Interview: Rozwell Kid

“I have this idea for a screenplay,” Jordan Hudkins starts. “It’s about these kids growing up in the late 80s. They come from different backgrounds, and they bond over their mutual obsession with the Batman movie with Michael Keaton in it.” With songs about everything from growing up, cutting loose, or feeling lost, to wishing they could be a dog or expressing appreciation for caped crusaders, the world that Rozwell Kid create through their music is one that can resonate with anyone.

“These kids are obsessed with this movie,” Jordan continues. “They decide to run away from home and hitchhike across the country and walk across America to Hollywood, just to tell Michael Keaton that they liked the movie.” Such enthusiasm is something that can be found in everything that Rozwell Kid create, and it’s never been more apparent than on their latest album.

“I wanted to write a screenplay based on that, but then I remembered that I don’t know anything about writing movies,” Jordan grins, “but I do kind of know how to write songs…” And so the aptly titled ‘Michael Keaton’ was born, a five and a half minute sprawling epic that closes the group’s latest album, showcasing them at their cinematic and captivating best.

The excitement that Rozwell Kid thread through their music is very much a part of who the band are. “This all came from when I was a kid,” Jordan explains of the track. “I literally tried to find Michael Keaton in the local county phonebook so I could call him up and tell him he did a great job in Batman,” he laughs. “I just wanted to let him know.”

It’s an enthusiasm too genuine to be forced, and one that the group continue to inspire in seemingly everyone who listens to them. Search their band name online, and there’s an endless series of comments referring to them as the best rock and roll band in the world, stating how much of a blessing their music is, and expressing how exciting their new record is going to be.

Rest assured, it doesn’t disappoint. Coupling introspection with bravado and well-timed humour, combining sweeping melodies with distorted refrains, ‘Precious Art’ is exactly what it says on the tin – though the band are quick to make jokes. “I think it’s ridiculous and funny for a rock band to call anything they do precious art,” Jordan comments, before justifying, “it is precious art – for me.”

The product of almost three years of anticipation (the group’s last album ‘Too Shabby’ was released in 2014), ‘Precious Art’ presents Rozwell Kid at their most realised. “We were able to be in the studio for two weeks straight, which is the most time by far that we’ve ever had to work on anything in the past,” Jordan enthuses. “We were able to have our station set up, to bounce those ideas off of each other and then actually execute them and try them and hear them in real time.”

The result is a record that portrays life, and the experience of it, through every ounce of monotony, confusion, and wonder it offers. Whether searching for its place or letting childhood dreams take flight, breaking out of routine or settling into the everyday, ‘Precious Art’ is every bit the treasure that its title suggests it is.

“I was thinking a lot about ‘What is art?’ ‘What do I do?’ ‘What is music?’ ‘What is a good song?’ ‘What is a bad song?’ ‘Why do people have these opinions about things?’ ‘Why do I have these opinions about things?’” Jordan questions. “I thought it would be interesting and funny and right on the nose to just say ‘Here’s the record we worked really hard on, it’s ‘Precious Art’.”

Described by the band as “a high contrast dynamic indie rock and roll experience,” ‘Precious Art’ is as polished as it is punk, a finely tuned venture through the greatness that Rozwell Kid have always been capable of. “I feel like we’re way more cohesive as a unit than we ever were,” Jordan considers. And it shows. This is a record that flows, with themes that echo and an energy that rises and falls with potent measure.

“We wanted it to feel like a really cohesive record from start to finish rather than eleven songs we wrote,” Jordan portrays. “We had the time to think about the flow, and we had the time to construct the album, rather than ‘We’ve got two days to do it: let’s go in at midnight and get six songs done then go in at midnight the next night and do six more.’ It was more like ‘We’re here to work, let’s give it our all.’”

So that’s exactly what they did, and now, they’re ready to share it all with you. “We’re excited to have this new record done and to be able to do the whole tour cycle all over again and play these new songs for everybody,” Jordan enthuses. “I think we’re all tired of waiting for the record to come out,” he laughs.

With the origins of some of the songs stretching back three years, this record has certainly been a long time coming. “We did the instrumentals for [‘Michael Keaton’] when we did ‘Too Shabby’,” Jordan recalls. “When we were tracking it I just remember feeling so happy and excited that we had finished this thing that we started before we’d done anything really.”

“It was before anybody had heard of our band, before anybody gave a shit, before we’d been able to tour,” he continues. “We’ve gotten to see countries and cities that I would never have imagined that I would have been able to visit, and we got to do it playing music. It was a really sweet moment in the studio. It was like a ‘Hell yeah, we’ve made it this far, and here we are finishing something that we left undone three years ago.’”

It might’ve been a long time in the making, but the time of ‘Precious Art’ is finally here. “It’s been so long since we put out a record, I’ve kind of forgot what it feels like to put out new music,” Jordan states. “I’ve forgotten the excitement about putting out new material. At the same time I forgot how exciting it is to start writing new stuff the moment you record the slightly less new stuff,” he chuckles. “I’m just going to be writing and writing, and we’re just going to be touring and touring.”

Simply put, ‘Precious Art’ is the essence of who Rozwell Kid have grown to be. Through highs and lows, chaos and boredom, and an irrepressible passion for everything they do, it’s the sound of a band wearing their hearts on their sleeves and inviting you to do the same. “This is a big part of our lives,” Jordan expresses. “If someone listens to it and they hear one song that they relate to, or it makes them happy, or it pumps them up…” he trails off. “I hope that people come out feeling better at the end of the record than they did going into it, and want to take another trip.”

“I’m really proud of what we were able to put together,” he adds. “And it tells a story. Who doesn’t love a story, right?”

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