K.I.D.

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Sun 6/04
12:40pm-1:20pm

Neptune

Bio

In a Canadian suburb, at a convenience store that smells subtly of urine, two teenagers wait to buy cigarettes from the only clerk in the neighborhood who never asks for proof of age.

Sarcastic and groggy, the kids get to talking about their mutual affinities for Zelda and songwriter Lily Allen, who has recently come to prominence via MySpace. They introduce themselves to each other as Kara and Bobby, and barely a week goes by until the pair are congregating regularly at Kara's house on Raintree Lane, where they help themselves to anything they can find in her mom's medicine cabinet, and begin to throw together their first original songs.

Soon enough, the duo realize that their town's music scene doesn't extend far past bands covering Sublime songs at sports bars. Kara's neighbor suggests that they take the train into the city to perform at "Elvis Mondays," an open mic night of repute for Toronto bands.

Embracing the suggestion, Kara and Bobby find a sort of musical home at "Elvis Mondays," and begin to craft their sound. They start to accept other gigs opening for drag queens, and performing at Mediterranean restaurants that would later get shut down for violating government health regulations.

Kara begins to come into her own as a front woman, eliciting praise around the city for her range and stage presence. Bobby, extremely focused on songwriting, finds his voice as a lyricist, drafting candid songs about sexual frustration, bacne, nihilism and his struggle with clinical depression.

Finally formulating a sound that felt distinctive (Gorillaz meets early Madonna), the two are convinced of their readiness and seek out a producer who can help them craft a garage-inspired album that they know needs to resonate with a generation that has shifted its attention away from bands and over to DJ's and hip hop.

Soon, K.I.D connects with producer Mike Crossey, of The 1975, Wolf Alice, Arctic Monkeys and Foals infamy. Tweeting their song 'I Wish I Was Your Cigarette' at him piques his interest, and a meeting at a K.I.D show in London seals the deal. "We didn't have sex!" they squeal, but they sure make beautiful music. By February 2016 they're holed up for three months in an LA studio making a dazzling accidental concept album.

Bobby: "It's an odyssey through the different stages of our mental unrest."

Kara: "It touches on anxiety, depression..."

Bobby: ."..insomnia, agoraphobia..."

Kara: ."..over-eating..."

Bobby: ."..sexual frustration..."

Kara: ."..body issues..."

Bobby notes, "It's basically complaining but I don't think it sounds whiney. There are definitely a lot of relationship stories that go into it but the songs always come back to how the relationship is contributing to an already-existing self-loathing."

Revelation moment. When K.I.D sings of prescriptions, masturbation, video games, petty theft or booze-fuelled teenage sex it's no shock gimmick. It's a blank gaze at Generation Why? that acts as distraction from a deeper rooted ennui, personal insecurities and the chronically dysfunctional relationships of youth.

"A lot of the songs have dual meanings, there's a very blunt narrative and then there's always this slightly more thought-out underlying meaning which will usually be some kind of political statement or social acknowledgement," says Bobby.

So when the effervescent 'Boy' finds Kara singing of "filthy dreams" fulfilled in bar bathrooms, it's to "put my anxious heart to rest." When new single 'Errors' -- and its video involving self-help crazes and prostitution -- talks of lethargy, medication and "watching pornography all day," it's a comment on being part of "the first ever generation where one in five people are on anti-depressants and pharmacists are the new drug dealers. Who's even doing illegal drugs anymore?"

From the hallucinogenic highs of 'Crystal Universe' to the desperate depths of being stuck in the one-sided, soul-sucking relationship detailed in 'Taker' -- "I gave you transcendental love, drove you round and bought your drugs," Kara implores, "taker, when you gonna give a little?" -- it's a vital howl of ultra-modern alt-pop disillusion.

"It's too early in our lives for us to tell people that everything's gonna be okay and end with that message, because we don't know that yet, we haven't received that confirmation," says Bobby. "I don't know if everything is gonna be okay so there's no need to bullshit everybody. We're gonna pick up somewhere totally different but this is where we're starting off."

Fade out on Bobby and Kara plotting "a really gross, irreverent, nihilistic pop show" for their next tour, their K.I.D coming of age but still wracked with uncertainty. Unhappy ending with a hint of redemption and a glimmer of super-powers; the perfect set-up for a string of blockbuster sequels.