Relient K | Still Having Fun

prof_relient_sm.jpgThe guys are growing up, as their lyrical content seems to get more serious and the pop-culture references become less blatantly obvious.








Sadie Hawkins dances. Highs of 75. Pink tuxes to the prom. Pop-punk band Relient K is defined by these quirky items, a true testament to their punny sense of humor and their pop culture know-how. This sense of humor rings true with the band’s latest release as well, The Birds and the B-Sides, which hit shelves July 1. It is a combination of an unreleased EP, The Nashville Tennis EP, along with B-sides from previous studio albums.

"We thought it would be funny to name the EP The Nashville Tennis EP since we worked on so much of the album there," guitarist Matt Hoopes said.

For the EP portion of the new release, the band went into the studio as a fun, collaborative effort, distributing lead vocals amongst all the band members. The first 13 tracks on the album also have more of an alt-country feel as compared to other Relient K material.

"The main thing is, people need to know that this is not a sole indicator of what to expect from us in the future," Hoopes said. "It’s a lot of songs that maybe wouldn’t work on a usual Relient K album… For our future studio releases, though, most of the songs will still have a rock feel to them. We just had fun with this record.

"I mean, it has an alt country feel," Hoopes explained, "but it’s not like we set out to make a popular country album. I mean, we aren’t trying to make the next Shania Twain album or anything like that."

Relient K is also conducted an online scavenger hunt to allow fans to find more unreleased songs online, and gave them the permission and capability to download them.

"Our fans are awesome, and very internet-savvy," Hoopes said. "Just the other day, [Relient K lead singer] Matt [Thiessen] and I were talking about how they were making fun of us online for not being as up to date as some of the other bands out there. Honestly, this was just a way to let kids know about our album coming out—plus, with trying to fit 26 songs on a regular disc, there were some songs that just didn’t fit. So, we wanted to find an alternate means to release them, and this is what we came up with."

This is their first effort without drummer Dave Douglas, who left the band in late 2007. Ethan Luck, a former member of the prominent ska band The O.C. Supertones, is now playing with the band.

"Ethan is great," Hoopes said. "He gets along with everyone. He’s brought a lot of enthusiasm to our band, and it’s awesome to be able to play with another friend. It’s been an exciting switch."

Hoopes still keeps in touch with Douglas, though, as well as former member Brian Pittman who left the band in 2003.

"Of course, we still keep in touch. Every time I call Dave, he’s always remodeling something, drywalling or caulking or whatever. Doing something crazy. And Brian Pittman and I have been friends forever, since third grade when we were playing basketball together. We will always be good friends. He has his own landscaping business, probably making more money than I am. We, of course, wish them the best," Hoopes said.

"They just reached the point where they wanted to do other things," he continued. "And they didn’t want to live their life out of the road. We, of course, tried to talk them out of it, but they had to do what they had to do."

The guys are growing up, though, as their lyrical content seems to get more serious and the pop-culture references become less blatantly obvious.

"There are things that you just want to talk about," Hoopes said. "We don’t want to just be gimmick, but we still want to have fun. For instance, we are currently working on a Kayne West cover, which might seem kind of silly, but people enjoy it."

Growing from "Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend" to Kayne covers, Relient K is still buzzing through The Birds and the B-Sides and beyond.

"It’s been a career goal to always be positive. Part of it is that we are loving life. We are just happy where we are right now," said Hoopes. | Katie Herring

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