Cardiknox has toured with Carly Rae Jepsen, The Knocks, and Phoebe Ryan, swept the festival circuit with sets at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Firefly and more. Now the Los Angeles duo takes their musical journey by the reins with the new gritty pop single “Bad Boys.” The anthemic pop gem was in part inspired by their music-obsessed dads, who filled their childhoods with record-collecting classic rock and pop.
“‘Bad Boys,’ more than any other song we’ve written, feels in a lot of ways like an homage to all the music our dads played for us as kids,” lead singer Lonnie says about the song. “The disco tropes and retro feel bring me right back to my childhood living room, with my dad flipping records and showing me what it was to truly love music.”
Learn more about Cardiknox in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
Today we’re in LA! I was just listening to Pod Save America, giving my music-brain a rest and engaging my thinking-and-politically-outraged-brain. I’m loving The Killers’ new album … ‘The Man’ is incredible. And Thomas is pretty obsessed with Starrah. We’re both really into Paramore’s new album, as well. Can’t get enough Hayley Williams!
How does 2017 so far compare to last year? How differently did you all approach this year then you did 2016? What all are you most excited about for 2018?
2017 has been really different than 2016. Last year, we did four national tours and spent most of our time on the road. This year has been a lot more focused on songwriting, recording, and releasing new tunes. We really hope to get back on the road in 2018. We miss it. A lot.
Can you recall the moment you all realized that you could really make music together and be this band? Why do you think your name truly represents this group and the music that you create? Where did your name come from in the first place?
There were definitely a collection of moments rather than one that made me believe we could be a band. One notable memory was being in a friend’s studio in Seattle, recording a little holiday cover with Thomas before the band was a real idea. It was the first time I’d sung in a recording studio and there was something special about working together. That spark of creativity and excitement definitely propelled us toward collaborating, writing, and ultimately creating Cardiknox. The band name is a play on Thomas’ family name, Cardinaux, which is French, and American kids often pronounced the silent ‘x.’ We liked the sound of it, and borrowed it from the family. 🙂
I always like to ask artists how their hometown has been an influence on the kind of music they make and really what kind of a band they are today. So how do you think your hometown has affected you and the music that you create?
Seattle is home to both of us, and for me, was an incredibly creative musical theatre community. I grew up in the theatre: directing, acting, and ultimately studying it in college. While not directly related to pop music, it definitely influenced my journey into the arts. Thomas, on the other hand, has been in indie-emo-rock bands since middle school. He grew up playing music with friends, starting bands, and eventually dropped out of college when he signed his first record deal to hit the road.
What was the inspiration for your latest single, “Bad Boys”? Generally, how do you two go about writing songs? How does it go from being just an idea in your heads to a full blown song?
Bad Boys was inspired by the crazy modern dating world. It’s hilarious, and insane, and completely bizarre. It seems like online dating constantly connects you with the wrong people, the fun yet dangerous people, the sexy yet hilarious people. The….well, bad boys? When writing the song, we wanted to embrace the playful, light-hearted spirit of frolicking with love(rs) that aren’t a fit for you, … but can seem oh so appealing at the time. The lyrics don’t take themselves too seriously, just as so many people—especially in LA—don’t either.
When writing ‘Bad Boys,’ we started with the guitar riff, built a super simple beat, and wrote the song around the ‘feeling’ of the groove.
When do you hope to release more new music and an EP or full-length album of new songs?
Soon soon soon! We have so much new music to share and it’s just a matter of finding the right timing to roll it all out. Hopefully another single in the next few months, and an EP within the next 6 months.
How do you think that you both have grown as artists today? What has it been like being out on your own since your split with your previous label, Warner Bros? Was that a hard decision to make?
We have a really strong sense of ourselves as artists, both individually and as a duo. That sense of self has really evolved over the years, and as with anything, strengthens over time. Parting ways with WBR was tough—hard saying goodbye to people we loved working with, but also liberating—releasing music on our own timeline, with our own priorities, and having total control over the project again.
Can you talk about what it was like touring with Carly Rae Jepsen, The Knocks and Phoebe Ryan? What did you learn from these shows?
Tour is always crazy. And the best part is making a tour fam with the other acts you’re out with. We’ve been really lucky to tour with such incredible artists who we admire and ultimately became dear friends while on the road. Carly and her crew are the sweetest group. When you’re one of the openers on a big tour, there’s not always someone looking out for you, but Carly & co. were also so thoughtful and gracious. The Knocks are so much fun. Constant party on that tour. Probably the most fun we’ve ever had on tour. And Phoebe and her band were wonderful. We became really close with them. Phoebe has such a rad style and her band made me laugh so much — great times!
Do you have plans to play out live this fall a lot in support of your new music? What has been a favorite show of yours in the past?
No plans for shows this year but hope to be performing again soon early next year. My favorite show?? Hmm … Sasquatch Festival, probably. Magic.
With the summer over now, what was your favorite part about it? What was something fun that this group did or tried for the first time?
My favorite summer memory is probably flying to Seattle for a pizza party that my brother threw for me. He’s an incredible chef, and built a brick pizza oven in his yard. He made 40 pizzas for a big group of family and friends, and we ate and drank all day long. It was bliss.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these hard times?
It’s a wild time for our country and our world. The political climate, environment, and even social constructs—hello, Harvey Weinstein—are being challenged and changing radically. It’s so important to stay educated on what’s going on around us, and speaking out for what you believe in. I’m grateful that music gives me a platform to talk about things that I care about—like human rights, our basic freedoms, the need for women’s reproductive health care, climate change, the need for gun control, … shit the list goes on. And while it’s important to talk and write music about these things, it’s also important that art offers an escape from the weight of reality. It’s all about balance.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
Cyndi Lauper, Christine and the Queens, HAIM. Thomas loves Kanye, Drake, and Brian Wilson. We’d love to collab with any/all of them. Collaborating with Kendrick would be a dream, too. 🙂
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
You are capable of creating the change you hope to see in the world. You’re full of wonder and possibility. And also, have fun. Smile. Laugh. Dance. Otherwise, what’s the point?
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
Work hard. And then work harder. And then work hardest. When you think you’re there, keep going.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about the band or your music?
Go listen to our new song “Bad Boys” and tell all your friends to do the same! 🙂