Interview – Reginald “Reggie” Youngblood of Black Kids

Photo Credit - Samuel Trotter

Music growth never slows down even as the weather becomes mildly cooler. A band to look out for this autumn season are Black Kids who just released their trippy music video for their track Iffy. This tune will be a part of their sophomore album ‘Rookie’ set to drop in mid September. Made up of musicians; Reginald “Reggie” Youngblood, Dawn Watley, Kevin Snow, Owen Cohen and Ali Youngblood, these songsters are making pure musical magic that has been a long time coming. Reggie gave his thoughts on their latest work and the life of a working musician.

Naturally, the talk of their tune Iffy was an ideal start. “Ha-ha, [there are] so many thoughts [on that song]. It’s kinda of a weird song for us because we’ve kinda sorta wrote it in front of our audience. Meaning, we’d record different versions and then play them live, and then decide we didn’t like the chorus. So, then we’d change the chorus, re-record and then try it out live again. Obviously Iffy won, but there’s a version called Origami floating around that kinda stuck with some fans… We decided, ‘nah, needs a different chorus.’ That’s not how we like to work ideally, but it just worked out that way. It kinda reminds me of seeing a stand up comic working their material out in a room, then catching their Netflix special and seeing how their ideas mutated. Speaking of comedy, this song has a line that cracked us up every time we heard it in the studio: ‘love causes so much pain, and I’ve got so much love to give…’ [It’s] so idiotic, but sung with a straight face, That’s our formula.”

Cartoon choices to keep the man inspired are easy to choose from. “Like most mammals, I really love Rick and Morty. I tend to watch a lot of anime, too, and I became fixated with Luffy from One Piece. He’s obsessed with food and is usually the least intelligent person in the room. His confusion is my own.”

Musically, their exploration will be detailed as they grow. “Well, I suspect we’ll always be about hooks and melodies, but I’d like to start fucking with more syncopated beats and maybe topics outside of love and relationships. Maybe buildings and food?”

Works already under their belt hold a special place in their discography. “Well, on ‘Rookie’ I made a conscious effort to tone down the lyrical brattiness that dominated ‘Partie Traumatic, and I think we achieved that earnestness with songs like If My Heart Is Broken or In A Song. I find those songs to be good company.”

Perfect shows are already a common theme for the musicians. “Ha, we played a really great show in Paris years ago and two beautiful Parisians got on stage and simultaneously kissed my cheeks. I felt like Morrissey. It was very rewarding.” Then again, some shows are not ideal. “There have been the few rare occasions, where we were playing in support of another group and their fervent fans would watch us with their arms crossed, giving us gas face. Both us and audience were thinking, ‘next’!”

In 2017, the music world seems to be constantly changing. “I find it interesting how the way we consume music seems to be evolving. We offered ‘Rookie’ as a free download months ago, and there was a lot of impatience for it to be available on streaming services. At first I was baffled, but then I realized that I, too, prefer to stream everything I listen to, cherry picking and queuing tracks a specific way. It’s odd to me, because I used to be obsessed with the ideal of the ‘album’, when one used to consume a record as a whole work… That’s how we make our records, with that ideal in mind, but most likely, that’s not how it’s being consumed, c’est la vie.”

When winding down from music, an obvious choice of relaxation rises above all else. “Ha-ha easy, television and streaming television. [I love] all the genres. TV is high art to me. Sadly, I’ve not seen one film this summer. [I’ve been] too busy streaming television.” Even television is not the only way to relax. “I walk around Athens, Georgia very very slowly.”

When not performing with Black Kids, Reggie is busy elsewhere. “I’ve been goofing off with this band in Athens called Blunt Bangs and it’s getting close to time for us to record a proper LP. Hoping to do that later this year.” 

Jam on.

Give Iffy a watch and a listen below: