kool thing
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kool thing

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE
Band EDM Alternative



The best kept secret in music


"NIALLER9 Review & stream: Kool Thing’s debut album"


Jon Dark and Julie Chance’s music as Kool Thing to date, has shapeshifted in forms between a range of touchstones: elements of ’80s electronic, ’90s indie, brooding cold electronica and everything in-between. Constant throughout has been the presence of both members’ chanting double vocals; distinctive and hypnotic.

The Berlin-based band’s self-titled debut album solidifies the identity of Kool Thing by honing and zooming in on those aspects 14 tracks and 50 minutes of music. Joined now by a drummer in Valentin Plessy, only two of the tracks ‘The Sign’ and ‘Light Games’ were previously released, the other main track ‘Plan.Life.Go’ is not present, presumably because it doesn’t fit this album’s pervasive mood.

And that mood is a escapist one with lyrics that conjure the idea of eloping, of existing on the fringes of a world, in the shadows. Musically too, the music breeds that star-crossed sentiment, created by a subtle mix of Ladytron-style synth atmospherics, tense guitar passages, ’80s-style indie-rock production and hypnotic rushes of electronic subtleties.

What makes it hang together as a cohesive whole are the duo’s allowance to let the tracks take diversions into the Vangelis-esque soundtrack drama of ‘Vestebro’, ambient interludes ‘Origin I/II’, the shoegazing synth-pop of ‘Floor Visions’, menacing cloudy Holy Other-esque pitch-shifted ‘The Sky, The Sea’ the breezy new wave dancefloor rhythms of ‘TV Tower’ or the crystallised electronica of ‘Lost Days’.

The constant of the double vocals can lead to fatigue across the album as a whole especially when there’s so much flavour on offer on the tracks, but ultimately, it’s a bold and unifying characteristic for an album which crosses stylistic differences and is hard to define by any one genre shorthand. The long player format suits Kool Thing’s music, allowing them to explore in more depth than on previous EPs or single tracks, in richer, more emotional and inventive ways than their music initially suggested. - NIALLER9 (IRE)


Honing their sound in the local stomping grounds of Berlin, being chosen as the opening act for Austra, not to mention working with the likes of Light Asylum and Trust on remixes, electro outfit kool thing have, at long last debuted their self-titled first full-length album. We got a taste of their aesthetic with the release of singles ‘The Sign’ and ‘Light Games’ and the plan.life.go 12? single just last July. Now, there is an entire journey to embark on with Jon Dark, Julie Chance and Valentin Plessy, and what a journey it is!

Exploring the life cycle of an intense love affair, we ride the crest of a wave as it spirals to great heights, then crashes upon the shore and against the rocks. ‘Low Love’ starts with sombre, echoing percussives focusing on the first intense moments of burgeoning love. The tension builds into soaring crescendos, merging with delicate, yet assertive vocals and glistening keys.

With a thoughtful eye to production quality, each song blends succinctly, providing a strong narrative structure without relying on a single cliché. Each track stands alone, yet still adheres to a structural logic that at its core seeks to explore reclaiming the loss of wonder in life. Instrumental interludes (such as ‘Origins’) evoke the crystalline clarity of walking home in the early morning after a night spent navigating the wilds of a modern-day urban landscape.

Interspersed with the underlying theme of wonderment is the embrace of the nocturnal tensions that act as the thematic flip-side. ’TV Tower’ is a majestic new wave masterpiece, while the fractalling synth arpeggios offered in the excellent instrumental ‘Vestebro’ bring to mind the electronic synth compositions by Wendy Carlos for the A Clockwork Orange soundtrack. The ability of being able to express surface by evoking such strong senses of depth and memory beg multiple listens, each track layered in complexity. At times, comparisons of Power, Corruption, Lies-era New Order spring to mind, especially on tracks such as ‘Line Drive.’ Just when it seems like you’ve got kool thing all figured out, ‘The Sky, The Sea’ comes along with weirdly distorted vocal manipulations and a throbbing, dark wave trip hop sensibility that would make Portishead proud.

It is always an exciting experience to have the privilege of coming across an artist or group who seem to have sprung fully formed with their own unique aesthetic and reference points. It is doubly exciting when you come across something that feels refreshingly new, and offers the promise of an inspirational body of work that could very well become a part of your own individual imagined soundtrack. - THE GIRLS ARE


Kool Thing are not shy about brandishing their influences, and they do so proudly. Most obviously, at least, the Berlin-based trio take their name from a Sonic Youth song, but every major player in 80s alternative rock and pop is given their dues on this, their self-titled debut album. From Depeche Mode to Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins to U2, Kool Thing are beholden to many of the decade’s most iconic, boundary-pushing acts but still manage to produce a tight, riveting collection of songs that sparkle with innovation and hide great lyrical sweetness.

Leading ladies Julie Chance and Jon Dark share in the nostalgic warmth of venturing under cover of darkness, and Kool Thing is as much dedicated to youthful spontaneity and the allure of the shadows as it is to the band’s musical ancestry. The pair’s experiences are almost solipsistic – they are so ingrained in the night that nothing else matters, barely anything else exists even. All that does matter is you and I, here and now; and there are countless lines tossed out across these 14 tracks that so perfectly capture the excitement of being young and being immersed in a world.

The fantastic ‘Line Drive’ is anchored by the percussive might of Valentin Plessy but finds its power in the Chance-Dark vocal, before spinning off into synthetic euphoria. A verse like “Run with me through the underpass / On the edge of town, in the dead of night / And the radio plays that song we love / It will get us through” is pure escapist fantasy and proves irresistible in collusion with the song’s layered harmonies and with Plessy’s driving beat at its back.

‘Stories by the Bay’ (“Bright lights on the dance floor / Pulling me into you”) and ‘Light Games’ (“Lost in the maze of the undergrowth that leads right back to you”) both display that same magnetism in the midst of some rather glorious instrumentation. ‘Bay’ is built on an ecstatic combination of drums and synths but is tempered by a lackadaisical guitar riff, whereas keyboards fuzzily pulse and guitars tick away unnoticed on the more sultry ‘Light Games’. The same basic elements make up these two songs and many of Kool Thing‘s finest moments, but they are moulded into surprising, impressive forms on every occasion.

However, there are fleeting moments when Kool Thing look beyond stadium-sized electronic rock, and ‘The Sign’ probes outside the box while also coming to sum up all that is right with Kool Thing. The opening riff is so uncomfortably sharp, it sounds like Dark’s fingernails were probably torn off picking its sparing notes The industrial percussion and twinkling keys swell beneath such an icy riff, thus drawing attention to its abnormality. Moreover, the song hits Kool Thing‘s themes precisely and with verve. Simplistic though they may be, the sentiments of “You and me against the world / We’ve got time on our side” and “We move as one with the waves of sound from the big kick drum” are inexplicably emotive and lie in stark contrast with such a jagged backdrop.

