seamlessly. We took Tom’s street number 18 and the street I grew up on, Addison, and figured it was good representation of or band. Not to mention we liked the way it looked and sounded right off the bat. We obviously thought of a few variations of it along the way but we never changed it.
Tom: I’m really proud of the fact that we have a band name that’s 100% original and true to us. It feels good to be the “one and only”! I really don’t think there’s any other option for us. It’s a reference to where we live, where we first started to hang out and write music & where we still write, demo and find inspiration. We’d never change it.
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 write everything together. In the past we’ve gone to each other with separate ideas and done it that way too, but more recently we’ve been writing everything collectively, in the same room, and most times in the same night. On our latest EP “Vultures”, Tom and I were both fed up with the same thing so the content on this record is really cohesive from song to song. We wrote a lot about the toxic people we’ve let into our lives how they have either let us down or taken advantage of us in some way or another.
When we’re not writing together I write a lot about personal experiences, certain demons I’ve dealt with, getting through them, my anxiety, things like that. I do think the topics will change over time because we all grow up and experience different things in the different stages of our lives but there are some things that will always be a part of your life and affect you and I believe those things will always find a way to come up again whether you mean for them to or not.
Tom: This new EP is so exciting because of the more co-writing approach. We bring out the best of each other when we work together. ‘Vultures’ is also unique for us as it’s very much an in the moment type of EP. Very different vibe from our previous releases lyrically. Less “woe is me” and more “Fuck you and Fuck them and anyone else in our way”. Much more confidence and that’s very much our personalities in real life so that makes these songs very exciting for us. Of course topics will change as we continue to grow & experience things but we welcome it. We like to be challenged and to challenge ourselves.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Kait: A lot of the influences that inspired us years ago when we wrote our first EP and our last full length are actually still inspiring us. Bands like The Clash, The Used, Nirvana, The Cure are what we’ve been listening to a lot lately that I’m sure somehow subconsciously inspired us without meaning to.
Tom: We want our music to give you that kick in the ass to get up & go do what inspires you like The Clash did for me and so many others. Every band Kait mentioned has influenced our music since the start. I think people forget how short life is and how important it is to chase down whatever you’re passionate about. Hopefully, our personal emotion lends the helping hand to write lyrics that connect with people in the same way our favorite artists connected with us. If not, at least we have music that we can be proud of forever.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Kait: I grew up hearing lot of Johnny Cash and old classic country music when I was around my mom, and then a lot of Metallica when I was hanging with my dad but when I was old enough to understand what music I connected with the most, it was bands like Good Charlotte, Green Day, New Found Glory and even Fall Out Boy before they were even popular. Good Charlotte was THE band that got me interested in learning how to harmonize and play guitar though.
Tom: When I was about 8 or 9, my dad gave me his Green Day records and I became interested in playing guitar and songwriting. Few years later, my parents bought me tickets to see Blink-182. They were my idols as a little kid. It was the last tour before they split up in 2004 and it was life changing for me. They made everything look like a lot of fun & they delivered an amazing live show. Shortly after that, I saw Green Day on the American Idiot tour and my mind was blown. I still have never seen such an electrifying live band and my after school hobby with friends immediately became my passion and lifeline. I became obsessed with it after that and still am. These bands introduced me to all my favorite artists that I look up to today.
What do you do to prepare for a show?
Kait: Usually a half hour or so before we play I try to stand up and stretch a little bit. Occasionally depending on how my voice is feeling I’ll do some warmups or drink a lot of water but normally just a good stretch gets me ready.
Tom: I actually really enjoy vocal warm ups and find myself doing them constantly through out the day. Depending on the crowd that night, I need to get in my own head a little. We like to rearrange the songs to give the crowd something to contribute to our show rather than having them just stare at us. It’s always fun for us, but we want everyone in the room to have fun too. Especially if they’re paying their hard earned money to be there. I also have to drink a ton of water & limit my coffee which is really hard.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Kait: The biggest highlight for me has been playing the main stage at Warped Tour 18’. Not only was it our first time playing Warped, but we got engaged on stage. It’s been something I’ve wanted to check off my bucket list for a while now and considering Warped is done after this year, it’s something I’m extremely proud of us for doing. Obviously getting engaged on stage was the icing on the cake.
Tom: I love this band so fucking much that even the smallest thing is a highlight to me. Warped was unreal though. Aside from what Kait mentioned, we got on the show solely due to our supporters voting for us. It was no battle of the bands, we didn’t sell tickets and force people to come out to see us out of pity. I didn’t have to feel like a car salesman to play my music. Every band says that their successes are thanks to the “fans” (I hate that term) but they say it because it’s true. We even caught the eye of one of my current musical idols who I met for the first time at Warped in 2006. That was such a great full circle moment for me personally on top of everything else. We’ll never forget that day.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Kait: I’d say The Clash because I love everything Joe Strummer stands for and the energy at their shows was insane, Green Day because they’re one of my favorite bands and they’re also one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. Good Charlotte because like I mentioned, they were the band growing up who made me want to be in a band in the first place, and last but not least The Everly Brothers. Their chemistry together was insane and I think Tom and I could learn a thing or two more from them being on tour with them.
Tom: We’re playing a show on May 27th in Asbury Park, NJ with our friends in New Found Glory. They’re another band that I listened to endlessly when I was younger so one show is enough for me, but a tour with them would be awesome. They’re inspirational in a lot of ways. We’ve already learned so much from those guys whether they know it or not. As for anyone else, like Kait said, The Clash and Green Day would be unreal to tour/hang out with.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Kait: You can find all our music and show dates on 18thandaddison.com! You can also join our mailing list for more direct updates there too. Thanks!
Tom: To anyone reading this, please know how much we appreciate you & how excited we are to share our new EP with you this summer. We love hearing from you guys on Twitter and Instagram and we really hope to see you all at a show eventually. Thanks for all the continuous support. This is just the start of more very exciting times.