The Kindest People are continuing their string of conceptual albums with the sci-fi inspired Director’s Cut. The tracks of the album follow a filmmaker on his journey to expose the truth and packs a lot into each song. This is something the four-piece indie-rock band have become amazing at as they use slick melodics with catchy instrumentation to get you invested in the tale they weave. We sat down with band member Matthew Sykes to talk about the album, the concept, creative process and much more!
OSR: How did the band first get together?
Sykes: It’s been a long path to this line-up. Spencer and I started our first band in high school. I moved away for a little while, but when I got back he asked me to get together a band to play a couple of shows one weekend in 2015. We didn’t have a name, so we just named the band after a solo album I had out at the time and built our set around some of those songs. Everyone in that version of the band knew each other from high school. A couple of years later I met Evan Rice at a party where we spent most of the night talking about The Beatles and sharing music from each other’s bands. I joined his band, Demon Waffle, and that’s where I met their drummer, Matt Dougherty. When our drummer left The Kindest People, he was an easy fit to add to the group and we’ve had that line up ever since.
OSR: Your album Director’s Cut followers a filmmaker on his journey to expose the truth of human anxieties, how did you come up with the concept of the album?
Sykes: Not really being able to play shows the past year has amplified a lot these feelings for us, as I’m sure it has with most musicians. We didn’t want to come out with something that was just overtly sad, so this theme allowed to explore some of these feelings without really dragging people down. We also just liked the idea that these negative feelings came from aliens and no one knows but this director. The movie he’s making is supposed to expose the truth that no one around him seems to know.
OSR: This is the latest album in a string of concept albums, what prompted this series?
Sykes: For me, concepts help with the writing process. Sometimes you don’t even know what the concept is going to be until you write a few songs and start moulding them to a narrative. It gives you a framework to write within and helps move the songs and lyrics in a unified direction.
OSR: There is a sci-fi influence to this album, how did you bring this out in the music?
Sykes: We used a few effects and old samples in a few songs, but most of it shows up in the lyrics. We just tried to make sure each song had some clear reference to this “film” we were writing about.
OSR: What was your creative process for the album?
Sykes: This is one of the first albums we’ve made where we rehearsed and wrote the songs as more of a unit. Before, songs were a little more rigid in structure and I would come to the band with demos and that was pretty much it. This time around, I brought ideas to the band and we fleshed them out in practice. Since we weren’t playing shows, we never had to worry about the next setlist or gig. We just created whatever wanted.
OSR: When the band started, did you know what sound you wanted or has this evolved over time?
Sykes: There’s definitely some specific influences that are present in a lot of our songs, but we’ve really tried to make sure each new album has a unique sound to it. Starting off, we were a little more on the surf rock side, but things have changed a lot, at least to us, over time.
OSR: Alongside the album, you have created a music video for the track ‘Ride Passenger’, what prompted this?
Sykes: We really wanted something to match the album visually for the single and add another layer to the concept. Making a video of what I imagined this movie would look like helped bring the whole project together.
OSR: How did you approach the making of the music video?
Sykes: We bought some camera app for my phone and ordered the worst looking alien costume we could find online. We sort of had a narrative with the agents chasing the alien, but it was mostly us just finding shots we thought looked cool and mixing it with some footage of the band playing the song.
OSR: If the band were pack animals what would you be and why?
Sykes: Jackasses. We’re kind of loud and obnoxious but we work hard.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the coming year?
Sykes: We’re currently working on our fifth album. It’s written and we’re about to start recording it. We’ve spent the earlier part of the year upgrading our home studio, so this new record should sound better than anything we’ve made. We’ve also been doing a weekly series on YouTube and Facebook called ‘Live at The Ranch’. Each week we record and film one of our songs live at our practice space and release it online. Those come out every Monday. Hopefully, some fun shows later in the year with all these new songs we’ve been writing. We just really want to get back to doing gigs.