The ability to capture emotion, to showcase the human condition, is a rare gift that only some of the best artists ever truly acquire. These are the bands whose songs ring the loudest, and seem to leave listeners dazzled. For the last few years, The Rocketboys have been one of those bands; providing anthems for many, and capturing emotional musical experiences, many of which have been utilized in amazing television shows.
This year, the band will also hit another accomplishment: their 700th show. Despite their busy schedule, Planet Stereo was lucky enough to sit down with singer/guitarist Brandon Kinder to talk about the band’s success in the New Year (so far), and their new EP.
Planet Stereo: Your EP, Left/Right, was recently released. People have been going nuts about it on social media, but how have you found them to be responding?
Brandon Kinder: It’s been the best response we’ve ever gotten. It’s been super exciting. I mean, every time we open our phones, we just have more and more people talking about it on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. So yeah…it’s definitely been a much bigger, more exciting release than we’ve had before.
PS: That kind of ties in with my other question then; do you think social media is helping or hindering artists?
BK: I think it definitely helps. It’s kind of a weird ball game. It seems like there’s always six new social media sites begging you to start working with them every other week, but I think the main ones are still definitely helping. We’re seeing a lot of people retweeting each other. Like, they’re excited because their friend mentioned us, and then they get excited, you know? It kind of escapes that way and just gets bigger and bigger.
PS: Have you noticed more bands retweeting, and kind of taking the competitive edge away, or do you think competitive nature stands strong?
BK: Yeah, I think it’s cool when your friend’s bands get excited about what you’re doing. It’s like a community of bands, and we just try and support each other in whatever way that we can, and social media makes it so easy to send a quick shout-out to your buddies.
PS: Did you get a lot of social media response due to your song being featured on the premiere of Glee’s final season?
BK: Oh, yeah, definitely. Glee was a huge thing for us. Everyone has been tweeting about it, and lots of new fans have discovered us because of that episode.
PS: All working in your favor then?
BK: Definitely. All working together.
PS: Are you a fan of the show or have you never really gotten into it?
BK: I used to watch it a lot when it first came out, but I haven’t really watched it much since then. And of course, now, I’m a bigger fan than ever! [laughs]
PS: Oh yeah. Now you’ve got the Glee t-shirts, notebooks…I think you’ve probably made a few stops at Claire’s Accessories…?
BK: Definitely. Got the Glee lunchbox, the sweater vests, you know… [laughs]
PS: Awesome. We need a picture of that. Don’t worry, we’ll only post it for the entire world to see. [laughs]
BK: [laughs] Oh, thank you.
PS: So I take it you did sit and watch this episode.
BK: It’s funny you asked me that. Everyone else in the band got together and had a Glee watching party, and they prepared high-school-lunch-style meals, ate on Styrofoam plates and stuff…But I was stuck in an airport in Los Angeles.
PS: Oh no!
BK: But I was Facetimed in.
PS: Well, I mean, you had airplane food. Isn’t that the same thing as school food? Like, I’m pretty sure high schools and airlines work together to come up with the mystery foods they serve…?
BK: [laughs] Definitely all the same people making that food.
PS: I know you’ve had a lot of your songs featured on other TV shows, but if you could pick any show in the world to be featured on, what would it be?
BK: Oh man…I saw that question, and it’s a tough one. There’s so many cool shows, and so many have such great music. Are we talking modern shows or like, any show ever?
PS: Well, I mean, if you have two different answers, I’ll take both!
BK: You know, I’ve been watching a show called The Blacklist lately, and it’s so good!
PS: [laughs] My granddad is obsessed with that show.
BK: It’s so good! And their music is so killer. I just love that show, I’m a big fan. It just seems like more and more music is becoming part of television, and it’s such a cool thing.
PS: It really is. I mean, I watched the clip from Glee with your song in and it just fit so perfectly…
BK: That was the crazy thing. The song actually became part of the story, and you know, usually, it’s just in the background to set the mood. But this was like, it recurred a few times throughout the episode, and the lyrics and the melody played a big part, and it was mind-blowing.
