Kids That Fly Reach New Heights with New EP "Tracks of the High Line"
Earlier this year, I was invited to an industry mixer down at Safe & Sound Studios in Brooklyn. Always ready to network, my boy and I headed down from the Bronx with big plans to shake shit up, get out of the house and do a bit of brand building; seeing as I had just recently launched RockDafuqOut Records. In the midst of my campaign of schmoozing, social drinking and saying weird shit to strangers, I bumped into a couple of kids (Braden Frandino & Nick Smeriglio) who were kind enough to deal with my insanity for a bit and seemed totally down for a chat. Little did I know then, these kids could fly.
After hitting them with my spiel, I was interested to figure out what they were doing here at this music industry mixer. Excited to hear about what they were working on, and eager to figure out if there was anything we could be working on together, one of them (Braden) went ahead and started telling me about how he had most recently been working for a company selling medical software. This was a music industry mixer. Why are you here? I was confused. I am still confused.
After expressing my confusion and talking a bit more, I finally was able to learn that these two fellas were actually members of a pretty sweet Alt-Pop group called Kids That Fly. This new revelation had me much more excited than medical software, so after telling Braden to work on his pitch and saying some more weird shit to them for a few, we parted ways, but not before becoming friends on the gram (networking 101 in 2022).
Consisting of Nick Smeriglio, Blake Henry, Braden Frandino and Ryan Hendry, Kids That Fly formed in 2018 while they all attended the University of Connecticut, turning their friendships and love for music into a project they should all be proud of. After putting in work and developing a sound of their own, they began to put out music in 2019 and were soon rocking stages from CT to NYC, continually building a devoted fanbase and curating a pretty stellar catalog that has no doubt connected with the masses. Having remained independent so far, I can’t help but be impressed by the momentum they have been able maintain – and lucky for us, they are showing no signs of letting up.
Most recently Kids That Fly have unleashed their new EP, “Tracks of the High Line”, and it is undoubtedly another impressive addition to their catalog. The new 5-track offering is clean and cohesive with each track offering something to love. Powered by singles, “High Line,” and, “Talk of the Town,” which also comes along with a super fun DIY official video, Kids That Fly put their best foot forward, once again showcasing their undeniable ability to craft high-quality tunes that will fit seamlessly aside any of your top artists in your favorite playlists. While each track on the project offers a bit of a different vibe, the groups slick lyrics, knack for melodies, quality production and energetic performances are hard to deny.
If there is one thing you listen to today, make it, “Tracks of the High Line.” Dig into the project below, and if you feel like it, keep scrolling and check out the track-by-track breakdown direct from the boys.
-----TRACK BY TRACK-----
(In the words of Blake & Nick)
High Line started out as another demo from guitarist Blake Henry and almost didn’t make it onto the project. One of the last of the songs written on the EP, most of it was arranged by Blake and Nick over facetime before bringing it into the studio. The song consists of digitally recorded lead guitars and synths playing different melodies that overlap in the hooks, giving it an 80s pop edge with modern indie rock influences. During the process of recording, guitarist Blake was experimenting with guitar tones and found that by combining his computer’s recording equipment and a hand wired fuzz effect pedal that he built from scratch, he was able to get a very unique guitar sound that appears on a few other tracks on the project. The lyrics are inspired by lead singer Nick’s move to New York City. It references the West Side of Manhattan where he currently resides, mentioning landmarks such as the famous High Line Park just a few blocks down from his apartment in Hudson Yards. It plays off themes of moving on and self-discovery through the lens of big life events.
Talk of the Town
(In the words of Blake & Nick)
What was almost a missed text message from guitarist Blake to lead singer Nick, quickly turned into the last added track of EP “Tracks of the High Line”. In fact, a series of mistakes led to the creation of the song, including an almost case of plagiarism. Days after leaving the famous Carriage House Studios in Nick’s hometown of Stamford, CT where the band tracked a large amount of drums and guitars for the project, the band realized the blatant similarities between their once song “Jamie”, with a single on White Reaper’s album “You Deserve Love” titled “1F”. With the deadline for the EP quickly approaching, Nick and Braden were exchanging ideas with guitarist Blake Henry over text when Nick accidentally scrolled back to an almost overlooked demo file that Blake had sent him the night before. Immediately falling in love with the simple progression and harmonizing guitar parts he wrote the hook “You’re the talk of the town”. The song blends modern alternative with sounds from retro 80s new wave pop and rock. Using a combination of digitally recorded and live guitars, as well as drum loops from the original track the band recorded “Jamie”, the song is a Frankenstein, last minute put together, happy accident.
(In the words of Blake & Nick)
Halfway through the project, "Heart Away" was written by guitarist Blake Henry and lead singer Nick Smeriglio, came together in just one afternoon in Nick’s NYC apartment on W 37th street. Heavily inspired by songs from early Strokes albums, it is a driving alt rock single blending live guitar sounds as well as digitally recorded guitars and synthesizers. Lyrically, it tells the story of a cyclically failing relationship from both perspectives, and how falling out of it inevitably draws the two closer together.
(In the words of the group)
Goner started as just a chorus melody and bass groove that Nick showed the rest of the band one day after rehearsal. The group recorded a loose demo of the track immediately following that, a lot of the original elements of which are used in the final mix of the song. The lyrics were the result of a spurt of inspiration that came from an instrumental acoustic guitar demo Ryan sent Nick titled “A Trout’s Last Leap from the Water” The original chorus contained that phrase, with all the other lyrics based off of the main theme that Nick interpreted from it. The theme dances around the idea of watching life pass you by; feeling like everything going on in the world is outside of your control and how life’s failures can seem like an end all be all. Arguably the most impactful song on the project, the band spent the most consecutive time on the track compared to the rest of the songs on the EP, experimenting with production techniques and different guitar and synth parts that were added to the original barebones demo. They even went as far as renting a house in upstate NY in the middle of winter to focus on the writing and recording of “Goner” and other tracks on the project, (getting snowed in in the process).
Look in Your Eyes
(In the words of Nick)
The finale track of the project, “Look in Your Eyes” was born out of a slow tempo ballad that lead singer Nick wrote while teaching himself to play the piano. (Hence the live piano recording that concludes the track) The lyrics remained mostly the same from the time the song was first conceived, but after sitting on it for over a year and half the band swapped the piano line for a driving synth riff, upped the tempo and matched the energy with big rock drums and guitars. Aiming to mimic the style of The Killer’s first studio album, lots of production techniques pay homage to one of Nick’s favorite albums, “Hot Fuss”.