Our Seattle visual manager Nikki recently spent the day with Lonnie & Thomas of the band Cardiknox in their hometown of Seattle. Nikki documented the band throughout the day as they did a bit of wandering, hit up the local record store, found a photo booth, met the cutest bull dog named El Capitán, and grabbed a cone from Molly Moon’s, the best ice cream in Seattle. It’s safe to say, these two are our latest band crush – meet Cardiknox, and listen to their incredibly catchy song “Wasted Youth” below!
How was Cardiknox born?
Lonnie: Thomas and I were introduced in Seattle through a mutual friend who thought that we would work well together. My background is in musical theater and Thomas had just completed writing and releasing an epic rock opera called Razia’s Shadow. I ended up loving Razia’s, and we started working together to develop it into a full-fledged musical (he and his brother, Paul, were the composers and I wrote the libretto). That project actually ended up taking Thomas and I to NYC, where we’ve now lived for almost 4 years. While working on the musical, we also started playing around in the studio a bit (Thomas was producing some bands at the time), and something clicked. We didn’t get very serious about the music until about a year ago when we took a break from developing the musical. That’s really when Cardiknox was ‘born,’ and it’s taken over our lives (in the best way possible) since!
You are both originally from Seattle, how does that influence you?
Lonnie: I think having Seattle roots really grounds you (pun intended). Seattle is slower-paced than NYC and it’s also full of authentic/genuine people. Growing up here and going to school at the University of Washington allowed me to really grow into my ‘adult self’ in a pretty safe, nurturing environment. Beyond that, it’s SUCH an artistic community. Seattle is a great place to work as a professional artist (music, theater, visual arts—you name it!) and when I was growing up, I became keenly aware that working as a professional artist was a real possibility. I remember going to the theater, watching musicals, and thinking “I want that for me.”
Thomas: I’ve been playing in bands since I was about twelve years old when my brother got a Telecaster for his birthday. Practicing in garages and playing at grimy teen centers. Being in the Seattle area, in an artistic community as Lonnie mentioned, full of other kids with Telecasters, made it wholly possible.
In three words describe your music.
Lonnie: Honest. Spicy. Addictive.
Thomas: Lush. Colorful. Big.
What’s the process for the two of you when writing a song?
Lonnie: Our process really varies as you never know when inspiration will strike (often in the subway or the shower—thank god for the voice recorder on the iPhone). But if I had to map it out, I’d say that we normally start with a lyric phrase—a thought or idea that really strikes us. We often take that idea and build it out into a melody of sorts, (maybe it’s the hook or the pre-chorus), build chords around it, a beat, and then go from there! Sometimes we’ll be able to build a song-skeleton really fast, and other times, it can take a while.
You both have great style, how do you like to dress when you’re on stage?
Lonnie: Aw, thanks! My onstage attire normally consists of some sort of spandex high-waisted pant and a crop-top or leotard. Oftentimes, I’m in black or a combo of black and white. A primary concern for stage clothes is comfort—I need to be able to dance my butt off and not think about what I’m wearing. I also find that every time I get dressed for a show in form-fitting, ‘loud’ clothes, I feel fierce. It’s almost as if I’m suiting up for battle and my clothes are the final piece of getting my head in the game.
Thomas: I like bold looks. Black and whites. Sharp lines and patterns.
A song or artist that you have on repeat?
Lonnie: I love a strong frontwoman. Recently I’ve had Tove Lo’s EP, Truth Serum on repeat. She’s Swedish and writes crazy good hooks. (Those Swedes sure know how to do it right.) Speaking of Swedes, I always have Robyn’s Body Talk readily available, and lately I’ve been jammin’ to old school No Doubt. Love me some Gwen.
Thomas: I always have Drake and Beyonce on repeat. Always. More recently I’ve also mixed in the new RAC, Say Lou Lou, MO, and Wet.
Lonnie: Rock-stardom/world domination surrounded by my friends and family. Oh and happiness. A helluva lot of happiness.
Thomas: Headline The Gorge, Red Rocks, and Hollywood Bowl.
What does Free mean to you?
Both: We thought about this for a while and agreed that in many ways it means the same thing to both of us. Free is about letting go. Getting out of our heads, releasing control, and tapping into a part of ourselves that is uninhibited. I think that’s why we both love performing so much. When we’re on stage, we feel free.
More indie music from the BLDG 25 Blog.