Kid Savant are four boys from the Midwest who have transplanted their snarky, darling selves directly in the middle of the Brooklyn music scene. They’re a modgepodge of pop and electronica that will leave you wanting more the very second after one of their songs ends. We spoke to members Ryan and John about music, what’s next, how they like their new home on the east coast, and how they find inspiration in trying not to sound like Creed.
SICK OF THE RADIO: First of all the name, Kid Savant, what’s the history behind it?
RYAN: OH NO, THIS QUESTION! Well, to be honest, we make up an answer to this every time it’s asked. But this certainly doesn’t stem from dishonesty or anything (besides the lying inherent in making up a story, it’s just that we really don’t know how it originated. Some people think we’re weird enough to have Asperger’s syndrome, so maybe that’s the (idiot) Savant part. But really, we’ll spare the storytelling and come out with the truth…which ironically is the inability to tell the truth. So there.
JOHN: But we do entertain ourselves with the words Kid Savant by asking what they might mean to us now. I guess we see a “Savant” as someone who has an indelible grasp on something, some specialty… which is actually refreshing in a world where something like the internet or a liberal college education can make someone believably an expert on anything. So we take this as an invitation to be “specialists” in a music that is wholly our own. It’s an attempt at honesty, at “being ourselves,” in short.
SICK OF THE RADIO: You’re sort of this perfect mix of pop and electronica. What current bands influence your sound most?
RYAN: We enjoy that you say this, thanks! We always have trouble identifying bands that we mimic, say in our recordings. But we CAN tell you what we listen to, which may be a more honest attempt at citing our influences, in the sense that they infiltrate our music subconsciously or something.
Jack White, the Doors, Interpol, Boards of Canada, Flying Lotus, the National, and LCD Soundystem are bands that come to mind when talking about what’s playing in our ears at any given time. But whether they influence us in a material way is a big question that we don’t know.
JOHN: We also have “anti-”influences, which work just as effectively as direct influences. Like not trying to sound like the singer from Creed or knowing how far one can push the limits of being simply weird, a la Peter Gabriel.
SICK OF THE RADIO: Your move to Brooklyn seems to be relatively new – how are you liking being part of the Brooklyn music scene so far?
JOHN: (Laughs) Yes, Brooklyn. Well, we still believe plaid is a design that should only be used on picnic cloths and we don’t have neck tattoos… yet! Coming from Indiana, we’re still Midwestern as hell… or what the hipper like to say of us, “just bros.” But really, we feel there is something special going on in this place. What people are calling the indie scene is the closest to a pertinent “musical movement” (even with all the negative connotation and misappropriations the word indie might incite) we might ever find in our lifetimes, and we want to be a part of that.
There isn’t a night where we can’t find incredible music within walking distance and brush shoulders with incredible bands. While we’ve of course experienced the “hipper than thou” attitude by some others, we don’t take it to heart, probably because being in Brooklyn can make you actually cool shit, even if you’re really not.
SICK OF THE RADIO: Is there one album from 2010 that you can all agree is brilliant, and if so, what is it?
JOHN: It’s pretty rare that we ever agree on anything, except when it’s time to rage out, so let us call the other members to see what they say about this. (five minutes later)…OK! This feels like a damn survey:
RYAN AND KEVIN: The Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards. Holy shit, agreement!
JOHN: Crystal Castles’ Crystal Castles II.
ANDREW: LCD Soundystem’s This Is Happening.
SICK OF THE RADIO: Your biography says that you guys spent your summers making music in Montreal. Any particular reason why Montreal? And did you find the city to provide more inspiration than your prospective American hometowns?
RYAN: The short answer to this is that we were 19-years-old, wanted to drink hard, shamelessly meet attractive French-Canadian girls, and avoid the ubiquitous naggings of a summer internship.
It wasn’t until halfway through our first stay in Montreal in the summer of 2008 that we began to record and take writing seriously. Under a different name, we ended that summer with a fun EP and our connections to the city drew us back the next year, as Kid Savant.
JOHN: We love Montreal, perhaps not for anything objective, but just because we happened to be there at one of the most formidable times in our lives. For that—and for all the talented musicians and people we met—it holds a special place in our minds. But really, an almost disproportionate amount of awesome awesome bands have come out of Montreal. And Brooklyn reminds us of the fun we had in Montreal, I think.
SICK OF THE RADIO: So far you have released the EP, Second Servings, and a few singles. Are there plans for a full-length album sometime in the near future?
RYAN: We’re officially not supposed to say much in detail right now, but definitely expect some proper new stuff in early 2011. And be excited for it, because we definitely are.
SICK OF THE RADIO: Any superstitious behaviors or quirks you do collectively as a band before taking the stage for a show?
JOHN: Easy question, easy answers. And the real weird stuff happens when we’re away from each other before a show. Examples: Kevin dubiously spends his time in the bathroom doing untold things (that probably aren’t what we think), Ryan ingests way too many Cepacol cough drops to lubricate his voice, I have an ultra OCD-driven routine of stretching, listening to chill-out Hip Hop, and playing drums on my practice pad, and Andrew simply spends his time finding the cutest girls in the venue and telling them he’s in a band.
By: Amanda Chatel