Story by Courtney Fishman
The Kin, known for their musical robberies stopped by Drake University’s Cowles Library for a quick performance Friday. The trio is composed of Australian brothers Issac and Thorald Koren and New York drummer Shakerleg. The band is currently touring with P!NK and is working to get their name out. The Times-Delphic had the chance to talk with vocalist Isaac Koren about life as a performer.
Who had the idea to start these musical robberies?
We just kind of came up with it together. We were inspired by the great movies, and we just love the spontaneity of it all and the reaction of breaking the fourth wall with people. It kind of happened late one night in the middle of nowhere in Massachusetts, and we just stormed into an old hot dog joint and stacked it up. It was such a rush, and everyone had a great time. One kid was crying. We obviously scared him a bit, but then he started clapping and stuff.
What’s your favorite part of musical robberies?
I like the moment just before we go on. It’s kind of really the only time we get a little bit nervous because you really don’t know how it’s going to go down. Potentially, robberies go really badly.
Have you had a memorable robbery?
We robbed Sharon Stone in a fancy restaurant in Los Angeles, and we got kicked out by the security, but we got to play a song for her, and she was fun. And in Wellington, New Zealand, a few weeks ago, we musically robbed a law-student lecture, and we didn’t know they were in their final review for an exam. I came in a little heavy-handed and closing their laptops, and it didn’t go well. The students and the teacher were very serious. They threatened to call security. It was a very awkward robbery, which ultimately is the best ones, really. We want to have that feeling of awkwardness and maybe shock and surprise. That’s probably the best robbery.
What’s the best reaction you’ve gotten from a musical robbery?
I found that the best reactions are when some people are really enjoying it, and you’ve got security, the people in charge, and they are really kind of angry. You’re creating a tension between the surprised patrons and the security guards. I think Drake went off well, because we had the students pretty much on our side and the librarians trying to kick us out.
You’re currently opening P!NK’s “The Truth About Love Tour.” How did she find the band?
She saw us in the backyard in Los Angeles for this house party, and we performed and we then did a musical robbery, and she was there and we played our song “Mary,” and I think she liked that. And seven months later we got the call, and the rest is history. She’s been so good to us. It’s been unbelievable.
Where do you see your band in the future?
We want to be the first band to play in space.
What bands are you compared to most?
Not really, we don’t get too many comparisons any more. You know we’ve got a drummer that plays with his hands, and two brothers that sing harmony, but we don’t get too many comparisons, which I’m kind of grateful. We’re growing up, now we tried to not be too influenced.
How has your band expanded since its formation?
We started with shakerleg in 2007 with the album “Rise & Fall.” My brother and I have been performing since we were teenagers, but we didn’t really form The Kin until 2007. And I think just the songs have gotten better, we’ve gotten better at our instruments. You know, just life. Life teaches you. … I just think we played a lot, and we hopefully get better with each show.
What’s it like balancing a personal and professional relationship with your brother?
I wouldn’t recommend it to all brothers, because you know we’ve always just been partners in crime, and it just works. We’re partners first and brothers. That’s how it works.
What is it like having a band with both Australians and Americans? Do you notice a cultural divide?
Yeah, definitely, sometimes we think we couldn’t be more different. Yeah, I don’t think we’d necessarily hang out if it wasn’t for the fact that we have amazing chemistry together, musically. From the first time going to a rehearsal studio together to try it out, literally the first note we all knew. We knew we’ve got chemistry.
What has the transition been like from producing your own LPs to signing with interscope?
It’s been tough, you know. We’ve been independent and do-it-yourself-type artists. The indie-music scene is just a whole different game, so we’ve had to learn how that goes. I think we’re almost adjusted, I think we understand what it’s about now. It’s not pretty.
What’s the hardest part of being a performer?
I think the hardest part is traveling, going to the airports. It’s not glamorous. There’s a lot about the music business that people shouldn’t know about because it’s not glamorous.
Where can we see you next?
We’re coming through Des Moines in February and playing at the Vaudeville Mews. It’s an all-ages show and tickets go on sale Tuesday. We’d love to have you all there. We’re launching musicalrobbery.com sometime this week. Look for our Drake performance. It’ll be the first one on the site.