And the Kids is a rock band from Northampton, Massachusetts, currently touring the East Coast following the release of their second album Friends Share Lovers. The group's sound has been described as “scrap-pop with a dissonant bent” in a June interview with The Public. But-- it’s also not quite that. It’s smooth, angular, ever changing, sometimes erratic, sometimes upbeat, and always catchy.
Friends Share Lovers dropped in early June last year and nests itself in post-modern sensibilities. There is a neuroticism that lurks behind the high energy of each track. The single “Friends Share Lovers” starts off in jovial 4/4 time, but then manically switches its rhythm halfway through. “I Dropped Out” and “Cheer for Babies” has a sense of unease that is palpable with each listen. The album examines the messiness of friendships and love with observation, uncertainty, and a bit of optimism. The end result? Exciting and thoroughly enjoyable work.
I was very happy when I found out that And the Kids was touring with Slothrust, and was going to perform at Black Cat in D.C. on March 7th. After reaching out to Hannah Mohan, guitarist and singer, I was able to find time for an interview.
I entered Black Cat a little before 6:00 and seated myself at the bar. The dimly lit red walls were accompanied by rock background music and the sound of several pinball machines, whose steady pings kept me busy until the band called me to the back for the interview. I entered a small waiting room with blue brick walls, and greeted the touring band members: Hannah Mohan (guitar, vocals), Rebecca Lasaponaro (drums, backing vocals), and Taliana Katz (bass, backing vocals).
Meghan Miller (keyboardist) has been a member of And the Kids since early days. Due to unfortunate circumstances concerning her visa, she was deported to Canada a few years ago and hasn’t been touring since. However, she was there in spirit.
WJHU: So you all played at Johnny Brenda’s in Philly last night. How was that?
Hannah (H): It was good! Really good show, great venue.
For each of you, what have been a few of your favorite places to visit or perform at so far?
H: We went to Europe. So that was my favorite place that I’ve visited or played so far.
Any particular venue or city in mind?
Rebecca (R): There was a place in London that I thought was pretty cool. It was an old theatre-type place. I can’t remember…
Taliana (T): I can’t remember any of the names of the places that we played!
H: I like getting to play outside, now that I’m thinking about it. I like festivals a lot, because we get to play, not in dungeon-type places.
I guess so. Like, SXSW?
T: Yeah, I loved playing there, that was one of my favorites. We played this place called Hole in the Wall last year at SXSW and it was a showcase for Exploding in Sound and Stereogum and I was a fan.
So last year was a pretty wild ride for everybody- how’d you guys fare?
R: We got to go to Europe for the first time.
H: Yeah, we were feeling pretty normal at the end of the year. And I was like, “I should write down a list of everything that we did this year.” I was really impressed! I can’t believe everything we did. We toured all over the country. We toured in Europe. We toured with a bunch of amazing bands that we love. This year I think it’ll be a little more chill for us, since we’ll be writing and recording mostly.
I read somewhere that the band started out living in tents and practicing in storage spaces. Just looking back, you’ve had a lot of success so far! What are your thoughts on your progress?
R: Well, we’re actually looking!
H: It’s hard to explain. You do something like that, practice in a storage pod, and think, “Wow, well it’s only really up from here! But then you go up, and you think, “I really miss practicing in that storage pod.”
Yeah, I can see that there’d be something memorable about that.
H: It’s because we were living outside. We were living in tents. We could just play outside. You just could put your instruments, your drums, outside, and play. We could also just put our instruments in the storage pod, but….
So, how did the process of blending together all of these elements into the album come about, in term of writing, time signatures, etc.?
H: Some of it’s on purpose, some of it is natural
R: It might be a product of putting songs together. I know some of the songs on the album were a product of mashing song ideas together. Also, the person who produced our last album, Jace Lasek… he’s REALLY into sound. He beefed it up… multiple amps, all the time, multiple layering for keyboard parts.
Yeah, I also noticed the song lyrics get existential sometimes. Like in “I Can’t Tell What the Time is Telling Me,” you sing, “I can’t sleep and you can’t believe me.” Is that right?
R: Yeah, I was actually wondering what it means.
H: I never know what that means, to be completely honest.
I guess it worked, though, because it made me think a lot about trust, and worrying, anxiety.
R: I feel like that gives me a lot of imagery. I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m like, “That’s so real.”
H: I didn’t think about that one too much, it just came out. Sometimes I just write some lyrics and I don’t know why, and I end up leaving it as it is. Whatever. People like them!
In the song “Without Purpose” – I’m just quizzing you on these – I noticed that in the last part you sing, “Where do we go with each other when we know another one gets taken away?” It seems like that was a reference to Meghan[j9] . Is that true?
H: No! That was about relationships, about possessiveness. Like, can you take your partner somewhere so nobody else can have them? [laughs]
Maybe it could be double meanings?
H: That’s what I like to do with all the lyrics. I like to keep it vague so everybody can take whatever they want from it.
R: I also feel like that’s with any writing, verse or short prose – it’s so much about what the reader thinks about it.
H: There’s a mystique of not knowing.
With your fellow band member Meghan Miller being deported– that seemed like a difficult time for the band. How do you think these difficulties influenced and added to the album?
R: It’s definitely a different writing process. Before our first album that we put out, we had our songs out for maybe two years before we recorded, and this time we definitely had to plan to go to Canada and make time for writing. It wasn’t like a, “Oh, today let’s jam and write some stuff,” it was like, “We have a week. We have to write music.” And touring - she couldn’t tour with us.
H: We had to think when we were writing about parts… who should do this lead part, etc.
I know that, Hannah, you made a shirt recently right? Something that you drew.
H: Yeah! I just got back into drawing. I made a self-portrait of myself, naked. We’re selling the shirts for Planned Parenthood.
That’s amazing. What’s your favorite fruit?
T: Hm, mangos.
H: Fruit! Hell yeah. Fruits are the best.
R: I like apples. I like Pink Lady and Honeycrisp.
What do you like to do after a show, when everything winds down?
H: I get really hungry after each show, so I get something to eat.
R: I don’t drink before shows anymore, so I like to have a drink afterwards.
T: It depends where we are. If there are a lot of friends, I’ll go out and hang out with friends.
What are some next stops on your tour?
H: I’m excited to go back to Colorado! The Bluebird Theatre. Last time we were there we ate some marijuana gummies, and it wasn’t bad! Usually it doesn’t go well.
T: I’m excited for Chicago and to visit New York again… Also, Connecticut. I would never usually say we’d be excited for Connecticut [laughs] but I’m excited for the bands we’re playing with- our friends Vundabar and SPORTS.
Is there anything that you haven’t been asked about that you’d like to just get out there? Any shout outs? Any finger pointing?
H: I just like to talk about my dog, any time I can!
R: He’s a Chihuahua.
H: He’s our mascot! His real name is Little boy, but he has a bunch of nicknames. We call him Grandpa, we call him Butt-Butt…
R: He’s not feeling well right now.
H: …We call him – what is it – America.
A lot of names for a small dog.
H: I know, I know.
By Chaebin Jeon on March 15, 2017, 5:15 p.m.