Affecting her most ‘Yeah, like, whatever’ drawl on ‘Kool Thing’, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon asked (maybe facetiously, possibly in earnest): “Are you gonna liberate us girls from male, white, corporate oppression?” Kool Thing believe in the power of her questions and the hostile, snarling energy of Sonic Youth’s music as much as they want you to believe in their own work. Free of irony and blooded with conviction, these tales of young love and lust are made all the more authentic by the weight of youth’s naivety and its unknowable pleasures. And with the symbiosis of Chance’s dizzying synths and Dark’s squalling guitar, Kool Thing certainly don’t sound like they need liberating any time soon. Dazzling stuff. - STATE MAGAZINE (IRE)

"DOTS&DASHES- Brand New Heights, kool thing"

Keep hearing Kraftwerk this week even when I’m not plugged into Die Mensch-Maschine, or conducting Radio Aktivität. And there are intimations of that same wry, distinctly Germanic synergy between man woman and machine at play within this, the prelude to the eagerly awaited début full-length from racy electronica pairing kool thing. The influence is of little wonder as far as the duo’s output may be concerned, given that Julie Chance and Jon Dark relocated to Berlin fulltime a little while back, and this particular song itself – a stalking number inspired by turbulent Stelldichein (think that’s the correct translation of rendezvous, there) arranged around the city’s TV Tower – shimmers with the stainless, steely gleam of mainland European new wave. It makes for an intelligent combination of organic and electronic, too: irrespective of the restive arpeggios at its core, regimented stabs of guitar keep the recording in severe check as kool thing sing of that boundless optimism intrinsic to any newfangled romance. “You used to tell me we could catch the stars as they fell from the sky, burning up the cars” they serenely coo amidst a strangely involving storyline – the like of which we’ve incidentally become accustomed to glaring into through TV screens and as with Ralf Hütter before them, they seem only too aware of the ominous hues and human futility the future is sure to bring. Compute. - DOTS&DASHES


Your run-of-the-mill musician would probably be all like ‘OMG! Bring it!’ to have Trent Reznor remix their song, but Telepathe were more like – Meh, let’s see what our friends do with it. And hell, our fans should remix it as well, ya know? *Via their forthcoming Destroyer app.* NO ONE gets out of it. Not even those wretched souls who don’t have iPhones. So you really gotta give it to Kool Thing for delivering amazingly well under all the pressure, doing that epic build-up they do so well – so much so you just want it to go on and on and are almost disappointed when it ends just short of six minutes. Killer! Also, this is the last time we’re writing about ‘Destroyer’, I promise. - NO CONCLUSION

"DAZED DIGITAL - Trust Remix Exclusive"

The Canadian musician on his dark and ethereal beats working with Austra's drummer plus an exclusive remix from Berlin duo Kool Thing - DAZED DIGITAL

"THE REYKJAVIK GRAPVINE- Iceland Airwaves Live Review"

Maybe my psychic powers come out the other side because Kool Thing started a bit later than scheduled. This did not matter, for the Berlin based international trio wasted no time and crammed all they had into a short and often impressive set.

The trio, drums, guitars, synths, two voices and playback, hypnotized with a soft but ghoulish opening chants. This set opener quickly switched gears and I found myself in an underground electro club in a Dresden basement, immersed in thundering bass waves and spacious industrial goth. You got my attention. The slower and calmer moments evoked Blade Runner and Lost Highway images whilst the more energetic and rocking ones saw the crowd getting their groove on and I told myself that yes, Kool Things can certainly run with the new wave resurgence that’s going on. At this stage in our relationship I wont say Kool Things are original, but the tempo variations, cascading build ups and subtle yet different dynamics between songs kept me on their side. My only gripe is one dimensional vocal harmonies. Other than that, this set got tumbs up. - THE REYKJAVIK GRAPVINE

"THE LINE OF BEST FIT - Iceland Airwaves 2012: Editors’ Picks"

Kool Thing
Gamli Gaukurinn, Friday @ 21:0
Boy are we glad that Dublin’s Julie Chance and Sydney’s Jon Dark happened to be in Paris at the same time in the same place once upon a time, otherwise we wouldn’t have their haunting, understated, seductive, swirling sonics to look forward to. - THE LINE OF BEST FIT

"ENTERTAINMENT.IE - Live Review Hard Working Class Heroes Festival 2012"

With a last minute cancellation from Belfast band LaFaro, the pre-planned half set from Irish/Aussie, Berlin-based band, Kool Thing, in the Workman's evolved into a full set and, my, was it a a treat. The regimental stage presence of the raven-haired, founding members Jon Dark and Julie Chance is mesmerizing. With the latest addition of drummer, Valentin Plessy, this goth-electro trio deliver a very solid and fluid set. 'Plan.Life.Go' was the final track of their slot and sealed them as something very special. They are definitely worth keeping an eye on for future Dublin appearances and for tips on military dance moves. - ENTERTAINMENT.IE

"STATE Magazine - Camden Crawl Dublin: State’s Top 25"

Kool Thing – Stag’s Head, Saturday

Playing in a sun trap made for a naturally dramatic stage setting up stairs in The Stag’s Head, the blazing glare a beautiful juxtaposition against girls dressed in black singing about nocturnal antics. Kool Thing have attracted their own crowd, it’s a struggle to wedge in the door but it’s worth being rude. Since their last jaunt around the city in December, Jon and Julie have acquired a live drummer and with him a rounder more relaxed form to their performance. With a spread of duties, the girls are free to project the cold harmonies of their keening electro-Goth. ‘Light Games’ is glacial and arcane and ‘The Sign’ are charging anthem. Kool Thing are making all the right moves to greatness. (Alan Reilly) - State Magazine

"INDIE SHUFFLE - Kool Thing Plan.Life.Go"

What happens when you mix a Dubliner with an Australian in a Parisian bar? Well, you get a Berlin-based girl band of course!

Kool Thing have just unleashed a six minute blues track titled “Plan.Life.Go.” More than half of these six minutes are occupied by a long, drawn out guitar riff that basically leaves the listener begging for something more wholesome.

Fortunately, the build-up pays off near the four minute mark, when vocals enter the game. At that point, the track becomes worth turning up the volume on. - INDIE SHUFFLE

"NOISEY (VICE) Kool Thing: „Plan.Life.Go“ (Video)"

Abgefuckte, leerstehende Gebäude, dunkle, staubige Ecken, im Schatten stehende Personen, eine Frau, die wegrennt, andere Menschen, die hinterherlaufen und all das gefilmt mit einer wackligen Handkamera, hastige Schwenks, kaum Schnitte—so funktionieren Horrorfilme, bei denen man sich gruselt, ohne dass man Gewalt, Blut und Splatter sieht. Und so funktioniert das neue Video von Kool Thing zu „Plan.Life.Go“. Halt, am Ende sieht man doch ein wenig Gewalt. Aber kein Blut.

Diejenigen, die der fliehenden Protagonistin nachher ins Gesicht spucken, sind die Bandmitglieder Jon Dark, Julie Chance und Valentin Plessy. Auch nicht unbedingt nett. Aber sie machen diesen negativen Eindruck mit ihrem Fünf-Minuten-Upbeat-Electroclash-Kracher wieder wett. Seht es euch an: - NOISEY (VICE)

"THE IRISH TIMES - 10 Things You Should Do At HWCH"

"Number 7- What to see why belonging to ‘Irish music’ doesn’t mean you have to be based here? Go see Kool Thing.
Kool Thing: one half Dublin, the other half Australian and now with an additional (German?) live drummer, based in Berlin, making waves internationally. Don’t miss them on Friday at 8.20pm in the Workmans. Here’s their new video for PLAN.LIFE.GO" - THE IRISH TIMES

"NO FEAR OF POP "Hottest outfits based out of Berlin at the moment...""

Premiere: Kool Thing – “Plan.Life.Go” MUSIC VIDEO

"Watch the brand new video for “Plan.Life.Go”, the signature single of one of the hottest outfits based out of Berlin at the moment, Kool Thing aka Sydney and Dublin natives Julie Chance and Jon Dark, presented here simultaneously with our Irish friends over at Nialler9. The piece was made by French director Robin Plessy and shot at the notorious Beelitz Heilstätten in Brandenburg, a delightfully spooky abandoned sanatorium just outside Berlin, which provides an appropriate setting to visualise the song’s gritty undertones." - NO FEAR OF POP

"RCRD LBL - STREAM: Kool Thing - Plan.Life.Go."