PS: So you’ve definitely got someone that likes you. […] I think you’ve made Glee history.
BK: [laughs] Maybe.
PS: We’re talking about music playing such a big role in media, and if you were approached to score a film, or be part of a film, would you do it or be like, “No way!”?
BK: Oh yeah, I would love to do that. I’ve always wanted to that, since being a young musician; always thought it was cool. I’ve always loved film music and that kind of thing. It is just such a big part of what makes a film. As a matter of fact, our guitar player, Lang, has scored a couple of indie films already. He’s super-awesome at it. I think it’s something we’d all love to do.
PS: I’ll put that in big bold letters, and get this to happen for you. Get you a Scorsese film you can score or something.
BK: [laughs] That would be awesome!
PS: So, moving on, what would you like people to come away with when they listen to your new EP?
BK: I think we always are just trying to write good, catchy, positive music, and people come away a bit happier, and a bit more excited about life and happiness.
PS: Is that what inspires you?
BK: Well I think we just try to write things from our real life, you know, our own stories, and whether it’s always positive or negative, it’s just nice to be honest, and keep it real.
PS: Especially with so many artists not doing so anymore?
BK: Right. And I mean, there’s some great songs about dancing, but we’ll just handle some other topics. [laughs] Not that there’s anything wrong with writing about dancing, or that they are any less of a song, but, you know…
PS: I get that. I mean, I couldn’t write a song about dancing, but that’s because I have two left feet…
BK: Well, you could [laughs], but it would be a very sad song.
PS: I think it would be a country song…
BK: [laughs] Maybe, yeah…
PS: Do you have a favorite song to perform live that you just like to jump around on stage to?
BK: Man, I just think that all of these songs are super fun. We’ve been having a great time figuring out how to play them. I think they’re all tied for first place. We’re excited about all of them.
PS: Do you have a favorite song from the EP, like, one that’s very personal to you?
BK: You know, I think I do…I really love them all, but there’s one called “Future Lives,” which I really enjoy a little bit more. It’s just a really unique and different song. That one and “Loud and Clear” are super cool. Picking a favorite is like picking a favorite child.
PS: What is your favorite part of going into the studio?
BK: I just love getting into a studio and seeing all of the gear, and being able to use it. One of the best things is just going in and creating something, just taking this idea that’s only in your head and bringing out into like, a concrete thing you can feel and hear. That specific moment of creativity is magical.
PS: I know you guys recorded in the same studio as Led Zeppelin. Is that correct?
BK: Yeah, a lot of crazy, huge, legendary bands have recorded there; The Doors, for one. I mean there’s a ton of bands. I can’t even list them all.
PS: Did that get you amped up?
BK: Yeah! Definitely inspiring to be there and looking on every wall and seeing all the crazy platinum records and just knowing how much great music, historic, and life-changing music has been recorded there.
PS: Yeah. Hopefully, you guys are next on that list. We’ll see, I guess.
BK: Well, thank you. I hope so too!
PS: Tying into these legendary artists, if you could work with any artist, past or present, who would it be and why?
BK: You know, I was asked this question recently, and I said Simon & Garfunkel, I think would be really cool. A lot of bands in that era wrote some big, world-changing songs, you know, that really mattered. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is like, such a cool song that made a difference. Songs like that are inspiring to me. I think that would be so cool, but the list of who I’d love to play with would be so cool. I’d need to plug my phone in, because we’d be on the phone for a while.
PS: So, to wrap it up… Do you have any last words? These could be the last words you’d ever speak, the last words of the interview, etc.
BK: Oh wow. Last words to ever speak…? That’s crazy…
PS: Yeah…I’m not threatening to kill you, by the way! Just so we’re clear.
BK: [laughs] Okay. Yeah, I think, “be yourself.” I think that’s a good one.
PS: Thank you so much for doing this interview and for your time. I really do appreciate it.
BK: Oh yeah, thank you! I really enjoyed this interview.
For more on The Rocketboys, please click HERE.
Left/Right EP is available NOW.