OWTK Interviews / OWTK Kindie Music News

OWTK Interview: The Not-Its!

Kindie is the new grunge.

The flannel, however, has been replaced by spacesuits, skinny ties and pink tutus; the sour puss expressions subbed out for Kool-Aid smiles.

I’m more than alright with all of this.   Flannel made me so damn itchy anyway, and life’s too short to be mucho grumpy.

The band responsible for some of Seattle’s most dramatic fashion alterations is The Not-Its! and the power-poppers are set to release their 2nd kindie rock album, “Time Out To Rock!”, later this month.  Earlier this week the quintet took a few minutes to answer my questions about the new CD, their partnership with fellow Emerald City kindie rockers, melting faces, and a possible future playing tween pop.

OWTK: What have you learned about the kid’s music world (and performing for children)
since releasing your debut album, “We Are The Not-Its!”, last year? Was the writing/
recording process for “Time Out To Rock!” effected in anyway by the new-found

Danny Adamson: When we recorded “We Are The Not-Its!”, we had really only played about a dozen shows. After
releasing that, we went on to play our first semi-busy summer of concerts last year.
What we really learned is not to wear full on black outfits in 90 degree weather! Haha.
Actually, we discovered that we were really happy to have created an album made up
of songs that we genuinely liked. We also learned that we cannot expect the kiddos to
rock out to our songs if our faces aren’t melting first!

During the writing/recording process we knew we wanted to make an up-tempo, rockin’
record (I guess we can’t technically call it a record, but darn-it, that feels good to say)
since that is 99% of what we try to deliver with our live performance. We also knew
that we wanted to disguise the music as songs for kids but with the secret intention of
being songs that moms and dads could party down with.

OWTK: What is your favorite track on the new record? Why?

Sarah: Say It Loudly—It’s all about speaking up for yourself in a rockin’ and empowering
Danny: Accidentally—definitely not the most rockin’ song by any stretch but I fancy this
one because it surprised me upon completion. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn
out (since we threw it together while recording) and I totally fell in love with the Beach
Boys-esque three part harmony backup vocals. Makes me smile every time I hear them.
Mike: First Kid In Outer Space—I love the 1950’s to early 60’s rock & roll call and
response vibe. Great energetic feel and quick ending make it challenging to play.
Tom: Green Light, Go!—It’s great because I’ve never heard a song for kids rock as hard.
It would be perfect for a car commercial on TV.
Nori: Hollow Tree—Because I wrote it for my daughter Mila, and because Sarah sings it
so beautifully.

OWTK: You’ve recently partnered with a few other Seattle kindie rockers to collaborate
on albums, live shows, etc. In the grand scheme of elevating kindie rock to a more
mainstream acceptance, how important is it for bands in this genre to work together
and share ideas?

DA: Yes, partnering with our Kindiependent pals is always fun. We loved recording with
Recess Monkey and always have a great time playing live shows with them, Caspar,
Board of Education and others. We definitely feel and know that working together is
key. Not only in helping each other get shows (we’ll refer each other for show requests
if we’re already booked — it’s been great), but the whole idea of being competitive or
not liking your “competition” doesn’t really happen in this genre. It seems like almost
every indie rock band dislikes 9 out of 10 other bands in the scene, but that doesn’t
seem to materialize (thankfully) for all of us. It has been very important and helpful
for us Seattle bands to collaborate because we are able to introduce our fans to each
other’s music. It’s also nice to point out that if we were playing adult themed music,
all of the Seattle kid’s artists would be classified in different genres, thus never playing
together and no collaboration. The beauty of children’s music!!

OWTK: Music was once a communal affair, a shared experience where traditions and
stories were passed on to younger generations. What role do you see music playing
in a modern home, one ripe with electronic devices, countless media outlets and more
technological diversions than we know what to do with?

DA: The role it plays in my home is: (a) in the live sense, I’m so happy to have
instruments available to my kids at such a young age. They may only dink around
on the keyboard, drums, etc, but looking back at how much physically playing music
changed my life in a positive & healthy way, I’m just happy to provide it for them if
there is ever a desire. (b) in a recorded sense (and more so answering the “electronic
devices part of the question), it plays a huge role in my family from affecting our
senses of humor (we are always referencing songs, substituting our own lyrics to fit
whatever we’re doing-or my boys altering lyrics to sing about their body parts) or
giving them musical history lessons via youtube by watching Jenny 867-5309 or Michael
Jackson vids. Singing songs or listening to music together is also great in place of the
dreaded “screen time”.

OWTK: Some kiddie bands clearly skew towards the younger set. The Not-Its!, however, play a style of power pop that could easily connect with the 8-13 year old group, should the lyrical content be adjusted. Does the band have any
future plans to write songs for older kids? Can a kid’s band straddle that line, releasing
albums targeted at different age groups?

DA: Not sure if we’ll adjust to hit up the tweens. We do have plans to make grown up lyrics
for our songs and book a show at a club in Seattle some night. Leather chaps thrown in
with the pink ties. Watch out Seattle. We’ll be called “The Its!”

OWTK: Cliff Lee is about to leave Seattle, are there any plans for The Not-Its! to hit the
road as well?

DA: That’s a great question. We really want to hit the road and hope to play some festivals
this coming year. For us the difficulty lies in being a 5 member band. Everybody with
kids knows how difficult it is going anywhere, especially if that means leaving the family
to do it. The whole “ditching out, leaving the kids at home with the spouse and taking
time off from the day job” thing is strike one. Strike two is the fact that we have 5
members so booking a straight up tour becomes extremely expensive, something much
more attainable for a 2 or 3 piece band. Since markets that haven’t yet seen us melt faces
aren’t so much beating down our doors offering money enough to pay for all 5 of us,
that makes touring almost impossible. That leaves the festivals. We’d love to fly out
to festivals like Jiggle Jam or Kidzapalooza and try to book two or three other shows
around that to make a long weekend out of it. That way, we could get away with playing
the smaller concerts that might not be able to guarantee us money. We’d love to hear of
possible venues from fans across the country. [check to see where The Not-Its! are playing next]

**Reminder** You still have a few days to download “First Kid in Outer Space” from The Not-Its! new album for free.  It’s the band’s best song to date and it’s available as an OWTK exclusive freebie…but only until Monday, 7/5/2010!

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