It’s a tale as old as time: Dublin girl and Sydney girl meet in Paris dive bar where Dublin girl was ripping some records. So they flew to Berlin and formed Kool Thing (who you already know from remixes here and here) and then made some cosmic, bluesy alloy of Austra, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine that was bleak gone bright, evidenced by “Plan.Life.Go.” Which is basically a six-minute sojourn down dancepop lane preceded by the longest spotlight gee-tar drawl in recent memory. Yeah, it’s good, and it’s all yours, right here. - RCRD LBL

"NO FEAR OF POP- Kool Thing: “Plan.Life.Go”"

Berlin via Dublin and Sydney duo Kool Thing, consisting of Julie Chance and Jon Dark (with the help of Valentin Plessy on drums), has been floating around in the Berlin scene for a bit now already, among other things supporting Maria Minerva and MEN. This Saturday, June 30, the girls will celebrate the release of their first proper single “Plan.Life.Go” at Marie Antoinette, and if you happen to be in Berlin, you should definitely come around and join the party. Below, listen to the nicely constructed and slowly unfolding song that heads off rather harmlessly with a single guitar-based chord progression for more than three minutes before it unexpectedly turns into an immensely catchy, straightforward jam compellingly built around the girls’ forceful vocals.

The Plan.Life.Go 12 inch single including remixes by Irish producers REID and Toby Kaar is going to be released by Dublin-based Fatty Fatty-spinoff Laser Guided Melodies. Pre-order the vinyl now over at Clone. - NO FEAR OF POP

"THE IRISH TIMES - My Top 11 For Forbidden Fruit"

8. Kool Thing, Sunday, Lighthouse Stage, 3.45pm
This band was also in my picks for Camden Crawl, and they rocked it. Ordinarily, the upstairs space in the Stag’s Head isn’t exactly where you’d programme a brooding synth and guitar duo, but with the sun going down on their set, they whipped up some electronic glamour for a room so squished that people were waiting outside to get in. The addition of a live drummer to the Kool Thing troupe has beefed up their sound no end, as they continue to intriguingly straddle the lines between techno, jamming electro, dark synth sounds, and astute guitar playing with the deftness of fleeing mountain goats. Don’t miss em. - The Irish Times

"NOISE - Forbidden Fruit Festival – Day 2"

A worldly trio, Kool Thing were playing to a small but appreciative crowd over at the Lighthouse Stage. The closing song, which I didn’t catch the name of, was a nice indicator of what lies in wait, with stabs of guitar evolving and mutating into something that I could’ve listened to for another hour. Austra put on a similarly spellbinding performance over on the Main Stage, with each member dressed more outlandishly than the next. Some misgivings people expressed over the weekend was that the main stage didn’t work for some bands. Austra would probably have been amazing in a tent, with a crowd as spellbound as had gathered for Grimes. In the open air, though, maybe Austra’s songs got a little lost. Still looked amazing, though. - NOISE (IRE)

"THE MAROON CAFE - Kool Thing - We Are Here"

Berlin based dark synth proggy popsters Kool Thing continue raise the buzz meter since the duo’s free ‘Light Games‘ EP with their latest atmospheric effort ‘We Are Here.’ Coming in at just under five minutes, this is something we’d envision popping in for a late night spin through the city as we search for survivors during the apocalypse. Grab the first cut from their forthcoming self titled project below. - The Maroon Cafe

"THE POINT OF EVERYTHING - Kool Thing - We Are Here"

Gearing up for the release of an EP expected next month, Kool Thing have released ‘We Are Here’ as a taster. Whereas ‘Light Games‘ lurked in the shadows, sleeping with the curtains closed, ‘We Are Here’ gets louder and louder, engulfing all before it. The vocals remain in the darkness though, creating a track at once atmospheric, at others spooky and a song that is never anything less than exhilerating. Kool Thing are Julie Chance and Jon Dark, from Dublin and Sydney respectively. You’ll probably need to remember the name. They’re based in Berlin and return to Irish shores to play the Dublin Crawl on the second weekend of May. If you’re planning on going to see them, I suggest wearing black – it seems appropriate. - The Point Of Everything (IRE)

"THE NEEDLE DROP - Kool Thing- “We Are Here”"

Hailing out of Berlin, Kool Thing released their debut EP Light Games earlier this year. “We are Here” is a track off of that record. It’s dark rhythm and distant vocals are an excellent representation of what the EP sounds like. It’s a song that creeps along, perfect for a night time drive. Light Games, and by extension “We are Here,” set a very unique tone and mood. Take advantage of this free download for the next weirdo house party that you throw (I know you host those). - THE NEEDLE DROP

"HOT SHIT - Kool Thing - Light Games"

It’s hard to describe the music of the Berlin-based Irish-Aussie duo Kool Thing but we’d say that if you like Austra, you’d probably fall in love with them, just as we have. They have an album coming up, but with no release date yet but don’t you worry… we’ll be keeping our ears to the ground for it. And mark our words: we’ve got a gut feeling that Kool Thing will end up on many “Best New Bands of 2012” lists by the end of the year.

You can watch the gorgeous video for “Light Games,” directed by Claire Kurylowski below.

Bonus: you can download their EP for free via Bandcamp! - HOT SHIT

"STEREOGUM- Austra – “Beat And The Pulse (Kool Thing Remix)”"

BTW Austra’s original track “Beat And The Pulse” is gothic electro done with a spacey, otherwordly sort of calm. It’s somehow creepy and sleepy simultaneously, and it gets under your skin. For their remix, the Berlin duo Kool Thing make the track even more languid and dead-eyed, adding a few echoed-up horn blasts deep in the mix and doing spooky things with Katie Stelmanis’s voice. Hear the remix and the original track below. - STEREOGUM

"DOTS&DASHES - Here, Resounding Loud & Clear, Kool Thing."

Having gallivanted about Australia in support of pop prodigy Austra Berlin-based duo Kool Thing, comprising Dubliner Julie Chance and Antipodean counterpart Jon Dark, have irrefutably polished up their act. Not that it were in need of much burnishing previously or anything... We Are Here is a brooding thing brought into the world amidst the ominous clanging of terse guitar string and cawing of crow, swiftly maturing, mutating into a humid disco number infused with the tropical flickers of John Talabot's superlative ƒIN. Whilst that particular LP continues to enthral, still we impatiently await the debut Kool Thing full-length. Or indeed even any news thereof... - Dots&Dashes

"COCK&BULL TV - Forbidden Fruit Festival – Day Two"

"There is just enough time to squeeze into catch a few number of the ball of energy that is Grimes before Berlin-based drum/guitar/synth outfit Kool Thing. They kick off with some solid electro-beat, while ‘The Sign’ begins as a stripped-down post-rock guitar tune before transforming into a banging, instrument-switching affair. A breathy, panting ‘Light Games’ follows – an attention-grabber if ever I saw one. Guitarist Jon Dark is well capable of the odd rock goddess pose, playing nicely on final number ‘Plan.Life.Go.’ before it veers off into a Marquee Moon style riff." - Cock and Bull TV


Kool Thing dropped their debut EP Light Games back in January and next month the Berlin-based duo of Jon Dark and Julie Chance will follow that up with another EP at the end of May. ‘We Are Here’ is taken from that release. Its gnarled and creeped rhythm turns with shadowed guitar notes and voice treatments while synths ping in the distance. The song’s beat keeps us on the beaten track rather than lose us in the darkness.
Kool Thing will be playing Camden Crawl Dublin on May 12th as well as Forbidden Fruit and other plans include a 12? of ‘Plan.Life.Go’ in June with remixes by two of Cork’s finest Toby Kaar and REID. They’ve also remixed Light Asylum recently. Hear that below. - Nialler9


