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Austin Kidz Spotlight: RIIL Chemistry Rocks Austin with Family-Friendly Music
@ Local Cherrywood Coffeehouse
My husband, son and I joined a few friends for some food, fun and live music at Cherrywood Coffeehouse on 38 1/2 street, here, in Austin. This was our first acquaintance with both RIIL Chemistry and the venue. We were pleased on both accounts.
Cherrywood Coffeehouse, located on 38 1/2 street (not too far around the corner from Fiesta), offers up a refreshing blend of food, drinks and entertainment for its patrons. The stage where RIIL Chemistry performed is located on the business's back patio, which I'd describe as a blend of a deck area when you first exit the building and then more of a courtyard area closer to the stage. It was very spacious with plenty of seating and tables (which you will appreciate as it turns out the food and drinks are good too!). It also provides a kind of oasis (maybe I use this term due to the palm trees also located back there) for kid and/or dog-friendly fun. I found the menu surprisingly plentiful — struggling to choose between the seafood platter, the gyro sandwich or the chorizo taco (breakfast is served all day). I also noted they had several vegetarian options which is a big plus for many Austinites!
So, of course, the real (or is it "RIIL") point here is RIIL Chemistry. This local Austin band is comprised of 4 boys ages 12-15 — Ryan (vocals and rhythm guitar), Isaac (drums), Isaiah (bass guitar), and Logan (guitar and backup vocals). The RIIL of RIIL Chemistry is created via the first letter of each band member's name. These kids have been writing and performing together for 3 years and can perform 2-hours-worth of rock n' roll originals and covers from AC/DC to Weezer.
The band actually came together in a few phases. Ryan (lead singer) and Logan (lead guitar) performed together in a Pond Springs Elementary School Talent Show with another friend on drums and decided to become a band. Isaiah (bass guitar and also a Pond Springs classmate) joined later as the bass guitarist and later asked his brother Isaac (drummer) to fill in temporarily as drummer. After a few practices, they all agreed he should make it permanent and Loud Chemistry was born. Yes, I said Loud Chemistry. That was the original name of the band, but they found out it was taken and renamed the group RIIL Chemistry.
Upon taking the stage, I was impressed with their maturity. They got to business first, announcing their name and Facebook presence. Then, just like any adult band you might see downtown, these boys got to rocking. And, I loved that they did so without the profanity that might pop from the mouth of an adult rocker. They brought energy to the stage and the audience in the form of dazzling riffs and enticing lyrics. In fact, it wasn't long before a mom stood up with her baby and swayed to some well-known tunes. Then, they moved to some of their originals which rivaled those written by many adult bands I've seen. I did enjoy, though, the lyrics of one in particular, "What You Say" simply because I couldn't help wonder if they weren't trying to tell their Moms something. RIIL Chemistry closed their show with "Flowers and Grenades" which they also announced just debuted as their first music video (you can check it out on YouTube here.)
All in all, it was an entertaining performance that I thought really demonstrated what Austin is all about. These kids followed their dreams, were doing what they loved and shared it with others in the live music capitol of the world. And, on this particular night, they did so in a location that I felt had that "old Austin" vibe I miss so much. How cool is that? Since the show, RIIL Chemistry had their first radio debut earlier this week on KOOP 91.7 also featuring "Flowers and Grenades." In addition to gigs around town, the band loves to play events including birthday parties. You can find contact details on KidzAustin.com's Partiez2U page.
So, now that you know about the performance and their background, let's talk to the band. I had an opportunity to ask them a few questions.
What is your favorite thing about being in a band?
Ryan: Having fun making music with my friends and sharing the creative process with them.
Isaac: Free food.
Isaiah: I mainly just enjoy playing music.
Logan: Making music with my bros.
What has been the biggest challenge of being in a band?
Ryan: Trying to get everyone on the same boat with suggestions for new cover songs and sticking to those decision! We have started so many songs and then someone decides they don't like it/wants to do a different song, which is frustrating.
Isaac: I'm really busy with high school and sports and sometimes getting through a practice when I'm tired is a grind.
Isaiah: Lugging around equipment.
Logan: Picking new songs to add to our playlist.
What do you like best about this group?
Ryan: I think it is really cool that we write our own songs. All the other kids we know our age in bands are just doing covers, but I like how we have been able to work together to actually create songs.
Isaac: I like being friends with my bandmates in and outside of playing music.
Isaiah: I like to jam with the band and create songs by finding cool sounds and piecing them together.
Logan: My favorite thing is playing gigs and hanging with my friends.
What advice would you give to kids that would like to do what you're doing?
Ryan: Hold onto your dreams. Don't let anyone discourage you/tell you it can't be done. And, if you are in a band with friends, don't let the band get in the way of your friendships with the band members.
Isaac: Start a band with other people who are motivated. Otherwise, practices will frequently fall through and the band will fall apart.
Isaiah: Start off with the cheapest equipment you can find. That way, once you get the hang of playing, you can choose a guitar that you like best.
Logan: Practice and pay attention to detail.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ryan: Hopefully still making music as this band and playing a big festival like ACL or SXSW!!!
Isaac: Probably off to college. Unless I'm living close that means putting the band on hold, or starting a new one. Sad thought.
Isaiah: I see myself playing multiple instruments. I'd like to be able to play bass, guitar, drums and sing backup.
Logan: Would love to be signed to a label. No matter what, we will still be making music.
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RIIL Chemistry would love to book your next big event, including birthday parties! Call us today at: 512-461-2355.
Due to the time of year, I couldn't help but ask the band about their thoughts on rock or music camps that have become so popular in recent years. It turns out the members have attended various rock camps over the past.
"Rock camp really builds bonds in a band, plus it gives you an opportunity to meet/network with other members outside of your band," says RIIL Chemistry vocalist Ryan. In fact, says Ryan, "I would recommend it for musicians looking to form a band or hone their skills with an existing band. Be prepared to compromise, though. You may not always get the song choice you want so focus more on using it as a learning experience." They express that if kids are inclined to compose, a rock or music camp creates a very structured environment for them to pursue that.
In addition, the band members mentioned that many camps also offer the opportunity to record at the end of the session. For many kids, that is the first time they get the experience of working in a studio and learn what really goes into recording. Of course, the ultimate bonus is "getting to play the end-of-camp show at a big venue."
KidzAustin.com featured Austin-area Rock/Music-related Camps include:
Austin School of Music Rock Camp
Capital Music Center's Piano and Drum Camps
Girls Rock Camp
Natural Ear Music School
Oak Hill Drum Studio Drum Camp
Find info on these and other Austin-area summer kids' camps on our Campz4Summer page.
Find more family-friendly Austin area entertainment at http://www.kidzaustin.com.
Would you like KidzAustin.com to cover your event or business? Or do you know an Austin-area kid (or kids' group) that would make an interesting story? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.