NASHVILLE (Billboard) - After toiling away for seven years
and building a rabid fan base in the Christian market, Relient
K broke through to mainstream success with the 2004 release
"Mmhmm." The band's career illustrates that sometimes the least
calculated of efforts reap the most rewards.
"Our band's philosophy is we do what we do and whatever
happens around us, happens around us," lead vocalist/songwriter
Matt Thiessen says. "We write the songs we want to write and
try to have fun with the band. It's not like we went into the
record saying, 'This would be a great radio song."'
Relient K's fifth album, "Five Score and Seven Years Ago,"
arrives March 6 via Gotee Records/Capitol. Relient K will
continue to be marketed to Christian retail via Gotee while
Capitol, which came onboard with "Mmhmm," will handle the
band's marketing in the mainstream market.
"Five Score" is the first full-length studio record with
new members John Warne and Jonathan Schneck, who joined
original members Thiessen, Matthew Hoopes and David Douglas
when bassist Brian Pittman exited.
"It's not the same as what we've done, but I feel it's a
continuation of where we've been heading," Thiessen says of the
album's energetic pop sound. "I feel like people will get
The first mainstream single from the new album is "Must
Have Done Something Right." Fans got an early taste when it
debuted on MySpace last November.
Relient K will promote the new record with a series of
in-store appearances during the week of the album's release,
plus visits to "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "The Tonight
Show With Jay Leno." The band will headline a tour this spring
featuring Mae and Sherwood.
Capitol Records senior director of marketing Tom Osborn
describes Relient K as "the little engine that could. They have
that perception of being a smaller band. I can't tell you how
many people I talk to who are truly startled when I tell them
what the band is able to do saleswise and tourwise."
Relient K's 2003 breakout, "Two Lefts Don't Make a Right
... But Three Do," has sold 518,000 units in the United States,
according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Mmhmm" -- which spawned the
singles "Be My Escape" and "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" -- is
Unlike some Christian bands that cross over to the
mainstream and try to disassociate themselves from their roots,
Relient K doesn't hide from its past. "Relient K knows who they
are and I don't think it's ever been a problem," Osborn says.
"They are a Christian band and they'll acknowledge it."
Thiessen says the band doesn't see differences in its
audience. "We view Christian music and the general market all
as the same thing. It's funny to have a genre just based on
lyrics. If I was Jewish and I was writing songs about Judaism,
you (wouldn't) sell me only in Jewish bookstores. I feel like
Christian music gets segregated," he says, wryly noting, "Green
Day isn't in the Democratic section at Wal-Mart."
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