FOR a pop punk band renowned for its energetic live shows, 2020 could have rocked them to the core.
But Albury outfit Catnip Kaiser has come out of it all the better.
During the live music recess since March amid the coronavirus crisis, the band honed its craft, wrote music together and did collaborations beyond their wildest dreams.
Catnip Kaiser's catchy new tune Sunshine - featuring Ionei Heckenberg from Ocean Sleeper - debuted at #4 on the Alternative iTunes Charts recently.
To put that into perspective, Billie Eilish, Halsey, and Tones and I took out #1, #2 and #3. Sunshine debuted at #27 overall. In terms of Triple J Unearthed, it sits at #11 overall, third in the pop and punk charts and second in the rock charts.
Catnip Kaiser is made up of Jack McDonald (lead vocals), Jayden Lehmann (lead guitar), Jack Mills (rhythm guitar), Josh Armstrong (bass guitar) and Blake Furness (drums). McDonald is the only original member of the group formed in 2018 to play covers at Charles Sturt University - Thurgoona gigs.
Furness said the band members were blown away by the early success of Sunshine, which launched on November 27.
He said McDonald sought out the collaboration with Heckenberg, who recorded it in his Melbourne studio and featured on the track as the vocalist in the chorus.
"We just hoped our friends liked it," Furness said.
"Then it kind of just blew up in our faces; we woke up to it being #4 on the Alternative Charts!"
Furness said Sunshine had resonated with listeners in ways they hadn't imagined.
"It's definitely a breakup song that one of our band members went through but the lyrics are also very relatable for how things turned out this year," Furness said.
"It's become a bit of an anthem for the year in a way."
Catnip Kaiser first appeared on the iTunes charts with its debut EP coming in at #5 in January.
With their gigs on the backburner, the band also had to deal with the border closure with Lehmann based in Wodonga.
Now they're pumped to play their first live gigs at Wangaratta and Albury this month.
"It's the first time the people of Wangaratta can properly get out for a live show," he said.
"It's also the first time we'll be able to play for our family in Albury since COVID; it will be a nice little homecoming!"
Catnip Kaiser's new album is due for release mid-2021.