We’ve got a brand new band for you to discover today in the form of Washington D.C.-based Kindergarten Dropouts. We had a chat with AJ, the man behind Kindergarten Dropouts, and took a listen to his first single Egonomics.
The track opens up with cool rolling guitar chords that drop into an angsty opening verse. A fun shoutalong chorus follows, then another angsty second verse that builds up to another rocky chorus with cool guitars in support. Check it out below:
GR: Who are Kindergarten Dropouts? And where are you from?
AJ: “The Kindergarten Dropouts, I suppose one could say, is my 1/3 life crisis. About five years ago, I was playing drums in both original and cover bands. I played shows across the United States, from Los Angeles to New York City. My bands were getting airplay on local radio stations, and we even had a few conversations with some A&R reps.
“The only problem was, I was broke. Like really broke. So naturally, I joined the army. While I may have quit music for a time, the music never quit me. I bought myself a guitar, and when I left the service, I resettled in the Washington D.C. area. I’m originally from the tiny state of Delaware, so DC is a perfect location that’s both close (-ish) to home and has a thriving job market.”
You just released Egonomics. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
AJ: “I recorded Egonomics myself in my brother’s studio, playing all the instruments except bass. At the moment, I’m the only full-time member, but I hope to recruit a full band very shortly.
“I was inspired to write Egonomics for two reasons. The first reason is that I wanted to make a U-turn from my previous musical projects. I took myself, and my bands, very seriously. This time around, I just want to have fun. I enjoy making music, making my fans laugh, and just enjoying the ride. Secondly, I wanted to poke fun at some of the current events happening in the U.S. I put a lot of tongue-in-cheek political references in the song, and I wanted to see if anyone would pick up on them.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
AJ: “I would say my sound is very post-grungy, punk-rocky, alternative. I write music ranging from power-chord heavy Egonomics to more melodic and softer tunes such as Party on Wall Street and The Long Haul. I think there’s a little something for everyone in my catalog.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
AJ: “There’s a little bit of social commentary in many songs I write. I studied philosophy, history, and political science in college. I also struggled financially in my younger years. Much of my life has been defined by hard work and living paycheck to paycheck. I like to start thought-provoking conversations. I like to question what the future of American society will look like.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
AJ: “I love music. Lots of different kinds of music. Being in a cover band helped to broaden my horizons as well. There were some songs that were ‘meh’ for me starting out, but after playing them for some time I learned to appreciate them much more.
“I feel like certain time periods of my life have been defined by the bands I was heavily into at the time. ‘Oh, that was The Beatles era of my life. Ah yes, the Foo Fighters epoch.’ I listen to a little bit of everything nowadays from The Beatles, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, U2, Tom Petty, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Seether, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Bad Religion, The Offspring, Collective Soul, Oasis, The Eagles, Breaking Benjamin, and Chevelle to name a few.
“I have a simple test: ‘is it rock?’ If the answer is yes, It’s probably inspired my music in some way. I would still have to say, however, my musical center will always be punk rock. I love the attitude, the social awareness, and the high-energy performances of punk rock shows. I love how bands, such as The Clash and Sex Pistols, just wrote their music without catering to whatever happened to be popular at the moment. That’s what inspires me the most.”
GR: What have you got coming up through 2019?
AJ: “I have a lot planned in 2019. I’m putting the finishing touches on my latest single, The Long Haul, slated for release in October. This is the first ever song I was commissioned by someone else to write. I always love a good challenge, and I think I did a pretty decent job with this one. It’s a tad softer and more melodic than Egonomics, but of course I had to throw in some power chords in the bridge… ’cause that’s just what I do.
“On the show front, my calendar is packed with shows across the DC-Baltimore-Philly corridor. I’m performing a lot of intimate singer-songwriter type shows, but I’ve also hired a backing band for the rock shows I love and crave so much. Looking ahead to 2020, I’m gearing up for an epic summertime East Cost tour in support of my debut full-length album.
“I’m currently auditioning musicians in need of a forever home, because Kindergarten Dropouts was never intended to be just a “solo project.” Thank you for listening to Egonomics, and hopefully I’ll see you out on the road!”