Whisker Kiss
Gig Seeker Pro

Whisker Kiss

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"More Tickle Than Bristle"

The music of Whisker Kiss is carefree and light, a playful and warm sound that invites you to forget your midterms and the grim Edmonton winter. Kailem Boer’s smooth tenor and thoughtful lyrics float over a musical playground filled with a seemingly un-ending stream of different instruments and spontaneous energy.

"We switch instruments constantly during songs," says Dan Van Hoffen, a second year Biology student who plays acoustic guitar, banjo, and glockenspiel. "We’re trying to introduce even more instruments, like the accordion and the ukulele," says Boer, who already plays bass, acoustic guitar, and mandolin.

"Our sound is like being on an island," says Courtney Van Loo, a second year Biology student who adds keys and synthesizer and sings back-up vocals to the mix. "At Christmas," adds Van Hoffen. "While making love, in front of a fireplace," continues Steve Braam, drummer and percussionist.

"I don’t think any of our songs are about the grimness of the world," says Boer. "It’s gentle, fit for space," continues Van Loo. "Yeah, we like to sing about zombies," laughs Van Hoffen. "Enlightenment themes, Tony Maan would enjoy them," jokes Braam.

Talking to the band, many sentences are constructed this way: one member starts a response, another chimes in, Kailem breaks into song, someone get teased, and three minutes later, everyone has contributed something to an answer that’s entertaining, engaging, and endearing. The same approach is taken in their creative process.

"We start with a bare bones song structure, and everyone contributes, and we build from there," says Van Hoffen. Boer writes lyrics, mostly about fictional characters and scenarios, "but partly inspired by personal experience," and everyone adds to the sound.
"It’s like an eternal jam session," says Braam.

After playing their first concert in Calgary last month, Whisker Kiss is starting to find a niche in the indie-folk scene in Edmonton. Their next show is this Saturday, at The Jekyll and Hyde, with Orange in the Light, Hector Fector, and Yes, Nice. "It’s really cool how more established bands are inviting to a baby-band like us," says Van Loo. "Well, I think we’re at least a toddler-band by now," interjected Van Hoffen.

"We like to have fun at our shows," says Boer. "We try to be laid-back," adds Van Hoffen. Van Loo describes a Whisker Kiss concert as "interactive," and Van Hoffen calls them "intimate." "Especially when Kailem wears his belly shirt," he teases. "What!" exclaims Boer, indignant. "I do not have a belly shirt!"

On April 12, Whisker Kiss will play at Ed’s in the West Edmonton. "It’s intimidating," says Braam, explaining that they’ve gone to "some big shows there, including Broken Social Scene, Stars, and Bright Eyes."

Whisker Kiss has evolved quickly since its inception just this past October, when Van Hoffen "was pumped about starting a band" after attending an indie music event, the Oak & Elm Festival. While collaborating before with Van Loo on a Postal Service cover for an Open Mic, Van Hoffen thinking then "how much more exciting it would be to do our own stuff." Boer was already writing songs at that point, and—as Van Loo’s fiancé—was a natural fit. "And then we found Steven," says Van Hoffen. "Someone left him at our doorstop." "In a basket," jokes Van Loo, "with speciality cheeses."

Academics and music are a delicate balance in Whisker Kiss. During one of their frequent practices in the SAC, the music takes a break while band members discuss an upcoming biology lab assignment. "The biggest challenge is finding time and energy to play when we’re all full-time students," says Boer. "We wish we could do more, but we’re so busy with school," notes Braam.

"It helps me stay creative," says Van Loo. "It’s my favourite thing to do that’s not school. It’s something that I always want to be doing, something I can go to when things are stressful. Music has always been a positive thing." - The Chronicle


WK EP - April 2010



The image of a Whisker Kiss is conceived from a mental image front man Kailem Boer gave us from his childhood of his father's not-so-clean-shaven, but still affectionate cheek rub. The playful image of warmth and affection, with a light-hearted feel is exactly what we hoped our music created in the hearts of its audience.

Whisker Kiss formed late in 2007 when Kailem, Dan, Steve and Courtenay came together. After two and a half years together playing in the Edmonton music scene, Whisker Kiss went their separate ways as the members scattered across the globe. In 2013, Whisker Kiss members Kailem, Dan and Courtenay came back together and welcomed drummer Nathan McWilliam. The newly-reunited band continues to purify their sound to have a multi-instrumental, sporadic, folk-rock feel.