Q&A: Relient K talks about their music
Students at Biola anxiously awaited the arrival of Christian pop-punk icons Relient K for the Associated Students annual spring concert on March 31. Students began lining up outside Chase Gymnasium the night before the concert. A select number of contest winners were able to get in early for a short meet and greet with the band that allowed them to get an autograph and a quick picture. The energy level was high when the lights finally dimmed and the show began.
Along with Relient K, there were two opening acts: acoustic band The Workday Release, and pop-rock band We Shot The Moon. The crowd went wild even for these two lesser-known acts. When the lights went down as Relient K finally took the stage, the crowd went ballistic. This continued as the band went straight into “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” an old fan favorite from their 2004 album “Mmhmm.”
The band played a mixture of old and new songs, which warranted a great audience response. The band ended the show with their 10-minute epic “Deathbed,” which held special meaning because lead singer Matt Thiessen’s grandfather, one of the song’s inspirations, had just passed away earlier that week.
The Chimes sat down with the band before the show in their well-stocked green room.
Chimes: You guys have been a band for a long time now, so how has it felt to see the change in music and how it’s distributed and marketed over the last 10 years?
Matt Thiessen: When we first started out we knew nothing about the music business, so it was a learning process for us, and now everything we’ve learned is pretty much out the window. Now it’s like again no one, not even people who have been in the music business for 50 years know what to do right now. So now we’re all kind of on a level playing field which is nice. But it does make it more difficult.
How do you feel like you’ve progressed as a band? Because I know you had a certain sound in the beginning and now it’s a lot different.
The genre of pop-punk, I think that’s what we would call it, that’s what we grew up on and that’s what we wanted to be when we started, but at the same time we realized it was a bit of a shtick. We saw the whole ska thing go and the whole swing thing go and we knew the same would happen to the Blink 182s and bands like that. So I think from our second record on we threw acoustic guitar in there just to give ourselves a bit more room to go in different directions. Every record since then we’ve tried to do different things to make sure we’re not a cliché one-sound band.
I read that you guys are working on a new record, is that done?
Matt Thiessen: It’s getting close, it’s supposed to be done.
Matt Hoopes: It’s been supposin’ to get done for a while now.
So when can we expect to see a new album?
Matt Thiessen: That’s the thing, these days you can finish a record and put it right down, because the sooner you get it out the better response you’ll get. We want to make sure that the people who have listened to us in the past will kind of get the word out there about it. We haven’t done as much touring lately, we’ve kind of intentionally fallen off the face of the earth recently social networking-wise because we don’t want to shove things down people’s throats until we have a record, then we’ll probably become soldiers of the Internet.
So are you guys planning on playing any festivals this summer?
Matt Thiessen: We’re planning on doing Creation Festival; we’re also talking about doing a club tour in July. The main thing though is trying to get a record in the can. This is our one off-date actually, we’re headed back to Nashville tomorrow, but we’re really stoked to be here.
Yeah, it seems like everyone is really stoked that you guys are here as well. I think a lot of kids at Biola grew up listening to your music so they are really excited to see the show.
Matt Hoopes: We’re really glad! My mom actually is taking online classes here. We should say that on stage.
I think you’d get a great response for that.
Matt Thiessen: Yeah, we can just make up a story and say, “This song is about how Matt’s mom goes to Biola!”