Port Townsend-based, five-piece rock group Kilcid Band is comprised of drummer Christian Powers, bassist Kyle Hove, multi-instrumentalist Conor Sisk, guitarist Joel Mars and front man Tristan Marcum. Together, they form a single unit with firework vocals, piñata explosions of guitar licks, and glinting lyrics about 9-to-5’ers and roadside dogs.
We premiered the band’s single, “The Good Get Gone,” about this time last year and we’re happy to premiere the group’s latest single, “The Working Man,” here today. We also caught up with Marcum to ask him about the band’s growth over the past 12 months, how they write harmonies and much more.
What did you learn about the band’s sound between your last EP release and this one coming up?
The thing that we learned as a band was to just lean into the songs and let them dictate the arrangements and let the voices of the people who wrote the song, let their flavor influence the shape. The EP is called Lead Singer because one of the basic guiding philosophies of Kilcid Band is that we have five lead singers. Everybody can sing really well and write songs. So, not everybody ended up with the lead vocal on this CD but everybody sings all over it. That’s part of our ethos.
That’s the thing that we learned most: to trust our instincts and pull back a little bit more. Our first tendency was to saturate the songs with sound but now we’re playing around with space a little bit more.
What did the band find most interesting about recently opening for Modest Mouse?
Just the energy that comes from a really awesome audience like that, what they bring takes you up to the next level completely. It was awesome. It’s always fun to play but when that kind of energy from that many people is coming at you on stage, it just lifts you up and you get into this really cool loop. That was something that was pretty exciting to do – especially for some of the people in the band that maybe haven’t played shows that big with that kind of vibe.
I was in a band before and we opened for Modest Mouse a few times back in the day but this was the first time we’ve done that with Kilcid Band.
You guys are helping to lead the charge of a Port Townsend renaissance. What does the town mean to you and your band of brothers?
Oh man, it means a lot to us. Right now, it’s just me and Connor that live here in town fulltime but even Joel, who is not from here, he loves it here. It’s a really special, creative place out by the water. Our name, Kilcid Band, means, “salt water people.” So, we really draw inspiration from being close to the water and how cool the community is out here.
The new EP is often about suburban doldrums. There’s a song called “Sheeple.” What was the inspiration behind that theme?
You know, that one was written by Connor but we talked about it a lot. It’s funny, because I think when people hear that word, “sheeple,” they’re like, “Oh yeah, man. This song is just about falling in line or doing whatever you’re told to do.” But what he’s saying is, like, there’s nobody that’s actually like that. We’re all doing the best we can to make it. And we end up in that place but not because we’re just simply sheeple. I had to have him break it to me, but it’s actually backwards from what it seems. He’s saying people are unique and special. It’s really just the lizard brain that’s inside fighting against our monkey mind. You know, basic stuff. Lizard people versus monkeys! It’s as old as time! If “Sheeple” is about anything, it’s about lizard people versus mammalians and monkeys.
The band’s harmonies on the new EP are great and often help to deliver a sad message, like the line, “the moment you found is all over now.” Is this your intention?
For sure, absolutely. We really love The Beatles, we love The Beach Boys, we love all those bands where everybody in the band sings. I think that’s a really good way of describing it. When you’re using the melodies and the harmonies to go against what the tone of the lyrics is. Yeah, like sugar coating a bitter pill. But, man, the harmonies are my favorite part of this band. That there’s five people and what everybody brings to the scene and what it sounds like. This recent record, we got to all be around one high-quality mic and sing the heck out of the choruses. Oh man, that was awesome!
You’re releasing the EP at Timber and then heading out on tour. What does the road do for the band?
We are about as pumped up as we can be. We’re going to use the next three weeks to get tightened, rehearsed up, add a couple more songs into the mix so that we’re ready to play some longer sets on the road. But we’re just pumped! We’re out there to sell some t-shirts and get our Spotify numbers up. That’s what it’s about. Really, it’s about spreading that gospel through the sound – I don’t mean THE Gospel, of course – but we’re really pumped. This will be the first time with Kilcid Band that we’ll have done that substantial of a tour. We’ve done a couple shows on the road but this will be nice.
What do you love most about the new single, “The Working Man,” which we’re premiering here?
I love the schizophrenia in the tone between the narrators in the verse and the chorus. The way that song came about, Connor had a piece of the song and I had another piece and another kind of vision and we just smashed them together. So, it totally sounds seamless but what the two different narrators is completely different. The verse’s narrator can’t be pinned down, you’re never going to catch them or get them being responsible. But the whole song is called, “The Working Man,” and that’s what the chorus guy is all about. My favorite part is the coda at the end – “Got to go, go to walkie-talk for the working man” – I really like that part.