Indie-pop band incorporates interactive videos
Guitarist and vocalist Nick Krill—of the local-turned-internationally-famous Spinto Band—has been playing live shows for a long time, but never has he interacted in synchronized dance with his own shadow on a video projection on stage.
Never, that is, until three years ago, when he formed indie synth pop quartet Teen Men with longtime friend, guitarist and Spinto member Joe Hobson and keyboardists Albert Birney and Catharine Maloney.
Now the quirky band is part of the lineup for the fifth Firefly Music Festival in the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway from June 16-19. Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon, Florence & the Machine and Deadmau5 headline the festival, which will also include more than 100 additional acts.
Krill is no stranger to the stage at Firefly. Spinto Band performed there three years ago, but this time he says it’ll be an entirely different type of experience.
“This style feels different to me,” he says. “It’s more interactive than the previous bands I’ve played in, with an interplay of way more visuals.”
The live-concert visuals are in part thanks to Maloney and Birney, who helped create homemade, interactive videos synchronized to the music.
“It’s interplay between the performers and audience and that visual screen,” says Krill. “We try to set it up so it’s not psychedelic or ambient, but really synchronized to the songs.
The whole screen is an active part of the show. It’s not a passive thing, it’s designed to be a big part.”
Teen Men formed in 2013, during the time Spinto Band was finishing their latest album, Cool Cocoon. With some leftover studio time, Krill emailed friends to see if anyone “wanted to come and make some noise and mess with tunes,” he recalls.
Hobbs and Birney showed up, and Maloney wasn’t far behind. Over the next two or three weeks the friends continued playing and Krill says that before they knew it, they had a handful of songs and a new project. Their combined sound blended melodic-psychedelic guitars, keyboards, samples and electronic/ambient tones.
During studio sessions, they flipped through some magazines lying around the studio, and a men’s pants advertisement in a 1960s Playboy caught their attention. “Great for men, boys and teen men,” the ad read, which resonated with the band.
“That this whole ridiculous subset could exist with great implications if you’re not a kid anymore but you’re not a grownup,” says Krill. “Irrational, confident, fearless…it ended up describing feelings we had while making songs in slapdash sessions, with a sort of teen man sense.”
The band released a self-titled album with Bar/None label last June, then toured the U.S. and Canada alongside Clap Your Hands Say Yeah last summer.
Aside from preparing for the Firefly performance, Teen Men is working on new recordings, and by the end of the summer there will be several new songs and videos, Krill says. Meanwhile, he says that The Spinto Band, while not working on any new material at the moment, will reissue some of their early recordings later this year, which marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. release of Nice and Nicely Done.
In addition to the massive musical lineup at Firefly, the audience can expect the return of favorite attractions such as the Dogfish Head Brewery, The Beercade, The Coffee House, The Market, The Thicket and Hammock Hangout.
Firefly is partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the fifth year through the Music Gives to St. Jude Kids program. Festival attendees can support the lifesaving work of St. Jude on-site and leading up to the event through a variety of donation outlets.
Find the LP Teen Men on iTunes and more information at teenmenmusic.com.
For Firefly news, visit fireflyfestival.com.