On June 1, 2019, Columbus indie rock band 90’S KIDS performed at Bunbury Music Festival here in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fresh from their first-ever Bunbury set, the quartet took some time to sit with Nicole Betscher to discuss their journey, their love and appreciation for their musical peers, and their bright future.
Nicole Betscher: I attended one of your very first shows Harbor and Circle It, since then how have you guys branched out and made a name for yourselves since then? What steps have you taken to do that?
Corey: I think it just comes down to that we’ve been hustling hard to improve our sound, our songwriting, our live performance and making sure everything we do, we do it on a professional level now. Back then, we were trying, but a lot of times you have to make mistakes to figure out what the right way to do things actually is. I think we made a lot of mistakes that ended up being very good for us, helping us to get here right now. We’re really thankful all of that translated into an opportunity like this and we’re really excited for the future.
Why did you guys choose the name 90’S KIDS?
C: I think it kind of speaks to the generation that we came from. It’s not [obviously] anything about our music being “90s-esque” or anything like that, but it’s about the idea of being a 90s kid. Meaning we grew up in that age before technology overload happened; we miss the simple times and we love nostalgia. Memories of those times drive who we are as people and that comes through in our music, per se. It really just sums up who we are as a generation and a band. In our music we tend to mix modern and retro [sounds], it just felt like the natural title for the band.
You guys are a fairly new band. Around a year and a half old. Why did you start making music? How did you guys get together as a band?
C: We all went to school together- three of us went to school together. Two of us roomed together and we started doing different projects together, kind of playing around with music. Then finally, we came up with a couple ideas for songs that felt unified and felt like they should be a part of a bigger project. We finally settled on our sound. Robbie and I were roommates for a long time and then we met Matt and really started writing music together and it just felt like we clicked. We naturally working towards the same kind of goal and our sound just kind of crafted itself from there. Then we met Jorban as the final piece to the puzzle of who we are; things have really just snowballed from there.
Along with Harbor, Circle It, Club House, and many others, what is your favorite part of being in the Ohio Indie Rock scene?
Matt: I’ve just met a ton of friends from doing it. I didn’t know the guys in Harbor at all before we became a band. I know Corey knew them, but I met Ryan when recording one of our songs, played a couple shows with those guys, and now I feel like I’m really good friends with them now. So, that part’s been really fun.
Jorban: I think it’s the accessibility of the scene. There are so many bands, and they’re all really good, but people will come to [any] show, making it so easy to grow as a band and continue forward, continuing in your passion when you have a scene like this. It bolsters you very well.
C: It feels like everyone is kind of a community, and I think that that has been all of our favorite thing. Just meeting all these people that have helped us out in so many ways; whether it’s been getting us on a show bill, or helped us figure out some equipment issues we were having, or any kind of hurdle we had to get over, there has always been somebody in the scene that has helped us to get over [it]. We’re very thankful for the people here in the Ohio scene.
What has been your favorite show to play so far?
Collectively: Bunbury Music Festival!
M: I’d probably say Athens, Ohio at the Union.
J: This past year was super fun. We played there in March of our senior year—which was sweet because it was kind of like a sendoff. It was our second show ever as a band and we played with our good friends Clubhouse and Harbor. So, it was like a bunch of friends in bands that played together. We sold it out and the atmosphere was insane. If you know [Ohio University], you know it’s crazy. It was unforgettable.
C: Our first ever hometown headliner was in October in Columbus. We booked a smallish venue because we weren’t sure about ticket sales. It was crazy—it sold out before the day show. The atmosphere; seeing all those people out there supporting us, it felt like the culmination of those months of hard work as a band, and we sold our first headliner. Ever since then, it’s been full steam ahead. We’re all really grateful for that show.
What would be the defining moment of your budding career?
J: This is a pretty defining moment today. That was a really exhilarating show.
C: It’s just really cool that so many young bands our age are here. We’re so grateful to even get this opportunity because we’ve all been in bands before and all of the bands that we’ve been in never had the opportunity to play a main stage at a major music festival. The fact that people believed in us and wanted us to come perform and play our music—that’s a defining moment right there. We’re looking forward to the future and this moment feels really special.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
C: [references to his The 1975 tattoo, jokingly] There is a The 1975 tattoo on my arm. Does this answer the question? [laughter] But yes, The 1975, a lot of people compare us to Walk The Moon, LANY…those are very big influences, but honestly the thing about our band that’s a little different is that we take influence from a lot of our peers. Artists that we’ve played with or bands that are friends of friends, there’s a band called Joan that we really like, the Band CAMINO, and The Wild Life. We like to take influence from the people we know and the people in our circle; smaller bands that aren’t mainstream quite yet. It’s really interesting to hear what they’re doing and take inspiration from them. There’s a lot of music out there that’s yet to be discovered by the general populace. It’s really cool for us to say that these people influence us.
What does the future look like for 90’S KIDS?
C: The future is really bright right now. We’ve got a bunch of songs in the works, more music; we’re going on our first cross-country tour in July. New York to Kansas City. We’re hitting Cincinnati on the way! Anyone out there that reads this interview [you]; TopCats on July 5th, 2019! It’s really cool; doing a festival like this, then a month afterward we’re going to turn around and go on tour. Things have been going really fast and we hope to keep it that way.