On Thursday, April 20, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) sponsored a concert in Laird Hall: New Jersey’s own music duo 18th and Addison.
The band, consisting of members Tom Kunzman and Kait DiBenedetto, had a last minute change to the set a few weeks prior to the concert, and they had to perform acoustic. Due to conflicting schedules with their backing instrumentalists, Kunzman and DiBenedetto brought their acoustic guitars to the stage.
“You guys have really nice grass around here, really green grass,” DiBenedetto humorously commented, after asking the band their thoughts on the area. Kunzman added a comment about all the horses and the Harry-Potter vibe the campus gives off.
Joking aside, the group talked about their music roots. Originally into sports, DiBenedetto mentioned how her dad bought her a guitar after she realized she wasn’t too good at sports, and so she picked up music from there. Music had always been in her family, but she truly started writing songs and creating her own music after learning to play the guitar.
Meanwhile, Kunzman claims his music dream started by listening to CDs to listen to from his dad (mentioning “Dookie” from Green Day).
“I wanted to play guitar and be able to sing at the same time,” Kunzman stated. “It seemed really cool to me. And going to a couple of concerts with my cousins and stuff like that. I started seeing how much fun it actually was, when really doing it, and I was like, ‘Damn. I want to do this.’ If I could be the guy in the band that made some random kid feel the way they made me feel, I was like, ‘I wanna do that.’” DiBenedetto was quick to agree with the last statement.
The music duo/couple admits that they didn’t even like each other when they first met. However, after a while they became friends and started writing together, forming the group that now stands today. DiBenedetto’s previous music history involved being in a band called Just Kait while Kunzman also had a prior band called A Criminal Risk. Each of their prior bands had a similar sound that leads into the sound 18th & Addison, described on their Facebook page as “a diverse set of musical ideas ranging from punk, indie pop, and melodic pop rock.”
The duo has a broad range of influences individually, so trying to combine those lists and narrow it down is difficult. However, this is kind of the point, because the two don’t like to define the group under a specific genre, since they like to experiment with their sound and lyrics.
“I was stubborn as hell when I was younger, I only wanted to be in a punk band,” Kunzman said. “But I didn’t realize that all the punk bands that I loved, were really pop/rock bands with different influences at all times. Now that I’m older, I’ve caught on to their influences.”
The two are fortunate to define the band as a main project, but mention how they combine t-shirt screen-printing for other local bands and businesses. They enjoy the additional work not only because it helps pay bills, but because they enjoy helping the bands and businesses promote. They help write for other people, which, bringing it all together and accomplishes one thing: putting their creations out there.
As for advice to anyone looking to pursue music, DiBenedetto suggests taking anything seen as a mistake and applying it the next thing you do in life. “Take those mistakes and those things you did, to make the next thing that much better. That’s what we did with our band. We knew everything we didn’t want to do before, and everything that happened… and we were like, we’re not doing that with this band.”
“You’re gonna get beat up, all the time,” Kunzman mentions. “Something’s always gonna get in your way. But are you gonna quit every single time?”
Following the interview, the band played an eleven song set. Audience turn-out was low, but Kunzman later mentioned he enjoyed having the smaller group as opposed to a larger group, because it made the show more personal.
To learn more about 18th & Addison and to find links to their music, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/18thandAddison/. Also, check out the full video interview with the band below.