I’m supposed to interview local band Kid Theodore, a local quintet known for their shiny, happy pop-tastic sound. Putting these clean-cut lads into a messy situation would arguably add an interesting dynamic to the story. It’s this kind of thing that we journalistas strive for in a cookie-cutter template world. As hokey as it might be, I think it sounds as good as anything could at 9 in the morning.
Even though my original plan involved feeding them sloppy joes, it’s quickly apparent that I don’t need a daily special to create a special dynamic: Kid Theodore is composed of methodical foresight and charming, long-shot luck, oppositions that have made them one of the most dynamic bands around.
“We’re a very business-minded band, and it’s worked well for us to be very strategic,” bassist Ryan Darton says. “But success has come in ways that aren’t always strategic.” Darton is taking some time off from tiling his house, so he’s wearing a plaster-stained T-shirt and work pants; singer/keyboardist Austin McBride wears a tucked-in button down and tie. Sitting across from me in the cafe, I can’t help but make a pretentious, visual connection to what Darton is talking about.
For proof of the luck, just take a look at their track record: Their first show, an outdoor event in Provo, attracted more than 2,500 people; their first album, Goodnight, Goodnight received high remarks from popular online music blogs; and don’t forget their spur-of-the-moment opportunity to open up for Snow Patrol in Las Vegas.
“[Snow Patrol’s] opening act went home early so we got a call from the promoter and jumped on it,” McBride says. “I feel that we played better than Snow Patrol that night, and we got a lot of MySpace messages saying the same thing … even though Ryan threw a CD out into the crowd and hit a girl in the eye,” he laughs.
But a band cannot rely on lucky breaks and high-profile opening slots for success, especially a band with five members. The amount of planning and organization required to make a successful relationship seems to increase exponentially with each musician involved, not to mention the fact that expansive groups have to work hard to avoid producing bloated material—a feat that Kid Theodore masters beautifully. Their new album Hello Rainey never settles into a comfort zone but rather takes risks, sometimes exchanging pop for cabaret or jazz for straight-up rock and with five different members tugging at the same song, it’s important to decide what to keep and what to toss.
“I would compare our band to a musical tree, where each branch is a different member with a different musical background,” McBride says. “I think it works out really well because [the band] becomes this musical mix-tape, making it hard to corner us into a genre.”
“Before recording Hello Rainey, we had to spend a lot of time planning so we could get into the studio and knock it out fast,” Darton says. “Everything from deciding which instruments were absolutely essential to the beats per minute that we wanted each song recorded at.”
At the end of the interview, I’m about to pack up when Darton asks me if I’m interested in knowing their future plans. I assume that after making a 16-song LP (when most of their contemporaries are using the term LP to pass off 10 songs), they would just take a break.
“We’re planning a three to five-song EP for the beginning of spring and then a nationwide tour,” McBride says. “Maybe even overseas, to Ireland,” he smirks, referring to some Irish hotties that caught the Snow Patrol show and have since been hounding the band on MySpace.
Right. A trip to Ireland. As if they need any more luck.