Smile Politely

Ride the waves with Kowabunga! Kid

Local band Kowabunga! Kid mixes a variety of styles in their music. Their music has a punk-pop feel, but let’s keep the emphasis on the punk portion of that description. The band is comprised on Aaron Shults who plays guitars and does vocals, John Menchaca who plays drums, and Kamila Glowacki who plays bass and also does vocals. They were all nice enough to let me ask them some questions regarding how they stared, their pre-show rituals, and their latest tour stint.

Smile Politely: How did you guys meet?

John Menchaca: I met Aaron in, like, first grade? And I met Kamila outside of Allen Hall four years ago, our friend Jake H. was fixing her bike. They asked me to play drums after their original drummer bailed. Originally we all (kind of) sucked at our instruments, and we have really grown as a band I’d say.

Aaron Shults: Yeah, Big John and I go way back — he was in my first band when I just started playing music. That was about seven years ago.

Kamila Glowacki: And Aaron and I met in a Statistics class.

SP: How long have you guys been playing together?

Shults: We started playing shows in sporadically 2011 but our first line up was Kamila and I with Kyle Lang of Easter playing drums. Once John joined in 2012 we played more frequently and more freak-lently.

SP: How did you come up with the name Kowabunga! Kid ?

Shults: I came up with the name for a fake, obnoxious surf band. That band needed a name just as annoying as the (hypothetical) music, so that fake surf sounding shit worked as well as using punctuation and everything. Eventually when Kamila and I started playing shows and needed a name we called back to that. I like it now even if it is still obnoxious.

SP: What music was your inspiration?

Shults: Everything we have ever listened to. Most of the songs we write are pretty indicative of what we are listening to at the time. But for me personally everything from black metal to Steely Dan have shaped this punk-pop (never pop-punk) sound.

SP: What are hopes or plans for the future of the band?

Shults: Right now we are working on an LP, so I hope we finish it. It’s almost all written but I really want to step outside of our comfort zone and have it recorded really nicely. I have recorded everything that we have put out so far so it’s an exciting future for me.

SP: What’s your favorite song to play live?

Glowacki: My favorite song to play live is a new song called “Pulp”. I get to sing a little bit in the beginning, and I always look forward to playing that song when we put it in our set.

Shults: A few years ago we put out a Halloween themed cassingle through a friend’s label and we have written two supplement songs to those original two. Any of those four songs are always a lot of fun.

Menchaca: The song where I play 32nd notes the entire time. Oh wait, that’s the whole friggin’ set.

SP: What’s your pre-show ritual?

Menchaca: Here lately it’s been getting zero calorie, sugar free Monster Energy drinks. Specifically, Ultra Red.

Glowacki: Right now I prefer Zero Ultra. We never used to drink energy drinks, but once we were given free Monster at SXSW, we were hooked!

Shults: I don’t drink any of that shit though. I’m terrified of energy drinks.

SP: How do you feel after you’ve played a show?

Shults: After we play I’d say that we either feel really good or really shitty. Never really in between.

Menchaca: Sometimes one of us can feel pretty shitty after a set while the others felt like the set went completely fine, so I don’t know. Sometimes we’re vibin’ and other times were not? I try not to base my perceptions of the set based off the crowd, so even if we played shitty and kids were going nuts I’d still be upset with how we played.

SP: Do you like to stick around and hang out with fans after the concert?

Shults: Uh, I’d say that after the shows we hang out with our friends. So much so that Kamila and I are able to load up the van while Big John chats away.

Menchaca: I guess I get a little “too caught up in conversation” if you know what I mean.

SP: What’re your favorite memory you’ve had so far as a band?

Menchaca: Definitely going to Florida and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The butterbeer there is absurdly good.

Shults: Seeing Hogwarts was pretty cool. Also, visiting Canada on that same tour was really tight.

Glowacki: Definitely the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I also really enjoyed exploring the mountains in Denver.

SP: Who designs your t-shirt/merch pictures?

Glowacki: I usually design most of our merchandise, but sometimes we change things up and have our friends contribute.

Shults: Kamila has designed two of our shirts and two of our releases. Our friend Martin has designed a shirt and a release too. Also, our buddy Sean Neumann of Single Player took a photo that we’re going to use for an upcoming Flexi-Disc we’re doing. This is the first time we’ve used photo imagery for something.

SP: You just got back from a week-long tour last month — how was that experience?

Glowacki: That tour was definitely one of my favorites. I got to see Austin and Denver for the first time, and all of the shows we played were really fun. We hung out with all of our favorite friends and met a lot of really cool people. Tour is the best, I miss it!

Shults: It was a lot of fun. We played a lot of really great shows with some really great bands. It was also our first time in the SXSW environment which was a completely different beast. We have toured before, but this time felt different. We brought our good friend Brian “ToeJam” Galecki along. With previous tours it has always just been the three of us, so it was kind of refreshing to have someone else to help split up the drives / just have someone else to be around.

Kowabunga! Kid has had quite the year so far and they have just barely gotten started. You can catch Kowabunga! Kid this weekend — May 4th at Dingbat Dungeon for only $5.

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