Our interview with Killian Gavin of Boy and Bear

You know those movies where the kid wants to follow his passion but his Dad is like "no, you need a boring and safe soul destroying job" and the kid fights and argues and follows his dream, and eventually becomes famous and successful... 

Well, that's Killian Gavin from Boy and Bear. Here's some of the highlights from our chat with him today.

I asked him if music was always a first love, or just a big part of his life now because of the success of Boy and Bear. 

"Music was something I always wanted to do. I had countless arguments with my Dad. He was adamant that I was going to go to uni. I was 'No Way' that's the last thing in the world I wanted to do. 

"Then after high school, a couple of years later, I realised uni WAS something I wanted to do. So I told Dad I wanted to go to uni now. He was like "Great. What do you want to study?" and I said music."

Killian laughs. It was pretty clear what was coming next. "Dad said "Absolutely NOT! I'm not paying for you to study music."

But many more arguments later, Killian's Dad DID pay for him to study music at Macquarie University. And that's where Killian met his future band mates. 

"When I was studying music, Mum wanted me to just go and become a teacher. I was teaching guitar while I was studying, but it was just draining. I had no interest in it. So I didn't really have a back up plan"

Do your parents admit that's what happen, or are they like "we always believed in him"?

"Ha. They're pretty sheepish about it now. I love to bring it up though."

Killlian shared a bit about getting started as a band. 

"The last year of uni I got an internship with a guy who managed a few big names, like Pete Murray and Grinspoon. So while I was doing that I figured this (managing) was something I could do (if I wasn't playing in a band).

As luck would have it, the person for whom Killian was doing an internship, ended up looking after Boy and Bear. 

That must have been handy having some contacts in the industry when you were starting out.

"Absolutely. That's one of the hardest things for young bands. If you're starting out as a band and and don't have any contacts, the first person that comes along and says they want to manage you... you hear some nightmare stories. We were lucky."

A photo posted by Boy & Bear (@boyandbear) on

Who were you saddest about dying, David Bowie or Michael Jackson?
(Brief pause indicating mindful reflection, or signal from conference call software.)

"Bowie. As much as I love MJ, David Bowie was one of the few musicians that really affected me. He was always on Dad's record player, I knew all the words."

You could tell he wasn't a fly by night Bowie fan, but actually knew him and his music. But there had been other early musical influences too. 

"I was probably too young at the time to be affected by Kurt Cobain's death. But Nirvana were one of the bands that made me want to learn guitar. A friend handed me an album in 5th grade, a year after Kurt had died. In Utero and Nevermind might have been the first two albums I bought. But I wasn't as affected by Kurt's death like Bowie. I was only in primary school."

I paused, wondering how old Killian actually was. I thought he was too young from what I'd seen on YouTube for him to have been a Nirvana fan. Turns out he's in his 30s. I reminisced of learning to play the guitar to the last track on In Utero dreaming of being a great rock star. "All Apologies" said Killian remembering the track exactly. This guy knows his music. 

So what are you passionate about other than music?

Killian Gavin - Twitter

Killian Gavin - Twitter

"I live near the beach in the northern part of Sydney, so I really enjoy surfing. And I love my soccer. Can't play much this year 'cause I'm away too much, but last year I joined a team, and was home for  5 games, so I played for those 5 games. I love it. And coffee. I love good coffee. 

I heard you used to be a barista actually. Is that true?


So northern beaches of Sydney... surfing... coffee... sounds like the perfect cliché.

"Ha. Yeah as I was saying it ..."

When you're interviewing any musician, you hope they're as easy going as Killian from Boy and Bear. He strikes you as down to earth, humble, and the kind of guy who'd be fine letting you crash on his couch if you were ever in town and needed a bed for a night. 

Before the interview I was curious to see Boy and Bear live. Now I'm excitedly looking forward to it. 

They'll be performing at Triple J's One Night Stand in Geraldton Saturday 9th April 2016 (that's this Saturday.) Click here for more info. 

Learn more about the band at their website boyandbear.com