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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Relient K keeps working the road

For the Christian pop act Relient K [ tickets ], performing as one of this year's Warped Tour headliners was like spending the summer at camp.

"I'm a big fan of summer camp," vocalist/guitarist Matthew Thiessen said during a recent telephone interview from his rural Canton, OH-area home.

"There are so many bands and only so much you can really do out there, because everybody's kind of competing against each other. The bright side is, there's such a great community behind the scenes on Warped Tour. Some of the friends you get to make you'd never get to make on a normal tour because you wouldn't tour with those bands normally. The friendship and contacts you make out there--it's pretty awesome."

Relient K count among its friends the indie-rock band Say Anything, power-poppers Forever the Sickest Kids, metalcore quintet Every Time I Die and Christian rockers Norma Jean. Performing every day with the likes of Norma Jean was kind of like coming home for Relient K, a band that doesn't mind the "Christian pop" label.

"Whatever people want to call us, they can call us," said Thiessen, who will marry in the Detroit area next summer. "I'm Christian. We write a lot about that stuff. I think it's important for me in my life and we obviously want to write songs about things that are important. At the same time, if you don't share the same beliefs as us, you're probably not going to get rubbed the wrong way with our music. We're not judging anybody. I'm just kind of singing from my own perspective. I think it works both ways."

These days, Relient K is on tour in support of "The Bird and the Bee Sides," a collection of unreleased tracks, some new and some from the band's vault. The album's release was basically out of necessity.

"We had one album left on our contract with our first record deal we signed in '98," Thiessen said. "We had 20 B-sides just sitting around the cutting room floor. We chose 13 of those songs and put them on the record. With that mentality, we said, 'Let's throw a couple new songs on there, too, so it's not just B-sides.' We ended up coming up with 13 new songs a well."

The 26-song album is selling for $10 at shows, he said. "That's a pretty good deal for 26 songs. It's something we did for the summer. We do like to try and put out new material once or twice a year if we can. It fits the bill for that."

Thiessen explained he and the rest of the band--guitarist Matthew Hoopes, bassist John Warne, guitarist Jonathan Schneck and drummer Ethan Luck--aren't sure what label their next album will appear on. They were previously signed to Capitol via Gotee.

"There's definitely a lot of talk of re-singing and reformatting the whole contract," Thiessen said. "There's talk about being able to take over an independent record label of our own, being able to put out our material and have it be a subsidy of Gotee, which is our former label. But nothing's signed yet, so I can't really confirm anything. We'll announce it when we can."

Christian Music News Source

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