Guest mix #51 comes from Kool Thing, the Berlin-based duo made up of Jon Dark and Julie Chance. (How hasn’t anyone thought of naming their band “Kool Thing” before?) Their debut Light Games EP, which came out in January, made for a perfect soundtrack to walks in the cold winter nights, its only fault being that it is merely three tracks long. It’s available as free download so go and check it out if you haven’t already. The duo has also made remixes for Austra and Light Asylum. They are currently residing in Sydney, working on new stuff and doing shows. A new EP should be out before the Summer.
The mix starts off quietly, slowly building up to some house jams and club bangers, including Kool Thing’s take on ‘The Beat and the Pulse’ and a remix of their own track by Maya Postepski (of Austra and TRUST). They close the mix with Arthur Russell’s ‘Arm Around You’, a perfect come down and one of my favorites by him. Do I say that every time someone puts an Arthur Russell track on their mix? SO WHAT, the man happens to have loads of great songs. If you too need to be told what to do – stream and/or download this mix: - No Conclusion (CRO)

"AU REVIEW - Live Review: Austra + Kool Thing - Northcote Social Club (02.02.12)"

Berlin based duo Kool Thing performed one of the best sets of live music that I’ve seen so far this year. As soon as the house lights went down, the droning electronics kicked in and Jon Dark and Julie Chance began to move trance like to the beats, it was obvious that we were about to see something truly special. They have an incredibly moody, brooding sound that is sensual and intoxicating & their presence was indifferent and intense as they concentrated on creating the music, paying little attention to their heavily intoxicated admirer’s in the audience and their constant heckling. Kool Thing mix new wave and grunge with a spattering of cow bell and the atmosphere of their live show was electric.

This made for a stark contrast from their regular touring buddies Austra whose headlining show left me feeling surprisingly underwhelmed. I love Feel It Break, I listen to the record daily and was counting down the hours until my shift ended and I could head to the pub to see the band’s interpretation of their studio work live. Unfortunately Austra are one of the many bands whose live show mimics their recordings with no spontaneous moments. Everything seemed staged and highly practised like the band get up and play the same show every time they perform. Which is not the kind of performance that I enjoy. That being said front woman Katie Stelmanis’ vocals were on fire and on the rare occasion during their set when she let loose the power of her voice was amazing.

Austra package themselves well, with the band’s eccentric attire (it's not often you see men dressed in cowl neck leotards) and free-spirited dance routine’s complimenting their music. The definite highlight of their set was their rendition of “Beat And The Pulse”, which was the one moment that Austra seemed to drop their defences and play completely uninhibited, favourites “Spellwork”, “Ride Her Darkened Horse” and “Lose It” were also well received by the crowd. Austra ended the night with an obligatory encore of “The Future” and ran off stage to a massive round of applause, with the majority of the audience seemingly satisfied with the show. - AU Review (AUS)

"ELECTRONIC BEATS - Kool Thing Play Light Games"

You might remember Kool Thing for their fantastic remix of Light Asylum's 'Shallow Tears', but they also make pretty damn good music themselves. The Berlin-based duo of Jon Dark and Julie Chance have recently released a new free EP, and along with it comes a brand new video. Produced and directed by Claire Kurylowski, 'Light Games' is a somber autumnal story of passionate red-lit sex and late-night adventures that perfectly captures the bouncing melancholic mood of the track. - Electronic Beats (GER)

"THE POINT OF EVERYTHING - Kool Thing - 'Light Games' (video)"

Kool Thing (they prefer kool thing) are Julie Chance and Jon Dark, from Dublin and Sydney respectively. They met in Paris and now live in Berlin where they’re honing the band. Last month they made their Light Games EP available for free download. The first I heard of the band, though, despite them recently supporting Austra, was when REID remixed the title track to the EP. REID told me that when he does remixes he just needs the vocals and that he himself had not actually heard the original version of ‘Light Games’. While his remix wasted no time getting into the thick of things, kool thing take it that bit slower, easing into the track. And the wait is more than worth it. The video was shot by Berlin-based film-maker Claire Kurylowski and, like the song, takes the viewer by the hand before pushing them on their own. The central line of the song is: “I’m sleeping in your room again, got the curtains closed real tight,” a phrase that could be interpreted many different ways. I see it as a reassuring line, that everything will be OK. I think that’s what Claire’s video is about too; that no matter how much crystal you do, there will be someone there at the end of it. Warning: it’s a little NSFW. Listen to kool thing’s Light Games EP below. - The Point Of Everything (IRE)

"NIALLER9 - The Sign"

You may remember Kool Thing from supporting Austra in Dublin earlier this year. The Berlin-based duo have come correct with a new tune. ‘The Sign’ is has a slow burning first third utilising a simple guitar melody before it really gets going when the beats and vocals hit in with synths.

Kool Thing are Julie Chance and Jon Dark who are originally from Dublin and Sydney and met in Paris in 2010. - Nialler9 (IRE)

"STATE MAGAZINE - Incoming – Kool Thing"

You might remember Kool Thing from their immediately absorbing and spacey electro set in support of Austra earlier this year.

Tonight (Thursday 22nd) the pair play a show in The Sugar Club, Dublin along side Horse Meat Disco and Ships – entry is €10.

Kool Thing also play State’s Midnight Mass tomorrow night (Friday 23rd) in The Mercantile, Dublin and Block T on New Year’s Eve. They are one of the most exciting live acts we’ve seen in some time so make sure to catch at least one of their shows.

Jon Dark and Julie Chances introduce themselves.

Who are you and where are you from?
We are kool thing from Dublin and Sydney, based in Berlin

Who are your favourite artists from your hometown?
JC- I still love Sinead O’Connor, and I’m really digging REID right now.
JD- I love the ’80s band Icehouse, and of course INXS. I haven’t been home in ages, and lost touch a bit with the local scene right now, but I love new producer/DJ Alison Wonderland.

What’s it really like touring?
Touring is deadly because you get to see loads of new cities and meet new people, experience new stuff but its really tiring and you dont sleep much.

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
Berghain in Berlin.

What’s your ideal festival line-up?
Grizzly Bear, The Knife, Austra, The Smiths.

Tell us a tour story.
What happens on tour stays on tour.

What has been your biggest achievement of the last year?
Touring Europe with our mates Austra and then Domino releasing the remix we did for the them of ‘Beat and the Pulse’ on the Sparkle remix ep.

What do you do to relax?
Movies or tv series, totally addicted.

What are you reading?
JC- My dad just gave me I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
JD- Just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, I haven’t started anything new yet. Hopefully I will get a book or two for Christmas.

How about TV, anything good on the box?
JC- We have no TV in Berlin so we stream stuff, pretty addicted to Jersey Shore :/
JD – Basically any HBO drama series has got me hooked, I really like Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, and cheesy but totally addictive, Game of Thrones.

What’s the last thing you bought online?
JC- I just bought 50 Words for Snow by Kate Bush for my dad for Christmas.
JD- A guitar pedal.

Who would you most like to collaborate with if you got the chance?
Fever Ray.

What is the worst cover your band has ever performed?
We’ve never performed a cover!

Have you ever trashed your equipment? When and why?
JD – Not on purpose! but my guitar pedals get trashed all the time.

What website do you visit most?
Eh, before Facebook? probably The Irish Times or The Guardian.

What is your favourite…

…album of the last year?
Loved when the James Blake album came out, also House of Balloons by the Weeknd, love the new Kate Bush. We also were into the SBTRKT album. Austra of course. Avey Tare, Loved EMA album.

Too hard a question, theres loads but for now we will say ‘Blue’ by Joni Mitchell.

…lost classic song?

Again very hard…Judee Sill – ‘The Kiss’.

…record label?
Can’t really go wrong with Domino – they put out so many great artists at the moment.

…current artist?

…YouTube video?
We love Maru.

A new artist that you are most excited about?
Grimes is pretty interesting.

What was the last great gig you have seen?
Robyn was amazing at the Berlin Festival last year!

