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Rock duo’s funny start gives way to big move coming this June  

Photo: Julia Agris

Joseph Rabbat and Max Savage had a strange start to their musical partnership.

The psychedelic rock duo Kaiser, who performed at Café Nostalgica on March 20 to help fund their upcoming studio time, was rather one-sided from the outset.

It started with Rabbat, a second-year communication student at the University of Ottawa, walking past a café in Chinatown in 2014 and hearing music that reminded him of The Black Keys. Curious, he decided to wait around and see who was playing. It was Savage’s other band StillNative.

“I waited outside for Max to come out and (then) asked for a cigarette,” Rabbat says. “I followed them everywhere, I swear.”

From then on Rabbat earned the nickname “Roadie Joe” by helping out with StillNative’s sets so he could get into festivals for free.

“Next thing you know we’re doing all the (work) and he’s sitting there, drinking all the beer,” says Savage. “We had to kick his butt a little bit.”

Even though Rabbat was eventually fired from the gig, he still wanted to be around the band to learn as much as he could. He decided to take lessons and write more of his own music, and when it was time to find a drummer for his own musical project, Savage gladly filled the role.

“Max is a lot more experienced than me so I always take his advice,” says Rabbat.

In June, the two plan to live together in Montreal, where Savage currently lives, and record a new EP.

Currently, the band meets up only every three months or so. With Rabbat’s move in June, the two will be able to make a lot more music than they have while living in different cities. So far, Kaiser has existed thanks to instant messaging and demo sharing over the Internet.

The duo says although it’s been a slow start for the side project, they’re looking forward to kicking things into high gear this summer.

“It’s fun (playing in Kaiser), it’s where you get to experience different things,” says Savage.

Savage believes having a band together is an ever-evolving process that allows you to grow, constantly adapting from previous experiences to create new ones. “It ends up growing to a bigger tree—you learn.”


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