What fans should about the album and how the band the preserved through the pandemic
Article Written By: Kate Bean
“This is truer to who we are than anything else we’ve ever released. It’s a more refined expression of what we’ve released so far” — Hanny Ramadan, lead singer and guitarist
Latchkey Kids is an alternative band with a sound inspired by a hodgepodge of “jazz influence”, “punk rock influence”, “Indie-Americano”, with a “post-hardcore attitude”.
The band features lead singer & guitarist Hanny Ramadan, lead guitarist Joey Grzybowski, bassist Mihir Rastogi, and drummer Cyle Morris.
[Mihir Rastogi, Joey Gryzbowski, Cyle Morris, & Hanny Ramadan photographed by ig: Wesleyandproductions]
Their first full length album is now out on Band Camp as of December 1st - and will be available on streaming platforms by December 9th.
The band is known for lyrics that “shine light on ugliness” more specifically things like “Family affairs, loss, confusion, isolation - how we maneuver feeling left out of a system. Things that I think we feel like we shouldn’t talk about sometimes” Ramadan clarifies. These deep-rooted lyrics are blended with a heavier sound meant to make you move and thrash those “ugly” feelings right out.
Rastogi adds on, “We really try to communicate a desire for community. We really want people to connect to these songs and for us to be able to understand their experiences. When I first saw Latchkey Kids [before joining the band] they were playing this song called “Midnight Bus to Camden” and one of the lines is like ‘Our generation is hopeless’ — I remember thinking ‘Wow he’s really saying it!’ and I feel like it really connected with everyone in the room”.
“This [the album] is truer to who we are than anything else we’ve ever released. It’s a more refined expression of what we’ve released so far. As [literal] latchkey kids you could isolate any one of us and put the album we’re working on as a soundtrack to our own New Jersey childhoods” says Ramadan, following it up with —
“A love letter to old music scenes - burnt out music scenes. Things that came and went in a flash. That’s kind of what New Jersey is - a regenerative shell of dead culture waiting to be reborn. If we can be a part of something like that - that would make our dreams come true”.
A great amount of creative collaboration drove this album, Grzybowski says, “A lot of our friends have come in to sing. A good friend of ours named Sammy came in to play horns for some songs. We’ve met some string players - we have a quartet on the album. A lot of new dynamics we’re working with. It’s a good testament to how we’ve grown as musicians and individuals”.
‘The Week You Ran Away’ is described as a concept album with a story that focuses on a fictional family and the different relationship dynamics they face over the course of two different time periods. Members of the band and their collaborators serve as characters to the story.
Production of the album has been going on since summer 2020 - the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
Ramadan shares that the pandemic only fueled their creative drive,
“Summer of 2020 we started putting together some of the best songs I think we’ve ever written. Out of this desire to sum up this experience. It happened again - the hopeless generation” — “The pandemic hit right when we were on an incline. I think we saw it as a sign to re-navigate. For all of us we looked at it as a time to be stubborn to create something more than the sum of its parts. I really do think that’s our record”
One of the biggest challenges the band faced was finding a space to live and record together. Ultimately after facing obstacles like the housing market and rejection the New Jersey musicians found their home in Philadelphia.
The house itself plays a major role in both the production and the heart of the album.
“It’s gonna sound different than if we were in a studio. You’re gonna hear the walls of the room we recorded in - the natural reverb of the living room and stuff like that. We were really intentional about that” Morris explains.
To utilize the space and exemplify spatial creativity - guitar amps were placed on stairwells, drum beats were played in the basement, and vocals were recorded in the bathroom. The use of these unique recording techniques were meant to build “sensory images” and add to the overall immersion of the album's concept. Listeners will be pulled into the world of ‘The Week You Ran Away’; Getting that homey feel of doors closing, people shouting, and hearing your mom call for you.
The band is currently on tour promoting the release of ‘The Week You Ran Away’ and has several upcoming shows. Locations, dates, and tickets can be found on their instagram @Latchkeykidsnj