Relient K is a band from Canton, Ohio. They are considered to be part of the alternative, punk pop and Christian rock genres. The group formed in 1998 and has received numerous awards including a 2003 Grammy nomination for Best Rock Gospel Album and two Dove Awards, gospel music's top prize. The band mates are all Christians, although some fans have questioned whether the band fits in the Christian rock genre. VOA's Larry London sat down with the members of Relient K to discuss their latest album.
Relient K's new release, "Five Score and Seven Years Ago" contains some of their most unashamedly happy songs to date. Matt Theissen talks about the single "The Best Thing."
"This song is, like, so happy,” says Theissen. “You know how most stories or songs have some sort of a conflict in them? That's how a plot is created -- this song has no conflict or plot. It's just 'had a good day.' It's a happy song."
Theissen explains how the CD's title was chosen. "We've been touring and putting out albums for seven years, and this is the fifth one. Just for an album title, I wanted to go with something that had a "five" theme to it. It's our fifth record, and the first time that we've done a record as a five-piece (quintet). Before, we were just four guys. Now we're a five-piece, so I thought it was kind of interesting."
Originally, the band's music was marketed through Christian bookstores. Now, with a major record label promoting them, Theissen describes about how they see themselves.
"The band has never changed. It's just that the format in which it's been presented [has changed]. We are Christians, and I think we enjoy writing songs about what we believe. Sometimes I think it's important. You have other bands writing about their political beliefs, and when you're writing songs from an introspective point of view you're going to write about what you believe in."
With the change in marketing, the approach to songwriting has changed as well. The humor that flowed though the lyrics in previous releases is not as prevalent. But that doesn't mean the band has become more serious.
"Our music has become a little less tongue-in-cheek over the years. We've tried to find other ways to portray that side of our personalities, not so much through the lyrics."
Matt Hoopes explains why Relient K took its name from one of Detroit's less-glamorous automobiles.
“It actually comes from a car I used to drive when I was in high school,” says Hoopes. “My dad had an old junker [beat up] car sitting around, and it was a Plymouth Reliant K.”
“All our friends made fun of me since it was old and rusty. I put stickers all over it and it was really slow. We decided to name the band after it.”