Ben and Max Redman used to sneak into Austin City Limits as kids by telling guards they were under 10 years old and calling random adults their “mom and dad.” At this year’s festival, they’ll take to the stage as local teen band Residual Kid.
Story by Rachel Rascoe
Photos by Joshua Guerra
The band started when drummer Ben Redman met lead singer and guitarist Deven Ivy at an Austin summer rock camp in 2009. With the addition of Ben’s younger brother Max Redman on bass, the band bonded over a shared love of punk, grunge and skateboarding. The trio, who signed with Warner Bros. affiliate Sire Records last year, previously recorded with Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis and Steven Shane McDonald of hardcore punk band Off! Their first EP with Sire Records will be released in spring 2016.
The band says their upcoming EP will feature a new, layered sound that’s more reflective of themselves than their past material. “It’s gunna be trippy,” says Max Redman. Ivy responds “It’s not trippy at all, but it’s more complex. Maybe that’s what you’re trying to say. It’s a totally different sound than our old stuff. Our old stuff is not representative at all.”
At the same summer camp, the boys also met their early guitar teacher and longtime collaborator Jonas Wilson. Wilson says he helped the band move away from playing covers and start writing their own songs. “A lot of older artists tend to overthink what they do,” Wilson says. “It’s a wonderful thing when a young artist has the ability to let go. They knew when they had what they wanted and were able to say ‘Okay, that sounds like us. That’s good.’” Wilson helped the band record their first EP, "Box."
Starting out as 12 and 13-year-olds, the band’s friends couldn’t attend their first shows at Austin’s Beerland. Ivy, now 17 years old, says the band was never intimidated by 21-and-up shows or the Austin music scene. “Old people suck,” Ivy says. “Don’t worry about them. Do your own thing and the old people will come to you with money, eventually. That’s how it works.”
Although the band started in Austin, Residual Kid formed a fan base in Denver through the help of their current manager Barton Dahl, who is based in the city. After hearing them play at South by Southwest in 2013, Dahl brought to Denver for the Underground Music Showcase Festival. Dahl says the band performs consistently high energy rock shows for Austin weeknight crowds and packed music festivals alike.
Max Redman says the band has developed mix feelings about the Austin music scene after performing for years locally and at South by Southwest. “I’ve learned that every place has a butt,” says Max Redman. “Austin is like — there’s too many butts. There’s too much stuff going on at night and everyone’s drunk.” The band has certain favorite local acts, like Glue and Ringo Deathstarr, amid the saturated music industry.
Residual Kid plans to get back on tour full-time in the summer of 2016 after Ivy’s graduation from high school. Ben and Max Redman, in the 10th and 11th grades of their homeschooling, are able to take their studies on the road.
Dahl says their new EP will reflect their growth as musicians over the past year, which included a summer tour in Europe. The band debuted in the UK and performed at Pukkelpop festival in Belgium. “Since the last album, they’ve toured the world and they’ve matured as a band,” Dahl says. “They’ve really honed in on more of their own sound, instead of it just being a collection of songs they wrote. It’s a little more cohesive and very obviously from them, not just any rock band.”