Punk rock has always channelled the rebellious nature of adolescence. And at its best, a live punk show leaves behind as big a mess as a two-year old eating spaghetti and grape juice.
Quebec punk personality, barbershop owner and reality TV star Oliver Kult (as seen on the Musique Plus show Les Kults) has a small family together with his wife, adult film star Vyxen Stell aka Victoria Kult.
He decided to harness the raw energy of untethered infant wildness and couple it with the touching tradition of pre-school kiddie music to create Young Party — a punk band for the Pampers generation.
With songs like “Bath Time,” “Spooky Monsters” and “Croc ‘n’ Brocc” on their 2018 debut Happy Life, Young Party is designed for sing-alongs that Grandma might not initiate herself but gives kids familiar topics to rock out to with their once-hard-living parents.
As festival season on Parc Jean-Drapeau kicks of this Friday at MTL ’77 and gets set for the behemoth crowds drawn to Heavy Montreal and Osheaga, parents often wonder if these environments are a safe bet to bring the family.
Speaking as a parent who’s been bringing his now-teenage daughter to Warped Tours, Piknics and the big Osh since she was just out of diapers, I can vouch for the family-friendly atmosphere these rock ‘n’ roll getaways provide for cool parents and their chill kids. The big upcoming fests boast play areas and carnival rides, enough space and security to feel at home and unstressed, and even diaper-changing tables, all to welcome parents and children seeking something a little more exciting than a day at the neighbourhood playground.
We spoke to Young Party singer Steven Blanchette about what makes Young Party a party for old and young alike.
Darcy MacDonald: How did Young Party come to be?
Steven Blanchette: I work for Oliver Kult at (his barbershop) Maison Privée. Oli and I have always made music together but without really being in the same band. We’ve shared stages and played a lot of the same shows. One day he showed up at the shop and said, “Hey man, let’s start a band for kids!”
I started laughing because I figured it was a joke, but he was like, “No, it’s a punk rock band for kids!” He told me the concept and I kept laughing but then I saw that Oli really had a purpose in doing this. He has kids so it made sense. I found it a little weird at first but finally I was like, “Okay. You’re not kidding. We’re doing this.”
A month later we’d written album, done a full lens, and we actually recorded the album in his toddler’s bedroom.
We just put out a new single called “She’s a Punk,” which I’d say is more teen-geared. I think we’ll probably vary from album to album, maybe do some more teen stuff, because we kinda just vary now as it is.
DM: What makes it “punk rock for kids,” per se? I mean punk is kind of all for kids, minus the heavy political stuff, I guess, no?
SB: We’re more pop punk, really, so it appeals to a larger audience, but at the same time the lyrics really are for kids. On the first album there’s “Bath Time” and songs about dinosaurs and vegetables and stuff. But if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics, it could really be for anyone. The music itself is mature and immature at the same time, in a sense. Butit’s purely, audibly punk, from A to Z.
It’s also fast, short and sweet. No kid wants to listen to four minute songs. The songs are about the length of the intro to a show on Teletoon, to give you an idea. Like Johnny Test.
DM: Do you write the lyrics?
SB:No, it’s really more Oliver Kult that handles that. I don’t really relate to the lyrics like he does, I’m more and emo/punk pop guy.
DM: What is it about the live show you feel will appeal to children?
SB: Well, personally I think it probably reaches the parents more. Imagine you’re, like, in the car with your kid, it’s a compromise between that and the Moana soundtrack. Our generation grew up with Green Day, Blink 182 and Sum 41, so it’s kind of like a soft intro to that vein of punk if parents want to share that with their kids. I think it will speak to the parents.
The show will have some surprises, but (like the music) it’ll probably be short, sweet, fast and have a lotta air-jumps like a punk rock show in the 2000s. ■
’77 Montreal is happening at Parc Jean-Drapeau (1 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve) on Friday, July 26, 12:30–11 p.m., $77/$117 Gold Pass