Relient K feeling effects

By on April 2, 2008

In an era when many musicians feel obligated to dip into politics and try to change the world, some bands refuse to jump on such a high horse and instead remember what it is that they do best.

Relient K is one such band. With recent shifts in the music industry, Relient K has found itself a free agent among a sea of record labels. While some bands might find this intimidating, especially so deep into a career, frontman Matt Thiessen and company are remarkably positive about the experience.

“Free agency is a really weird thing because we still have a fanbase, but everything is kind of waning as far as sales are concerned,” he said. ” We’re just going to try to make another good record and convince our loyal listeners that they still want to be into our band, and bring as many of them with us as we can.”

Forming in 1998 but not achieving mainstream success until 2005, the Ohio- based band has created an undeniably catchy brand of pop-punk while keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground.

“I hate it when bands start thinking they’re awesome and their crap doesn’t stink,” said Thiessen, the band’s vocalist/guitarist. “We do whatever we feel like doing. It’s important for nobody to take rock ‘n’ roll too seriously, because it’s not a big deal.”

As the band’s frontman since its inception and one of only two original members left, Thiessen has seen the group undergo a series of changes from their debut self-titled album through their latest release, 2006’s “Five Score and Seven Years Ago,” his personal favorite.

“[Five Score] is fresher, it’s more relevant to me as a person. Whenever anyone asks what’s [my] favorite song that [I] do, I’m always like, ‘It’s a new one you haven’t heard yet.’ You keep moving forward, you keep writing music that you like.”

Citing the Beach Boys as a major influence, “Five Score” does little to deviate from Relient K’s tried and true formula of lighthearted, positive guitar and piano-driven rock. Past songs like the fan-favorites “Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend” and “Sadie Hawkins Dance” show the band’s comedic side, while others like their breakout single “Be My Escape” and “Deathbed” show a remarkably more serious shift in their tone.

However, even on more somber tracks, the band never forgets to enjoy themselves. In fact, Thiessen remembers the recording process of “Deathbed” to be the most fun he’s ever had recording a song, adding numerous string sections and drum kits until there were more than 150 tracks of music playing simultaneously.

Despite the current state of music, Thiessen encourages all new artists to get out there and play.

“My advice to anyone starting out is write something a little bit different than anything you’ve heard before,” he said. “Don’t just copy another band. Try to make it unique and different and try to say something. If the lyrics are good and say something it’ll make me want to listen to a band or song more. Don’t just put down words because you have to have them.”


About Mike Farrell