What should we expect from your Irish shows?
Dark and emotional music that wants to lift you up. - State Magazine (IRE)

"DON'T PANIC (Berlin) Interview Kool Thing"

kool thing are the Berlin-based band of Julie Chance and Jon Dark. Their sound and aesthetic are comparable to a recent wave of female dominated acts indulging synth-heavy soundscapes with a nod to the dark side. Fitting then that they should be named after a Sonic Youth song inspired by Kim Gordon’s interview with LL Cool J for Spin magazine, which boldly and captivatingly raises questions about women’s place in music; highly recommended if you’ve not yet come across it (read it here).

Theirs is a sound split between simple grungey / wave guitar melodies and layered washes of voice and synthesiser, described by one critic as “fog-drenched art rock” (Silence is Boring). Having played alongside contemporaries MEN, Light Asylum, Maria Minerva and LCMDF, kool thing were last year invited to support Canadian band Austra with whom they recently toured Europe and will soon embark on Australia. Though relatively newly formed – having only met in 2010 – kool thing are quickly gathering speed as an exciting and popular new act, leaving their sonic stamp on a number of remixes.

This Friday they will present an exclusive screening of the brand new video for the forthcoming single ‘Light Games’ at Sy&M from 19:00, see event details here.

We ask kool thing a few quick questions about music, Berlin and the past year:

Would you mind giving a brief description of the music you make..

Mmm always a hard question…dark synth proggy pop.

What music did you grow up on? And have you always been musicians yourselves?

JC- I grew up on music my dad listened to – so traditional Irish music, Bruce Springsteen etc then I got into Nirvana. I’ve played in loads of bands.

JD- I grew up on a mixture of classical, I was obsessed with Phantom of the Opera when I was 8. I was in a choir before I was in school!

What’s the idea behind the new video?

The idea for the music video came from the premise of seeking to re-find a sense of wonderment lost.

What brought you both to Berlin?

Berlin offers cheap rent and a creative atmosphere unparalleled in other cites so for an artist, that’s very attractive.

How do you find the band scene in Berlin? Any local acts to recommend?

The band scene in Berlin is very open and eclectic. There are lots of different styles going on here.

We can definitely recommend Molly Nillson, we also love aMinus.

You’re named after the Sonic Youth song, why that particular track?

Apart from Sonic Youth being the best band in the world and this being a great fucking song; I guess for us the themes in the song struck a particular chord. For us it is a statement about substance over style, feminism and a male dominated music industry.

If you got the chance to interview someone of LL Cool J status right now who would it be and what would you want to ask?

Yeah, John Williams and we’d like to ask him why he writes the same music for EVERY FILM and what he thinks about the uncanny similarity between his music and the late romantic classical composers.

Do you have any highlights from the past year?

Probably playing in Berghain with Austra. The venue was amazing, all our mates were there. It was pretty special.

What are your plans for 2012? Any new years resolutions?

We are off to Australia in a few days!! Release an EP, finish our album and just keep gigging and writing.

Hear more from the band here and see the website - Don't Panic (Berlin)

"SILENCE IS BORING - Introducing Kool Thing"

Kool Thing are a Berlin-based Irish/Australian duo comprising of Julie Chance and Jon Dark. Their fog-drenched art rock sounds and electronic soundscapes feature side by side and simultaneously throughout their exorcismal debut EP, which is now available through iTunes, or to stream via MySpace

Today, we feature “plan.life.go”, a track that is essentially in two rounds; The first is somewhat an ode to Grizzly Bear‘s “While You Wait For The Others”, where Dark hypnotically strums and twangs her guitar through a beautiful cavernous reverb. Round two arrives with a rhythm change and the swelling of accompaniment, where we eventually arrive at Chance’s bold and empowering vocals.

Though 4am is probably the best time to listen to Kool Thing, their enveloping music will inspire and effect you. This track comes HIGHLY recommended by SIB.

Download: Plan.Life.Go (Extended) – Kool Thing (Right Click, Save As)

Enjoy. - Silence is Boring (UK)

"DOTS AND DASHES - On the Horizon: Kool Thing will make your soul sing..."

or shriek... Having followed suit and unashamedly venerated PJ Harvey's trenchtown gloom that is and was Let England Shake, it seems as though the disquieting among us are causing quite the stir, perturbing the darkest of essences in the deepest, sleepiest hollows of your soul like gritty coffee granules in the abysses of murk-ridden mugs. Kool Thing epitomise audio discomfort, as they conjure wistful malaise to intermittently incur a craving for the mainstream monotony of Radio 1, the skeletal guitars of plan.life.go ambling to the tune of bedraggled blues, before segueing into jittering, muffled disco like Esben And The Witch throwing shapes in the direction of Le Tigre outside the flaming gates of hell.
plan.life.go by Kool Thing
Kool Thing are Julie Chance and Jon Dark of Dublin/Sydney. Having met in Paris, they now reside in Berlin, and the sounds that we've experienced thus far are inherently indebted to the ratchet-like sterility of much Krautrock, the relentless thrum of The Sign in particular coming across as the sonic embodiment of the German capital.
The Sign by Kool Thing
We Are Here meanwhile tramples upon harmonic chinks and gruesome growls not altogether dissimilar to much of Polly Jean's earlier musical outpour were it infused with arpeggiated synth maelstrom.
We Are Here by Kool Thing
The haunting, ethnic instrumentation reminiscent of much of Olof Dreijer's work that composes Line Drive provides the highlight of a distinctly cohesive collection of recordings however. Innately Kool, catch the pair before the hipsters runoff to the woods with them. - Dots and Dashes (UK)

"THE GIRLS ARE - Introducing Kool Thing"

Hearing the name pertaining to Julie Chance and Jon Dark’s current project, associations with and allusions to Sonic Youth are inevitable. A band name immediately conjuring up images of Kim Gordon is not a bad name at all, but Kool Thing have far more going for them than legendary association.

Teasing out the dirgey malcontent of the aforementioned Youth, the duo formed in Paris in 2010, with Julie and Jon hailing from Sydney and Dublin respectively. The pair are currently based in Berlin, a city full of creativity, and burgeoning particularly when it comes to making and dancing to filthy electronica.

In addition to crafting music, the pair are also scissors-and-pritstick-happy, remixing their way across the globe, hooking up with a formidable array of up-and-coming artists along the way. They recently released a free download of their own re-worked version of their song, ‘The Sign’, and have additionally released a version of the incredible ‘Beat and Pulse’ by Austra.

When the band aren’t remixing, they’ve carved out a distinct niche of their own; their sardonic, malaise-heavy, bass-driven smother hinting at the wellspring of talent lurking beneath their noir-ish, uber-cool surface. Having recently released a self-titled EP, available to download via Bandcamp, Kool Thing are not shy about revealing their precocity. ‘The Sign’ is inspired by shoegaze and electronica equally, exuding a wonderfully hazy, dream-like quality before ‘Line Drive’, explicitly influenced by the inimitable Berlin club scene, implores the listener to “dance to the beat of my heart”. No genre left untouched, no sonics left unexplored,the pair use their multi-national spectre to killer advantage.

The band have recently performed with JD Samson’s MEN. You can catch them live in Germany and France this month. - The Girls Are (UK)

"TETU MAGAZINE - "Pour la gay pride à Paris, les Kool Thing célébreront...""

Le duo électro et queer sera de passage à Paris la semaine prochaine pour fêter la marche des fiertés LGBT. Rendez-vous est donné à la «Party Grrrls», pour un live festif et militant.

Après la marche, la fête. Le soir de la gay pride parisienne, le 25 juin, les collectifs lesbiens Barbi(e)turix et Fol Effet unissent leurs forces pour proposer une soirée filles de poids. Avec un défilé de petites culottes, un radio show, une multitude de DJ, Kim Ann Foxman (lire son interview)... L'autre tête d'affiche de cette Party Grrrls? Le tout nouveau groupe électro Kool Thing, composé des deux Berlinoises, Julie Chance et Jon Dark, pas vraiment allemandes mais vraiment queers. Les deux musiciennes sont déjà folles d'impatience à l'idée de retrouver la scène parisienne pour cet événement militant et festif un peu particulier... Rencontre avec Julie Chance, moitié d'un duo dont l'histoire ne fait que commencer.

