TPRFM AFTERPARTY INTERVIEW: KRHISSY

After quite the lengthy hiatus, Philadelphia’s KRHISSY is reuniting and returning to the stage THIS SATURDAY for the NCBC Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market Afterparty! We exchanged some emails with the band to talk about their return, plans for the future, beer and more. Check out the interview and amazing collection of photos below, then get ready to see KRHISSY rock on Saturday night for FREE! The show starts at 7PM and is All Ages!

-I’m sure a lot of our readers will know you guys, but if you could, please introduce yourself, the rest of the band, and give readers a brief history of KRHISSY?

Hi, we’re a band called Krhissy. John Kemp plays bass and sings, Jack Kerrigan plays guitar and sings, Matt Hanemann plays guitar, and Michael Barndt (Lance) plays drums. The band began in Warminster PA (Bucks County, not too far from NCBC)… then migrated mostly to Philadelphia. We were most active from 1994 to 1998, having reunited for a few shows in 2007 and 2013.

Here’s little press blip that was written about us a few years ago, and it still seems pretty accurate:

“Leaning in the realms of Husker Du, Samiam and Jawbreaker in a time when that music was fresh, KRHISSY was a post-pop-punk band from the Philadelphia area in the 1990’s. With a rough and gruff swagger, they hit the stage with such bands as At The Drive In, Lagwagon, Kid Dynamite, and the Dead Milkmen. From basements, and VFW’s, to theaters, churches, and even boxing rings, they spent years touring and playing hundreds of shows from 1994-1999.”

We really spent a prominent time bouncing around the Philly and New Jersey scene in the late 90s — loving any chance to play the DIY warehouses in West Philly. We were also honored to be a part of the beginnings of the (now legendary) First Unitarian Church of Philly and sharing the stage (and alphabet rug) with some insane bands there. Our friend Mike was the one who found that place while looking for an unconventional venue to host larger punk shows — and eventually passed the baton to Sean (R5), who took it to new heights.

-KRHISSY was most active in the 90s and is reuniting for the first time in many years to play on August 11th at Neshaminy Creek. What has the prep for the show been like and what sparked your interest in getting back together?

A few things actually. Mostly — it was just really great timing on a lot of levels. For everyone in the band, I think we were all really ready to play this kind of music again. We’ve all been in other bands and musical projects since Krhissy stopped playing in the late 90s.

There is something magical about reuniting with the people that you actually learned HOW to play music with. Hell, no matter what kind of music or band it is, I think being able to revisit your first experiences with musical “chemistry” is a total thrill.

Ultimately, we’re all really life-long friends who’ve been through a lot together. But all have busy lives, growing families, and tons going on individually. So, having the opportunity (and reason) to hang out together, and work on something creative again is extremely welcomed. Beyond that, we’ve loosely chatted over the past year or so about getting together to make some noise in a basement or something, but with no real plans or goals about it. So, Thank you NCBC, for giving us the reason this summer.

-You guys teased a few pictures online with our friends at Gradwell House studio. Without giving too much away, was that just for practice, or are you working on new music?

Yeah man. The Gradwell House rules, and so do the people who run it. We were familiar with Gradwell because a lot of our other bands have recorded with Steve and Dave over the years. Those pictures were just of our first rehearsal we had there. Our original plan was just to get together and rehearse a set for the reunion show and see how it goes. But it’s been going so well that we couldn’t help ourselves and started writing some new songs. Everyone kind came to the table with ideas, and then the old chemistry just kicked in. We’re still mostly focused on prepping for the show but definitely plan to document and record our new efforts… While we haven’t chosen a studio to do that yet. Gradwell would be a damn sweet option.

-Since the band hasn’t been active for many years, have you been keeping up with local punk rock and hardcore? If so, how do you feel the scene has changed from the 90s to today?

Absolutely. Krhissy stopped playing as a band back then, but none of us stopped making music. Just based on our personalities, all of our musical endeavors were rooted in punk/hardcore, whether it sounded like punk or not. From spazzy acrobatic hardcore to spacey mellow shoegaze, bashed-out punk/pop, atmospheric post-rock, and even chilled out acoustic stuff, our musical world is kind of all we know — and it’s all usually played with people who’ve come from the punk hardcore world.

As far as the “scene” changing… That’s a huge question. Basically, yes — in a lot of ways it’s very different than when we were a band, yet not different in that you still have to try your best to make anything worth it. Philly was VERY different back then. Though we had opportunities to play bigger venues and events over the years, most of our shows were DIY rooted. This all evolved as the punk-landscape and networks shifted. Scene-wise, we were always one of the bands that never really “fit” a definable scene. And, as hard as it made things, we were glad to not pigeon-hole ourselves genre-wise. We got lumped into the whole pop-punk scene a lot – yet we were always trying to do something more interesting, challenging. Early on, we played lots of really crusty punk shows (thanks to Violent Society) and we always felt like the band with the wimpy name and drawn out riffs. On the flip side, we’d then play rock/indie shows and were the weirdo band that plays way too fast and loud. It evolved as we did though… and found some great peers to tour and share shows with.

In general, I think people consume and experience music much differently now than back when we started the band. On one hand, it’s much easier for people to find out about different genres of music, try them out and have them be a part of their life for a bit… but on the other hand, I do think music has much less impact on people’s sub-cultural choices and personal identity these days. I guess in today’s world, this endless access to music is better for bands’ exposure, but in a lot of ways it can feel less meaningful. Having to really dig for the music we were into, and fit into as a band, made it feel very special at that time. For example, coming across a stranger out in the wild in 1995 wearing a Samiam, Grey Matter, or Fifteen shirts would have most likely be grounds for some great conversation and camaraderie. Not just, “hey, I got that same shirt at Too-Many-Bands-Fest.com too.”

Anyway, Those were our formative years, and we understand that – someone is having that experience right now – and it means the world! So, things weren’t necessarily better. They evolve and, hopefully, so do we. Every age is a golden age for someone. Even locally, there are amazing bands starting all the time. So, it’s all ying and yang. You gotta take the rough with the smooth. 😉

-KRHISSY is obviously a very uniquely spelled band name. Is there any particular story behind the name?

Oh boy, the band name. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with that one, huh? For one, it’s possibly the world’s most often misspelled band name. Haha. We have a fun collection of flyers with some insane interpretations. The short story is, Lance had just bought this giant green 1977 Chrysler Newport from an old lady, who had named the car Krhissy. This giant boat of an automobile was basically our first tour mobile. Or at least carted most of the equipment to shows. The band had its first show – and needed a name quick. So it did the job for the first show. Little did we know we’d have to blab the weird word “Krhissy” to people for the next 20 something years — hell, for the rest of our lives. Admittedly, it is a very strange band name. But, hey, if a band named Gorilla Biscuits can thrive in the NY Hardcore scene, that’s inspiration for us to just keep going with it.

For more information on KRHISSY:

https://krhissy.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Krhissy/

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