The Artisan Rabbits are an up and coming young band hailing from the Adelaide Hills.

The three-piece alternative rock group are made up of Chris Williams (guitar/vocals),
Jackson Pagett (drums) and Ryan Williams (bass/vocal) who all attend Blackwood High School.

Ryan and Jackson are in year 10 and Chris is in year 12, but even with a busy school and sport schedule, the guys manage to find time to devote to the band.

Artisan Rabbits“We are pretty busy,” says Ryan. “We also do football and stuff, so we’ll usually have a band practice on the weekend and maybe sometime midweek; smash it out for a few hours and get some good songs done.”

All studying music at school to help further their band, front man Chris is using his year 12 music subject to focus on The Artisan Rabbits.

“I’m doing ensemble performance, which is three lots of ten minute performances in a band, so I’m playing with these guys. There are other music subjects, but I’m only studying ensemble performance at the moment because I’m focussing on other subjects,” Chris says.

The group are earning a reputation around the scene as a pretty good cover band, but Chris says they are working on more original music to develop their sound.

“We’re a cover band at the moment, but we’re actually writing some stuff now to become an original band. We started in primary school together doing covers, but now we’re maturing to do our own stuff,” he says.

The Artisan Rabbits have already performed a number of gigs from birthdays, to rocking the Normanville Surf Life Saving Club, to school gigs and even weddings.

The guys are enjoying the experience they’ve been getting, and say their confidence is growing with each gig.

“We have festivals at school, like the Sunset Festival and Blackwood’s Got Talent. Recently we did a fundraiser for the earthquake in Nepal so there are a lot of opportunities to play. For the Nepal fundraiser, we did some covers, and some of our original songs. Everyone came in with a gold coin donation and we raised about $200,” says Ryan.

“The best gig we’ve had so far is a 16th birthday party which was ripper fun,” Chris laughs. “But the most notable gig was at Old Clarendon. We’d played a wedding up there and the manager came up and booked us in for Mother’s Day. We packed the place out with 100 people and it was fantastic fun. We felt very comfortable playing to that many people!”

“We’ve been doing it for so long, we’ve kind of gotten used to it,” Ryan interjects. “So probably the more numbers the better nowadays!”

The trio have been booked to play the Willunga Almond Blossom Festival later this month, where they are looking forward to playing to an even bigger audience. and hopefully winning a few more fans.

“We got booked because they spotted us on the Music SA website and shot me an email. Then one of our school teachers, Michael Winter, put in a really good word for us,” Chris says. “We’re really looking forward to playing to new people, because a lot of our gigs have been to friends and family, so we’re looking forward to playing in front of strangers and seeing if they like our music. We’ve got two or three originals we’ll be playing for them, but they want us to play most of our good cover songs from Silverchair, Red Hot Chili Peppers and those kind of bands.”

With the Willunga festival on the horizon, The Artisan Rabbits have been busily working on their original songs, with one of those in the process of being recorded.

When we chatted with the band, they were in the studio just about to record their brand new single.

“The song is called ‘I’ and we’re recording it today. We’ve got all the amps ready to go and we’re sitting in the studio now!” Chris laughs.

Working from the studios at St Paul’s Creative Centre as part of a Music SA school holiday workshop, the guys have been learning a lot about the music industry.

“Music SA had a holiday workshop called ‘Winter Jams’ and we signed up for that,” Chris says. “It’s where you write, produce and film a video clip for one song in three days. Music SA have heaps of opportunities to grow our band with gigs, and work with local, established musicians.”

“We’re really enjoying the whole experience of it,” Ryan says. “We get to use all the new equipment and it’s good to get down into the city and write some songs. We have a professional mixer here who’s getting us all set up, and it’s awesome to meet all the new people and hear their stories.”

As well as being able to record and film a track, bands at the workshop are tutored by musicians who give them advice and an insight into the industry.

“Local musicians come and tutor you,” says Jackson. “They work with you one on one and help produce a song, and they get in a film crew and you film the video for it. They’re really nice. They’re really easy to talk to and it’s a great atmosphere and environment for us. We’re working with Ricky Kradolfer from City Riots.”

“Ricky said he’s gone around with The Smashing Pumpkins, and he’s been overseas and he gave us some insight into where he’s come from so we can be inspired from that,” Ryan says.

With a short term goal of trying to win Triple J Unearthed High, and a long term goal of touring the world, The Artisan Rabbits are keen to pursue a lengthy career in music.

Although they’re already making a name for themselves as a hardworking band, the guys are also well connected in Adelaide’s music scene, which will help them achieve their goals.

“My uncle, Steve Salvi, has a recording studio. He’s pretty into the Adelaide music scene, and he’s very supportive, so he said he’d help us record as long as we chip in with some work around the house!” Chris laughs.

The Artisan Rabbits’ new single ‘I’ will be recorded with a film clip this month, so look out for it, and give them your support as they work their way to the top of Adelaide’s music scene in the years to come.

By Libby Parker
Photo supplied
Story originally published in BSide Magazine