TÊTUE: Salut Julie, comment va Kool Thing?
Julie Chance: Très bien! Nous revenons de Dublin, dont je suis originaire, et où on a joué avec Men, ce qui était vraiment cool.

Kool Thing n'a même pas un an. Parle-nous de sa naissance...
L'année dernière, j'ai mixé pour une soirée à Paris. Jon y était aussi, c'est là qu'on s'est rencontrées. Je devais rentrer à Berlin le lendemain mais mon vol a été annulé alors on s'est revues pour sortir. On avait tellement de choses en commun, les mêmes goûts musicaux... On a passé deux jours entiers à écouter de la musique et à s'inspirer l'une l'autre. On avait toutes les deux déjà été dans des groupes, moi à Berlin et Londres, Jon en Australie. Faire de la musique ensemble nous est juste apparu comme naturel. L'alchimie était trop forte!

Comment travaillez-vous ensemble?
On est une vraie équipe dans le processus de création. J'écris toutes les paroles, on trouve les idées ensemble. Jon Dark produit la musique, et on fait les arrangements à deux.

Quelles sont vos sources d'inspiration?
Surtout d'autres artistes, des musiciens, des films, des expériences de vie. Je suis une grande fan des Smiths, j'adore la manière d'écrire de Morrissey, sa passion. J'aime beaucoup ce qu'on appelle généralement «musique triste»: Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Judee Sill. Jon Dark a étudié la musique classique, elle aime Stravinsky, mais aussi des groupes comme Fever Ray et Animal Collective.

Dirais-tu que Kool Thing est un groupe queer? Qu'il existe, de manière conceptuelle, de la musique queer?
Nous sommes toutes les deux queers, mais on fait avant tout de la musique. Je pense qu'il y a des scènes, et au sein de ces scènes des gens font de la musique. Il y a beaucoup de personnes queers qui font de la musique et qui ont beaucoup de succès. Par succès, je parle d'un succès mainstream, comme c'est le cas pour The XX, Gossip ou Austra. Mais je ne dirais pas que c'est de la musique queer. Qu'ils soient homos, c'est juste un fait.

Vous jouez le 25 Juin à Paris dans le cadre de l'after pride Party Grrrls, organisée par Barbi(e)turix et Fol Effet. Pressée d'y être?
Quand elles me l'ont proposé, j'ai tout de suite accepté. On a juste trop hâte! On va tellement s'amuser et il y aura teeeeeellement de filles! Et de la bonne musique: on adore Kim Ann Foxman, qui sera également là. Tout ce qu'il faut pour rendre une Pride Party spéciale! On sera présentes sur la piste et on a très hâte de jouer pour tout le monde. À samedi prochain! - TETU (France)

"PASSION PARTY - “Hey, Kool Thing, come here...""

Ob Julie Chance und Jon Dark aka Kool Thing nach Sonic Youth’s Supertrack von 1990 benannt sind, weiß man nicht. Da sie allerdings unter anderem Kim Gordon als maßgeblichen Einfluss für ihre Musik nennen, liegt das also ziemlich nahe. Erst vor wenigen Tagen bin ich auf das Duo aus Berlin (ursprünglich Dublin & Sydney) aufmerksam geworden, als ich ihren Remix zu AUSTRA’s fantastischem Beat And The Pulse entdeckte - für die waren sie übrigens auch Vorband bei ihrem Konzert letztens im Berghain. Bisher haben sie eine Self-titled EP herausgebracht, die man als Digital Download für wenige Dollar auf ihrem Bandcamp erwerben kann. - Passion Party (Germany)

"WEARS THE TROUSERS - voice on the verge #70: kool thing"

Formed of two women – one Irish, one Australian – who met in Paris and are now based in Berlin, Kool Thing’s sound shows as little regard for borders as their background. A giddy mix of layered vocals, futuristic, experimental synths and more traditional guitar sounds, it speaks of a musical depth and understanding between members Jon Dark and Julie Chance far beyond their origins little over a year ago.

In that short period of time, the duo have made quite an impact, supporting prominent acts including LCMDF, MEN and Aerea Negrot, and releasing an excellent self-titled EP. More recently, the band have appeared on the Austra remix EP Sparkle, their funky, slowed-down take on ‘Beat & The Pulse’ easily ranking among the release’s most interesting reinterpretations, and are currently travelling around Europe supporting the Canadian electro goths. UK fans will have a chance to see them next month on that very tour, as well as at a show at the Brixton Windmill in London with Dubwiser and Ratface.

Wears The Trousers caught up with Kool Thing recently to discuss vegetarianism, drawing vaginas on gig venue walls and those vicious little wasp beasts.

* * *

Who was your first crush, and did you ever confess?

Julie: When I was 10 I totally fancied by best friend, never confessed!

Jon: The girl out of that AC/DC song ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever worked and what was so bad about it?

Jon: An Irish bar in Paris; every work shift ended at 6am with Black Eyed Peas pumping from the speakers. It was always full of French metal heads.

Julie: One summer I had a job cycling around London on a bike selling sandwiches to 9–5ers. You didn’t get paid by the hour so you had to sell all your sambos to earn a buck, and I had a really shit route as I was a newbie.

What would you be if you weren’t a musician?

Julie: Probably a photographer, since I studied it for years.

Jon: Some kind of athlete probably.

Julie: Ha ha!

What would you tell your teenage self if you could go back in time?

Julie: Just say no.

Jon: I would tell myself ‘Who cares what other people think?’!

What did you listen to when you were growing up? Who did you first see live?

Jon: AC/DC, BROS, Red Hot Chili Peppers – I was obsessed with Blood Sugar Sex Magik. I also had a massive phase of ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ – I got it on vinyl and would sit for hours and listen to it on headphones on repeat. My first concert was Arrested Development.

Julie: I listened to a lot of my dad’s music, lots of Irish folk singers; then I rebelled and broke away and got into Nirvana and bands like EMF – they were actually my first concert I think!

Tell us about your favourite instrument.

Jon: Hard to say. I love ‘em all, but my bass probably. It’s a Fender American jazz bass, sunburst body. It was the first serious instrument I bought. I saved up for it for ages when I was fifteen. Still have it and love it!

Julie: When I was younger I was obsessed with harmonicas, I think I wanted to be a cowboy or something. Then I got this really cool blues Honer one which I still have, play and love.

What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

Both: When we played at the legendary club Berghain in Berlin, with Austra. It was a sold out show and all our friends were there. The sound was amazing, the atmosphere was electric: it was really cool.

What’s your funniest gig or studio memory?

Both: Well, this is not very rock and roll, but so far probably drawing a massive vagina on a wall backstage at a gig in Cork. It was like a metre and a half high. We did it because there was too many cocks drawn everywhere and we thought it needed balancing out.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

Both: Anyone, from Grizzly Bear or Animal Collective to Robyn.

If you were to be remembered by just one of your songs, which would it be?

Both: ‘The Sign’

What’s your favourite poem and how much of it can you recite from memory?

Julie: ‘Memory Of My Father’ by Patrick Kavanagh. Eh… I can recite the first line: “Every old man I see reminds me of my father…”

Jon: Anything by Verlaine, and I can’t recite any of it!

What’s the first material possession you would rescue in a fire?

Julie: My laptop.

Jon: My acoustic guitar.

Name the last good book you read and tell us how it affected you.

Julie: Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann. It’s about all these seemingly unrelated stories that intertwine, set to the backdrop of New York City in 1974, on the day that Philippe Petit walked on a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers. It’s about life and love and death, all the big ones; I loved it!

