Q&A: Tiny Kingdoms

Ever wonder what it takes for a small doughnut shop to be featured in a music video? Apparently it’s nothing more than a catchy name and proximity to a rehearsal space. At least that’s the reasoning behind Tiny Kingdoms featuring Spunky Dunkers in their latest music video for their song “Odds”. (It should be noted that the band did rave about the doughnuts. One member was even so bold as to claim that the breakfast staples surpass all other doughnuts. However, because no one ordered doughnuts at the time of the interview, that information has yet to be verified).

For a song that would make any early 2000s teen swoon, the quirky shop doesn’t appear to be the obvious choice for a video revolving around cults and the turning of innocent young men into dogs. But to better understand the connection between breakfast pastries and black magic, you’d have to get inside the heads of the four boys who birthed these ideas.

LLL: Can you explain the idea behind the “Odds” video. It’s quite, well, odd…

Jake Newling: America loves cults, and America loves dogs.

Nico Miura: I mean come on. Dogs are way better. If you spend a few days with me you’ll see I say things that don’t really make sense. I have a lot of time to think during the day. I work a lot, but I have a lot of time to myself. These things just randomly come.

Nick Collis: And we just go with it. Honestly, the first time [Nico] pitched the idea for [the video], I was like “Ha! That’s a good one. What are we actually going to do?”

 

LLL: How would you guys describe Nico as a musician?

Collis: Creative. He always comes up with the craziest ideas that sound so leftfield. But then you see it and you’re like, “you know, you saw something we didn’t see until seeing it”, and that’s awesome. [Nico has] got some good foresight.

Newling: He’s egoless, which I admire.

Miura: Actually, before I go to bed every night, I look at a picture of myself on my phone and kiss the screen. [I’m] Kayne except not famous.

LLL: How about the rest of the members? How would each of you describe one another?

Collis: If [an] 80’s hair metal [band] met a pop punk band who met a post rock band [and] had one baby, it’d be Ryan [Mitchell].

Miura: You don’t really know what you’re going to [get with] Ryan. He’s an interesting guy. At one moment he cares a lot about a lot of things and then another moment he’s just like ‘whatever, it’s cool’. I love him though. If I could describe Jake’s personality, it would be a guy that really likes 80’s songs but is clearly a millennial.

Newling: I constantly have a Whitesnake CD in my car, and it’s always playing that one song, “Here I Go Again”.

Miura: Jake is also a movie buff. He once told me he goes on IMDB every night before bed. I identify with that on a pretty personal level.

Collis: I feel like I could just name a random actor and [Jake] could give me three movies he’s been in.

Newling: Probably. [Especially] if it’s a movie with Whitesnake in the soundtrack. Low key, I could probably not tell you one movie with [“Here I Go Again”] in it. That’s between us though.

Miura: Nick is like the soul. Nick is the heart. He’s always in a good mood or at least pretends to be. He’s the glue that binds us all together. He keeps all of us happy when Ryan, Jake and I are yelling at each other.

Newling: If we were an NFL running back, Nick would be our ACL.

 

LLL: Do you guys record your own music or work with a studio?

Miura: I wish we could, but I feel like we’d get really detailed about everything. [We record] with John Terry. We’re writing new music right now and recently talked about [putting together a full length album] but decided against it. We need to do a little more growing before that’s released.

Newling: I think it’s cool to work with different producers. It’s nice to have an outside voice. It’s hard for us to have an unbiased look on the songs we’ve written. We’ve worked with three different producers now and in each instance it’s been like having a fifth member of the band.

Collis: It’s cool to have someone to help push you to do something out of your comfort zone.

LLL: What’s the band dynamic like? How do you guys make decisions?

Collis: We try to be a true democracy as much as possible, but there’s four of us so we’re never going to have that unless three of us agree. It’s also a good thing because it forces us [to come to agrements]. If you really want something you’ve got to fight for it.

Newling: There are a lot of filabusters that happen.

Collis: Like when me, [Jake] and Ryan were all gung-ho about not getting a trailer for a weekend [tour] with The Moose.

Newling: Dude, come on. That was fine.

Miura: No it wasn’t. It took two cars to get us around that weekend when we totally could have used a trailer and all gone together [and bonded]. I’m always right about these things.

LLL: Aside from renting a trailer, what other touring advice do you guys have?

Newling: Pack extra underwear.

Collis: My golden rule is a pair of underwear a day and a pair of socks a day. You can wear the same shirt for a month and you still wouldn’t smell as bad as if you didn’t change your underwear everyday.

Miura: I always pack well.

Collis: [As far as planning a tour in general], just go for it. Don’t rush it, but also don’t get discouraged because it’s not happening. If you have the heart for it, put your heart on the line and go for it.

LLL: Any advice that’s not so cliché?

Newling: It’s all about sex, drugs and rock and roll.

 

Tiny Kingdom’s next show will be on December 3rd at Subterranean with Gardens, Davlin and High Wire. Tiny Kingdoms will also be playing Subterranean on December 19th with Knockout Kid, Can’t Hang, Insideout, Three Years and Rebuild & Rebound.

Photo Credit: Kyle Bergfors

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