If you're from around the Boone area, then you know who RKS is. According to their website, "Rainbow Kitten Surprise and all five of its members hail from the mountains of Boone, North Carolina. With catchy, meaningful lyrics, beautifully designed bass lines and melodic guitar riffs, their unique sound will keep you humming their tunes all day long. The Alternative/Indie-Pop band takes influence from great artists like Modest Mouse, Lana Del Rey, and Kings of Leon.
Darrick "Bozzy" Keller plays the guitar and sings backup vocals/harmonies in RKS. Bozzy is 22 years old and a senior at Appalachian State University. He mainly plays guitar, but his true love is singing. He started playing music when he was 12 years old, but he didn't take it seriously until he was at least 18. I was lucky enough to interview him.
How and when did RKS begin?
"Sam and I lived on the same floor in our freshman dorm (2012-2013) and we met smoking cigarettes outside one night. We slowly became friends and later played music. I was amazed the first time I heard Sam's voice/original songs. I just knew that he HAD to be heard, and so I begged him to do an open mic with me. The rest just feels like a huge daze. I look back on those days--I cannot believe that we have made it this far!"
Do you get nervous before a show?
"Always. I still get just as nervous now playing for hundreds of people as I did playing for my friends years ago. I think, however, I have just grown a better ability to cope with the stress."
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
"I make plenty of mistakes, as most musicians would agree happens to them as well. I think the key to being a good musician is not based on how well you necessarily play a song--but how well you can bring things back after mistakes."
What advice would you give someone just starting out in the music business?
"To find what inspires them and polish any niches or talents that their group may have. I think the key to success is finding what works for you as a group and marketing that facet effectively."
What is your favorite venue to play and why?
"Any venue in Boone is obviously a favorite--we have such passionate hometown fans. Outside of Boone, though, Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC is one of my favorites. Such professional people to work with, whether it be the management or live sound engineers. Their professionalism shined bright from the moment we booked our first show there."
Do you write your own music?
"It just depends. Sam writes the lyrics and general song basics. Any deviation from that is a collaborative effort but it's turned out great both ways. I'm generally happy with the material Sam writes--and he is open to suggestions. It works better this way, too, because a total collaboration could turn chaotic. I think, overall, it is best to have an "author" and the rest of the band are editors, if that makes sense."
Rumor has it that you guys don't tell anyone what the lyrics mean, is this true? Why or why not?
"Since I don't write the lyrics I am not at the liberty to disclose any song meanings."
Do you guys have any special traditions before a performance?
"Before big shows, usually, we have a "call-and-response" type chant we do. It's pretty hype. If you have been to some ofshows, you may have heard it."
How has your music developed over the years?
"Since it started as a folk duo with Sam and I, it's safe to say we have developed a ton over the years. We have definitely become more energetic and dynamically diverse in our instrumentation and vocal harmonies."
Do you have a favorite song to perform? What is it and why?
"'That's my Shit!' Because I usually drop the guitar and jump around the stage. It is, undoubtedly, the highlight of my performance while also being the most exhausting. I don't see how Sam has the stamina to do that an entire set!"
Where do you see RKS is 5 years?
"Hopefully, still producing and performing new, quality original music. I hope we can keep doing this for a long time!"
When can fans expect new music?
"We have been working hard lately to write new music. I would say in the next year, at least, we will have another full-length album finished. Hopefully more."
Do you guys have any upcoming shows?
"Yes. We have a very busy spring/summer ahead and we will be touring around the U.S."