Jon: I loved Susan Sontag’s diaries [Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-1963]. They are her private diaries, so intimate and honest, and sometimes brutal. I often found myself thinking, ‘God, that is exactly how I feel/felt’. It was a fascinating insight into a highly intelligent young female mind and, above all, revealed to me that we all more or less go through the same struggles.

What’s your favourite joke or quote?

Julie: I still love this veggie quote from Pythagoras: “For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”

Jon: Jeanette Winterson: “You play. You win. You play. You lose. You play.”

What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen on YouTube?

Julie: It may be old but I’m still loving Maru.

Jon: I think this is beautiful.

What music is exciting you in 2011?

Both: So far we are loving EMA, Austra, tUnE-yArDs, Jaime xx, The Weeknd.

How would you define your personal politics?

Both: Feminist, socialist.

What are your views on feminism?

Both: Feminism is about basic human rights, the notion that might is not necessarily right, and that there is more than one way to achieve a given outcome.

The patriarchal system has dominated our society for hundreds of years now, and in our opinion has manifested as an ugly, selfish world. Feminism is a movement still in its infancy and until the patriarchal system is overthrown, there is much work to do!

Feminism doesn’t necessarily mean female, it is not a gender specific notion (although it can be), but it is a call for a change in the way that we create our existence, which is generally manifest through laws and policy in the public domain.

Everyone should be a feminist! Because it is about human rights and equality. It’s about fighting the gross abuses of power by the patriarchal rulers of our society.

Which women have most inspired you?

Julie: Oh god, that’s a toughy. I would say women like Patti Smith, Kim Gordon, Kathleen Hanna, Beth Ditto, Amy Winehouse – I like wild women.

Jon: Meshell Ndegeocello: I wanted to be as good a bass player as her. My first year composition tutor in uni: she taught me so much about music, and inspired me to push myself as a writer. My grandma: she had a spark that was indefinable but that I hold close to me always.

What makes you angry? Why?

Julie: Everything makes me angry, from the inequalities and injustices that happen in the world every day, to the death of Amy Winehouse (because it didn’t have to happen), to people who walk in bike lanes in Berlin. I also hate wasps.

Jon: Mistreatment of women and the ‘other’ in society. Ignorance and how that manifests in all facets of life – political, social and personal. People’s lust for power and money, and my own struggle in the realisation everyone needs to strive to attain both.

Describe your vision of the afterlife.

Julie: The complete opposite of this earth we live on.

Jon: I don’t believe in it, I think that everything that is exists now – it’s just how we perceive it. And energy is never killed, it is transformed, so when I die my body will hopefully become mulch for some plant life and my consciousness – well, I have no idea!

Are you vegetarian/vegan? If yes, what are your reasons?

Both: Yes, we are vegetarian. Our choice was made for several reasons: Firstly, for the inhumane and cruel treatment of the animals, often throughout their life, and most definitely at the time of their death. Secondly, for health reasons: the meat that is readily available in the shops, that is affordable, is most often packed with hormones and is potentially damaging to health. Thirdly, the environmental impact of farming, with excess waste, deforestation for farming, the carbon footprint for housing and transporting etc. Also, if we consider the amount of grain used to feed the animals that we then feed off. If we took the animals out of it, we would have enough grain to live off and to feed the many countries that are in poverty. Finally, for the revolting money making factory farming industry that has largely created this monster in the first place. Once you lay it all out it is seems ridiculous NOT to be a vegetarian.

Are major labels doomed? If yes, is this a good thing?

Both: The ones that are stuck in the past, which includes a lot, probably are, but those that are adapting will survive because music will always exist. If they are doomed, it probably is a good thing, because they had too much power in the first place.

What kind of person would have sex to your music?

Both: A number of people have told us that they have alone time with our music, so apparently it’s for those quiet, solitary nights in the dark.

What’s in your pockets right now?

Jon: A hairband, a pick, 5c/10c pieces, chewing gum.

Julie: Chewies, scrunched up five Euro and a toothpick (I always have a toothpick).

If we gave you an elephant, where would you hide it?

Jon: Back in Australia, in a paddock on our property in the Aussie country.

Julie: Our rehearsal space in Berlin – that building’s massive. No one would care either.

Do you have a tattoo?

Julie: Yeah, lots on my arms of different things, lots of music references and animals. I’ve got the Diane Arbus twins on my wrists, my dad’s in there too…

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Jon: Taught a nine-year-old how to play ‘Ghostbusters’ on the piano.

Would you rather see a ghost or simply have a piece of toast and watch the evening news?

Jon: Deffo see a ghost. It would be my mate Bret who died of cancer when he was twenty-five – see what hell he is raising in the next dimension

Julie: Seeing a ghost is my biggest childhood fear; in fact apart from wasps it’s my ultimate fear. I would most certainly have a slice of toast, with Nutella – Germans love the stuff, as do I.

* * *

Keep up with Kool Thing on Facebook and Twitter. Catch them at the following venues from next weekend:

03.09.11 Brixton Windmill, London
05.09.11 The Deaf Institute, Manchester *
06.09.11 Scala, London *

* with Austra

STREAM: Austra, ‘Beat & The Pulse’ [Kool Thing remix]

Written by: Odhran ODonoghue

- Wears The Trousers (UK)

"LISTEN BEFORE YOU BUY - [Ones To Watch] – Introducing – Kool Thing"

The duo known as Kool Thing, made up of Julie Chance and Jon Dark, met at one of Dark’s DJ events in Paris in 2010. Quickly noticing a kindred musical taste, the pair began to share records and discuss musical ideas. Julie, (from Dublin, Ireland) and Jon (from Sydney, Australia) soon started organizing a move to Berlin, where they sat down to put their vision to reality. Kool Thing brings to life the jewel-toned hours of night that hang just before dawn. They have described their sound as being recommended if you like: “mood rings, lunar eclipses, ghost stories, cave paintings, and good music.” I could not put it better myself.

Reconciling disparate influences such as grunge and new wave, prog-rock and pop, there is no sense of retro-fetishism in sight. There is an inherent connection to the past, carrying on a full-throttle inheritence in the present. Dark, but not dismall, pop but with a post-punk ethos, Kool Thing have discovered the common thread running through a diverse range of artistic sensibilities. With one foot in the past and one in the future, the duo meet the present eye-to-eye. With the use of layered, highly texturized vocals, as well as deep, dark beats, the pair create a twilit world, merging high production values with a handmade, DIY sensibility.

With almost primeval percussives signalling the intro to “The Sign”, exquisite crinkly guitars break the negative space with an ancient-sounding Teutonic pagan ritualist precision. It is nearly impossible to merge primativist with organic, yet rigid, chants into something that has elements of some of the best beats to come from Factory Records at their heyday, yet everything ties together utterly siccintly. It is the best elements of dance with substance.

There is an immediacy and frustration found at the heart of this simply elegant charmer of a track. One listen alone will have you jumping over to their Soundcloud to check out the duo’s definitive (in my opinion) remix of Austra‘s “Beat And The Pulse.” All other Slim Shadies best not stand up. “Plan.Life.Go” begins with a nice, raw guitar solo, haunting and sparse. As the solo begins to merge with sparse vocals, a harrowing build-up is generated, keeping the listener poised for the inevitable crescendo. Fans of Electrelane and Ladytron should take note. I would venture that some lovers of the mighty John Maus might find something to love as well.

2010 saw Kool Thing touring all over Europe as the support act for an excellent array of fantastic artists such as: Light Asylum, MEN, Aerea Negrot, Maria Minerva and LCMDF. In 2011, they were handpicked by Austra as the support act for both of their European tours. Coming up in 2012, all those lucky people down under will be able to look forward to catching them opening for Austra during the 2012 leg of their Australian tour.

