Local band, big dreams
Medium Size Kids to embark on West Coast tour in June
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Meet the Medium Size Kids
Shane Moffett, drummer and back-up vocals
Favorite musician: Dave Grohl, founder of the Foo Fighters and former Nirvana drummer.
Why? “He is one of the most solid studio musicians around, and really encouraging to young bands.”
Kaylee Hillman, keyboard and back-up vocals
Favorite musician: Sam Smith, an R&B artist.
Why? “He’s really comfortable with who he is and is an up-and-coming artist. I really look up to him.”
John Doyle, lead singer and guitar
Favorite musician: Dave Grohl.
Why? “He is really inspirational with what he does with music.”
Joseph Kashas, bass
Favorite musician: Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Why? “He’s an absolutely incredible musician. His showmanship is amazing and he’s one of the greatest bassists of all time.”
To learn more
To learn more about the band, visit its Facebook page, Medium Size Kids. To watch videos of “Forgetting Goodbye” and “Wake Up,” Visit www.youtube.com.>
To donate to the band’s Kickstarter campaign for its upcoming West Coast tour, visit www.kickstarter.com and search under “Medium Size Kids.”
Like many things in life, inspiration for their band name came about at an unexpected moment.“We had been trying to come up with something original that would come up first on a Google or Youtube search,” recalled lead singer John Doyle. “I was at a Fourth of July party with Joseph Kashas (bass player) and he looked around and said, ‘There’s a lot of medium size kids here.’ I thought that described us well, and would make a cool band name.”
That was a year and a half ago, shortly after their 2012 graduation from CHS. Now, Medium Size Kids has an EP, plays in several Portland area clubs and house parties, and is kicking off a West Coast tour later this year.
“EP” stands for Extended Play, a musical recording that contains more than a single, but less than a full album.
One of the band’s songs, “Forgetting Goodbye,” has received airtime on Portland radio station 94.7 FM. The video features Doyle, Kashas and drummer Shane Moffett at various sites around Camas and Washougal. The sound is reminiscent of the groups Blink 182 and Green Day.
“It’s a huge compliment,” said Doyle. “They are the reason that I play guitar.”
He recalled wanting a Blink 182 CD as a tween, but after his mom, Ellen, looked at some of the song titles, she shot down that particular idea.
“So, I went home and used Napster and downloaded it, but I didn’t tell her,” he said. “That was back in the day when people didn’t think file sharing was a bad thing.”
The trio of Doyle, Kashas and Moffett grew up in Camas and have been playing music together for the past four years. Recently, they were joined by singer and keyboard player Kaylee Hillman, a 2013 CHS grad.
“She is a really talented singer and adds a different dimension to our band,” Doyle commented.
Hillman is a student in the music program at Clark College. She attended Grand Canyon University for vocals and piano, but found it wasn’t a good fit.
“I wasn’t liking the program there, and then John offered me a spot in the band,” she said. “There are just more opportunities here, and I get to perform.”
That, however, was a nerve wracking experience at first, as Hillman had not had much experience on stage.
“After a few songs, I started to loosen up and it got really fun,” she recalled.
The group typically plays at more “hardcore” venues such as Portland’s Analog Café, Hawthorne Theater and Backspace, as well as Pop Culture in Vancouver, before it closed.
When the clean-cut group walks into one of those venues, people usually do a double-take.
“Most of the other bands that play there kind of look the same,” Moffett said. “I feel like the way we are gives us an edge because it’s memorable.”
Recently, they played at a New Year’s Eve house party.
“It was so much fun,” Doyle said. “We didn’t know anyone there, but the people totally got into our music.”
A rapt audience, listening, enjoying the moment and watching every move, is what most up-and-coming bands dream of having.
“I am constantly blown away by how often we have people tell us that they aren’t ashamed to rock out to our songs or that our songs are extremely relatable and mean something to them,” said Kashas. “It truly is a great feeling and is so rewarding.”
The group often practices several times a week, up to 10 hours if members don’t feel enough progress is being made.
“We work harder than I can even describe,” Moffett said. “But that being said, we are some of the goofiest people you‘ve ever met.”
That was evident during the band interview, which took place during a recent snowstorm.
Moffett suggested going outside to play in the snow, and the others eagerly agreed.
“Maybe…it will have a snowball effect on our writing,” he said.
Doyle just shook his head and smiled.
“Maybe it will help,” he said.
Every member of Medium Size Kids always had a big-size dream.
Like many up-and-coming bands, they want to make it big-time. Be pop stars. See their names in lights. Perform in a huge venue. But unlike some of their peers, who wait for days to audition for American Idol or try to get onto a T.V. show, the group is utilizing tools that are the bread-and-butter of more well-known bands, such as videos, an EP, social media and local shows.
“We are really trying hard to get our name out there and we are starting to make connections in the music industry,” said Doyle. “Some of the feedback we’ve gotten is to try and make our sound unique to us. So, that is what we are doing with this upcoming EP. I really think it’s going to show who we are.”
Going on a tour costs money. That is no surprise. Currently, band members are involved in a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. Kickstarter is an online venue that helps those in films, games, music, art, design and technology raise money for projects. Thus far, 5.6 million people have pledged $969 million, funding 55,000 creative projects.
As of Feb. 11, Medium Size Kids has 43 days to raise $3,000 for the tour. If the group raises the money, it gets to keep everything. Otherwise, it goes away.
Their tour will kick off on June 14 in Eugene at Black Forest Bar & Grill. The group is also working on its second EP, due to be released sometime in the spring. It will be a busy few months.
“I really want to give this our all and make our tour a success, and get our music out there more,” Moffett said.
While getting signed to a major recording label would be a dream come true, the group is trying not to let it become a focus. Instead, they are focusing on what brought all of them to this place: A love of music.
“We’re giving this 100 percent,” said Doyle. “We all know this is what we want to do. No matter what, we need to keep moving forward.”