The Stepkids is futuristic electro soul recorded on a reel-to-reel. Soaring harmonies sung by three singer/songwriters. Kandinsky-essque visuals that make for enigmatic live performances. But more, The Stepkids is a collective.
“The Stepkids is not about either of us – it’s about creating an entity where the entity itself is what’s important” says bassist and keyboardist Dan Edinberg. “There’s an equal split in the creative process, and we’re really happy about that” adds drummer Tim Walsh. “Any lyric, any melody, any idea could have been done by any of us.”
Theirs is an approach that comes from more than a decade of musical experimentation. Brought up together as teenagers on the East Coast jazz and R+B circuit, the three band members went on as individuals to share stages with Lauren Hill and 50 Cent, tour internationally with indie punk band Zox, score movies and commercials, and produce solo albums. But it was an interest in creating an aesthetic identity that supersedes the conventional pop notions of stardom and self-importance which ultimately drew them together.
“All three of us write, and all three of us sing” explains Jeff Gitelman, who resigned from touring as Alicia Keys’ guitarist to concentrate full-time on recording the Stepkids self-titled debut album.
The Stepkids’ groove is a startling yet sexy fusion of punk, jazz, West African traditional, 1960s folk, neo and classic soul, classic funk and 20th century classical. Think T.Rex meets Sun Ra, Sly Stone meets Stravinsky, Dylan meets Dilla. Philosophy and literature provide a conceptual schematic, from existential musings (“Legend in My Own Mind”), to the work of Charles Bukowski (“La La”) and Plato’s theoretical “Allegory of the Cave” (“Shadows on Behalf”). Add to this a vested interest in the recording process, and you have an imaginative album of Technicolor brilliance expertly self-engineered and self-produced. Live, kaleidoscopic projections by NYC artist Jesse Mann consume the stage with light for a multi-sensory experience.
There’s no singular icon, no singular sound, no singular way of making it happen. It’s psychedelia for the 21st century, where the focus is the whole – and that includes you.