In listening to Run Kid Run’s third Tooth & Nail long player Patterns, it’s instantly apparent that while the group’s gasoline-doused rock remains firmly intact, there’s also a progression prompting the group’s greatest pop sensibility to date. Some could attribute it to members’ musical refinement from tireless time on tour, which now includes countless trips throughout America and two European rendezvous, though there’s also a noticeably more mature craftsmanship nestled snuggly within the players’ already heralded, hard-driving nature.
“I would tell the old school fans that while there’s definitely a new side to this record, it’s not an extreme turn and this is still definitely who were are,” assures front man David Josiah Curtis. “We’ve just progressed as artists and grown into who we want to be, but this is still the same band. There’s definitely going to be plenty of pop/rock sing-a-longs, but with a new twist.”
Aside from the foursome’s own escalation in proficiency, plus additional prominence following American Eagle clothing store and Songs From the Penalty Box soundtrack slots, Patterns also benefits from producers Matt Thiessen (Relient K frontman) and Mark Townsend (Relient K, The O.C. Supertones). Though that pair has collaborated countless times before on Relient K records, time with Run Kid Run sparked their inaugural co-production partnership.
“Mark definitely brought on the rock sound and he loves messing around with guitar sounds, different amps and tons of pedals,” explains Curtis. “And Matt definitely brought the pop side to the record concentrating on melodies and lyrics. It got a little tedious going through so many different ways of singing or pronouncing a particular line, but between two sets of ears and the whole band, it pushed us towards making a better record.”
Additional firsts for the group included a pair of co-writing partners, starting with Underoath/The Almost turned solo luminary Aaron Gillespie on the aggression-saturated “Rely On Her” and the ultra-fun summertime anthem “Someway Somehow.” Run Kid Run also teamed with celebrated indie rocker Andy Smith (of Paper Route fame) on the purebred pop of “Daylight,” which added yet another layer to the group’s already varied canvas.
“Back in the day, we were so against it and always copped that rock mentality of ‘why would we need help?’” shares Curtis with a laugh. “But those songs turned out to be some of our favorites and brought some new flavors to our sound. It allowed us to get another opinion and bring the best of everybody’s ideas together.”
It’s only fitting that the lyrical side of the record is equally passionate with the Patterns title laying the groundwork for the overall theme. For those keeping track of the guys’ personal lives, two of them tied the knot since 2008’s Love At The Core, while everybody moved from their Illinois base to a smattering of Midwest cities. Such changes have inspired the guys to shake even the slightest shreds of spiritual and personal complacency, which is a message they hope listeners will identify with as well.
“We can all get stuck in the same routines and Patterns, and if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves living in the same spot for quite a long time,” continues Curtis. “This record is about choosing to get out of those Patterns and renewing your mind, but it’s also about not conforming to the Patterns of the world. We just want to encourage fans to do the same, and while we always like it when a record gets good reviews, it’s wonderful to know that a simple three chord song had an effect on someone’s life either faith-wise or just to help them get through the day.”
The record is indeed replete with relatable examples, including the lead single “Back To The Basics,” an empowering call to action to embrace personal change via a renewed faith. That theme continues throughout “Farewell Old Self,” which marks another ode to forgetting the past, starting over and focusing on a fresh, Christ-centered chapter. Even the straightforward but moving praise chorus “My King” is an appeal to throw off whatever chains may bind a believer and rest easy in their assurance of salvation.
“We’ve always tried to write what’s natural on our hearts at the time of the recording, and this record has faith issues just as much as the others, though sometimes not as upfront,” adds Curtis, citing the band’s seamless ability to play clubs, churches, colleges and everything in between. “We’re really stretching ourselves as artists and songwriters and made a conscious decision to not sing about or sound like the same things we’ve done before. I’d like to think of Patterns as being a record that can make you think and showcase how we strived to create the best art we possibly could have created, but also be a record you could turn up with your car windows rolled down.”