Hanging With One of the Kids!

Tanya Calvin Staff Writer When I spoke to Vic Mensa, Kids These Days’ lead vocalist, about what it’s been like growing as a band he said it was “natural.” The band has been working together since high school, and their success has skyrocketed from there. They performed at Lolla, SXSW, and Summerfest in 2011. Their debut album Traphouse Rock was featured in Rolling Stone. All of their songs are filled with soul and a raw sense of what it’s like growing up as a teenager in Chicago. The music video for “Don’t Harsh My Mellow” was filmed in Lakeview High School and the band makes frequent visits to local high schools to meet their fans and sign posters (Vic told me that if enough people from Latin want tickets for their show at the Vic Theater on Nov. 24 he and the band can come and sell them at school, so if you want a ticket let me know!). Their album was recorded in parts beginning this year, some in Chicago, some in L.A. and some in El Paso with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy producing a good portion of it. Vic said that putting together this album has “helped [them] move to the next level in [their] lives, as individuals, in [their] careers and as musicians.” As the band’s “shows and music gets better people respond” and that’s what has helped them succeed so much. The support they’ve received from their hometown community is tremendous. Reaching out to other young musicians has definitely helped. The band is a part of a Chicago music collective called Savemoney, featuring other young up and coming artists like Chance the Rapper and Kami de Chukwu. Kids These Days has taken all different kinds of music and mixed them together masterfully, and that’s what has gotten them so much recognition. With bits of old school songs like “You’re All I Need to Get By” and even some of the Pixie’s, the band has nailed the ability to infuse well-known songs into their original style. Vic’s rapping skills, Macie and Liam’s strong voices, Nico and J.P.’s mastery of their horns, Greg on the drums, and Lane on the bass are what makes KTD’s music so unique and captivating. Many of their songs tell stories of the band’s own lives, the strongest of which is in “Flashing Lights.” This track didn’t make the album but evokes the painful experience of losing a close friend to the violence in Chicago. The band has taken their fame and used it to help causes they find fit, like the CPS teacher’s strike that took place in September. It’s an understatement to say the band has started on a long journey, and Vic says that their “growth is not by any means over.”      ]]>