Relient K

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Please give your name and duties in the band.

My Name is Ethan Luck. I play drums in Relient K.

Relient K has been around since 1998. Can you give us a quick history lesson on Relient K?

I’ll do my best. I wasn’t in the band when it started. But yeah the band started in ’98, & have done 6 full-lengths, numerous EPs, tons of others releases (& stuff like that). Couple lineup changes through the years. I’ve been in the band for about four (4) years now, but the lineup other than me has been pretty consistent since ’04. So yeah, we’re still trekking along & people still show up so it’s cool.

What is the meaning (if any) behind the name “Relient K”?

The only meaning is that it’s named after a car, a Plymouth Reliant K (which our guitar player Matt Hoopes still owns). Doesn’t drive it, it’s at his dad’s house in Ohio on blocks.

What is the number one priority/purpose of the band?

I would say just keeping things positive. I think Matt (Thiessen), who writes the lyrics, would tell you he pulls everything from personal experiences around him. He’s pretty understanding of what he writes on paper & sings in songs, so at the end of the day I think he just wants to sing songs that mean something to him. Hopefully to others too, maybe help them deal with something, encourage them.

You’ve recently released “Is for Karaoke EP “. What kind of feedback have you received from you fans & your peers?

We’ve gotten good feedback off of it. Some of the songs weren’t completely obscure, but the band has always done cover songs over the years, so we just wanted to put some of those songs on a record/album. It’s a way for us to have fun & introduce our fans of some of the bands that we have been influenced by. We’ve actually been surprised to see that some of the songs we thought we obscure, that our fans know them.

Will the full length have the same songs as the EP?

It will have those, plus a bunch more. At least double the length. We will launch it on several platforms, such as vinyl, CD & Digital Download. Maybe even a “complete my album” option.

Whose idea it was to cover Dr Worm?

I think that was Matt’s idea. I think the whole band is a fan of They Might Be Giants, & that was one of those songs we thought was very obscure. But I guess it wasn’t that obscure, because tons of our fans seem to like it & already knew the song prior to us releasing it. That’s my favourite one on the EP.

Why in the world would you want to cover Justin Bieber?

Haha. We thought it would be funny! It started because our guitar player’s 4 year old daughter. Well, it’s her favourite song. And when Matt was explaining to her that we were recording songs from other people, she wanted us to record that. So, we kinda laughed about it & decided to do it because we thought it would be funny. I think we did an okay job with it, turned it into a rock song. People who really don’t care about Justin Bieber seem to like it! That in itself is a success.

When will a new non-covers album be released?

I don’t know of any release time/date, but after Warped Tour and our Australia trip, we will probably write/record a new album in the fall. Hopefully early next year you’ll find a new Relient K album out there. That’s the hope, you know?

Any news on Matt Theissen’s solo project and/or Goodbye Dubai?

No news on that that I know of. He’s always writing stuff for Relient K, for other people, himself. I’m sure at some point he’ll get around to doing another solo album. The priority right now is getting out another Relient K album

What is your dream collaboration?

Gosh. That would probably very for each member. Myself, it would probably be Joe Strummer (from The Clash). But, he’s not around so that won’t happen. Someone alive, it would probably be Chris Cheney (from The Living End).

What bands have you been surprised by on Warped Tour?

I think our collective answer on this is Moving Mountains. They’re from New York. We first say them on the Las Vegas stop of Warped. We were setting up behind the stage during their set. Once they started playing, we all kinda stopped & looked over to the stage. They’re a great rock band. I had never heard of them before Warped, so it was like before the online day where you actually went out to hear/learn about new bands.

What is your favorite album of the year so far?

It’s probably 21 by Adele. It’s amazing. The new Face to Face is really good. I think I’ve listened to Adele’s album more than anything else this year.

What’s the best interview question you’ve ever been asked? Which one do you wish people would stop asking?

I think the best question would be one similar to asking who you’d like to collaborate with. I think when people go in depth on your music or your history & you can clearly see they’ve done their homework, those tend to be fun to answer.

A question I wish people stopped asking? Matt & Matt would probably say bringing up Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend. People would always ask if they were said that Marilyn ate their girlfriend. It’s just an old cheesy song.

