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September 17, 2007 | by  | in Music |
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Alex the Kid

The newest band to hit Wellington claim to have quantum leaped here from the future – to rectify this world’s relationship with technology. Alex the Kid, a four-piece ‘future pop’ band have been described as a confused boy band, or the Pet Shop Boys on steroids, and have a mission with their music; to promote human and robot unity on earth.

They do this through a lively combination of electronica, indie and techno, animated in-between song banter, vocoders, synthesizers, guitars, bass, drums, laptops, Star Trek suits, and a highly visual, hyperlink rich MySpace page. Their endearing devotion to technology – evident through their dedication of whole songs to the stuff – would put Kip Dynamite to shame. I caught up with singer/front man Dave Thomson aka Divard of Tron Rene Corbett aka Rene the Kid, and Benjamin Hughes aka Binary Benjamin (fourth member Ben Thomson aka Ben Kenobi is based in Nelson).

As I had expected, the conversation kept moving back to their views on and obsession with technology, robots and sci-fi pop culture instead of the actual music they create, so if you want to know what they sound like, check out http://www.myspace.com/alexthekidnz.

The four, tech-savvy, robot obsessed guys formed last year when two of the members had just ended relationships and wrote some tracks on their computers, and then it was through email that the band was properly developed. “I slowly formed the band and started emailing electronic tracks to Ben (Kenobi), then he would write guitar loops and send them, then we would cut and paste over the top then the song would be created,” Divard says. The band name itself comes from the old Sega game Alex Kidd, which was highly influential on the boys growing up, getting them to “think about practical stuff and consequences”, and they now use it to sample sounds in their music.

My favorite song by Alex the Kid is ‘New Years’, which says Divard is about the high expectations placed on New Years and the lack of sticking to resolutions with, of course, another theme of robots coming through. He says “my parents just brought a robot cleaner that New Years so there’s a verse in the song about that robot cleaner which we spent most of the summer operating around the house.”

The boys express much love and appreciation for technology, but also see its downfalls. Their track ‘Email’ is about technology increasingly gaining ascendence over actual human contact. Yet their MySpace page is essentially a shrine to it. Their page gives a great insight to all that is important to the boys: there’s Star Trek, Back to the Future, Quantum Physics and Asimov’s Law of Robotics which are also chanted through the vocoders in their music. Benjamin Binary notes that while many artists base their material and commentary on current political situations, environmental issues or human rights, Alex the Kid is most concerned with “technology; it’s a real thing that’s happening, so let’s embrace it. We are moving forward, not backwards.”

These forward plans – as in the foreseeable sort – for Alex the Kid include a radio-friendly pop single and a tour of Japan, and in the ‘we may be kidding but probably not’ list of plans is the development of a robot to take over the drumming in the band – apparently they know someone who can build them one. Divard just wants it to look good and do the drumming to start off with, then Rene adds, perhaps they could “start breaking down that wall, you know, have it in the crowd so people get to dance with it and touch it.” Then they decide they would want to have a band of Alex the Kid robots to do all the work while they can sit and watch their live show, and they also plan to play on the David Letterman Show.

For a for a band who have played “6.75” shows, including opening for Minuit in both Wellington and Christchurch, bedroom concerts and a 21st, they are insanely tight, ridiculously catchy and definitely worth checking out. Do it before their mission is over and they jump on back on their Quantum Leap accelerator, which – as revealed on their MySpace, saw them placed in the here and now “facing mirror images that were not their own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. Their only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from their own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only the members of Alex the Kid can see and hear. And so The Kids find themselves leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that their next leap will be the leap home.”

To understand where they are coming from, check out these sites:

http://www.quizbox.com/jokes/chat
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6425927
http://www.myspace.com/alexthekidnz

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