Julie and Jon regularly DJ throughout the dynamic electro-indie community of Berlin, the duo’s home base. They have recently recruited a drummer and continue to evolve their sound. Currently putting the final touches on their debut full-length album, they have been spending most of their time in the studio working with Berlin-based production team Kaiku (Handsome Furs, K-X-P) with an intended release for 2012.

You can watch their excellent teaser below, as well as stream a couple of highlights. - Listen Before You Buy

"DAZED DIGITAL - RISE: kool thing Video Premiere"

As we premiere the video for the duo's new track 'Light Games', we find out about their tap dancing, amazing pancakes and love of dishwashers

Text by Bruna Volpi

Julie Chance, hailing from Dublin, and the Sydney-based Jon Dark met in an old bar in Paris where the former was DJing back in 2010. After a quick swap of records, they were on the way to Berlin where kool thing was born from that impromptu meeting. For the past year, the girls have been spreading their nocturnal, moody, psychedelic sounds across London, Paris, Copenhagen, and all over Germany, in the company of the likes of Maria Minerva, Aerea Negrot, LCMDF, Light Asylum, MEN and Austra.

Merging influences from grunge to new wave, prog and pop, they now fuse their textured atmospheric guitars, ominous synths, vicious beats and layered glacier vocals on their new album, currently in production with Berlin-based team Kaiku (Handsome Furs, K-X-P), to be released in early 2012. Here, we premiere the new video for ‘Light Games’ by director Claire Kurylowski, off the upcoming album and recently released EP of the same name.

...your secret talent?
Julie Chance: I can't cook for shit but I make amazing pancakes
Jon Dark: Tap dancing

...your worst vice?
Julie Chance: Sleeping with ear plugs for no reason, just addicted
Jon Dark: I put way too much salt on everything.

…the story behind your name?
Kool Thing is a fucking great song and the themes in this song struck a particular chord with us. For us it is a statement about substance over style, feminism and a male dominated music industry.

... your favourite sound?
Julie Chance: I would deffo say our dishwasher
Jon Dark: Sine tone or nylon string guitar

...your worst fashion secret?
Julie Chance: One time I found a pair of shorts in a free clothes trolley and I took them, dyed them black and wore them to death to the point where I was slagged to bits over them by my mates. They were known as 'the trolleys'.
Jon Dark: Ugg boots

...your favourite website?
Julie Chance: We don't have telly in Berlin so we are always streaming shows form Project Free TV.
Jon Dark: Apart from Facie, probs The Guardian

...your favourite label?

...at the top of your hit/shit list?
Shit - Witch House
Hit - Azealia Banks!

...are you listening to now?
Julie Chance: Kate Bush - 50 Words For Snow
Jon Dark: I'm in a real Italo Disco phase right now

How would you describe your work?
Familiar and accessible but with hidden depths which reveal themselves on repeated listens.

What are you most excited about next?

Photos by Emma Haugh - Dazed Digital

"Kool Thing Pick 5"

Kool Thing is a Berlin-based band I already mentioned in the last music ticker a few days I ago. I contacted Julie Chance, one half of the duo (who also goes by the name Julie Fogarty, under which she works as a photographer), after falling in love with their self-titled debut EP, and she liked the idea of contributing to our PICK 5 series, for which artists pick out a couple of their favourite web clips and comment them. The result is really nice and offers a nice little insight in the duos’s creative sources. Check out Kool Thing’s bandcamp page for the EP and to check their upcoming live gigs in Berlin as well as their Myspace page for the new video their song “The Sign”.... - Catch Fire (Germany)

"Kool Thing The Sign"

I just heard an amazing sound. They are called Kool Thing, a band formed by Julie Chance and Jon Dark. Natural from Dublin and Sydney, the female duo now resides in Berlin, and describes a wide range of references from Cocteau Twins to The Knife, Robyn, Giorgio Moroder or Grizzly Bear, which explains the dark and moody psychedelia in their sound . The magnificent ‘The Sign’, merges atmospheric guitars with glacial beauty vocals, distant, which erupt in urgent synths and saturated bass lines. Line Drive, on the other hand, crosses a tribal percussion (which transported me to Björk’s Venus as a Boy) with poignant melodies and wild vocals like The Bangles, if they ever turned into the dark side of the moon. Definitely a band to follow on SoundCloud or facebook. - Stereo Beat Box (Portugal)


'Beat and the Pulse' (kool thing Remix) by Austra on their Sparkle EP released by Domino Aug 23rd 2011

'This is the Place' licensed for fashion documentary 'The Tents' 2012

Light Games Single EP Jan 2012

'Shallow Tears' (kool thing Remix) by Light Asylum Jan 2012

Plan.Life.Go 12" single release on Laser Guided Melodies June 2012

Appearance on music television program 'Ceol ar an Imeall' TG4, Ireland July 2012

'Sulk' (kool thing Remix) by TRUST November 2012 - debut on DAZED DIGITAL

'Destroyer' (kool thing Remix) by Telepathe - debut November on NO CONCLUSION

Black Cab Session Feb 2013

March 4th (UK MAY 27th) 2013- Release of their first full length album on Mad Dog & Love Records



kool thing began as the duo of Julie Chance and Jon Dark, originally from Dublin and Sydney respectively, who met in Paris in the end of 2010 at some side-street dive bar where Chance was DJing. The girls quickly noticed their overlap in musical sensibilities, swapped records, exchanged ideas and booked flights to Berlin, where they got straight to work bringing their new project to life.

kool thing’s nocturnal sound weaves together textured washes of guitar, ghostly synthesizers and driving beats (supplied by newest member drummer Valentin Plessy) and layered vocals delivering heady electronic silhouettes lurking somewhere in the shadows. The combination of Jon’s classical musical training and Julie’s artistic vision manages to balance light with darkness and rough edges with smooth textures, reconciling disparate influences like grunge and wave, prog and pop – yet without any blatant retro fetishism, gazing not down at their shoes but stridently ahead into an ominous future.

Since realising kool thing was their calling, the band has travelled around the world playing with artists such as MEN, Light Asylum, Aerea Negrot, Maria Minerva and LCMDF. Canadian band Austra were also intrigued, asking kool thing to go on tour with them as a support act for both their European tours in 2011 and again inviting them back to tour Australia in 2012. Since last winter, they have added Milan, Athens, and the Airwaves festival in Reykjavik to the list of cities where they have been invited to play, and have now shared stages with everyone from Grimes to New Order. From festivals to club shows, kool thing rarely leave a venue without new fans captivated by the unique atmosphere they create in a live setting.

Back in the studio, their first official release was a remix of Austra’s single “Beat and the Pulse”, released on 12” by Domino Records in August 2011 (http://www.dominorecordco.com/austrasparkle), which you can stream here http://soundcloud.com/kool-thing/austra-beat-and-the-pulse-kool. Since the success of this initial remix they have remixed tracks by Trust, Light Asylum and Telepathe.

The Light Games EP was their first original music release, offered as a free download. Dazed and Confused premiered their video for the title track ‘Light Games’ on Dazed Digital, (http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/12371/1/rise-kool-thing-video-premiere) as press, bloggers and radio sat up, wrote about them, posted tracks online, and added their music to playlists, receiving airplay on 2fm in Ireland, BBC6 in the UK, BerlinFM, FluxFM and MotorFM in Germany, and TripleJ in Australia. kool thing’s first 12" release was the epic track Plan.Life.Go released on Irish independent label Laser Guided Melodies, and accompanied by an acclaimed music video shot in one take in an old abandoned German mental asylum.

The band was the first act selected to appear on the current fourth series of Ireland’s national alternative music TV show ‘Ceol ar an Imeall’ (‘Music on the Edge’) and opened the new series which aired January 8th 2013.