Arts and Entertainment

Seattle band The Kindness Kind can't be categorized

Seattle
Seattle's The Kindness Kind plays The Winterland at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 3.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For new bands the local music scene is full of opportunity, but standing out from the rest can be difficult.

If you are backed by an 80-piece orchestra, standing out is more feasible.

Seattle indie-rock band The Kindness Kind has begun to show what their electronic-infused rock sound is made of, booking shows with bands like Doug Fir and Head Like a Kite. In late March the band played a tribute to popular David Bowie songs with the Seattle Rock Orchestra.

“Playing with the orchestra was a huge highlight for all of us,” said Nicolas Danielson, keyboard player and programmer for the band. “Having an 80-piece rock orchestra was mind blowing.”

Now with two albums (“A Novel,” released in 2007, and a self-titled album released in 2008), The Kindness Kind is booking shows throughout the Northwest, including one at The Winterland in Bremerton at 9 p.m. July 3.

The band hopes to increase its fan-base and play as many gigs as they can in the near future.

“I think we are blessed in this area,” said lead singer Alessandra Rose, a Port Orchard native. “The venues, bands and our fans really allow us to stretch out on a limb and try new things.”

Although the band is considered indie-rock, it’s difficult to categorize them. They draw their inspiration from life experience and bands like The Pixies. Their lyrics and sound spark the listeners’ interest, while leaving them curious as to how the band created those songs.

“We have a healthy mix of electronic sounds while still keeping the rock in our music,” Danielson said.

“Climb in the Sun,” a song featured on their first album, is based on a dream Danielson had as a child, he said. The lyrics of the song came from the visuals of the dream, which stuck with him throughout his life.

There are many different ways to try and label the Kindness, one of which would be indie-rock, said Scott Teske, the bass player for the Kindness and musical director of the Seattle Rock Orchestra. Besides influences from other local rock bands, Teske said the Kindness also draws inspiration from modern classical composers, which is where they get a gothic-style sound for some of their new music.

Other inspirations come simply from people, Rose said. Being able to find inspiration in her everyday life is what makes her so excited about making music, she said.

Rose currently works as a barista in Seattle during the day, and said the wide range of people she encounters while she is at work is often a source of inspiration for her when she is writing songs.

“That is what makes me so excited about being in this band,” Rose said. “One song can be about spring being just around the corner and another about the bog people from Ireland.”

In addition to the focus on creative and thoughtful lyrics, the band’s instrumental mix of keyboard and guitar is a refreshing change from other local bands.

Rose has always been drawn to independent styles of music. The distinct sound of the keyboard and guitars playing in harmony together, instead of competing to be the loudest, is one of the key aspects of the music that stands out to her.

“It is very hard to put us in a category,” Rose said. “I think because our music is so much different from other bands, it has taken people longer to catch on to what we are playing.”

A band such as The Kindness Kind will struggle more in the beginning to draw in a fan base, Rose said. An audience familiar with a specific category of music will expect to hear similar characteristics as other bands, but that has not stopped the Kindness from continuing to form their own style.

While the band has seen an increase in bookings over the past few months, Danielson said it has been an uphill battle to get the band moving forward. This is a common problem with any new band, and he said the band is preparing to put together a third album.

The Kindness Kind began as a side project for Danielson and guitarist Charles Larson, who started playing music together in a band called Dolour. The two musicians formed a bond with their similar interests in music.

The mutual fascination with other local indie bands while Danielson and Larson grew up is what brought them to form Dolour and later the Kindness. Friends Brian Todd and Kevin Bray were added into the Kindness on drums and bass. More recently they were replaced with Teske on bass and Adrian Vanbatenburg on drums.

It takes time to put together a band that will work smoothly. It was not until Rose was introduced to Danielson and Larson that they knew they had found their band.

“Having a talented singer like Rose really helps,” Danielson said. “She blows my mind.”

Rose often takes center stage and dictates what happens, Danielson said.

Rose visually stands out. With curly blond hair that slightly resembles the hair of late 50’s actresses and outfits that compliment the rock and roll mood of the band — tight black leather ensembles — she is often in the spotlight.

“All of us have ‘out’ moments,” Rose said. “Sometimes I hold back, but there are times when I just like to let loose.”

Rose has pursued musical talents since the age of 3, when she sang her first solo in front a church assembly for a member of the church who was leaving.

During her junior year of high school Rose began playing the piano and guitar and continued to sing. She played instruments and sang until she joined the Kindness, which is the first time she has not held an instrument during a show.

“At first not having an instrument in my hands while on stage was weird to me,” Rose said. “But I got used to it.”

While they always want to be considered a Seattle band, Danielson said he would like to see the Kindness expand its horizons and tour as far and wide as they can. This is difficult without being signed on to a label, and he said they are working on new songs to put into an album.

Neither Teske or Vanbatenburg have recorded an album for the Kindness since they replaced the two original bass player and drummer, and since the first two albums the band’s sound has altered with the new members.

The sound of the Kindness has not changed drastically, but Teske said he is excited about recording his first album with the band and knows their fans will appreciate it. WU

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