1. How did you get your band name?
Carly came up with the name 'Keystone Kids' partially because at the time she lived in New York and I lived in Pennsylvania, but she was planning on moving to the Keystone State and we planned on starting a band together. So now that we're both together in Pennsylvania, Keystone Kids seemed to fit perfectly! In addition to that, it portrays the fun and informal nature of our band, since I think we take pride in not taking ourselves seriously.
2. How did this band get started?
The first iteration of Keystone Kids started back in March of 2011 when we wrote a song and recorded a video to be the next Folgers jingle (http://youtu.be/YR8ucu6jyrE). Even though we didn't win, we had so much fun doing it that we didn't want to stop writing music together. A few months later, Carly moved to Pennsylvania and we started putting songs together we really liked, even though they weren't all about absurdly mediocre coffee.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
I think each song we've written so far has been influenced by a few bands. When we initially started to talk about writing this EP, our main priority was to make the songs as universal as possible because our goal at the endpoint of people listening to "Things Get Shaky" is that at least one song should be stuck in your head, no matter whether you wanted it to or not. So I think the bands that influenced us on that path the most were: The Postal Service, Rilo Kiley, and Death Cab for Cutie.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Loaded question! If I had one opportunity to play with any band, I probably wouldn't worry that much about our two styles of music matching up all that much — so I'd probably have to go with Springsteen because he's been my favorite musician/performer since I was a kid. Although Bruce fans would likely never stand for an opener; we'd probably get "Brrrruuuuuuuce"d off the stage. Other than that, I'd likely go with The Weakerthans. …Or Weird Al. Have you ever seen that dude's concerts? God damn. You can't turn him down.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
Can we let just Carly answer this one? She's probably furry'd up a few times before, so she can just speak from prior experiences.
Carly: I'd totally be a dog or a cat, so I could get massages all day. I also love to eat, and based on the way I feed puppies, I'd get fed a lot.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
I think we succeeded in writing a pop record that met our goal of being 'universal.' No matter what kind of music you listen to, it's hard to say you don't like something, even if it's outside of your typical genres, when the melodies are catchy. So if you're looking for simple, catchy, fun pop songs, "Things Get Shaky" should do it in droves for you!
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
All of my guitar parts are pretty simple. I wanted to hold down the parts and focus on the melodies since I'd much rather have somebody compliment us on the song-writing than compliment us on how 'craaaazy that one part is.' So most of the songs would probably be on Easy. Some of the keyboard stuff is a bit more intricate at times, though, so it'd probably be a bit harder to get to five stars doing that. If I had to choose, the song that would probably fit the best is "Up All Night."
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Besides Obama? I'd thank Tom Patterson for playing some amazing drums, Dan McKinney for doing an excellent job recording/mixing/mastering the record, John Szuch for doing such a great job promoting it, everybody that I grew up with at the Pirates' Cove and all the punk houses in Pennsylvania for being in 10,000 bands with me, and my family for putting up with my shit when all I wanted to do was play music.
9. If you could change someut the music industry, what would it be?
This is limited to one thing? Tough one, but if we're reaching for the stars, I'd probably go with getting rid of all the bands that clearly don't give a shit about music. If every person and band in the "industry" doesn't care about it like Springsteen's keynote at the 2012 SXSW or the Foo Fighters Grammy acceptance speech, then people should shut them down. If you've never played a show in a basement to six kids, then you probably haven't earned whatever you're receiving.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Keystone Kids have never been on tour since it's just the two of us (and sometimes Tom!) playing all of the instruments and doing all of the vocals. But with my old bands, I'm always a big fan of playing "Tour Real-Life Would You Rather," even though an old bass player of mine almost did get to pee on me.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
I really appreciate Absolute Punk for consistently delivering on bands that are great that I haven't heard of yet — or, in more cases, giving me the inside look on a new record or a band getting back together. Plus, as I'm writing this, a new Eve 6 song was posted. Who knew they were still a band? The 12-year-old me is pretty pumped. And thank you so much, AP.net, for offering us this post! We love you and really appreciate it.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
Probably Miles. I think there's something powerful and emotional that shines through in that song very clearly. Seems to hit people.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Australia! Keystone Kids will certainly break our rarely-ever-playing-shows thing if somebody wants to book us in Melbourne? Who's in?
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
The cool ones are Springsteen and the Beatles. The not as cool ones are definitely Michael Jackson and Billy Ray Cyrus — so I guess it's fitting that "Up All Night" sounds so much like a song Miley Cyrus would write. I got the Achy Breaky Heart tape along with a Karaoke box when I was six and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I didn't care so much about the non-instrumental side, but me singing over the instrumental version? Sheer gold. I think I eventually broke it from overuse — and possibly from slamming the mic down and throwing my hands in the air every time I nailed the song.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Is there already a name for a super power that gets rid of all the cats on the planet and replaces them with dogs? I want that one. Self-explanatory.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
Haha No. But the positive response about this record has been incredible, so I'd say we're certainly at a very good start — especially for playing hardly any shows and recording this only a few months into playing with each other.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Based on our style of music and the way I dress now, probably that I was a huge crust punk from ~13-15 years-old. Blue dreadlocks, Crass front-flap, etc. Have fun envisioning that.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
Tough choice! I know Carly's going to say Christmas. But I think all of our friends do a great job at making each holiday awesome — even if the nature around why the holiday is a holiday is shitty (Eg. Thanksgiving). But Punxgiving is the best! I'll probably go with that. I've been vegan for 11 years now, so any opportunity I can get to celebrate gluttony with regards to vegan food, I'll take it.
Carly: I'm honestly into any holiday because holidays = time with my family and friends and eating lots of food. I luckily get to spend Thanksgiving with Ryan every year now, because all of us do Vegan Thanksgiving, and it is one of the best days ever!
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I really just play as much music as possible between working. Other than that the standard stuff: movies and food. Plus, I recently started doing the Insanity workout with Shaun T again — so if you don't recognize me in a few months because my muscles are covering all parts of my body, just trust that it's me.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I don't know if anything I'm good at is necessarily hidden. I graduated with a math degree, but it's pretty known that I'm a nerd. Other than that, the only thing I'm really 'talented' at is politics and music. Oooh, maybe basketball. Because of everything else I do, I think people are surprised when I can play. But I do apparently have a formerly-hidden talent for ending interviews on an incredibly boring note.