Tom Derickx and Palassi Kailis, the duo behind Sydney-based electro outfit Kayex, are making music that alters the mood and mind. Though Kayex’s inception dates back little over a year, this musical partnership truly began more than a decade ago in their home town of Perth. Following high school Derickx was drafted to an AFL club, and he and Kailis drifted apart, casualties of time and space. When the two reunited by chance in Sydney – Kailis was working at the time in music production and Derickx transitioning out of a career in professional sport, both were desperate for a vehicle for their art. And in a serendipitous collision of circumstance and creative energies, Kayex was born.
“I was at the point where I was coming out of my football career and we both had music backgrounds, so we thought, ‘let’s get together and have a play around with what we’ve got’.” – Tom Derickx
Together the duo present an entertaining dichotomy – nonchalant though passionate, enthusiastic though reserved. Physically they are from opposite ends of the spectrum. Derickx is tall, a pervasive reminder of his sporting past, and the quieter of the two. Kailis’s speech is energetic and impassioned, his face is animated as he talks, and his humour is self-deprecating. They are each other’s support and foil – complimentary at one moment, faux-mocking the next. In analysing the pair’s obvious on-stage kinship, Kailis insists “we’re friends first … And honestly, I know what this must sound like, but he’s like my brother … We were literally just two mates, just drinking in my room, and he’d be singing and I’d be playing the keyboard, just recording stuff drunk, and then it just became serious,” he laughs. “It’s all love … I mean, look at the title of our first track [My Friends] … it was just about friendship, people coming together.”
“When we’re recording, if anything does start to resemble something or someone else’s sound, we do a ‘Kayex flip’, which is just like flipping the idea on its head and doing the complete opposite.”
– Palassi Kailis
Now receiving airtime on Triple J, their recent single My Friends holds a deeper meaning for the pair. “We wanted to make a song that was powerful and hit some issues on the head that Palassi and I hold close to our hearts,” explains Derickx, and the release of their forthcoming EP will soon place Kayex on the precipice of a new frontier. They admit the past year has gone quickly, but they’re getting restless for some movement – they know there is no place more precarious for an artist than the moment right before it all takes off. What lies ahead for them is foreign territory, and there’s no way they’re going backwards.
“Now we’re here, both our personalities are like, ‘What can we do next? What’s there to do to get bigger, to be the best?’ We want to be the best.” – Tom Derickx
PHOTOGRAPHY Mason Stevenson
FASHION Billie Iveson
TALENT Tom Derickx and Palassi Kailis
GROOMING Teneille Sorgiovanni @ Work Agency using R+Co
PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT Ben Butcher
STYLIST’S ASSISTANT Natalie Petrevski
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