This Romantic Tragedy was recently in town, playing Oxygen Fest at the Cobalt Café in Canoga Park with The Air I Breathe and For All I Am. Lead vocalist Sean Neumann recently announced his side project Kaydian, which also feature Ian Mulka, who happened to be on the road lending his guitarist skills to This Romantic Tragedy. A decidedly different venture where anything is possible, Kaydian is a world of sonic art ready to explode rapturously upon all who venture out to give a listen. Here is an interview we conducted with Sean Neumann at the Cobalt to discuss his work in Kaydian, upcoming ventures with This Romantic Tragedy, a donut comparison that will give you a diabetic coma while reading it, and other sweet and glorious topics. Read on…
How has the tour with The Air I Breathe been going so far and are you a fan of their music?
Sean: Yeah, I actually am a fan of their music. I knew their band name a couple of years ago. I was in New Jersey with some friends, and they were going to a show that night and they brought me. It was The Air I Breathe and they were co-headlining with D.R.U.G.S. And seeing them live – they were solid – they had good music, so I actually really liked it. And the tour has been short so far – we just started on it. It’s been going good though – except for they’ve been having a lot of their vehicle problems – much like we were having. It’s really unfortunate, because all the bands know that that could be a random thing – you go to start your van one day and something happens – and that will just screw you over for hundreds of dollars or you’ll miss a couple of shows. I think they are trying to get here tonight – I don’t know exactly if they will be able to make it. I think so – I hope so. They don’t want to miss any shows. I hope for the best for those guys. (Editor’s Note: The Air I Breathe made it and put on an awesome show!)
It’s been awhile since the last This Romantic Tragedy album. How close are you guys to releasing a new full length or EP?
We’re pretty close, but I don’t have like a month or anything right now that I could say when the album is going to be out. But in November, we went to Chango Studios in Florida with our buddy Cameron (Mizell), who we became really good friends and partners with. We planned to record an EP – but he was so stoked on it, he enjoyed it so much and he said, “Screw this. You guys will be back in a couple of months and you’re finishing this and you’re making it a full-length.” And we were like, “Alright, sounds good! We’re definitely down with that.” We’re trying to get back there as soon as possible. He just finished recording the new Sleeping With Sirens album, so he’s been way busy with that.
How difficult was it to just walk away from Tragic Hero Records and to just basically do everything on your own?
In a sense, it was difficult because to be in a band and to have the support and the backing you need – you mostly want a label or company or some kind of group behind you just backing you up – knowing that they have faith in you to put money and promotion into you. And honestly, Tragic Hero – where we were at, we were really kind of done with our contract. They did the Trust In Fear EP and then we did out full-length. And they owed us a music video, but they didn’t do that. We were just kind of done – it was like a mutual thing – we were not really in communications with them – we were kind of done talking with them – they weren’t really helping us out. And being on our own has been great. We’re doing what we want to do, and we were able to put out two of our demo songs – Sway Away and Inner Cosmos. We just did that – it was just us on our own recording with a friend and then realizing we need to do an album – which made us go to Cameron because we wanted to do an EP to ship out to labels and say, “Hey, we’re done with our old label. We want to get on to something bigger and better to do bigger things.” And that’s where that EP turned into a full length, so now it’s just us talking to labels and have them pick us up and put out that full length – and have something in a couple of months so we can get back out there with new music and a lot more promotion. Because we didn’t have that Reborn, and it was kind of unfortunate.
How did Kaydian come into existence?
Sean: Ian is actually right here. He’s from Michigan.
Ian: I’ve known this dude for so long man.
Sean: He’s probably one of my longest friends, other than my stepbrother. We met the first day of sixth grade and we’ve been friends ever since. We started a band back then – it was a three piece – it was me, him, and my stepbrother who played drums. He played guitar, I played bass and I sang. We were doing Led Zeppelin covers and cool and classic songs. That was kind of us back in the day, and then we kind of drifted off. I was in a couple of other bands – got into my old band Call It Karma – was in TRT. Now I’m not in Call It Karma anymore back in Michigan, so when I’m home, I really don’t have much to do musically. So he and I actually decided to start a group – and that’s where we formed the name Kaydian.
Ian: Our name is not standard – just like our music. We’re inspired from a bunch of different things.
