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AAA Music | 25 May 2022

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AAA Music Approved: Bottlekids

| On 21, Feb 2021

Who are you and where are you from?

WE are Bottlekids. Two-piece band united from Chicago and Denmark. It’s Justin on vocals and guitar, and Andre on synth, bass, drum machine, whatever’s needed at the time. Occasionally we get joined by other musicians, like our friend Matt, the Polish wonder guitarist. Our story’s strange because we met while I [Justin] was studying briefly in Denmark, and Andre was studying and living there for the year. Andre and I were both so obsessed with post-punk and cheap beer that we had to start a band. I think we started out with bad Velvet Underground covers or whatever non-sense songs we came up with while getting intoxicated, but we got serious and sober sooner or later. Soon after I came back to the states, we dropped a single we recorded in Copenhagen, then we recorded an EP in America. Everything we were writing was just taking the piss about people or things around us. If it made us laugh, it made it into the songs.

What inspired you to get into music?

Probably most of the inspiration was listening to the whole DIY, indie movement of bedroom pop and bandcamps and thinking ‘Yeah we could do that.’ Probably shouldn’t have had that much confidence but we did, especially after listening to guys like Alex G or older guys like R. Stevie Moore, The Cleaners from Venus, Jonathan Richman. Something about the music is almost bad, it seduces you. It’s like cheap whiskey, it goes down harsh but it warms your stomach. That kinda music inspired us, we weren’t interested in making anything pristine. We probably couldn’t if we tried. And that sort of music has inspired a whole slew of awful, weird music. It opened the door for us to make music about NEETs, incels, and deep fakes. Today, I think guys like Alex Cameron and Kirin J. Callahan have been on brain for us. They kinda invoke that 80s dirtiness, that time when digital instruments hadn’t been mastered. In our more recent music, we’ve focused on that sort of sound, that rough 80s synthpop sound. It fits the grimey subject matter quite nicely. Plus, everything that’s 80s sells. I mean, not us, but TV shows and what not. We’re hoping we could cash in on that or that someone might confuse us for someone else. We’ve had a few cases of mistaken identity, so we’re hoping to keep riding that wave into 2021. 

What have you done?  

Most recently, we became top ten finalists for the Andrson Uploaded Songwriting Contest, an international competition to pick the best song of the year. It was crazy to be picked out of a huge pool of bands from literally all over the world. Like seeing our names among bands from Ireland, South Africa, Wales, and all over the US. Incredibly honored and hoping to win when they announce the winner in a few weeks. We’ll be using the prize money to hire an orchestra and record the most beautiful record since Pet Sounds. Like a whole string section, brass section, some dude with an upright bass, absolutely mental stuff like that. So if you’re liking what you’re hearing, go tell Andrson Music over on Instagram and give us a follow @bottlekidsmusic. We’re also due to release an album probably at the end of this month or early March. Should be the best thing we’ve ever put out, a whole mix of synthpop, rock, some strange autotune and sound collages. We’ve been recording for six months and are ready to bring the fans everything they’ve ever wanted out us. We’re willing to do anything to get their adoration. 

What are you like live?

Live shows have been hard to come by because we’re the originally socially distanced band. Since Denmark we haven’t lived anywhere close to each other, we send tracks back and forth through various internet channels to build songs, only coming together occasionally to get in a studio. When we have come together for a few DIY gig opportunties, or to film a live set for the Andrson Songwriting Contest, we live by one motto: If you can’t do it good, do it hard. If we can’t please the audience we’re just trying to freak them out, make them cringe. I think our best gig was in Copenhagen playing to a large outdoor crowd, many older couples, singing a song recommending they divorce. 

What makes you different?

We’re one of the last pro-tobacco, pro-nicotine bands on the scene. But besides that, it’s really our content that keeps people interested, or so we’ve heard. Writing songs about the underbelly of the internet, keeps people shocked. I remember Incel Dreams dropping as a single and getting comments of people really taking us seriously, like, throwing harsh words because they thought we really were incels and that we wanted to glorify incel life. It’s funny enough that reality has gotten strange enough that people believe in such a thing. In our upcoming album we’re sticking with those themes: the darkness of internet relationships, the ability to edit your identity to become whoever you want, the growing narcissism present in everybody. No, not just presidents, everybody who’s on the grid right now. We want to be a reflection of that darkness, we want to harness all that nastiness that’s becoming routine in people’s lives as they surf the web. You’re grandma’s into Qanon, your mom’s in a pyramid scheme, your dad’s a scientologist, and your brother thinks not masturbating will make him alpha. If you’re paying attention, you probably feel a little sick all the time, so Bottlekids is really the only cure. 

Physical vs Downloading vs Streaming…How do you listen to music?

We don’t have opinions on platforms unless they’re paying us. That’s not a political statement. Spotify could pay us right now to have a positive opinion on their service and we’d do it, easily. Barely any hesitation as the check hits our hand. We’d redact any of the horrible things we’ve said about them in press, on the radio, etc. But we’ve only gotten pennies from the cheapskates. We primarily listen to vinyl so if there’s any money from their lobby, that would work for us too. As to the record labels, we need some bad. Who’s gonna press our cassettes? Who’s gonna ride with us? Who’s gonna be on the back of the bike, if you know what I mean? We want to get in bed with big money. 

What have you been listening to?

Strange things that sound nothing like us but seem to capture the zeitgeist. I’m talking hyperpop, PC music. RIP SOPHIE. AG Cook for odd inspiration, the new Cecile Believe. Glaive when things feel real dire and you want to feel like your emotional high school self again. RIP 6 dogs for that sort of vibe, too. Occasionally 100 gecs. Again, there’s something that’s really attractive about music that presents as conventionally bad, but subversively beautiful. It stays around in your head even when you don’t want it to. Eventually, you get obsessed. Also, older R&B. Some deep cuts from Sade have stayed on the queue, Amy Winehouse, too. That’s just from me, the vocalist. Andre doesn’t actually like listening to music so he has no recommendations to add.

What are your aspirations for the future? 

Winning the Andrson Songwriting Contest will be our big start to 2021. From there, it’s taking that $10k and doing some wise with it. So that’s either pumping all of it into Gamestop stock for big gains, or going on tour. A big COVID superspreader tour would be sick, just to hang out wherever people have let their guard down or are high off the vaccine. Like I said, we’re happy to announce our upcoming album “The Bottlekids Are Vindicated” coming soon to all sorts of different platforms. And we plan on dropping a music video or two with that for our online community.

Questions answered by: Bottlekids….