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You can find Kids These Days at Lollapalooza

Chicago’s Kids These Days will be bill Lollapaloozthis weekend.

Chicago’s Kids These Days will be on the bill at Lollapalooza this weekend.

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:31AM

Chicago natives Kids These Days began crafting their unique mix of sounds in a basement — creating a style that continues to evolve in an almost unidentifiable alphabet soup of musical genres. The band, an eight-piece collective of 18- and 19-year-olds, has taken that sound from their various Chicago neighborhoods to stages around the country, and, at this year’s sold-out Lollapalooza (4:15 p.m. Aug. 5, BMI stage), will bring it all back home again.

The Sun-Times spoke with KTD trumpeter Nico Segal about the festival, the music and what’s next for Kids These Days.

Question: I can tell from listening to the band that you all cross several genres. Can you describe your music?

Nico Segal: No. (Laughs) I guess the easiest way to describe it is hip-hop, soul, blues, jazz, funk, reggae, rock — everything. And everything Chicago — yeah.

Q: What are the band’s main influences?

NS: Everybody [in the band] has grown up with different influences. Greg [Landfair Jr., KTD drummer] is into gospel. We all listen to a lot of jazz. I’ve grown up a hip-hop head — me and Victor [Mensa, KTD rapper] — Biggie, Tribe Called Quest, stuff like that. And Rajiv [Halim, KTD saxophonist] has a lot of Caribbean influence. I think what it boils down to is a lot of soul, hip-hop and jazz — those are three main components if you had to break it down.

Q: People tend to make a big deal about how young you are. Is it a big deal to you?

NS: Well, we’ve all been musicians since we were very young. I’ve always wanted to be a musician and Macie [Stewart, KTD vocalist] has been playing classical music since she was 3. So when we got to high school, it made sense to just find each other. I mean, we’re Kids These Days, so obviously we think about it, but we don’t want to focus on how young we are. We just want to reach a wide audience. We really just want to continue with our music and being young is a plus — it’s giving us more time reach our potential.

Q: So, what’s it like playing bars at age 18?

NS: Sometimes it’s difficult when we play in clubs that we’re not even allowed to be in. We have to just play and leave. But that’s also just the vibe in Chicago — that’s whatever, you know? At least we get to play — that’s how I look at it.

Q: I know you all probably have other music groups that you look up to, but I’ve heard of at least one young local band that looks up to KTD. How does it feel to be a role model?

NS: I’m speechless. All these really incredible things that have been happening to us totally blow my mind. I never thought it could happen. So, anyone that hears us and is moved is greatly appreciated and loved, and if that has an impact on their music, it’s a beautiful thing. All of us are really young, so to be at this point is surreal.

Q: You’ll be playing Lollapalooza this weekend, but have you played any other festivals?

NS: We’ve played a bunch of fests. We recently played at Wicker Park Fest. We played the Ottawa blues fest — that was awesome. We played a fest in Omaha, Nebraska —it was the first year of that fest. But, yeah, we like playing festivals. It’s brutally hot, you play for a long time and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great experience.

Q: KTD seems to be hitting a good stride at moment — where do you want to go from here?

NS: Sky’s the limit. All of us just really want to be creating music for however long we can — forever. That’s the ultimate goal. We want this to be our lives — our livelihood. All the attention we’ve been getting is beautiful, but at the end of the day, we just want to be making music.

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