Getty|WireImage|Getty The word "reinvention" comes to mind when you consider…
- Posted on Oct 27th 2010 3:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
"I used to go home right after 6th grade and put on 'Yo! MTV Raps' and chill with Doctor Dre and Ed Lover for hours," Kolenik tells Spinner. "That's all I thought about. In the early '90s, clearly hip-hop was the best going on. Right before grunge, even as a young kid, I knew this was a lot cooler than everything I was hearing."
Mercifully, Small Black doesn't make rap music, but when Kolenik and fellow Casio aficionado Ryan Heyner founded the group in late 2008, they endeavored to capture the spirit of the music. It's apparent on both the group's 2009 self-titled debut EP and 'New Chain,' the full-length follow-up, out now on Jagjaguwar.
"When we started thinking about Small Black, we were thinking about music we really loved when we were in high school, when something blows you away," Kolenik says. "You're young and you don't really know why. We were like, 'What did we love about that music?' And I think it's just the sampling in general. It takes something that exists, flips it on its side and does something completely different to it. It doesn't feel totally locked into a band structure, where everything does your role. It's that freedom to write music in that way and there's no limitation -- that's what was so amazing about hip-hop."
Kolenik still has love for the genre, which he says is as sonically adventurous as ever.
"They still pull from every genre," he says of today's hip-hoppers. "They're not scared to do that. I aspire to that with our music. If you listen to [New York City hip-hop and R&B station] Hot 97, it's just a synth-pop station where people rap over it. They've sampled pretty much every '80s synth song at some point. The lines are blurring more and more and everything is getting closer and closer."
Hearing him talk, it seems unlikely he'll be trading his synthesizer for a guitar, even if '90s-rock revivalism becomes the next indie trend.
"I'm too old to be in a grunge band," Kolenik says. "I'm not really that angry. I'm pretty relaxed dude."