Indie rock band My Kid Brother had the unfortunate luck of releasing their killer self-titled debut EP during a pandemic. Their touring plans -supporting Angels & Airwaves- were put on hold, and they had to pivot into finding a way that was best to engage their audience during the downtime, celebrating the EP they had been working hard on, and introducing themselves and their music to new fans without the traditional support of touring. It was no doubt a challenge, but you’d never guess that when talking to the five cheerful and fun people who form My Kid Brother. I spoke to the whole band over Zoom while they ride out the pandemic at guitarist Dylan Savopoulos’ house in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a great and informative chat with a fantastic new band.
My Kid Brother was formed in 2016 by singer/guitarist Christian Neonakis and drummer Sam Athanas, who worked together at a restaurant and started jamming. Over the next two years, the pair recruited Dylan on guitar, along with Richard Smith on bass, and the quintet finally locked into a comfortable place when Piano Whitman joined the band on keyboards and vocals in 2018. In 2019, My Kid Brother was signed to Fearless Records and set out to record their first music with label support. The band draws on many influences that intertwine from each of the five musicians’ backgrounds, and their infectious, upbeat music is hard to pin down entirely. “I’d say we’re indie rock,” muses Neonakis, “But we get our influences from all over the place too. Modest Mouse is a big influence for us…we had someone recently say they could hear the Queens of the Stone Age influence, which was awesome for us.” Neonakis recommends their song “Daydream” as a first sample of the band that can give listeners a decent idea of their sound.
When writing music, the band will usually put song parts into a file and have each member open it and contribute to it, tinkering with the sound until it can be the best version of itself. Sometimes, though, an all-day writing session wins out. That’s how an 8-hour all-day writing session resulted in the EP’s closing track, “Native Tongue.” “Yeah, that one really came together fast, it just sort of came out of us,” states Neonakis. The one debate they had regarding the song was the explosive ending. The song, which gives off a groove reminiscent of Cage The Elephant with a catchy, upbeat chorus, finishes with a propulsive shift in tone, dialling up the drums and guitar to end with a bang. “That part was originally the bridge, actually. When we went into the studio, someone suggested we move it to the end, and we really liked that idea.” “Native Tongue” is the band’s favourite to perform live. For now, anyway. “We’ve been writing another song, it’s not done yet. But we’ve played it live a couple of times and we really like the energy of the song and how the audience responds to it, so that one may be another favourite,” he says, teasing future releases.
My Kid Brother was supposed to support Tom Delonge’s band Angels & Airwaves on a short January run of the States. But that tour, unfortunately, got postponed when Delonge got a respiratory infection. Then it inevitably got postponed again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The band is looking forward to the time in which they can open for one of their heroes. Afterwards, barring any unforeseen changes brought on by the pandemic, the band has several other supporting tours ready to book to promote the EP. When discussing a hypothetical dream tour, they pondered quickly before laughing. “I’d definitely want to support Modest Mouse…then have Weird Al close the show,” declares Savopoulos with a grin. The band is immediately drawn into a fun tangent when drummer Sam Athanas sits forward and asks Neonakis pointedly, “If Weird Al agreed to parody one of our songs, what would it be?”. They quickly launched into a breezy discussion about parody ideas before deciding on a parody of “Native Tongue,” tentatively titled “Native Tongs.” That idea is free of charge if you’re reading this, Al. In just this 90 second conversation, the band’s easy chemistry and relaxed sense of humour was on full display.
My Kid Brother has a mantra they say to each other regularly- Take care of one another. It started when Dylan started saying it to the other bandmates often because they were all so close. Each member relied on the others while they built up the band together, and so the refrain to take care of each other became their motto as they navigated through the difficult times. It naturally became something they decided to share with their fans as a reminder to everyone to lift one another upon during the hardships. The fan interactions and reception to their songs are an inspiration to the band to keep the music flowing, along with a healthy respect for their musical heroes who have been a beacon of light to them throughout their lives.
It was a pleasure talking to My Kid Brother, and if their self-titled EP is any indication, these guys will go on to be very successful. Stream their EP on your favourite platform now, and remember to take care of one another.
Check out more from My Kid Brother: