Teenage Kicks

NXNE 2011 Preview: Teenage Kicks

Teenage Kicks, taking their name from a song by Northern Irish punk group The Undertones, are building quite a fan base. Their EP Rational Anthems marks a solid foundation, and the fact they chose to release it as a free download only led to their sound spreading like wildfire. Their strength in song-writing and no-nonsense approach make them an act people will follow for years to come. In our interview, Jeff van Helvoort - bassist, vocalist, and brother of band-mate Peter - talks Rational Anthems and NXNE.

How did Teenage Kicks develop their sound?

Peter and I have been playing together for about six years (living together for twenty-three years) so our musical tastes are pretty overlapping. He and I usually have the same vision for the band but in the end, we just try and create something new out of all of our respective influences.

Rational Anthems comes across as natural and honest. How was the experience of making this EP?

We're glad that it comes across that way but the experience was trying, especially for Peter. He recorded, engineered, produced and mixed everything so it was tough to come out with a product that we could all be proud of due to the fact that Peter spent so many hours with the songs. We ended up rerecording a few of the songs but they just didn't sound "right" or like us, but we couldn't have been happier with the way they ended up turning out. If the EP comes across as natural and honest to you then we've done a good job of conveying ourselves as a band on the record.

And how about the immediate positive reaction? What sorts of things go through your mind when you hear or read reviews about the band?

Positive reactions are always good, but negative reactions are good as well. But when I say "negative reactions" I mean constructive ones. We're always interested in what we can do to become a better band, so any review is important. You can't let positive or negative reviews affect your headspace too much though, as your band is only as good as its last show.

Let's talk about your straight, no-nonsense approach - what does it mean to play as Teenage Kicks?

I don't know if it's a straight, no-nonsense approach. I'd just say it's four guys who like playing music.

Are you guys ready for NXNE? What is it going to be like for those heading to your showcase? And are there bands you guys are looking forward to seeing?

We're pretty excited for it because we always love playing at the Shoe. We're playing early (9PM), so we're going to get some family members out who wouldn't be able to come to our usual late Toronto shows. I'm super excited to see Land of Talk, Rusty, Fucked Up, The Darcys, Dinosaur Bones (at our showcase as well), Gentlemen Husbands and tons more. The whole week will be really fun even if I have to wake up at 6AM for work every morning.

With such a great reaction to your EP, where do you guys see yourselves going from here? And when can we expect an LP?

Hopefully we'll be going out east and into the States soon. We just want to play shows and get out on the road. As for an LP, we're always writing new stuff because it's always in the back of our minds.


Catch Teenage Kicks' NXNE Showcase at Horseshoe Tavern (722 College St.) on Saturday, June 18th with Hooded Fang, One Hundred Dollars, Dinosaur Bones and more.

You can download Teenage Kicks' EP Rational Anthems for free on their Bandcamp page. And below, download their summer anthem "Hearts of Darkness" courtesy, AWmusic.

Download: Teenage Kicks - "Hearts of Darkness" (MP3)

Photo of Teenage Kicks by Rachel Gordon (buyingshotsforbands) / Video by Stedfast Media

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