By: Kiah Kaltiainen
These Kids Wear Crowns are a powerpop, pop rock band from Chilliwack, BC who were first “discovered” on Much Music’s show “disBand” back in 2010. The band consists of 6 very fun, energetic, down to earth guys. There’s Alex Johnson (lead vocals), Alan Poettcker (bass, vocals), Matt Vink (Keys/synth, backing vocals), Joe Porter (Guitar, backing vocals), Joshua “Gypsy” McDaniel (guitar, backing vocals), and Josh Mitchinson (drums). In 2009 they released a 6 song self-titled EP, and then once they were signed with EMI Canada, they re-released their self-titled EP in 2010 with 8 songs instead of 6. This updated EP included all of the songs off their first EP, except for the track “We All Fall Down”, which was replaced with “Skeletons”, an acoustic version of “Break It Up”, and an electro mix version of “Holding On”. Following these EPs, TKWC released their first full length 11 song album “Jumpstart” in 2011. “Break It Up” and “Jumpstart” are among some of their more well-known singles, along with their up-beat cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. Believe me, once you hear this song, you won’t be able to resist getting up to bust a move. If you’ve been seeing the hashtag #TheseKidsAreBack floating around social media lately, it’s because the guys recently released their newest single “Love This City” earlier this month (on September 2nd, to be exact). With so many questions about, well… everything, I was lucky enough to partake in an e-mail interview with the lead singer, Alexander Johnson.
It’s been three and a half years since the release of “Jumpstart” in 2011, so I have to ask: What have you guys been up to? Why such a long wait between albums?
First off thank you for the interview! It feels good to shake off the rust. We have been writing. And going through a transition; our original label EMI was purchased by Universal and starting in 2013 we basically began shuffling all our boxes out of EMI and into UNI. It’s been a bit of a process but we are happy to have a new home.
How far along is the album? Have you finished writing and recording? Have you decided on a name and release date that you can share with us?
To be honest, this is a tricky question. We have written enough music to make seven albums! But that doesn’t mean we have an albums worth of material. We are working with our team at the label and with our management to make the necessary moves to get a full length out to our fans as soon as we can. But we work with certain people for a certain reason, and typically it’s because we trust what they have to say. Our first single Love This City was released in September and a second single will come before the end of the year. Like we said, we are in a new home now and things run a little differently, so it’s been exciting and challenging all in one. Short answer, sorry we don’t have any dates for you L
What can you share with us about the new album? All of your EPs and “Jumpstart” have had a really fun energy to them that make you want to get up and dance, and your new single “Love This City” is no exception, so is it safe to say that the new album will have the same feel?
Yes! We haven’t really changed. A few more whiskers under our chins but that’s about it. Our sound has just grown with us but we are still in the same skin so it’s going to be hard to imagine us going someplace completely different. I think everyone will be happy with what they hear.
Can fans expect another cover with this album like the last, or is this album going to be purely original songs?
We haven’t really discussed doing another cover. I Wanna Dance With Somebody was kind of spur of the moment; Alan had an idea and ran with it and it sounded good enough that the label was interested in seeing if we could do it. And we could! So the rest is history. We don’t necessarily want to be known as “that cover band” but we also would never throw away a good idea. If a cover comes to us in a dream and we loved it, expect to hear it.
What was the inspiration behind “Love This City” and what made you decide to release this particular song as the first single for the new album?
We wrote Love This City in Los Angeles with Jon from The Philosopher Kings and Boots, a Norwegian with a sweet set of fingers. It wasn’t really about any city in particular; some lines are references to our hometown while others are about our trip to L.A.. The feeling of being in a city and falling in love with it, either just for that one night because there is a girl – in our case – who has made your heart jump a few beats, or every time you visit your child hood vacation spot, more of a sentimental thing, like it’s the first time again every time. Just whatever place you feel like screaming out I Love This City too!
Has “Love This City” been released to radio stations yet for fans to request? If not, when can members of the NeonArmy, (TKWC’s fanbase), expect to be able to start requesting the single?
It has been distributed to radio stations and you should start to hear it slowly! We could always use the Neon Army though, so any help is of course much obliged!
Recently you released a lyric video on your VEVO channel for “Love This City”, when can we expect a music video and do you have any ideas for the video that you could share with us?
We have filmed the video, we did in late August in Toronto and have been in the process of editing and readying it for a mid-October release. We worked with our old faithful Colin Minihan who has been busy making feature length movies for the past few years. He’s awesome, and we wanted to do something cinematic, so we kind of ripped off They Live – if you haven’t seen the movie, there are some great clips on youtube that will help get you excited. Some great 80’s cheese.
Have you guys talked about going out on tour once the new album is out? Would it be a coast-to-coast Canadian tour, or would you guys just stick to the West coast for now?
We have been slowly getting a plan worked out on when we will be travelling again. We did a lot of that back in 2011-2013 and would like to get back on the train again! But nothing has been set in stone. When we know, though, we will let you all know as soon as we do!
It wouldn’t be a Canadian Beats interview without a few fun questions thrown in the mix, so here we go!
Before These Kids Wear Crowns, Alex, Alan and Matt were in a group called Goodnight Medic, and the song (and video) for “Kitchen Floor” can still be found on youtube, so I have to ask: Do fans ever come up to you guys and ask you to play it at shows? Would you ever consider throwing that song into the set list once in a while?
Yes! We get asked to play that song more often than you’d think. Or any songs from Goodnight Medic. But we can barely get through our songs, let alone add an oldy but a goody to the list. Maybe one day it will happen but I wouldn’t bet on it. Who knows though. We are kind of a power to the people type of group. If we get begged enough, you never know!
If you could go on tour and choose the lineup yourselves, who would you include on your dream tour? (You can choose any bands/artists you want, living or dead)
This would most likely be a travelling festival, something like Soundwave in Australia, but it would be with all of our favorite acts. And we wouldn’t be playing during any of them either, so after we played out show at like noon, just a quick 30 minutes of power, we could walk around with complimentary drinks and food and just enjoy the music and the people! Basically, this was exactly Soundwave.
What Canadian bands/artists are you enjoying right now?
Keisza is hot! Our homie DCF aka Prince Caspian just released a free EP you can go and get right now too!
You guys are a really fun group. Karaoke is also fun. What is your ‘go-to’ karaoke song?
Any Man Of Mine, Shania Twain or The Message by Grandmaster Flash.
What is the most surprising song on your ipod or phone that most people would not expect you to have?
Stay by Rihanna and Mikky Ekko.
We’re officially in the fall season now and I know a lot of people are excited for new seasons of their favourite TV shows to come back. Are there any shows you guys are excited to see come back?
We love this time of year! So many good shows are returning! Key and Peele, South Park, Modern Family, The League. I mean the list goes on but those are the big ones!
What’s something that your fans might be surprised to not know about you?
There are so many things that would surprise our fans but as a whole I would say that our collective mass is over 1000lbs!
Before we finish up, is there anything you’d like to say to the Neon Army?
We love you and we miss you and we can’t wait to get to play for you again! You have been very good to us and we want to show you all what we’ve been doing so stick around! It should be a fun one! Thanks so much.
Want to stay up to date with everything These Kids Wear Crowns related? We’ve got you covered. Check out TKWC on social media:
Band Twitter: https://twitter.com/TKWC
Alex’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexandertkwc
Alan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tkwcalan
Matt’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tkwcmatt
Joe’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tkwcjoe
Josh’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tkwcjosh
Gypsy’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TKWCGypsy