It’s pretty much impossible for any band to pull of a support slot for bands as diverse as Scissor Sisters, Passion Pit and Ke$ha successfully… unless you’re New Zealand’s KIDS OF 88. Not only did they pull it off, they did it without compromising, at least not consciously. “I can’t say we set out to become people pleasers, although we are both Aquarians, so it is part of our nature,” says Sam McCarthy, one half of the electro/rock/pop duo. “I guess when it comes down to songwriting, we keep the core elements fairly simple, but then ensure we capture a sense of nostalgia or quirk when ironing out production and arrangement.” With their debut U.S. single/EP “Just A Little Bit” (Dryden Street / SonyMusic Independent Network), Kids of 88 have fashioned music that combines their synth-based dance beats with a purely melodic song structure, creating music that’s as fresh and exciting as it is propulsive and driving. “We don’t think to cater for all but we definitely do not isolate.”
True children of the last two decades (both Sam and his bandmate Jordan Arts were born in 1988, hence their moniker), Kids of 88 forged their music connection early on when the musically precocious 12 year-old classmates bonded over Jimi Hendrix LPs instead of Backstreet Boys and Britney. Appropriately, their music recalls a deep appreciation of the past while celebrating the amalgamated nature of modern music. “The name Kids of 88 sort of captures what we’re doing – picking up bits and pieces of pop culture, sifting the debris from yesteryear and making something new,” Sam explains.
Popstars in the native New Zealand, the duo hit their home country’s Top Ten in 2009 with their first platinum-selling single “My House” which quickly migrated throughout the underground scenes of London, Paris and the US. Soon the band found themselves not only with a worldwide deal through Sony Music, but also in the presence of Ke$ha and Cobra Starship who both commissioned the pair to remix their smash singles, “Tik Tok” and “Hot Mess” respectively. Riding on the crest of this international buzz, Kids of 88 made their Stateside debut at 2010’s CMJ New Music Festival, igniting a spark of anticipation for a domestic release. With their debut album planned for release this Summer, Kids of 88 are hoping the release of their debut EP “Just a Little Bit” will pour some fuel on that Kiwi spark, turning it into a full-fledged flame. “I think the songs we chose to feature on the EP capture a similar essence of what we hope to achieve with the full-length,” he says. “One can expect a few more tangents and alley-ways to fall down with the album thats for sure, but there are also many colorful lantern lights to help you find your way back,” he laughs.
“Just A Litttle Bit”
EP Artwork – Click for hi-res
A perfect taster of the kind of riotous dance pop that the band is known for, the five-song EP revolves around the sheer genius of “Just a Little Bit”, already a gold-selling single in New Zealand and winners of “Single of the Year” and “Music Video of the Year” at the 2010 New Zealand Music Awards. With its glittery swank and New Wave swagger, the orgiastic track is a soon-to-be sweat-drenched, dancefloor classic. The funk-driven “Downtown” and midnight rhythms of “SQRL” continue the band’s innate ability to craft perfect pop songs that recall classic early 90s pop as much as they hearken 21st Century electropop of Audio Bullys, La Roux and Hot Chip.
With a U.S. tour being currently planned, including performances at this year’s South By Southwest Music Festival, Kids of 88 will be bringing their high octane shows to clubs across the country. “I guess we structure our sets to supplement people’s dancing moods,” Sam says. “I think diversity is important when it comes to moving your ass. Each live show is always pretty special, something different each time, yet you can bet money that we’ll be getting up in your grill.”
Kids of 88 is Sam McCarthy and Jordan Arts. Their “Just A Little Bit” EP is available now on Dryden Street/Sony Independent Networks”. Their full-length Sugarpills will be released this Summer. U.S. tour dates will be announced shortly.
Listen to the EP and download their hit single “My House” free here: mybandcards.com/kidsof88.