Meet The Chats: straight outta the bong shed and into the bar

That Chats standing against a corrugated iron fence
(Image credit: Luke Henery)

In his position as lead singer/bassist with Australian slacker-punks The Chats, Eamon Sandwith admits that their gigs can sometimes get a little… wild. 

“Recently there was this fucking weapon who did a back flip off the balcony, like two storeys up while we were playing,” he says. “Then we saw him laid out, he had his leg in a cast and we were like: ‘Oh, is that from the flip?!’ And he was like: ‘Nah, I had that on before.’” The almost comically nonchalant frontman considers the scene for a moment. “I kind of admired it though.” 

The Queensland band, completed by drummer Matt Boggis and new-ish guitarist Josh Hardy (who replaced founding member Josh Price last year) have been presiding over the riot since they broke through in 2017 with their ramshackle hit Smoko

The ragged ode to a cigarette break went viral – it’s currently sitting at 17 million views on YouTube – introducing the world to their unpolished, witty, Aussie slang-infused punk. Suddenly the trio, who started out practising in a friend’s “bong shed”, writing droll, raucous stompers about being bored, getting pissed and making rent, were one of the most exciting bands on the planet.

“I thought it would blow over in a day and no one would care,” says Sandwith. “But then they just kept caring.” 

Two EPs followed, and the brilliant non-album single ACϟDC CD, along with slots supporting Queens Of The Stone Age and Iggy Pop, as well as jaunts across Europe and the US. And while their debut 2020 album High Risk Behaviour looked to push them to the next level, due to the pandemic they never got to tour it. 

“Yeah, it was a bummer, but at the time everyone thought they were going to die, it seemed like the best thing to do,” Sandwith says with a shrug. 

Their second record, Get Fucked, promises to be different, though. The band started writing new material towards the end of 2020, and headed into the studio in August 2021. They recorded it in six days, although Sandwith admits it could have been done in half the time. “We would set up and record for about an hour, go to the pub for two hours for lunch, come back, do another hour or two and call it a day,” he recalls. “Our work ethic was horrible on that record.”

Capturing that plug-in-and-go, barely contained energy, the album rattles through 13 tracks in less than half an hour. And while songs like I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane, Paid Late and Panic Attack sound like they could career off the rails at any moment, the band’s say-what-you-see stompers are tighter and cooler than ever before. It’s a far cry from when they recorded their self-titled debut EP on a laptop. 

“We’re not getting as drunk before we play any more,” offers Sandwith, who explains that these days the band care more about the sonic quality of the music. “I think it’s doing wonders for everyone involved.”

Get Fucked is out now via Bargain Bin Records.

Dannii Leivers

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.