Relient K at The Warped Tour – Interview

One of the most disappointing things about the Warped Tour in Tinley Park IL was that we didn’t get a chance to catch Relient K. They have a new EP out called “K is for Karaoke” which is made up of cover songs including Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” It’s a lot of fun. We caught up with front man Matt Thiessen back stage after his performance and got the chance to talk about the new EP, which will ultimately become an album as well as his experience with The Warped Tour.

Zoiks! How many “Warped Tours” has this been for Relient K?

Matt Thiessen: This has been our third.

Z!: How did you get involved with the Warped Tour?

MT: The first one I don’t know, I think it was record label. We behaved ourselves in 2008 we asked to come back and they let us and this year we asked to come back and they let us so it we’re just grateful that we get a good response out here and be a part of this tour.

Z!: How is preparing for this tour different from your own solo tours?

MT: There are a lot of differences. You don’t know what time you play every morning, so it’s interesting. You don’t know when to tell your family to show up. You can tell them to show up at eleven and stay the whole day. So that’s kind of a crazy thing about it, but I like that about it too. There are so many bands. This year there are a lot of bands that scream and stuff, which makes us a little bit of a black sheep, which is totally cool too. You get to meet all of these totally nice guys in like crazy goth clothes and stuff. We’re just being friends and normal people back stage and then we go out and perform completely different styles of music and make a complete tour out of it. It’s pretty cool to watch it happen.

Z!: How do they figure out the time slots, do they do it morning of?

MT: Yeah, you find out at 9:30 in the morning, I just get a text in my bunk every day, ‘wake up, you’re first and it’s central time by the way, so you lost an hour.’ (laughs)

Z!: Cause you guys played already?

MT: Yeah, it’s kind of cool how it works though. In 2008 whenever I felt like I was out a little bit too late and had a few too many drinks or something I felt like they always knew to put us on first. So we actually wrote a song about it in case we ever have to play first and there is nobody at our stage this year. Montreal, Canada, 2008 there’s nobody there so I just wrote a song to play for nobody.

Z!: How was it here, we pulled in about noon and it looked like it was packed already?

MT: Yeah our audience was awesome. They were really kind of chill today, which is what you kind of expect out of Chicago. People tend to know a little more about music in this town, so they like to sit there and watch and they were really responsive.

Z!: Any of your songs off of the new EP that came out (“K is for Karaoke”) make the set list?

MT: Yeah we played “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” mostly because it fits the fibe of the tour and girls like it.

Z!: What made you decide to do the cover album or EP?

MT: Actually it’s going to be an album pretty soon. We’re putting out another 8 songs in addition to the seven we’ve already done. We always wanted to cover songs. We use to play “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and a bunch of other ones, so we thought lets just track them all, put it out before Warped Tour to have something kind of fresh that we recorded. That buys us a little time to work on our next record. We considered putting out a new record before Warped Tour, but I didn’t want to push it.

Z!: How did you decide which songs, because you went from like Justin Bieber to Tom Petty etc?

MT: That was tough. The next eight has like Nada Surf, Nick Drake, Stone Temple Pilots, Toto “Africa,” there’s some real diverse songs. Yeah we just kind of picked songs we really enjoyed. Some of them we picked because we thought our fan base would know and some of them we thought we’d be introducing them to, like the Tom Petty one, it wasn’t one of his most popular songs.

Z!: When does the album version come out?

MT: The cover EP came out like a week and a half, two weeks ago and I think October the full album will be released. They’re all done; we’re just waiting for the mixes.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at

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