Take one listen through Rozwell Kid’s latest album Precious Art, and you’ll quickly realize frontman Jordan Hudkins isn’t one to take himself too seriously.
“I don’t try to be too verbose or flowery with the speech that I’m using in songs,” Hudkins says. “I try to write how I talk. I guess I’m just naturally a sarcastic wiener who doesn’t take anything too seriously.”
Out on the road in support of the aforementioned full-length, Rozwell Kid will visit Indianapolis’ Hoosier Dome on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Beforehand, we chatted with Hudkins about his West Virginia roots and much more.
NUVO: What was the West Virginia music scene like that Rozwell Kid came up being a part of?
JORDAN HUDKINS: It was small, but it was supportive. There are little pockets of the indie-rock scene all over the state of West Virginia. We don’t have one giant city center where all the bands come from. It’s little tiny scenes all over the state that collectively make up “the West Virginia music scene.”
The first tour we ever went on was a West Virginia tour, just from where we knew people and had friends from playing music. It’s just tough for bands to get out of West Virginia. You really gotta bust your way out because not a lot of people have their eyes toward West Virginia when looking for new music.
NUVO: How were you able get an eye on Rozwell Kid? Was it mainly from touring outside of the state?
HUDKINS: [I would attribute it to] our willingness to travel and trying to get out and play to more and more people. Our touring radius grew a little more and a little more. Every time we would go out, we’d try to hit another spot and get a little further.
Then, when The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die took us out on our first full U.S. tour, that was when we really got a kick in the ass and things started going a little faster. We got a booking agent from that tour. We met a former manager of ours on that tour. We met the people from SideOneDummy, who would eventually sign us, on that tour. It was just a very, very good tour.
NUVO: What music were you listening to when Rozwell Kid first started out, and how did that inform the band’s sound?
HUDKINS: The first record came out in 2011. I had just finished my “too cool for school” college years, where I was listening to early Animal Collective records, Peter Bjorn and John, and stuff like that. But then, I kind of rediscovered that first Rentals record, Return of the Rentals. I remember thinking to myself, “I just want to play music like this.” [Rozwell Kid was inspired by] that whole scene that they were a part of, like That Dog, Weezer, and Ozma. And then, all the stuff that I grew up listening to, like the early Green Day records.
NUVO: How did you and Dave Segedy from Bloomington’s Sleeping Bag first link up?
HUDKINS: A friend of mine posted a video of their song “Beside” on my Facebook wall, and I was like, “This is awesome.” So then I looked up Sleeping Bag, and I found the video for “Slime.” I ordered that record from Joyful Noise, and it’s legitimately one of my favorite records of all time. That and the second record, Women of Your Life, are two of my favorite records of all time.
I tried to do artwork for them. I emailed Dave, and he was like, “Hey. That’s cool. We don’t need your help.” So I was like, “Okay.” But somehow, we ended up booking them a show in the town our drummer used to live in, so that’s when we actually met. We just hit it off from there.
NUVO: What were you drawn to in his music?
HUDKINS: Dave has an amazing sense of melody. I really, really admire his sense of melody, and I love what he writes.
NUVO: What did you enjoy about putting Dreamboats together with him?
HUDKINS: Just the collaborative writing process. It’s the first time that I’ve ever worked like that. It was the first time where I emailed ideas back and forth with somebody and together we shaped the songs. It was really cool.
NUVO: I recently spoke with Dave while watching a Pacers game in Bloomington, and he said you two pretty much have Dreamboats 2 finished. Has the process for Dreamboats 2 pretty much been the same as it was for the original Dreamboats?
HUDKINS: Yeah. Just through email.
NUVO: Rozwell Kid will be playing at the Hoosier Dome when you visit Indy, which is an all-ages space. Are all-ages spaces something that you’re passionate about?
HUDKINS: Passionate is a strong word, but I really do value them and appreciate what they do. Playing an all-ages space is always extremely fun. I didn’t grow up in an area where bands were around. Like, I can’t think of any bands that were at my high school. So when I see young kids having the opportunity to go see this music and really fall in love with bands, it’s really special.