Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Q&A: The Kickback

The Kickback, an eclectic indie four-piece that recently relocated to Chicago from South Dakota, will play the Bottom Lounge this Thursday, September 3 with Caw! Caw! and I am a Nation (8 p.m., 21 and over, tix here).

The band has already brought their self-described version of "alternative rock with granulated elements of eletronica, hard beats and whatever else they’ve been listening to that week" to a considerable audience with opening slots for the likes of mewithoutYou, Shiny Toy Guns, Fishbone, and Plain White T’s, and are now working hard to make their mark on the Windy City. For a taste, check out this free download:

Download mp3: The Kickback - "Roman Regret"

To get readers further up to speed before this week's show, guitarist and vocalist Billy Yost took time out to answer some questions about the band:

What’s the story behind the Kickback? How did the band decide to come to Chicago?

The Kickback started at the University of South Dakota in Vermilion, South Dakota. After I graduated with my teaching degree in December, we decided to move to Chicago to try to keep building what we started. Tyler, the other guitarist, recently joined the band, so we can claim at least 25% city blood. The three of us from SD have been playing/touring/recording with the group for the past two years and really needed to relocate to a city, but a city where the people aren’t drunk off their own city-ness. Chicago fits us really well, I think.

What sound or style does the band try to create? What can people expect if they want to check out your music?

This changes a lot. Live, I would really like people to leave feeling like they’d been to a tent revival. I guess a lot of bands wish that. Just tired and changed for the hour or so it takes you to realize it was just music and you actually have things to do and work tomorrow. My current working philosophy for our music is that I want to be the Zombies listening to Jeff Buckley listening to a moderately-talented church choir listening to The Beatles in the “back to basics” stage of their career who would stay together long enough to be influenced by the Sales brothers who wound up backing Iggy Pop in the “Berlin era.” Our tunes wouldn’t express that at all, at the moment, however. So, I guess you can consider this an opportunity to get in on the ground level. I sound like Bernie Madoff.

Has the band released any music yet? Are there any upcoming releases planned?

In the past year we released an EP, A New History, and a single called Alliteration, Etc. with two songs on it. We’ll be back in the studio before snow’s on the ground.

If someone unfamiliar with the Kickback wanted to check out one song, which one would you recommend and why?

That’s tough. A joke among the group is, “Like that last song? Then you’re going to hate this!” We keep changing things, which I contend is a good thing. Right now, our song called “The Wheelers” probably sums us up pretty well. Dynamics and lots of little parts put together to make a bigger picture. And lyrics where a woman ends up begging her husband to beat her just to show her that he still has some feeling towards her. Good Midwestern stuff.

What do you think the Kickback can offer to the Chicago music scene that sets you apart from other bands?

Melody. Harmonies. A continually evolving sound. Function over fashion albeit we may be wearing tight pants but it doesn’t play an integral role in our music. That sounded a lot more prophetic in my head. In closing: A strong sense of family values and a moral compass for a generation in need.

What can people expect from a Kickback live show?

We all really enjoy playing live. That sort of comes out in us differently. Danny gets really focused. I start throwing things. Zach unfortunately spends a lot of the set dodging my headstock. He’s a trooper. Tyler just shakes his head a lot. Disapprovingly.

Who would you most like to play a show with, local or beyond?

Zach introduced me to the band Baby Teeth from here and I really like their stuff. I would love to play a show with them at some point. Down the line, I would sell a kidney to share a stage with Jonny Greenwood and Julian Casablancas. Perfection for a night, dialysis for a lifetime.

What’s next for the band?

We’ll be spending the next few months working on our new record. Our newer stuff requires three-part harmony, so we’ll be spending a lot of collective time in the shower. A big shower, I guess. We’ve got a good string of dates for late 2009 and early 2010. Until then, we’ll be mostly working on the new stuff and trying to get our name out and about.

How can people find out more?

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