Right before the release of their debut album, In A Box, we got the chance to call German band KID DAD’s lead singer Marius Vieth and lead guitarist Joshua Meinert, to talk about music genre, COVID-19, creating their album, labels and more. Interview.
Unis Son: COVID-19 has changed things. How has it been for you over there in Germany, to be an artist during that time and how have you been able to work while the whole thing was going on? Have you been able to do anything you wanted to?
Marius: We’re from Paderborn, in West Germany, a small city of 100 000-120 000 inhabitants, I guess, and I think, yeah, COVID-19 is a thing here but not that horrible as it is with a city with like 3 or 4 million inhabitants. But the region we live in, many people are living very strictly and by the rules, so that makes it easy. We think that in the next four or five months we have a good chance to go back to the whole venue clubbing and shows because Germans are very, very, strict and the rules must be taken seriously. As a musician, we can work quite good because there’s a lot of silence here [laugh] so we can be together as a band. For example, right now we’re having a live practice. We’re trying to get the best of the situation.
US: And you guys are going on tour sometime soon or next year?
Joshua: It’ll be next year.
US: The album seems to have been inspired by the many places you’ve travelled to. Is there any place that marked you or inspired you more for this album?
Marius: I think it depends on how you feel that day you’re in this city or this country. I can get inspired in my basement or in my like, locker room, sometimes better than in a beautiful country. But I had the chance to fly to China, to drive to Switzerland, to visit London for the first time and write some songs and I guess that’s what pretty much shaped the variety of the songs. I didn’t force it saying ‘I need different cities and different places for different inspirations’, it’s more like every emotion gets or brings another inspiration. But there is a perfect place I think for every emotion or a better or worst place for a particular emotion. I had the luck to be isolated as a German who is an English speaker in a country who doesn’t even know how to write English. You can’t go to the train station and ask anyone in English anything. So you’re completely lost and that gave me the inspiration to write about isolation. That’s pretty much the adventure of writing songs for In A Box.
US: The visuals have really something that strikes me as well-thought of. Did you have any references? Who worked on it?
Joshua: I don’t know if we had any references. It’s more our bassist, Max, who is our graphic and video guy. It’s more like ‘okay I’ve got an idea, do something with that’ and Max tries to do something with it. It’s a trial and error thing and then we try to shape something out of it. The concept came with a box, from Marius.
Marius: Yeah the concepts were there before most of the songs. We want the people to picture what we feel but with simplicity. Also, we’re fans of bands like 1975, bands who thought about putting big feelings through geometrics figures or simple things. And like the Apple logo, it’s just an apple but it has the strength of a whole world and can be so mighty. We try that too, with the box and the topic of isolation. In 2017, right before we started recording songs for In A Box, Max came with the idea of the box and putting the box in the music videos. So we started to shape all the videos around the box and later on, we came with the colours, the salmon pink, to give geometric profile too.
US: That’s really striking and it really fits with what you’ve done musically as well, so well done on that!
Both: Thank you!
US: The album is full of emotions, of feelings, and we get that mental health is something rather important to you in the lyrics. Also on your website, you describe your music genre as ‘Sad Music’. Why is that?
Marius: We don’t like getting put into several genres. We don’t like to label ourselves. We often get the question ‘what kind of music do you do and how would you describe it to people who never heard of you?’ and that’s pretty tough for us. So we say we like to focus more on the content rather than the sound. Because if we say we make alternative rock or we make punk, we got this label on our forehead. There will be fans who will get disappointed someday if we quit making this genre. We want to stay openminded. Every album should have the chance to stand individually, describing a certain time in our lives and get its own recognition without getting people saying ‘yeah it’s not punk enough’ or ‘oh that’s too pop-ish, that’s soft’. We love to keep that open. The content is sad but our goal isn’t to put all the sad kid even more down. I think everyone has a kind of sadness, a basic sadness, we want to share our stories and want to say you’re not alone, we’re with you and everyone has his struggle with something. It’s also important for us to not to tell details stories like ‘there a boy and a girl, the boy love the girl but the girl doesn’t love the boy’. It’s more like base stories and you can put yourself in the story and live it through and feel it, put your own in it.
Joshua: It’s about you feel about the story, with the story, not what is the story, I guess.
US: In A Box is linked to an important topic too, a campaign against domestic violence called Safe In a Box. How did you get the idea?
Joshua: It’s a COVID-19 thing, I guess. We know domestic violence exists, and it existed before, but since the pandemic started, we thought about not just the consequences for us but the consequences for the environment, our surroundings, for the ones who need protection. And the kids are a priority when they are in a situation they want to run away from, as we have visualized in our music, but they have no possibility to do so. You are caged in an environment when you should feel safe, safe in a box, in your box. Since the pandemic, we found about the campaign. It connected with us. We wanted to actually do something physically, so we started to think about how or what we can do. We had an idea of creating masks but it was too much COVID-19 for us and not enough what we had in mind to help. So we came up with the idea to create some sort of partnership. It was very important to us to do something with our vision and style and make it personal, not to make it like ‘hey, here’s a charity thing’. Very much KID DAD I guess and very much of our personality in that campaign.
US: My last question is linked to childhood, this time your childhood. That’s a bit of a personal question and I ask this question to everyone. What would be your earliest memory of music?
Joshua: My father is a musician. I guess my first memory to music is to be in a backstage room and to eat a banana from the lead singer of his band. It was the only food he had for that evening. So, yeah, that was my first music experience, it has nothing to do with hearing music or listening to music, it’s just hanging around with musicians.
Marius: My first memory is watching my grandfather playing in a marching band. He played the tuba. And I stood there like [clapping his hands] one-year-old when you start standing. I stood there, I was like ‘wooow’. My mom told the story every time to me. I wanted to join them but I didn’t know anything about what an instrument is, how it works and that you just have to learn it first, but I wanted to walk with them. And then I was very, very sad when they passed by because I thought they just didn’t like me so they walked away, but it’s a marching band so they had to march away [laugh] and I had to swallow that, that was pretty tough, and then in first grade, I started to play the trumpet.
Joshua: You play the trumpet?
Marius: Yeah for five years. That was my way to music. I played the flute in first grade but that doesn’t count because I was bad at it [laugh]. I was better with the trumpet, it was my first instrument. Yeah, that was my introduction to music.
For their initiative called Safe In A Box, the band has decided to produce some special merch items, marked by a box-house on their shop, of which 100% of the proceedings will be donated to SOS Kinderdöfer and NSPCC, charities helping children victim of domestic violence. For more information about Safe In A Box, you can check it out here. Lastly, if you are in the UK and are in need of help or know someone who needs help, the number to call is 0808 800 5000.
The band has a tour coming up in February and March 2021 both in Germany and the UK. More info here.