What’s your least favourite song you’ve made throughout the years?

I would say No Reaction (from B-sides). It’s a song I sang & it’s like a minute long. I truly think it’s dumb, but the guys liked it.

What person/artist is influencing you the most as a band lately?

That would vary per member. I don’t think there is one specific artist that is influencing the whole band.

What has been your favourite song to play live on this tour?

I think it would be The Lining Is Silver. It’s mid-tempo, so it’s a break for me! Its that one song I feel I can chill out for a moment.

What has been the hardest part of this tour, and how does the tour differ from last time you played it?

Hardest part is mostly being away from your family, home & everything you feel is normal in your life. Some of the guys in the band have kids, so being away from them for weeks at a time can be hard. There is a lot of the same bands as when we did it in ’08, so it doesn’t feel much different. Meeting new bands is the biggest change.

If people take away just one thing from your show, what do you want that be? (as in like, a message or idea or feeling or something)

Just fun. Hope they had a good time. We try to do our best every day, to play to the best of our abilities & talents. If we aren’t giving our full effort, I think we all feel that our fans will have noticed. We want our fans to get their money’s worth.

What’s it like being almost a mentor to younger groups like Deas Vail and Owl City?

Mentor? Wow! I guess younger bands in general, that started after Relient K, it’s encouraging to come up. Hopefully with younger bands that haven’t toured as much as we have, we can show them the ropes or have them learn from our mistakes.

How do you keep what most would consider “success” from going to your head?

You can’t take it too seriously. The next day, it could be gone. I think for me personally, I don’t ever think of us as anybody. It’s cool to interact with fans, but at the end of the day when I go home, I’m just Ethan. I have a wife, dogs & I need to mow the lawn, take out the trash & clean up my dog’s throw up when he eats too much grass. As much as people look at band members as being on another platform, the only difference is I’m playing, & you’re watching.

What music do you listen to while out on the road?

Wide variety of stuff. The Clash, The Living End, Adele, The Cardigans, etc.

Have you ever tried to bring a Supertones/Demon Hunter influenced sound to Relient K?

No. I mean, some of that stuff will just come out naturally, but I played guitar in those bands and I play drums in Relient K. Nobody will ever notice if a play a ska influenced drum fill, but in my head I do. When we’re recording & I do a certain drum part on a verse or chorus, in my head I’m telling myself how it reminds me of a certain old ska/reggae song. Nothing noticeable though.

If they weren’t involved with the music industry, what would they most like to do?

I’ve been asked that a lot. I’ve recently started doing photography. I try to always have two full-time things. I love music, been playing since I was 13. I like to have something to do when I’m not touring. I still play music at home, with some country guys in Nashville. I’ve always had a love for photography, so 4-5 years ago I really dove into it.

Under Mono Vs. Stereo, will you release another “My Other Band” Compilation?

It would totally be fun. What’s funny is (Matt) Thiessen did his Earthquakes on there. And before I was in Relient K, I had a side project on that same compilation.

Who are some of your favourite artists to tour with?

I would say Sherwood, House of Heroes, Barcelona. Those are the standout ones. Deas Vail too.

Who are 3 active current bands/artists you’d like to tour with?

I think Jimmy Eat World is a unanimous answer, since we’ve been fans of them forever. Never had a chance to tour with them, yet! Obviously it would be fun to tour with The Foo Fighters. I’m looking through my iPod in my head trying to figure out some bands. I think those are the two big ones that standout.

What do you guys do to continuously push yourselves from letting mediocrity set in?

Constantly challenging ourselves. Trying to get better at writing and playing our instruments. No matter how old you are, you can always improve.

What’s next for Relient K?

Finish Warped Tour, go to Australia. And then start writing/recording a new album. That’s next.

What is one major positive and one major negative aspect about the current state of the music industry?

One major negative is how illegal downloading has pretty much reached the point of no return. I guess it’s a positive/updated version of bands in 60s & 70s using word of mouth to get their name out there. Everyone & their mom can open Garage Band at write something, regardless if it’s real music or not. It’s harder not to pick out quality stuff. I wish it would return to the days of going to Tower Records to find out which new album was coming out. I guess the joy of music hunting has sorta died off. So many genres, sub-genres, sub-sub-genres now.