When three of the four members of the pop-rock band Kids Losing Sleep start listing their influences, they shuffle around in a cafe booth, their matching black Converse-shod feet clapping as names get bounced around emphatically.
Bassist Brycen Gunn loves Led Zeppelin, something that carries into the band's churning rhythms, while the whole gang's devout love of The Tragically Hip sees a Gord Downie affectation bloom across the band's unabashedly polished single, "In Love No More." Guitarist/vocalist Owen Williams' first-ever record purchase was Simple Plan, and the group of pals can't get enough of The 1975.
Oh, and they also all stan for Katy Perry: "All her songs are just masterpieces," guitarist/vocalist Jarod Gallant says. "Her first album is really huge for us: It's a rock album with pop production. The guitars are huge but there's that synth base under it and that kick-drum sample and huge, sparkling harmonies," Gunn agrees. "All the things we want," Williams adds.
The four-piece is friends first—the drummer is Zach Hazelwood; most of them met studying music at NSCC—and that means everything from songwriting to the band name is a group decision. Lyrical revisions from the decidedly verbose group ("We're very lyrically intensive, there's a lot of words in our songs," Gunn says) are updated on shared Google docs. And, after practice wraps, "we usually head to McDonald's for a junior chicken and cone," Gunn adds, laughing.
"We want it to be bigger than just a band or just a song," Gallant says.
Adds Gunn: "For me, there isn't enough music right now that when you listen to it, it tells you like 'I know that you feel this way, and that's OK, I feel this way too.' It's not easy to connect to. When you read [our] lyrics we hope people will be like 'Oh shit, you too?'" —MM