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The four boys of the aptly-named, Brooklyn-based band The Classic Kids have been called “supremely infectious.” After diving into their debut EP “Forever Strong,” we couldn’t agree more. Their affinity for blending contemporary influences alongside retro-sounds creates danceable beats with a vintage veneer–you can almost hear the pops and scratches of vinyl in the warmth of their aesthetic.
BTRtoday caught up with The Classic Kids; Eric James (Bass/Vocals), Matty Boy (Guitar/Vocals), Max Dean (Guitar) and Mikey G (Drums), to chat about recording in multiple studios and how they all first got together.
BTRtoday (BTR): Let’s start with a little background about each of you as musicians. How did you first all come together?
Max Dean (MD): I picked up a guitar when I was twelve years old. I’m twenty-four now, and I met Eric when I was about seventeen years old–we started playing music together and have been ever since.
Mattie Boy (MB): I’ve been playing guitar since sixth grade. My brother taught me my first few songs, and I kinda took it upon myself to learn some new ones and I just started writing songs. About 2010 I met up with Eric and Max and have been with them ever since.
Eric James (EJ): I’ve been singing and playing guitar since…well I’ve been playing guitar since like thirteen and I’ve been singing since I was about eighteen, and I switched over to bass probably about a year-and-a-half ago. I worked with Max and Matt in our previous band, and have worked with [this guy] Mike since 2012.
Mikey G (MG): I’ve been playing drums since ninth grade. I met up with these guys through mutual friends from shows. I’ve always loved playing the drums; [laughs] always loved being loud and obnoxious.
BTR: How did you guys pick the name “The Classic Kids”? Does it relate to your musical style, which seems to blend classic elements with much more contemporary and modern elements?
EJ: Yeah, that’s actually exactly correct. We basically did come up with the sound and we really wanted a fitting name for it so on our way to the studio we just blurted out the name “The Classic Kids” and it really seemed to stick and that’s pretty much how the name came about.
BTR: You have such an interesting and unique sound, what are some of your influences?
MD: When I first started playing guitar, a lot of it was just classic rock, meaning like AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Metallica. So I take their chord progressions and styles and try to put them in our music, and there’s a certain element that definitely fits with The Classic Kids.
BTR: What’s the writing process for you guys?
MG: We pretty much write together. I mean it can be one member comes up with the initial concept and we build on that or we can make the song from scratch in the studio. Sometimes we just jam. We don’t really have a very strict formula to how we write.
MD: We can start with bass guitar, drums or synthesizer.
MG: Always different for every song we’ve ever written.
MD: Yeah, definitely.
BTR: There’s a strong message of positivity in a lot of your work, can you expand on that?
MD: I think that it depends on the song really. I think certain songs, I mean definitely all the songs have a deep meaning to us, but depending on the song, yeah, definitely. In music there’s so much negativity and being put down, so we just kind of want to make a lot of positive messages in our song.
MB: It also reflects off our life and our adventures together.
MD: We’ve been through a lot as a band, so basically that and we’ve been able to stay together and get through all the “B.S.” and a lot of those lyrics relate to our life story and our adventure as a band.
BTR: What kind of “B.S.”?
MB: I mean, it’s a lot; anything from getting put on a bad spot on a show or broken promises from management or record labels, whatever the industry has to offer. Wild goose chases where you get promised and nothing comes out of it and you get let down in the end.
BTR: Is that why you guys named your debut EP “Forever Strong”?
EJ: Yeah, I’d say that. We really liked that lyric a lot.
BTR: Speaking of the EP, what was the recording process like for it?
MD: For “Forever Strong” I’d say every song has a different approach…
EJ: Yeah, what was our first song for the EP and we wrote it in the studio with Christian Medife. We pretty much wanted a concept of literally beginning and defining The Classic Kids.
MB: “Drive” was something we brought in from our home studio. We fleshed it out a lot there, and same with “We Had it All.”
EJ: [Laughs] We’re taking a huge trip down memory lane here. It was done over the course of about a year and we have several songs that didn’t make the cut. We had to choose between ten songs or something like that.
MB: I think like sixteen.
EJ: We’ve written a lot of songs and tried to pick out ones we really felt fit together and we might release some of the other ones in the future. We’re not sure yet, but these are the ones that made the cut for the first EP.
BTR: So it sounds like you guys have multiple studios that you use?
EJ: Yes. Our guitarist Matt has a home studio right near his apartment. We do a lot of work there. He also has a portable setup too that he likes to bring around and do some recording at my place. We have like a home studio. But we do the bulk of the song writing in the studio with Christian Medife.
MG: Yeah, he has a huge influence on the songs as well.
BTR: Any particular track on the EP that stands out for you guys as especially emotional or vulnerable?
MD: I think it’s probably different for each of us, but for me personally I think “Drive” and “We Had It All” definitely are songs of vulnerability, and lyric-wise definitely the most vulnerable song, or two songs, we’ve ever written.
BTR: And what do you guys have coming down the pipeline?
EJ: Well, actually, there’s a lot in the works right now. We got a lot of offers and we’re kind of just taking our time to figure out how we want to proceed. Right now we’re writing a lot, so we really want to flesh out a nice secondary tape. We’ll actually be in the studio almost an entire month soon, doing some fresh songs. And we have some shows lined up for May, one in New York City at The Bitter End on May 14th! And then touring and getting out there…music videos and all that jazz.