Despite being three White guys from Connecticut, the Stepkids know how to bring the funk. Their music combines soul, R&B, and folk to create a unique sound that translates perfectly to a live show. I sat down with bassist Tim Walsh and drummer Dan Edinberg at the Sasquatch Festival to discuss some of their favorite bands, how Youtube can teach you how to dance, and Bugs Bunny.

The Stepkids at the Sasquatch Festival. Photos by Hannah S.
The Stepkids at the Sasquatch Festival. Photos by Hannah S.

What do you think of Sasquatch and the Gorge so far?

Dan: It’s Gorge(ous)

Tim: Yac Yac Yac

Dan: What?

Tim: It’s like when Bugs Bunny would crack a cheesy joke, he would go “Yac Yac Yac” because it was a corny joke. But I like your joke!

Dan: But in all seriousness we really like it here. The setting is perfect. It is a very forgiving audience, somehow they liked us. We just got away with murder at our set. We played all these jazz runs and very gratuitous fills. I think people were into it, for once.

The Stepkids drummer Dan Edinberg and guitarist Jeff Gitelman.
The Stepkids drummer Dan Edinberg and guitarist Jeff Gitelman.

Which bands are you most excited to see at Sasquatch?

Dan: We are flying to New York in a couple hours, but we are going to fast forward time to see Outkast. We are obviously going to see Chance the Rapper because Jeff (Jeff Gitelman, the Stepkids’ guitarist) is playing with him, which is amazing. The call him Uncle Jeff.

Tim: I’m so obsessed with HAIM, but sadly I’m not going to be able to see them play. I want to meet them so badly. But we are going to be playing Glastonbury and they are going to be there.

How did you get your name? Are any of you actually step-kids?

Tim: No, all of our parents are still married.

Dan: Not that it matters. It is a pretty common word, but there were no bands named that, and it should be a band name. So we were hoping we could be that band.

Your recorded music is so layered, how are you able to recreate it live?

Dan: Generally, after we have recorded a song, it has its own organic energy. There are many ways to play it live, so we sometimes do a song different live than how we recorded it. That’s one of our favorite parts about the band, seeing it all come together live.

One thing that is unique about the Stepkids is that you all sing. How do you decide who sings what song?

Dan: It’s a natural process. It is always what sounds best and we are a collective, it is all about the final product. We try to pick the voice that suits the track best.

The Stepkids came out on stage wearing matching capes, inspired by Earth Wind and Fire.
The Stepkids came out on stage wearing matching capes, inspired by Earth Wind & Fire.

I loved the capes you wore at the start of your set, whose idea was that?

Tim: It was a collective idea.

Dan: We were watching Earth Wind & Fire videos. Youtube Earth Wind & Fire 1978. There will never be a better live show. There will only be a live show that is as good as that.

Tim: Earth Wind & Fire is Dan’s HAIM.

So it’s both musical inspiration as well as for your live shows?

Dan: Absolutely. We obsess over concert footage. We obsess over ZZ TOP, the Jackson Five. Visually, those bands are top notch, and musically too.

What is your signature dance move?

Dan: Is there one?

Tim: There’s many.

Dan: I think the sidestep we do in “Sweet Salvation.” People can see it and imitate it and do it right away. One time we were playing a show in Jakarta, Indonesia and everyone was copying our dance steps while we were doing them. It was phenomenal.

The Stepkids guitarist Jeff Gitelmanand bassist Tim Walsh showing off their signature dance moves.
The Stepkids guitarist Jeff Gitelmanand bassist Tim Walsh showing off their signature dance moves.

I love all the covers you have posted on Youtube from “Suit & Tie” to “Get Lucky.” Do you have any new covers coming up or any song you would love to cover?

Dan: I would love to cover, “The Worst,” that Jhené Aiko song, and harmonize the “I don’t need you” line.

Tim: I don’t know that song.

Dan: You don’t listen to the radio as much as I do Tim. We do want to do a few more covers.

What is coming up in the future for the Stepkids?

Dan: We have some festivals, including Monterey Festival and are hoping to get back to Japan.

Tim: We are also recording and have a new cover track, but it’s a secret. It’s an older song, but one of our favorites.

 

 

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June 11, 2014