Last year I had the opportunity to talk with David Curtis, the lead singer of Tooth & Nail Records' band, Run Kid Run. It was a great conversation, and we talked a little bit about their latest record, Patterns, his side project, and what the future looks like for the band. I definitely enjoyed talking to David, and I hope you enjoy reading our conversation!
Jonathan Kemp: Your latest album Patterns came out last November. How would you compare the writing and recording process with the process for Love at the Core?
David Curtis: Well there were three years in between Love at the Core and Patterns. From This is Who We Are to Love at the Core to Patterns there was always this natural evolution of where Neil and I were going - it seemed like it was kind of natural. But then with a three year gap I feel like there was quite a big jump for what we put on Patterns. I think we changed and we just grew up a little bit more. I was married. Neil was engaged when we were writing it. We just kind of matured as songwriters and just in our lives. And we just changed what we were listening to - that style is kind of what flowed through us. That’s what we’ve always tried to be - just write naturally. If we’re going to write a pop punk song, we’re going to write a pop punk song. If we’re going to write a more melodic aggressive [song], we just want to be natural to whatever we’re listening to.
JK: So, you guys worked with Andy Smith from Paper Route and some with Aaron Gillespie on the record. What was that like?
DC: It was incredible. It was our first time to actually do a co-write. We’ve always written together, me and Neil, but we’ve never written with anybody outside of the band. So, our first co-write was actually on “Daylight” with Andy Smith from Paper Route and we just wrote with him. It was real chill and real easy, like, “Hey do you want to try to write a song this afternoon?” “Okay yeah, come over to our house!” “Okay yeah!” So, it was us three just kind of like, “Oh I’ve got this chorus,” “Oh I’ve got this verse,” “This is good,” “Yeah yeah, what about this?” It was really smooth. It kind of took off all the [stress] because we already knew him and he was a friend. And then for Aaron Gillespie we came down to Florida and stayed a couple days and wrote a couple tunes with him. So, “Rely on Her” and “Someway Somehow” were the two tunes that came out with his session. And when you hear those tunes you can hear that, you can hear the aggressive side. For example, “Rely on Her,” the verse and the hook intro, Neil already had that written. It’s kind of got almost a Maroon 5, Jackson 5 vibe; we thought it was going to go that route - like really dancy. And if you just hear that riff by itself you’re like, “Oh it’s gonna be really dancy.” And then we got with Gillespie and he was like, “Oh let’s take this chorus and put like an E minor on it.” We were like, “We don’t do that.” *Laughs* We don’t ever write songs with that dark of a feel. We’ll get dark a little bit but it’ll still have a nice pop melodic feel for the chorus. So, whenever he brought that chorus we were like, “This is heavy.” And he’s sitting in his living room air-drumming and banging his head to me playing the acoustics. *Laughs* He is an animal on the drums, songwriting - he is incredible. So, it was cool, [we had] two different experiences: one, we already knew Andy from Paper Route and then Aaron we didn’t know at all and came down to Florida and came out with two really cool tunes. We actually wrote a few others but they didn’t really make sense for the record; so, those two were the ones we kept for the record.
JK: What’s been your favorite song to play live from the record?
DC: We haven’t been playing as much so we haven’t been able to dig deep into the record. We’ve only been playing like four or five off the new album; so, “Someway Somehow” is my favorite right now. I love the verses and how it can get really moody. At the very beginning I’m singing as low as I can almost and then the chorus is nice and pop but still aggressive.
JK: Where did you get the inspiration for the single, “Back to the Basics?”
DC: “Back to the Basics” is the cry of our heart for all of us to come back to this band being a ministry. It’s something you have to remind yourself daily, hourly. Whenever you’re in the middle of it and you’re worried about numbers, you’re worried about CD sales, you’re worried about this and that; and you realize God has given us this talent, God has put this group together. We want to show love through our music. We want to be real people. We want to use this for Him, for His glory. So, it’s saying, “Let’s get back to the basics. Let’s get back to why we started this band.” We started the band out of a youth group playing music for Jesus; so, why don’t we just get back to those roots?
JK: How do you guys see God working in you as a band right now?
DC: I think God works through us whenever we come out to shows. We’ll come and go from a place all together and then we’ll hear two weeks later from a Facebook message or email, whatever, “That was amazing what you said in between these two songs” or “This song has meant so much to me.” It’s just crazy that God speaks through our three-chord songs and me just blurting what I feel like is on my heart, and God can take those blurbs of what I feel like is a mess and He can just say, “This is exactly what this guy needs to hear. This is exactly what she needs to hear.” And that’s all God, because whenever you see me talking it’s bad. But God can twist it and just be like, “Yes, this is perfect for what they need.”
JK: What one thing do you hope people take away from your music after listening to it?
DC: I hope it’s a fun experience, that it’s catchy, that all of the artistic side is well put together, but above all that I really do hope they see and know and hear that there’s a God who loves them and cares for them very much and that without Jesus there’s no hope. So, I really do hope that’s what they walk away with. Above anything else, above a CD sale, I hope they know that there’s a God who loves them.
JK: So, you recently released your own little side EP. Talk to me a little bit about that.
DC: Well since Run Kid Run has kind of been slowing down a little bit, I’ve been writing songs for a long time, but I finally went under my own name. God’s given me this heart of worship that He’s cultivated and grown to produce songs and He’s given me these worship songs. I have about nine total. I put four on a little EP and just released it on Bandcamp myself. So, I’ve been doing more shows just me acoustic and then I do some full-band and go out and play shows. Mostly I’ve just been leading worship for different places, different churches or conferences and stuff. It’s been a blast. I love it. It’s definitely what’s been laid on my heart to do. So, I feel like that’s my next chapter.
JK: So, what’s next for Run Kid Run? What are you guys going to be doing over the next year?
DC: I don’t know. *Laughs* Our fourth guy just got engaged. So, with that and with all of us spread out you’ll probably see us more in a Bleach-like state. Kind of like randomly popping our heads up here and there but just taking the foot off the pedal. We all have our own projects. Neil just came out with a record with his side band, An Epic, No Less. So, they’re kind of picking up and busy and he’s in St. Louis, like I said, just working away and doing that. We all love to play together, it’s just kind of slowed down naturally. So, we’ll be out and about. But just rarely. *Laughs*
JK: Alright, well is there anything else you’d like to add that maybe I missed or just something you’d like to say?
DC: I’m happy to be in Florida. It’s hotter than it is in Nashville. But I’m happy to be here.