Back in the day, kids used to say the darnedest things. That still holds true nowadays, but they continue to do the darnedest things, too. And in this current political climate, can you blame them?
The message of “Kids Conspire,” the new music video by Royal Teeth that premieres exclusively today (Feb. 16) at The Huffington Post, doesn’t necessarily give off that cynical vibe. The Louisiana-based pop quartet led by Gary Larsen and Nora Patterson are a high-energy, fun-loving act that prefers to make you feel good, whether it’s on stage or on records such as Amateurs, the EP that was released in November.
But as members of the young and restless band get older and wiser, they do have a point to make.
“Our main focus has always been to connect to people through positive energy,” Larsen and Patterson wrote in response to some email questions for this article to accompany the video. “No matter what is going on in their lives, we want to be an outlet for people because that’s what this band does for us. Some of our music goes to darker places but the overall message is hope. We have had some ups and downs together but we still love what we do and we want that to come through when you hear our music and come to a show.”
Amateurs coverPatterson, who was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La., attended the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and moved to New Orleans to join Royal Teeth shortly after graduating, wrote “Kids Conspire,” the lead single among the EP’s seven songs on this bit of zesty playfulness.
“The inspiration (behind the song) was the thought of rediscovering the relentless spirit and imagination that you have when you are a kid, and using that feeling to lift yourself up and motivate you to do less of what is expected of you and more of what you makes you happy,” Patterson said.
That thought is carried out in the video directed by Jeremy S. Collins, who came up with the concept of a boy with glasses and a girl with freckles from a seemingly normal nuclear family leaving the comforts of home (and the horror of TV news) at dinnertime to explore what’s really out there, whether they’re in a rowboat or in the mountains, running into a group of sign-carrying protesters.
“The kids in the video represent that part in all of us that is scared to take risks,” Royal Teeth’s royal couple offer.
The screen shot from the video for “Kids Conspire” shows two seemingly normal children looking for something more out of life.
Since the kids seem to enjoy getting the chance to “sail away from reality,” Larsen and Patterson — an attractive, charming pair of performers who unfortunately don’t appear in the video — were asked what they miss most about their childhood years.
“I mostly miss the sense of freedom and wonder. Things are a lot less complicated when you’re younger,” Larsen said. Born in Slidell, La., his family includes a brother Eric (who is married with three children) and parents Jack Larsen and Mary Spears.
“Of course, you eventually have to grow up and step into reality, but I don’t think that should mean losing your imagination or thirst for life,” said Patterson, the youngest of three children with parents Ned and Jane Patterson. “If I could relive my childhood, I would do it all the same, but I would read more books and watch less TV.”
Like any kid, Patterson and Larsen had dreams, some more pragmatic than others.
“I wanted to be a veterinarian because I love animals,” Patterson said. “I also wanted to be a ballet dancer and an astronaut. I think that’s the beauty of being a kid and that’s what the song is about. You feel like you can do so much when you are young. We tend to lose that feeling somewhere along the way. I think that spirit is what we need to try harder to hold onto.”
Added Larsen: “I had pretty unrealistic aspirations as a kid. I wanted to be a wrestler, a basketball player and a rock star. I’m not quite a rock star, but being a full-time musician is good enough for me.”
Divvying up lead-singing duties with Patterson isn’t a bad way to make a living, though, and Royal Teeth, with guitarist Thomas Onebane and drummer Josh Hefner, are hard-working professionals, nothing like the name of their latest recording.
After the release of Royal Teeth’s first two EPs — 2011’s Act Naturally and 2013’s Glow — the band founded in 2010 toured relentlessly, averaging more than 200 dates a year.
While the youthful exuberance remains, Larsen and Patterson would like to think their lyrics and music go deeper now.
“Over the past five years, we have grown closer and understand each other more than ever,” they said. “It’s easier now to communicate with each other during the writing process. We already know what each member can bring to the table and it makes the songwriting fun and fluid.”
Those feelings can only help them increase their audience base. Royal Teeth’s artists already have a nice head start in that department, having played major music festivals such as Austin City Limits (where I caught their animated act in 2012), Bonnaroo, Firefly and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, where they will return in May.
Since this band obviously lets the good times roll, New Orleans seems to be the place to be for Larsen and Patterson, especially during carnival season leading up to Fat Tuesday, when floats, booze and beads are some of the symbols of this hedonistic holiday. Do they have any special plans on Feb. 28, when young and old in the Crescent City celebrate with abandon like it’s the last day on Earth?
“Luckily, we will be home for Mardi Gras this year so we plan on catching a few parades,” wrote Larsen and Patterson. “We will enjoy being home with family, friends and boiled crawfish.”
That seems pretty tame for performers who still bounce around the stage like a couple of carefree kids. At least one of them has a bit of a wild streak, though.
When asked what’s the craziest thing they’ve done during carnival season, the truth came out with this big reveal:
“I flashed my boobs for some beads. This is Gary by the way.”
For someone still young at heart, he probably wasn’t kidding around, either.
See the video for “Kids Conspire”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cG2Izcmg4Y