Kids That Fly is “Built to Last”

If you were one of the many students that attended UConn’s first UCONNIC Music Festival last April, you’d have some familiarity with the edgy, yet playful band Kids That Fly. Comprised of frontman Nick Smeriglio, guitarist Blake Henry, bassist Braden Frandino, and drummer Jacob Stockman, Kids That Fly have all the components of a great pop-rock band: the talent, the initiative, and, of course, the boyish charm. Their music is catchy, relatable, and has the perfect element of nostalgia, leaving listeners in blissful appreciation. Taking inspiration from numerous decades and genres, the four UConn students that make up Kids That Fly create experienced and professional-sounding music without losing that flavor of youthful angst heard in their early 2019 EP, Lovesick. 

We had a chance to sit down with the guys of Kids That Fly and talk about new music, upcoming performances, and goals for the future. Here’s the rundown: 

 

MEMBER PROFILES

Blake Henry:

Hometown: Glastonbury, CT

Major: Music

Favorite Song: “The Less I Know The Better” by Tame Impala

Favorite Movie: Interstellar

Style Icon: Braden & Austin Frandino

Musical Icon: Kevin Parker

Best Decade of Music: 70s

Bucket List Item: Play at Glastonbury Festival 

Fun Fact: Produces music, too!

One Word to Describe Kids That Fly: Cuffed Jeans (that’s two, but we’ll give it to you Blake)

Quote: "Burritos are good"

 

Braden Frandino:

Hometown: Monroe, New York

Major: Music

Favorite Song: “One of These Nights” by The Eagles

Favorite Movie: Almost Famous

Style Icon: Harry Styles

Musical Icon: Stevie Wonder

Best Decade of Music: 1977-1987

Bucket List Item: Backpack through Europe

Fun Fact: Attended a Bon Jovi concert when he was 2 years old

One Word to Describe Kids That Fly: Bangerz

Quote: “Ya know… when one door closes, another opens… or something like that”

 

Nick Smeriglio:

Hometown: Stamford, CT

Major: Marketing

Favorite Song: “Pacifier” by Catfish and the Bottlemen, or “Any Kind of Guy” by Big Time Rush (both great choices)

Favorite Movie: That Thing You Do

Style Icon: Braden Frandino

Musical Icon: Dan Auerbach

Best Decade of Music: 80s

Bucket List Item: Travel to Southern Italy

Fun Fact: Has “sweet skillz” with a Lightsaber

One Word to Describe Kids That Fly: Angst 

Quote: “I’m gluten free, but my mom knows how to work the pasta”

 

Jacob Stockman: 

Hometown: Stamford, CT

Major: Marketing

Favorite Song: “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day, or “Just Like A Movie” by Wallows

Favorite Movie: La La Land

Style Icon: Lip Gallagher from Shameless

Musical Icon: Anderson Paak or Travis Barker

Best Decade of Music: Late 90s to early 2000s

Bucket List Item: Go on tour

Fun Fact: Was in marching band in high school

One Word to Describe Kids That Fly: Energetic 

Quote: “If you think about it, appendicitis saved the EP"

 

Writer’s Note: Opinions on the age-old Ranch vs. Blue Cheese debate were a unanimous vote for Ranch (much to my dismay - Caroline) 

 

BAND PROFILE

(photo credit to IG @smoorstrowski)

Each member of Kids That Fly had previous experience in performing with various other groups; one thing led to another and the band was born. Nick and Jacob, both from Stamford, were high school friends and were in a band called Flight Crew together. Flight Crew recorded an EP, but has since parted ways. “The reunion tour really wrapped it all up,” Nick says. However, Kids That Fly continues to honor their legacy by playing a Flight Crew favorite, “Chasin,” at some of their shows. 

