- August 2014 -
HAVE A BEER WITH CARDIKNOX
New York-based Cardiknox is the duo of Lonnie Angle and Thomas Dutton. Having grown up in Seattle playing classical piano on Lonnie's side and punk music on Thomas' end, the pair originally teamed up to create and produce rowdy musicals before moving to New York. Cardiknox was thereafter born from a love of folding their unique talents into an original craft: mixing '80s beats and production with ferocious vocals and dynamic hooks.
Their debut single, "Hold Me Down," is an indelibly hard-hitting, giant tiger bite of a song. Billboard magazine named them one of the 10 must-see bands at Lollapalooza, which is where we chatted with the duo about their festival experience, the New York vibe and new material coming down the pipeline.
The Show: Cardiknox at Lollapalooza // BMI Stage // August 3, 2014
Drinks of Choice: Mac & Jack’s beer (Thomas Dutton); Bulleit on the rocks with two lemon wedges (Lonnie Angle)
Kristen from A Beer with the Band: You’re originally from Seattle, and now you're based out in New York. What's your favorite thing about the city?
Lonnie from Cardiknox: We've been talking about this a lot lately because we've been spending a bunch of time in L.A., actually. New York City to me is its own character, its own energy, its own kind of inspiration point for a lot of our music: the grime of it, the hustle, the energy, the buzz. So for me, being back there and feeling that, I'm always reminded that it's literally its own character in our lives.
Thomas from Cardiknox: Yeah, it’s kind of like a character in a Woody Allen movie. It's so alive. When you spend time in other places and you try to be creative there it’s hard, but you take a 20-minute walk in New York and you feel inspired. Everybody there is hustling and doing their thing.
Lonnie: Everyone is there for a reason.
Kristen: Was there ever a point where you were trying to decide where to go, or did you always kind of know that you wanted to be in New York?
Lonnie: When I was young, I really wanted to go to New York. But originally, when we moved four years ago, we were developing a musical with a theatre company that was based out there. The musical is sitting very quietly right now because the band has sort of taken over, but we were working at the theater and it made sense for us to make the move and be closer. We just needed to do it. For me, there was no question about going that route.
Kristen: This is your first time at Lollapalooza. Who are you most excited about seeing? Do you have time to see anyone else while you’re here?
Thomas: Yeah, we’ve seen snippets. We have a handful of friends in the other bands that are playing, like The Head and The Heart.
Kristen: They were actually at the Lucius aftershow last night.
Lonnie: Were they really? Yeah, they were on tour with Lucius for a bit. And Charity [violin/vocals in The Head and The Heart] is actually a childhood friend of mine. She’s adorable.
Kristen: Her voice is incredible.
Lonnie: We got to see them for a little bit today.
Thomas: And last night we got to see Smallpools and Betty Who play at The Hard Rock. We were on tour with Betty Who so it was fun to get to see that show.
Kristen: That's a great match up for you guys.
Lonnie: Yeah, I loved that tour. I was bummed because two of the bands I really want to see at Lollapalooza today are playing at the same time we are: The 1975 and Chromeo. So, I won’t be seeing them…or maybe I will and I’ll just miss our set.
Thomas: And then we’re playing Lincoln Hall tonight with Bleachers.
Kristen: That’s another killer lineup. In addition to playing live, what have you guys been working on?
Lonnie: We just spent a lot of time in L.A. doing a bunch of writing. We’ve been nose to the ground and very focused on writing the tunes that will be coming out. We’re really excited, and we’re actually playing two new songs that we’ve never played before during our Lollapalooza set. It will be really fun to see how the crowd responds.
Kristen: This is a perfect place to test it.
Lonnie: Totally, yeah.
Kristen: What is the least rock-‘n’-roll thing you've done in the past year? Yesterday, Ryan from Gemini Club said he had to do his taxes. That was a good one.
Lonnie: That is a good one. I don't know. Maybe the most recent one is going to bed at 10:30 p.m. last night, because I was like, I need to rest my voice.
Thomas: The nerdiest thing I did was definitely yesterday. I got an email on my phone from the Commissioner of the Fantasy Football League. A bunch of my friends and I out in Seattle just renewed our league this year. I got an email on my phone like, "Your draft starts tomorrow." I was like, "What? That's not right!" I had to go and urgently find an iPad, log in and change the Fantasy Football draft time.
Kristen: That stuff is intense.
Lonnie: Pretty nerdy. He also has a blender that he brings with him on the road.
Thomas: Yeah, I made juice with it this morning in the hotel room.
Kristen: Is it a Bullet Blender?
Lonnie: It’s like the knock-off version, which is even better.
Kristen: What’s a piece of advice that has guided you?
Lonnie: Some really great advice that I received from a dear friend when I was going through a hard time that I feel like applies to a lot and is very simple is just to go gently. I’m very Type A and intense and I like to be running and going and doing, and it's a constant reminder for me to just go gently. Be easy on yourself, be easy on the people around you, on the universe, and let it guide you.
Kristen: Yeah, I'm sure especially when you're touring you need to be in that headspace so it doesn't get overwhelming.
Thomas: For me, it's not a singular quote or piece of advice I received but more of an outlook. I think sometimes it’s easy to look at the people you admire—whether it’s in life, or art or music—and you feel like it’s so easy for them. But then you hear little anecdotes about how they struggled. I think it was Hemingway who said that he hated 99 pages of every 100 he wrote. When you realize that these people you look up to are human, you realize that not every song you write has to be great, not everything you come up with has to be a masterpiece. Everyone struggles. Just keeping going.