Interview with Grace London of Residual Kid
Ben Redman (drums, 12-years old) and his brother Max (bass, 11-years old) began playing gigs around Austin in 2008 under the moniker The Redboys. They met Deven Ivy (guitar, 13-years old) at rock camp during the summer of 2009. Then, in late 2010, they were introduced to Grace London (vocals, 11-years old). Residual Kid honed their chops by covering some of their favorite artists such as Muse, Radiohead, Rush, White Stripes, The Beatles, and Ween; but then they quickly began developing their own material…
Residual Kid just released their debut six-song EP titled Box which was recorded and produced by Jonas Wilson (The White White Lights) at Blue Train Studio in Bastrop. The first single from the Box EP — “Can’t Take Me Away” — was recently featured on an episode of ABC’s 20/20 titled “8th Grade Murder: Two Lives Ruined“ about the murder of California eighth-grader Lawrence King.
It seems like Residual Kid has been performing non-stop for the last few months, but AdobeAirstream was able to catch up with Grace London on what seems like it must have been a rare night off for her. Admittedly, we were a little uncertain about how an interview with an 11-year old might go; but we quickly discovered that this particular 11-year old girl answered our questions more coherently and intelligently than most adult musicians. Color us impressed.
A2: How has being in a rock band effected your popularity and status at school?
GL: I don’t really care about that. If I were to say, does it effect anything? I would say no. I just don’t really talk about it.
A2: What do your classmates think of Residual Kid?
GL: My classmates are pretty supportive and my friends come out to our shows.
A2: How about your teachers?
GL: Last night we played at The Mohawk and four out of my five teachers came to the show, which is pretty cool. So my teachers are really supportive too and they try to get me to do everything I can at school. It’s really great.
A2: How do you balance your gigs with classwork?
GL: The school that I go to only has about 20 students and it is really flexible. But Devin goes to public school and it is really hard for him. He has a lot of homework and playing night shows is a lot more difficult for him than it is for me or the brothers — Max and Ben — who are home-schooled.
A2: It is extremely rare for 11-13 year old kids to be sharing the stage with bands who are 2-3 times their age at rock venues like The Mohawk — in most cases your audience is probably at least twice your age as well. What has this experience been like for you?
GL: It has actually been really cool. The Austin music scene has been extremely supportive and really accepting. It has been really surprising and really great. We have found that people just automatically assume that since we are kids that we are just going to play “kids’ stuff.” But we realized really early on that our music does not appeal to most kids, our music appeals more to adults.
A2: What challenges have you had to overcome as kids in an adult world?
GL: It is hard sometimes for people to take us seriously. People tend to focus more on our ages than the music. I understand that — people making age jokes and all. It is a little bit weird when people focus more on what it looks like than what the actual music is. We have to try a little bit harder for people not to treat us like little kids, because we are kids. But people have been really, really kind. Before our shows they probably think “oh, it’s going to be a little kiddie show” and it is cool to see afterwards that they think that we are really good. It is really humbling.
A2: Residual Kid is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of “Can’t Take Me Away” to The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the National Safe Schools Partnership — can you discuss why this cause is so important to you and how this one song in particular relates to this issue?
GL: I just think it is so unfair that kids my age are being treated so awfully just because they are not the same as everybody else — because of their sexual orientation or whatever. You’re just born that way and I don’t think anyone should have to change just to be like everybody else. It so ridiculous that this happens and so, so, so tragic and sad. The song is about being different and people not wanting to accept that — that is something I went through myself in the year before I wrote it. Especially during late elementary school and early middle school, you may not expect it, but kids are really vicious.
A2: Residual Kid has also been actively raising money to help support the victims of the Bastrop wildfires (via the Disastronauts Foundation) and you’re very involved in raising money to fight drought and famine in Africa. What prompted you to invest so much effort into these campaigns in particular?
GL: Our mentor/teacher/producer Jonas [Wilson] and his girlfriend Jenny [Gacy] lost their home, most of their belongings and their [recording] studio in the fires. It is so, so, so weird. It was so sudden. That was the studio that we just recorded the Box EP in. It is so crazy to think that one second you are in there having a great time, but then the next second everything is gone, completely gone, because of a natural disaster. It is so sad. It is a local cause and it is really important to us to help. We all agreed that it is definitely important to us to try to do something to help, because it is something that is pretty personal to us. And my dad works for the A Glimmer of Hope Foundation which specifically raises money to build wells for clean water and schools and health clinics in Ethiopia. There is currently a huge drought and famine in Ethiopia and thousands and thousands of kids — and adults too — are dying because of hunger and thirst. It is just really, really, really amazing. I went there over Christmas and going there really inspired me to help. So, I talked with the guys in the band about it and they thought that we should definitely do something. We did some concerts and we are really happy that it was so successful.
A2: You’re playing on October 20th alongside a photography exhibit. Can you tell us more about that event?
GL: We had a photo shoot with Jackson Potts, and now he’s doing a “Rock and Roll Portraits” photo exhibit. Jackson is 11-years old and it was kind of funny shooting with him because we are all the same age. It was really weird. But, yes, the show is art and music combined and just $2 to get in. There are a lot of really cool bands playing, so there will be good music. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m really excited for that!
$2 Shows & vivo gig are presenting the October 20th show at the 29th Street Ballroom at Spider House. Jackson Potts’ “Rock and Roll Portraits” features photographs of bands from a variety of genres, including country, electronic alt-pop, and soul. In addition to Residual Kid, five other bands who were photographed by Potts will perform: The Shears, Zeale, Les RAV, KNIFIGHT, and Kuumba Freeque. The show will be partnering with Living Water International, who will be embarking on a new project with Potts next year. Potts will travel to Africa and photograph his experiences there, then compile a coffee table book which will raise money for Living Water International. A percentage of the proceeds from this show will go towards Pottsʼ trip to Africa.