The guys of Kids That Fly seemed to all be interconnected in one way or another, so you may need to whip out a concept map to really grasp the links between the four members. Blake and Braden, both music majors, met in the music school and played together in jazz combo. Jacob also met Blake and Braden in jazz band. Nick and Blake temporarily played in a band together, and Nick and Braden were in an AKL band that didn’t work out either. However, things fell into place when Jacob founded UConn Entertainment Group, a student-run record label, in early 2018. Jacob wanted to sign Nick as a solo artist, but according to Nick, “Being a solo artist puts a heavier focus on the artist’s personality, and less on the music,” and so he didn’t go that route. Nick pulled Braden and Blake in for instrumentals and Kids That Fly was born. The group’s first show was played for an audience of 60 in a basement on North Eagleville Road, where they played 2 originals, “Again” and “It’s True”, and 3 covers. 

It was only a week before their first show when the eventual band name, Kids That Fly,  came up in a conversation between the four at McMahon dining hall. The name was a good choice in an effort to pay homage to Flight Crew and stick to the “flight theme.” Other possible names included Hamburger Helicopter and The Pilots. 

Although the roots of Kids That Fly may be influenced by their past, their music incorporates both the past and the present. According to Nick, they are influenced by almost every genre, citing British rock, 2000s pop, classic rock, alternative rock, and mainstream pop. “We don’t necessarily want to go with the system. Everyone likes pop, so why change it,” Nick says. They also mention Catfish and the Bottlemen and Hippo Campus as having an especially significant impact on their music and lyrics. 

Nick, the songwriter of the group, starts the writing process with a lyrical phrase or chorus. Like most songwriters, for him some songs come together in as quickly as 45 minutes, while others may take months. Jacob and Nick would work on songs during school breaks, adding in Blake’s “filthy nasty” guitar part and Braden’s baseline (Braden has only been playing for a year and already has the Bassist Slouch™ down to a tee). The band’s first EP, Lovesick, consists of 6 original songs and is available on all streaming platforms. The success of the EP is allegedly thanks to Nick’s case of appendicitis in December 2018. The group was supposed to go into the recording booth the day after Nick was diagnosed, but they were forced to reschedule and were able to perfect what is now “Lovesick” and “It’s True.” Although their EP has been released, their songwriting is an ongoing process. “We’ll play the song onstage and then revise it multiple times,” Braden says. 

The band agrees that HuskyTHON was one of their best shows because of the energetic atmosphere. HuskyTHON was the band’s first big show, as they went from playing for 60 people in a basement to over 3,000 people in the Greer Field House. “I was really nervous before going onstage, but as soon as we got up there I felt fine,” Blake says. Kids That Fly also performed on the rooftop of The Tea Factory in Brooklyn this summer, which they also mention as one of their favorite performances. One of Jacob’s personal favorites was UCONNIC. “The energy wasn’t matched, but the production was dope,” Jacob says.

(photo credit to IG @briellejuliet)

So, what’s next for Kids That Fly? As for new music, the band is dropping a single very soon with more to follow after that. They will be playing a couple of bar nights, as well as at Huskies Tavern on October 22nd, and a hometown show in Stamford on December 27th. Also, be sure to check them out at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan on November 30th. Braden and Blake will both be graduating in the spring, but the band doesn’t see this as a roadblock. Their goal is to make as much music and do as much as possible throughout the school year and over the summer. They plan to take a break from performing when the two graduate and work on recording new music. Nonetheless, they aim to keep going and maintain sustainable growth that will hopefully lead them to producing a full-length album. Their short-term goal is to end up in Brooklyn after graduation and eventually headline a show in New York City.

(picture credits to IG @smoorstrowski)

Seeking inspiration in all types of music and time periods, the guys of Kids That Fly are able to create a sound that transcends the constraints of any one musical genre. Having this unique element to their sound allows them to attract more and more fans and expand their influence across barriers set by musical standards. Keep an eye out for Kids That Fly; “Making Teen Angst Cool Again” is just the beginning for them. 

 

Check out their Spotify & Socials:

Spotify: Kids That Fly

Instagram @KidsThatFly

Facebook: Kids That Fly

Website: kidsthatfly.com