[Interview] In Studio with Kids These Days: TrapHouse Rock
On October 30th, Kids These Days will release their first proper LP, Traphouse Rock. The album, which was recorded for the better part of a year, and conceived even earlier, is the first release from the Chicago band since they released their introductory EP, Hard Times, and gained the attention of music heads, critics, gatekeepers, and kids just trying to party, all around the country. They have played at Lollapalooza, and done Conan, they star in an Adidas commercial with Big Sean and Nicki Minaj, and are at the top of the list when discussing Chicago’s current hotbed of musical talent. In short, the Kids have generated some high expectations for their new project, and look to show their fans as well as the critics that the early praise was not just warranted, but just the beginning.
On a warm night in early October, Vic Mensa met me at Chicago’s SoundScape Studio for an early listen to Traphouse Rock. The album was recorded in Chicago and El Paso, Texas with the guidance of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and then mixed in Los Angeles by Mario C., who perfected the rap and rock hybrid sound with the Beastie Boys. Eased back in his chair, with his hat pulled low, Vic hit play on the new album, pausing only to make sure I had the proper song titles. Traphouse Rock is lush, and full of records that present listeners with multiple dips and curves, often shielding when one song ends and another begins. Many of the songs contain samples or interpolations of familiar songs from the 90′s grunge era, giving listeners an extra feeling of warmth and comfort as The Kids draw from Crucial Conflict’s “Hay” before dipping into Radiohead’s “Creep”. This kind of versatility is what gives Traphouse Rock such power, as life on the road and Jeff Tweedy’s production have turned Kids These Days into serious musicians, unafraid to show their chops.
Following the listening session, Vic spoke to me about the new album’s creation, the messages in the music, and what the band has been feeling since their breakout 2011. Check out the interview on the next page.