A Chat with Chin Up, Kid (22.01.19)

Image courtesy of Chin Up, Kid

Dealing with the tiring aspects of tour, you can’t imagine musicians would take time out to answer some questions – you’d be wrong! Sitting back, Jon Benjamin from Chin Up, Kid, took time out to respond to Nicole’s probing questions. Talking their upcoming Part II tour, covers EP, and choosing between sushi or tacos, here is what he had to say!

OSR: Hello, gentlemen. I hope you are all well. Thank you for speaking with me, I really appreciate your time! Shall we begin?

Firstly, who am I speaking with and what role do you play in Chin Up, Kid?

JB: I’m Jon Benjamin and I play guitar!

OSR: The term ‘Chin Up, Kid’ is self-explanatory as a term of encouragement, but why did you use it as your band name? Are there any amusing anecdotes as to how you decided on the name?

JB: The band started out as super positive pop-punk, so it was definitely fitting at the time.

OSR: You recently released a cover of $uicideboy$’ ‘2nd Hand’; what prompted this recording?

JB: We kind of had the idea in the back of our head that we wanted to do some covers. We were driving through Hollywood on tour last summer bumping the track, enjoying products from the Golden State’s plentiful dispensaries, and it just felt so fucking baller. I knew it was one we had to cover.

OSR: You have an upcoming covers EP featuring the ‘2nd Hand’ cover, as well as a cover of ‘Save That Shit’ by Lil Peep and ‘White Iverson’ by Post Malone. Why the move to cover hip-hop artists?

JB: We’ve been slowly moving away from the pop-punk sound. We realised you can only release the same pop-punk album so many times before it gets stale. Our vocalist Josh has an amazing voice for hip-hop and rap, which is extremely relevant right now, so that really pushed the move!

OSR: Ellie Rogerson from Sound of Pen Reviews described your cover of ‘2nd Hand’ as a “fusion of darkwave hip-hop with their own signature brand of pop-punk”. Is this something we can expect more of, or is it a once-off covers EP?

JB: The style is absolutely where we’re headed. You got a lot of it on our self-titled record we dropped this summer, and you’ll hear even more on our upcoming original single that drops the same day as the EP, WITCH HVNT.

OSR: Of the covers on the upcoming EP, which was your favourite to record and why?

JB: They were all really great to do. I was personally the most excited for ‘Save That Shit’ because it was the first one we’d decided we were definitely doing. I became obsessed with the original a few months before recording, but I now find myself listening to ours more often.

OSR: Do you find recording covers challenging in any way, and if so what way?

JB: ‘2nd Hand’ was definitely a challenge to figure out what we were going to do with it. We had to create melodies for some parts that would fit with the song’s vibe and make sense.

OSR: I know you’ve only just released a covers EP, but do you have any plans for another full-length album?

JB: We just released our sophomore full-length in June. When we get back from Part II’s tour, I expect to get the ideas rolling on the next record.

OSR: You mention the Part II tour. What are you doing to prepare yourself for the month (give or take) of constant touring?

JB: Stressing! Haha.

OSR: Do you have any pre-tour rituals?

JB: We just plan as much as possible and take it a day at a time, even if I’m a week ahead in my mind.

OSR: What about pre-performance rituals?

JB: We definitely rip the pens and vapes as many times as possible to hold off for the next 45 minutes.

OSR: What do you think are the most exciting parts of touring?

JB: I get to see places in the country that I normally wouldn’t. I love the West Coast so much. Insanely different place than Indiana.

OSR: What about the most difficult parts of touring?

JB: Long drives couped up in a van get very mentally and physically exhausting. I also miss my fiancé and daughter like crazy the whole time.

OSR: In your upcoming tour, you’ll be playing with artists like Normundy, Fate’s Got A Driver, Aaron Sparling and Offended By Everything. Do you get much of a say in who you play with?

JB: Absolutely! All of them were my decision, except for Aaron, who our drummer Quintin brought to my attention!

OSR: How do you go about choosing the bands? I mean, what could a new band do to get on your radar?

JB: Offended By Everything has played with us every time we’ve hit DTX. I love those dudes and their music and couldn’t wait for them to be ready to tour so we could bring them out!

Fate’s Got A Driver I learned about from being a big Taking Back Sunday fan. TBS’ founding and former member, Ed Reyes, is in the band, and as soon as they popped up on the TBS subreddit, I was instantly in love with their sound! Keep your eyes peeled for a tour with them later this year.

Normundy has played some of our best home shows. Their vocalist is cousins with our bassist Jake. We always look forward to a show with them, and they really bring the heat every time.

Aaron, as I’d previously stated, was friends with Quintin our drummer, so I was excited to get a fresh act on the bill!

OSR: Alright, so we always try to ask some light-hearted questions to make the interview more amusing. What part of the human face is your favourite, and why?

JB: Eyes. You can see someone’s true intentions through them.

OSR: What are you freakishly bad at?

JB: Driving the van.

OSR: Unlimited sushi or unlimited tacos for life?

JB: Sushi, no competition.

OSR: What is the most out-of-character thing you have ever done?

JB: I bought a pair of Jordans. Haha.

OSR: What bands inspire you?

JB: Green Day, Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, The Doors, Neck Deep, and Third Eye Blind.

OSR: That’s it! How about a last piece of advice for your adoring fans?

JB: If you want something bad enough, you can attain it, but it’s going to be hard and you have to really want it. Don’t half-ass anything.

OSR: Thanks so much, Jon! I wish you the best of luck with the EP and the tour. Hope you make it to Europe at some point so we can have a chat face-to-face!

JB: So fucking ready to get to Europe!

For more from Chin Up, Kid, check out their official website and Facebook.

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