By: Amy Aiello
Alright, I’ll admit it: I’ve an enjoyment handicap when it comes to certain genres of music like hip hop, rap, or even most country. I will say this though, I realized I was almost instantly smiling and really just enjoying the music when I first heard a few songs from Kids These Days. The shocking part (while keeping in mind my aforementioned handicap)? They’re hip hop, rap, country, jazz, rock, and a whole lot of everything else all meshed together in a sort of “fruit salad.” I instantly got teased from the band when I used that adjective, and rightfully so. But hey, it was the best I could come up with on the fly.
Anyway, the band met up with me shortly after their performance at Lollapalooza and said that “It was everything [we] really expected it to be. [We] expected it to be hype, powerful, a lot of media. A lot of energy. That’s how it was on stage. That’s what we gave to the audience, [and] that’s what the audience gave back to us. [we’ve] been enjoying [our] experience here.”
With what the band estimated to be at least 2,000 people viewing their show in Grant Park, they plan on “branching outside of Chicago and really work on getting [their] name out there.” They are working on a new album that they describe to be “trip house rock. The next project we’re going to be dropping it free online, and it’s going to be fucking amazing. We’ve got about 5 of the songs laid out. We just draw from all of our influences. We take classic songs and mix them together, cut them up, and add a bit of our own stuff.”
One of the things that we talked about during our short time together was the role music and musicians play in the community: “Music can do so much for the community… Working as a musician is just as legit and valid of a job as working at the post office. You do as much for the people around you as the post office does.”
But perhaps the most “profound” topics we discussed came at the end of our interview: White Sox or Cubs; boxers or briefs? As you can imagine, the conversation spun wildly out of control, but the general consensus among the guys in the group was to “rock with the boxer briefs; they’re really nice when you’re encountering, you know, a lady friend… but on stage [you] always rock it out with the boxers.”
Next time we catch up with the Kids, we’ll be sure to get Macie Stewart’s (singer and only female member) perspective on everything.
Kids These Days comes from Chicago but their music comes from everywhere. With three horns, a rapper, a blues-rock trio and a female singer, KTD blends a wide range of influences — hip-hop, jazz, soul, blues, and classic rock — into a unique, fresh sound that breaks boundaries while honoring America’s musical heritage.
In their first 24 months, they have built a solid following, with over 11,000 fans on Facebook, who turn out for their high-energy, groove-oriented shows at clubs like Reggie’s, Hideout, Subterranean, Lincoln Hall and The Metro.
While still in their teens, they beat out 150 Chicago bands of all-ages to win first place in the Congress Theater’s Next Big Thing battle of the bands in November of 2009.
In March 2011, KTD made their first trip as a band to the illustrious music festival, South by Southwest in Austin, TX. It is safe to say that they made a little splash in the musical ocean, surprising the audiences at venues such as Peckerheads and Pure Volume House. On July 1st, 2011, KTD performed at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, where they opened for Third Eye Blind, spreading their musical message to a very receptive audience of over 5000.
KTD includes Liam Cunningham on guitar and lead vocals, Lane Beckstrom on bass, Greg Landfair on drums, Macie Stewart on keys, lead vocals, and background vocals,Vic Mensa on rap vocals, Nico Segal on trumpet, J.P. Floyd on trombone, and Rajiv Halim on saxophone.
They have shared the stage with noted hip-hop artists Rhymefest, the Cool Kids, Mic Terror, and Dom Kennedy. Their influences run from the Roots, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix to classic bebop and modern jazz artists such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Christian McBride, Miguel Zenon, Nicholas Payton, and Roy Hargrove. Trained musicians, they also perform regularly with side projects at the Jazz Showcase, Symphony Center, Ravinia, The Velvet Lounge and the Chicago Jazz Festival.
KTD’s first project “Hard Times”, which features five original songs, is currently available on iTunes for download (at the low price of $3.99); it was released on June 28th 2011.
Look out for their next project, a mixtape, “Trap House Rock”, which will feature songs that are mixed together with a KTD twist, paying tribute to their many, many influences!