Forget about romance. Life’s a shit show and the only thing that can save you is your friends. Northampton-based act And The Kids explained the nitty-gritty of that on this year’s excellent Friends Share Lovers—one of our top local albums of the year—but now it’s ready to break down what’s in a relationship even more.
As the album title suggests, guitarist and vocalist Hannah Mohan, drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro, synth player Megan Miller, and bassist Taliana Katz point to the incestuousness of teenage friend groups on their record. It’s a breath of fresh air to talk drama free of heartbreak—or at least from a wider angle.
“I feel like what one person goes through, people can find a way to relate no matter what the issue. If we don’t specify a time and place something happened, it’s easier for people to relate,” Mohan explains. “Friendships can be more intimate than romantic relationships. You can be going on dates every night and come home to tell your best friend how each date went. I think that’s a phenomenal thing about friendship. Things aren’t supposed to get confusing and misleading and vulnerable in friendships—but sometimes they do.”
The details aren’t hyperspecific, but they’re present enough to make you sing along like it’s your own life story. Be it “Picture,” “Kick Rocks,” or the title track, And The Kids’ new set of songs mesh artful rock with the authenticity of daily relationships.
The members test their own friendship live. Since Miller can’t tour with the other three, they’re forced to represent their fourth member without overshadowing her part. “We actually tried to stay as true to the album as we could,” says Mohan. “[Lasaponaro] added a sample pad to her drumset and now triggers almost all of Megan’s synth parts. For the non-texture synth parts, aka lead lines, Taliana and I have loop pedals and play the parts on our instruments.”
Their own bonds haven’t grown as strong as they are simply from that. The four suggest “some form of non-luxurious travel” to truly tighten the supportive knots of friendship. “Seeing your friends and having them see you at your absolute worst can be quite the bonding experience,” says Mohan. “Hungry, tired, lost, out of money: You have to really learn teamwork.”
In many ways, that’s what touring thrusts bands into. Creativity lures you into a world where you do anything to create your music the way you want to create it. Mohan, Lasaponaro, and Miller lived in tents on an acre of land and practiced in an abandoned storage pod to avoid getting real jobs, which, as any band knows, prevents you from touring. Once they were ready to start traveling around, they encountered several dysfunctional shows that crumbled apart.
“I love those bad shows, though, where everything else goes so wrong, but you can look at your bandmates and just smile and shake your head because you know what they are thinking,” laughs Mohan. “There was this really funny time we worked really hard on a music video that we never even used. It was a dinner party that turned into a food fight in our living room. We spent forever cleaning the house before and after. It turns out in the midst of the food fight, our dog was eating the food off the floor and puking and we were picking up the puke thinking it was food and smearing it all over each others’ faces.”
If you can look back on sporting dog vomit and laugh, you’re doing something right. Friendship like theirs comes from natural patience, from hearing one another out and working through the lows some friends never work hard enough to get over. It’s inspiration enough for the record, but ask them about it and they may tell you the real reason. “It’s inspired by Tina Fey,” says Mohan. “If you’re reading this, Tina, know that you inspire us. Here is our number: 413-537-xxxx.”
AND THE KIDS, VUNDABAR, KAL MARKS. THU 7.7. THE SINCLAIR, 52 CHURCH ST., CAMBRIDGE. 7:30PM/18+/$12. SINCLAIRCAMBRIDGE.COM