How did you come up with the band’s name?
When we started recording the first songs for what would eventually become Rebel Kicks, we had already been searching for a new band name for a while. Our previous band had been called Sons of Origin, a name we were never really happy with, plus the new material we were working on had a very different vibe from the older stuff, so we thought that a new band name should capture the new feel of what we were going for.
We’ve been big fans of the band Portugal. The Man since we saw them perform at Bonnaroo in 2009, so we were really excited by the song “Feel It Still” when it was released in March 2017. One of the lyrics in the song is “I’m a rebel just for kicks”, and something about that phrase really struck a chord with us. We were listening to that song in the car on the way to a gig one evening, and Steve said, “What do you think of the name Rebel Kicks for the band?” The more we thought about it, the more the name just seemed to fit. One of the first tracks we recorded for this project was “Fall of the American Dream”, which is a slightly edgy, pseudo-social commentary, so the “Rebel” felt appropriate. Our music is an amalgam of different styles and influences, sometimes dealing with heavy lyrical themes, but it also doesn’t take it itself too seriously, hence the “Kicks” part of the name.
Give us a little bio about you as a band.
We’re a NYC-based brother duo (Anthony Babino and Steven Babino), and Rebel Kicks, which was formed in 2018, is our brainchild. We co-write all of our music, and on the whole, it’s anthemic alternative pop, infused with confessional rock, with disarmingly personal, yet relatable lyrics, tied together by the harmonic blend of our voices. When we perform live, we play as a four-piece band with our long-time bandmates, Daniel Bradley (Drums) and Dorian Lake (Keys/Vocals).
We’ve been extremely fortunate to share bills with notable acts such as Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Mac Miller, Iggy Azalea, Incubus, and more. Our first full length album, “A Portrait of Man: Part I” was released in August 2020, and featured collaborations with acclaimed songwriters and producers, including Abe Dertner (Walk The Moon, MAX), Jeff Blue (Macy Gray, Hoobastank, Korn, Linkin Park), Jason Pennock (2pac, Polyenso, The Pussycat Dolls), Russ DeSalvo (Lou Reed, Celine Dion, Lionel Richie), and Jimmy Greco (Paramore, Santana). Many of our songs have been featured on MTV and Showtime, including the hit show “Shameless”, and the music video for our song, “Let It Out”, which combines elements of interpretive dance with ASL, has been recognized as a finalist in numerous film festivals, including the 2019 Big Apple Film Festival.
What made you go into music?
Our Dad is a professional musician/singer-songwriter, so from as far back as we both can remember, we’ve been performing together. Music has always been a constant in our lives, and since that’s how our Dad made his living, it just felt natural for us to take that path as well. We were also really lucky to have two parents who not only supported that decision, but encouraged us to do it. We find music to be the most beautiful, inspiring form of artistic expression, and there’s just something deep within both of us that fuels the need to create.
Who are your influences?
There are just too many to list. Our first, and main musical influence is our Dad. He mainly specializes in performing the classic jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, as well as his own original songs, but he grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, so from an early age we were introduced to a wide array of artists across many different genres; everything from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole, to The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Carole King, Led Zeppelin, Wings, YES, and Deep Purple, to Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and so many more. Our mom is a huge fan of musical theatre, so she introduced us to things like West Side Story, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma!, as well as groups like The Carpenters, Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac. Inevitably, all of these influences inform your own writing, albeit on a subtle, subconscious level. Of all the many artists we love, musically, our main source of inspiration is The Beatles – they essentially wrote the book and set the template for what modern pop music could be, and the songs are just simply incredible. There are also a ton of more modern artists that we find inspiring as well, including Portugal. The Man, Kishi Bashi, Foo Fighters, Beck, Halsey, Andrew Bird, Sara Bareilles, etc.
You released your new single ‘We Should Go Missing’, tell us more about the single.
‘We Should Go Missing’ is a metaphor for daydreaming of escape. It’s about finding that inner tranquillity we all seek, freeing your mind from the daily stresses and anxieties that we all deal with. We’re thrilled with how the song came out, we think it really captures that sense of freedom and exuberance musically and lyrically, and people really respond to it when we perform it live.
Describe the track in two words.
Who did you work with on the single?
We co-wrote and recorded ‘We Should Go Missing’ with Jackson Hoffman (Young Rising Sons, Mickey James) and Ryder Stuart (CANNON) in a single session at their studio in Brooklyn this past July. It was such a fun collaboration; all four of us played on the track, and we started recording parts as we were in the process of writing the song, so it has a real sense of immediacy to it. Jackson mixed the track, and it was mastered by John Naclerio at Nada Recording Studio.
Will we see an EP or Album and if so what can we expect from it?
We’re always writing and recording new songs, and already have several more collaborations with Jackson and Ryder that are ready to go. We’re not sure of the exact release plan yet – whether we’re going to release each song individually, or work up to an eventual EP, either way, we have a lot of new music we’re currently prepping. Although we treat each song as its own entity, the new material we’ve been working on definitely has a vibe, which you can get an idea of by listening to our two latest releases, “We Should Go Missing” and “Floating”.
What else can we expect in 2021?
Incredibly we’re almost at the end of the year already, but with that being said, we’re really looking forward to putting out some new music, as well as playing and booking more shows.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
We see ourselves touring around the world, performing at festivals, and having a successful career as songwriters and performers.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“To thine own self be true.” – Shakespeare from Hamlet
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Setlists, vocal warmups, extra strings, merch, and thanking the audience for coming out to support us, and live music in general.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
You can find us at @rebelkicksmusic across all social media, as well as our official website www.rebelkicks.com