Recently Killahbeez.com had the opportunity to interview Reggie Youngblood of Black Kids. We took this opportunity to talk about their influences and styles as well as discussisng their current tour throughout North America and Europe and the upcoming album Partie Traumatic, which is coming out on July 7th in the UK and July 22nd in North America.
Let me start off this interview by saying that I recently saw you guys in Vancouver on April 29 and it was a crazy show. Vancouver crowds are generally known to be a bit mild, but you guys really got the whole crowd into the show. How was the whole North American tour? Were there any standout cities in particular?
Reggie Youngblood: Aw, thanks! The North American tour was criminally fun. We had just left the winter behind in the U.K. and everything was sunshine and flowers in the States. D.C. was quite good and so was San Francisco and Seattle. Oh, and Portland. Really, it was all wonderful.
You guys were part of another band called Cubby previously. What made you guys decide to move away from that and start Black Kids?
RY: The problem with groups previous to Black Kids was that the vibe tended to be way too severe. A bunch of guys posing on stage real hard. It got stale.
How did the rest of the group come together?
RY: Well, the above-mentioned staleness had to be addressed and rectified. In my mind, the solution was my younger sister, Ali, and her partner in crime, Dawn. I was right for once.
How did you come up with the name “Black Kids” for the band? Was it inspired by something or does it signify something?
RY: We came across a racist euphemism and considered using that as our moniker, but we thought it better to go with the blatant “Black Kids.” Actually, we still weren’t too sure about it, but it kept popping up in a “freaky Friday” sort of way, so we took a hint from the universe… We like how the name can be seen as trivial or contentious, depending on the person. Really, it’s just a name.
A lot of people have said that the band has the sound and feel of the Cure, but when I listen to your tracks, I can definitely hear some R&B, funk and soul influences. What artists or bands would you say influenced the group?
RY: Well, you’re right. We are very fond of ’80s R&B and funk, a la Prince or New Edition. Aside from that, the influences are too vast and varied. I usually cite Sparks, New order, the Smiths or the Magnetic Fields, but groups like Weezer and Starflyer 59 also figure in quite a bit.
Back in November, the band was featured as the “Artist to Watch” in Rolling Stone magazine. What was that like to get a spotlight featured on the band? Did you have a sense of “making it?”
RY: It was odd, but nice. I don’t know if we felt like we had “made it,” but we felt like we were finally getting somewhere. Remember, us boys have been playing in groups for over a decade (though it doesn’t sound like it).
The band recently participated in this year’s Coachella. How did that go? Did any of you get a chance to check out the other bands? Any highlights or stories?
RY: Honestly, it was a somewhat shaky gig for us. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast and others seemed to enjoy it, but we felt like we had performed much better in the U.K. Coachella was the first show on the U.S. tour. All the subsequent shows, thankfully, surpassed our expectations. Hopefully, they’ll give us another crack at it next year!
How was the 16-city tour with Cut Copy? How did the band hook up with Cut Copy?
RY: Heavenly. I’ve got serious man-crush on those boys. They’re as lovely as can be. The hook up was easy (we have the same booking agency), but in addition, we’ve been long admirers of the group. So, we were eager to tour with them. I think we’re going to do some sort of “collaboration” on a TV program.
HAHA…that was actually my next question. Any possibility on a collaboration project between Black Kids and Cut Copy?
RY: Ha! Obviously, but we might also do some remix trades.
Your album, Partie Traumatic, drops on July 7 in the U.K. and July 22 in North America. What can people expect from it? Will there be any tracks from your EP, Wizard of Ahhhs? Are you reworking those tracks?
RY: In our minds, Partie Traumatic is a collection of 10 quality singles. For real. Yes, some of the Wizard is on there and improved upon.
We’ve asked all musicians this question when we interview them, so here goes: What’s your take on the current state of the music industry?
RY: This might make me sound apathetic or simple, but I honestly don’t dwell on it. It’s not my nature to. I have a precarious knack for writing pop songs. I have no desire nor ability to comment on business. But… we did set out to make a record that people would feel compelled to go out and buy and not regret it. Maybe this sort of thinking would take care of any ailments the industry is experiencing.
So what’s next for Black Kids?
RY: We’re playing everywhere imaginable and making up some new places to play, too.
Cool. Thanks Reggie for your time.
So there you have it, another exclusive interview from Killahbeez. Be sure to check out The Black Kids upcoming album Partie Traumatic, as Reggie said in the interview “…is a collection of 10 quality singles” and after hearing Wizard of Ahhhs I definitely wouldn’t doubt it.
*Edited by Michelle da Silva