The Stepkids: Anti-Revivalists | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, November 25th, 2020  

The Stepkids


May 17, 2011 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern #36 - Music vs. Comedy
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It's best to verbally engage The Stepkids with a drink in your hand and plenty of time to chat. The Connecticut-based trio of Tim Walsh (percussion), Jeff Gitelman (guitar), and Dan Edinberg (bass/keyboard), (plus touring member Fred Dileone and projectionist Jesse Mann, who creates psychedelic light installations, projected directly on the band as they play), love music and can speak at great lengths about it, be it their ultimate guilty pleasure Steely Dan or collective favorite George Clinton, who they lovingly call George as they talk over each other to expound upon his genius.

“My last band was that type of band where every person has a different musical background,” says Edinberg. “But in this case we all share a lot of the same influences and it felt very kinetic.”

While the members’ friendships are approaching the two-decade mark, it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago, when commitments to other bands and stints as touring musicians died down, that the idea of moving beyond jam sessions to form an official band was discussed. 

“We’ve been playing together for so long, but when we actually found the medium of recording onto tape, we heard a different band,” explains Gitelman. “And we were like, ‘OK, we want to join that band.’ It was a weird perception of our ourselves.”

All trained jazz musicians with a long history in the music business, playing together was a revelation. “At first I went the super trained route, and then I went, ‘Screw that, I want to play stuff that has nothing to do with that,’” says Edinberg. “Now we all feel like we’ve found that nice happy medium. We were all questioning ourselves and trying to do something different than something that obviously sounds ‘trained.’ We’re really comfortable where our music is sitting.”

The resulting retro-leaning, funkdafied-pop-leaning, acid jazz may hint at an obsession for a bygone time, but The Stepkids prefer not to be called revivalists. “It’s not a matter of making something become alive that’s been dead,” says Walsh. “We’re just continuances. We’re just coming from that and looking forward. It’s not reviving.”

All members agree that their forward-thinking look at the past is aided by the digital age. “That’s why our music sounds the way it does—because of that accessibility,” says Edinberg. “We can go from a Louis Armstrong to an Aphex Twin catalogue within five minutes. That is why it is so versatile.”

When it comes to their debut full-length, which Stones Throw will release later this year, The Stepkids are hesitant to discuss specifics. However, there is one thing they can promise. “Every single one of our songs will somehow be different,” says Edinberg. “I don’t want to say we’re influenced by The Beatles—how many times has someone said that—but even if our music doesn’t sound like them, their eclectic nature was always very impressive for me. One song can sound like this, and the next song can sound completely different.”

“We definitely try to go toward the future,” adds Gitelman. “Sometimes to go towards the future you’ve got to revisit the past a little bit. That’s all.” 



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