The breakthrough pop/hip-hop duo Karmin, comprised of recently married Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan are excited to be hitting the Bud Light Entertainment Stage at St. Louis PrideFest on Sunday, June 26 at 4 p.m. #Boom caught up with the duo via telephone to talk Pride, their new music, and more...
We're excited to have you perform at St. Louis PrideFest - what do you have in store for audiences this summer?
Nick: We have a lot of shit in store. We have an amazing show. We think it's a ton of energy, it's a little bit more of like a Rock 'n' Roll than it is necessarily a pure pop show. It's a lot of Amy doing her thing that's for sure.
Amy: Yeah, it's pretty much the Amy show and then Nick plays like a million instruments. It's also very interactive as well. We like to touch people - like physically.
You've been performing on the Pride circuit for awhile now - what's that experience been like for you?
N: Yeah, we have been doing it for a minute. They are actually our favorite shows. There is another level of release of freedom, of energy that is very rarely found at any other shows that we do. I don't know, it's like a relief, it's a celebration and that's the ultimate atmosphere that you want to perform for.
What was your first PrideFest or Gay Pride experience?
N: Yeah, I think it was in college, it was in Boston. I don't know if it was exactly a Gay Pride - this was still the mid 2000's - but it was definitely like a freedom festival and it was something where it was a very heavily leaning LGBT celebration. Were we together for that?
A: I don't think so. I think the first time we experienced Pride together as Karmin was actually San Francisco Pride. That was unforgettable for me because I remember performing in front of the Court House and there were like 100,000 people, so I remember that, and the parade was so magnificent. I remember calling our manager and was like: 'Can you book a bunch of these? Thanks.'
San Francisco was a great first Pride to start with [laughs].
N: Yeah, it's pretty small [laughs].
A: But it's been fun seeing other city's Pride celebrations grow in size and grandeur, because I know a lot of them started small and built up. So it's been awesome to see some of the smaller celebrations.
What's the status of your new album Leo Rising? Tell us about it.
A: Absolutely. So the status is we're independent artists now, so we have a lot more freedom creatively and also with the timing of everything, right? So it used to be with a major label, like: 'Push this single and if it doesn't work in four weeks you've got to move on.' It was much more scheduled but now we're a little more organic with our sound and the way we let our fans discover it. And we've also matured a lot, so the sound of Leo Rising - it's definitely the best music we've ever made and we made it 100 percent ourselves which is really meaningful. So when we hear like the new single "Sugar" on the radio now it's a lot more meaningful. But it's a zodiac album so each song is based on a zodiac song.
What's your favorite song to perform right now and why?
A: Probably "Sugar" right now because it's the single and you start to see people singing along. That's really exciting. And I forgot to mention the album is probably coming in June. We also have an app where we're releasing the music early for free.
If you had to describe your sound in three words what would they be?
N: Honest. Energy. Creative.
In an interview you said you think of yourselves as new-age artists - what does that mean exactly?
N: We are artists born from the internet. Literally, the road we have taken and the path that we've had did not exist 10 years ago. So
it's very specific in its time and it's the way that the internet has changed since we first started five years ago. So it's a very particular moment in history that this was able to happen. It's kind of the future, you know - we didn't start the record label or anything, it was very organic.
You've been very successful at using new media to help promote your brand and music and career. Do you think you've designed a new road map for future entertainers?
N: We would love nothing more than to have done that. I think time will tell and I think we're still, hopefully, on the cutting edge of things with this next wave of Karmin. But we would love that. I think that would be the ultimate - that's what everyone wants at the end of the day.
Let's talk about your LGBT fans - when did you first realize you were cultivating a large gay following?
N: Pretty early on, pretty early on. We started off doing covers on YouTube and we would notice that some of the comments - because there's no gender, there's no anything on a comment on YouTube - and we just started to get some with like 100,000 views and some comments generating, and some of them would be like: "Nick it really hot and Amy is really pretty for a girl" and stuff like that. And we were like - oh cool - this is rad, this is dope. Because the joke is first you have the gays, then you have everybody else.
A: They're early adapters.
N. They're early adapters. They're taste-makers. So we loved it, we thought that was perfect.
A: And back when we didn't have enough money to build our own website there was one person that sent us a check to pay for it and he happened to be gay and happens to be one of our closest friends to this day.
N: Yeah, and he started out being a Karmin super fan.
Congrats on your recent marriage. You were engaged for quite awhile - did you intentionally wait until marriage equality became legal before tying the knot?
A: That was the goal. I can't confirm it but that was the goal [laughs].
N: No, that's amazing. We did actually get engaged prior to "Look at Me Now" blowing up so it has been a minute. But yeah, we can't talk too much about the wedding details, but we had talked about waiting until it was an option for everyone else for sure. That was something that we wanted to do.
You both have been fairly vocal LGBT rights advocates - what's your take on the current religious freedom laws and anti-transgender bathroom bills.
A: It's so fucked up.
N: You know what it is, dude? I have this theory. There has been a lot of social progression over the last 8-10 years. A lot, right? So a lot of people can say yeah, I was always there, but now it's public, it's out there. Even if you look at something like having a black man elected president to marijuana becoming legal on a state level and maybe closer to becoming legal on a federal level, and then for all the LGBT equality and rights and marriage and all this stuff. So I think a lot of people who are very - there has been so much social steps happening over the last 8-10 years. You know, two steps forward and one step back.
A: The more stuff that happens I think the conservatives get more and more upset about it. I think it shows that we're getting somewhere and I think that's excellent.
N: There's a cause and reaction and we're not there yet but damn it we're getting a lot, lot closer. We're taking the steps that have to be taken.
Last question: You'll be performing at St. Louis PrideFest - what does Pride mean to Nick & Amy?
N: You have to be proud in your own skin of who you actually are.
A: Yeah, that's exactly what I was going to say.