Pride’s own Bud Light stage welcomes local musical trio, Kick the Robot, to its ranks on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 4:35 p.m.
Kick the Robot’s roots run deep, as do the friendships of its members. Childhood buddies Dylan Hansen (drums and vocals), Dan Remei (bass and vocals) and Jesse Scarpone (guitar and vocals) started jamming for fun in seventh grade.
Dan and Jesse were in an AC/DC cover band, and would have Dylan come over and jam now and then. Over those seven years, the jamming became more focused, and the music took a different turn, from informal cover songs to more focused ventures; and so it was that Kick the Robot was officially born four years ago.
When the band officially formed in 2009, they released their five-song, self-titled EP. On April 5 of this year, they released their first LP, Music to Fight the Future.
Kick the Robot won Atlanta’s Hard Rock Rising competition in 2012, beating out 300 other bands battling for the local bragging rights and a shot at the global competition. Kick the Robot is produced by Gerry Hansen, the renowned session drummer and producer of many well-known artists including Michelle Malone and Shawn Mullins.
I got to chat with member Dylan Hansen about Kick the Robot’s origins, how they maintain individuality within a band, and their first gig at the Atlanta Pride Festival.
How did Kick the Robot come to be?
Believe it or not, Dan and Jess were originally in an AC/DC cover band in middle school. I met Dan during a Language Arts project that we poorly executed. Later on, Dan introduced me to Jess, and from that summer onward we started jamming in the basement together. Through those years, and many awful band names, the jamming turned into songwriting and we just kind of fell into what is now Kick the Robot.
How does the writing process work? Do you write music and lyrics together or do you write separately and collaborate later?
To be honest, we’ve done the writing process in about every way we can. A lot of [our songs] are written together; then there are songs that are written separately, as well. It’s been a group effort since day one.
Why “Kick the Robot”? What’s the story behind the name?
After being through a ton of awful band names, that were never really serious to begin with, we finally decided on Kick the Robot. One of the main reasons we ended up using it is because it was the first name that all three of us ever agreed on. [Laughs]
As far as the meaning behind the name, we thought it summed up what we are as a band. We aren’t geared toward electronic music really, we’re more of a melody driven rock n’ roll band that’s trying to put a new edge on pop-rock. “Kick the Robot” is a bit of a knock at the cookie-cutter pop music today. Not that it’s bad, it’s just exactly what we’re not. We’re trying to pay homage to the music we love from the past but at the same time make something new as well.
What genre would you say your music is?
At its’ heart, it’s unadulterated rock ‘n roll. We’re heavily influenced by 60’s and early 70’s rock, so we take that mentality to it…but what comes out is a bit more modern.
One of our favorite descriptions of our genre is “arena garage rock”, a bit contradictory but it seems to fit. [Laughs]
Have you guys toured a lot? What is/was your favorite venue, as a band or as individuals?
We haven’t really toured a whole ton yet. We have, however, played a lot of venues in Georgia and a few select places in the neighboring states.
Dan: My favorite venue to play would have to be the Velvet Underground at the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta. The room is great, the sound is great, and the food is even better.
Jess: I’m not so sure I have a favorite yet… either way I guess there is something to look forward to.
Dylan: For me, I’d have to say Georgia Theatre in Athens has been my favorite venue so far. It’s not every day you get to play a theatre-type venue, it’s quite the experience.
How does a band maintain individuality?
We feel to really maintain what you are as a band you have to not care about what the other bands/artists around you are doing so much. Sure, you should find influences and what speaks to you most as a listener, but as a band you have to hold yourself to a higher standard and try to be an outlet for yourself. The influences should just be influences and they should take you to a different place with your music. If you don’t try to expound upon what others have done you’re not progressing you’re just rehashing old material.
What is the largest gig y’all have had?
We’ve played a couple smaller festivals before where we played to a lot of people. To be honest, this up coming pride festival might be the biggest thing we have done so far.
How did playing Pride come to pass?
It really was as simple as wanting to do it and applying. We got notified that we had been selected to play and we were incredibly happy about it.
How do you feel about playing such a large venue?
Kind of speechless really… Not only is it a large venue but it’s an awesome cause that we feel privileged to be a part of.
What does “pride” mean to you?
In general, pride for us means something you are fearless to present; it means something is so important to you that you cherish it and want to share it regardless of how others view you. Being unwavering and figuratively standing tall, in our minds, goes hand in hand with pride.
Check out Kick the Robot’s official site at kicktherobot.com. You can connect with them on Facebook, Reverbnation, SoundCloud, Songkick, Last.fm, YouTube, Twitter and MySpace. Their album is available for both purchase and download on their official site. The full album or select tracks can also be downloaded from iTunes.