Sean: We have so many different little songs right now – so many ideas that are just being tossed around, but nothing actually recorded. So we’re kind of all over the place right now, figuring out what we want to do and how we want to it. We’ll probably do an EP – like some acoustic songs. We’re going to title it The Unofficial EP – because it’s almost like B-tracks – just songs that we’re doing and nothing like “this is our single and this is our sound.” That’s going to come in time. I’m not trying to stress on it. When I go home, we jam as much as we can and do whatever we can do. We’re going to get some music out there soon. We’re trying to get people to notice the Facebook now – we want people to at least be aware of it, so when we do put a song or a video up, people can at least hear or see it.
What does Kaydian offer you that you cannot find on This Romantic Tragedy?
Sean: That’s actually a really good question. Kaydian offers me – to be honest, it’s almost like complete freedom for me to be completely expressive as an artist in every aspect. In some of the songwriting, I’ll sit down with a bass or guitar and I’ll just kind of write something. And I’ll take a hunk of poetry that I wrote and work it up. With TRT, we know what we have to do. We try to have a wide of variety of music as we can, but there are limits to it. With Kaydian, since we haven’t really got our own sound yet – it could kind of be us doing whatever we want to do, and that will develop into it being a very original sound. With This Romantic Tragedy, I joined after they were already established. They had already put out an EP and they had a sound to them – so I couldn’t come in and change everything completely – especially with the member changes. If we did anymore changes, we’d probably have to change our name. You could tell in the newer music, it’s not as synth-y and techno-y and all that. It’s more melodic and ambient – we try to get mellow with things. We’re trying to change a little bit – but not so much to where our old fans aren’t interested anymore. But with Kaydian, we have acoustic songs, electric songs – (Ian’s) a blues guitarist and he’s phenomenal, so we could do all the way from blues to – he’s doing this (TRT) now. This isn’t his style, but he’s filling in for our guitarist now. This isn’t his style at all – like chugs and all that. But he’s doing it and it’s kind of new for him. But we could basically do whatever we want, and that’s what I like. Me being a singer and lyric writer, that’s my favorite thing to do – just be able to write a song, any vibe I want and just say whatever I want and just write whatever I want. Artistic freedom – self-expression – letting the subconscious flow!
If the music of Kaydian was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Sean: I like that! (Long pause) It would be one of those little tin bits – like those little round ones – cuz it’s a small compact little thing – but it basically a yellow donut with chocolate on it with glaze on it with sprinkles and almonds and chocolate syrup, frosting – everything you could put on it. Everything you could put on it – every different taste. One little tin bit and you’re like, “Oh, this little dinky thing,” and then you eat it and it’s just like BAM! All this stuff!
Talia (Highwire Daze photographer): It’s diabetes!
Sean: Yeah! We’re diabetes in your ears! No, I’m just kidding! But basically my metaphor is trying to be that it’s one simple little bit and it’s everything. And that’s what we want to do – make an EP – it’s a couple of songs – you put it in and it’s just like, “Wow! Everything!” Everything audibly you can do.
Is there a chance that This Romantic Tragedy and Kaydian would ever want to tour together, or would that be a bit too much for you?
Sean: I don’t think it would be too much. I could probably handle it as long as I took care of myself and didn’t get too wild. I haven’t thought about that, to be honest. The music is probably going to be a little bit of a difference, but at the same time how Ian’s on the road with us now – I wish he had an acoustic because we could be sitting at a show like this and just be playing some of our songs acoustically. “Oh, a band dropped off? He’s with me, we could play a couple of shows.” I would be down. Normally people don’t do that – but to play at least a weekend, a week or two weeks where both bands played – that would be cool. I could do it. I saw a flyer for a festival where A Perfect Circle and Puscifer were on it – which were both Maynard from Tool. So he’s playing two or three sets that night. That’s kind of cool that someone can do that. People appreciate music in both aspects on him. And that’s the kind of the type of musician I would like to be. Do a lot of different things – and whatever you are doing, people at least try to appreciate it and understand it – open minded. If they don’t understand what you’re doing, that’s kind of their problem.
Do you have messages for your fans out here in Los Angeles and the OC?
Sean: Just be you. Just be yourself. Find deep within who you truly are and what you truly believe in and what you think and know is real. Don’t let people into your life that can bring you down and do the wrong thing. You can kind of tell when you meet someone – if they’re good soul, good hearted and good minded. Just surround yourself with those people and nothing will really go wrong. And don’t miss an opportunity if you have one – always pay attention.
Kaydian is: Sean Neumann, Ian Mulka, Drew Hall
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)