For Kid2, There's Nothing Embarrassing About '90s-Style Rock

Kid2 Photo by Richard Hargett
All the members of Kid2 originally came to Miami to study jazz at the University of Miami. Somehow, more than a decade later and against all odds, the trio cranked out an album far more reminiscent of '90s lo-fi rock akin to Dinosaur Jr. than the jazz music they studied.

"We all went to school to learn how to play music we couldn't understand," Richard Hargett tells New Times over Zoom. "You need a rock outlet that I think always existed for UM students. We had that punk and metal scene at Churchill's, and then at UM, we'd study the clever side of music."

Singer and bassist Brian Tate quickly adds, "People taking all these jazz and classical music classes need that outlet of being in a rock band."

Tate started the project known as Kid2 in the early days of the pandemic as a solo project.

"During lockdown, I wanted to make rock records. I had this full-fledged concept of a '90s throwback vibe that channeled all the '90s rock stuff we grew up on," Tate explains. "This was an outlet for something anti-intellectual — music coming from my body that was completely instinctual."

Tate sent the demos he made to Hargett, who immediately caught onto Kid2's vibe.

"It had the spirit of Fugazi and Bad Brains, that DIY mentality of building and recording in a studio in my garage. That's what I did. I invested money in a studio so we could get the sounds of the music we love," Hargett says.
Hargett knew the perfect guy to fill out Kid2 was another Frost School of Music alum, guitarist Bryan Dubrow. "I met Bryan at Lagniappe," he says. "He was great at bluegrass. I'd never heard him play electric, but I knew he'd be our guy."

While the first Kid2 album that came out in May 2021 was essentially a one-man production by Tate, last December's follow-up, Embarrassing, was a group effort.

"Most of the songs came from jamming," Dubrow explains. "We'd improvise and shape two different jams we came up with while rehearsing into a song. One part would be a verse, another a chorus, then maybe we'd find a bridge."

After the trio finalized the instrumentals, Tate would sit down and try to figure out the words that would mesh with the riffs. "The lyrics would come out of philosophical debates — the shit in society that bothers us or things out of our personal lives," Tate adds. Once the lyrics were complete, the band would rerecord the song live with Tate's vocals to give the album the dirty-sounding '90s vibe.

Though the trio expresses how much of a passion project the album was for the band, Hargett reminisces about a near-death experience that makes him incredibly grateful every time he gets to pound the drums with Kid2.

"Fourteen years ago, I was diagnosed with brain cancer that was supposed to be terminal. They took the tumor out and I survived, but I had to relearn how to play drums," he says. "I started with jazz, but my goal was always to be strong enough to play rock 'n' roll again. I never thought I'd get to play drums again, so I always try to share that thankfulness with people."

Even with Embarrassing's recent release, the band is cooking up another album of grungy tunes built on years of formal training. Still, Hargett warns New Times not to "tell the other bands we also play jazz and bluegrass. You know how snobby rock bands can be."
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland

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