Skinny the Kid begins tour
Pullman native Nick Van Nuland taught himself to play the guitar when he was a sophomore in high school.
“I wasn’t really into school or sports or anything, but I knew I loved music, so I wanted to learn how to play it,” Van Nuland said. “I wanted to see if I could actually be good at it.”
He stuck with it, and started the soul-pop rock band Skinny the Kid with a friend from high school. The meaning behind the band’s name remains a secret.
“We leave it a mystery for everyone. And any reason we tell is never fully true,” Van Nuland said.
When Van Nuland graduated high school, his original band-mate began college, and Skinny the Kid took a hiatus. But a few months later, in the fall of 2013, Van Nuland was introduced to 18-year-old Ethan Stevenson.
Stevenson began playing the violin when he was 6 years old, and has since learned to play guitar, bass and drums. He grew up in Elverson, Pennsylvania, but moved to Moscow when his siblings began attending New Saint Andrews College downtown.
Van Nuland and Stevenson decided to pick up Skinny the Kid where they left off, and thus began the current version of the band, which has been busy playing shows and recording a six-track EP due to be released May 16.
During live shows, Van Nuland plays the guitar and sings, Stevenson plays bass and other musicians, such as Stevenson’s brother and other friends, play drums and other instruments. While recording, Van Nuland and Stevenson play all the instruments themselves.
Although Van Nuland began his journey as a musician in high school and Stevenson began playing at an early age due to influence from his older siblings, both say their love of music is based on the intangible magic the notes and tones hold.
“I just love the idea of (music) not really existing, but you can still manipulate it,” Stevenson said. “I also just love to play music. I’ve been doing it for a long time, so I just really enjoy it.”
Van Nuland said his passion for music stems from the mystery surrounding it.
“It’s sort of mysterious, how it’s created,” Van Nuland said. “It’s random tones and sonic waves and notes and things that just sort of erupt out of what you’re doing. It’s just kind of this odd thing that’s just sort of out there. Music is this constant build, this tension and release that makes for a very cathartic experience.”
Aside from music, both men said they have hobbies that define them outside of Skinny the Kid. Stevenson is a self-proclaimed movie and TV show enthusiast and dabbles in carpentry.
“I like to fix things sometimes,” Stevenson said. “I am somewhat of an amateur carpenter. I worked construction for almost a year, so I enjoy that kind of stuff.”
Van Nuland began writing songs in high school, but said he developed a love for the written word early on.
“I used to want to be a journalist for a really long time,” Van Nuland said. “Also, when I was in elementary school I wrote terrible, terrible screenplays that I thought were amazing.”
However, both musicians agreed their greatest focus is making and producing music, and said most of their current energy is going into building a reputation as a talented and passionate band, reaching greater audiences with their work. Van Nuland and Stevenson hope this endeavor will lead to a future career in music.
“I want to have this be what I’m doing, making enough money from it to live on,” Van Nuland said. “Not like I’m in it for the money, but it’s the only thing that I want to be doing, so hopefully I can be living off of it.”
Stevenson, who gained a lot of experience recording music while recording Skinny the Kid’s upcoming album, said he’d be happy with a future in either playing or recording.
“I’ve always thought of being a touring musician for a few years and then just playing shows or having people over to my house to record music,” Stevenson said. “I want to be a part of the music community and just be constantly making music.”
Skinny the Kid is commonly seen performing at Bucer’s, One World Café, the Pizza Pit and various other house shows. Even though the bulk of the band’s fan base is family and friends, Van Nuland said their popularity has taken an upward turn, as can be seen sometimes on the streets of Moscow.
“It’s always interesting when we’re walking down the street and somebody we don’t know leans out the window and says ‘Yeah, Skinny the Kid!'” Van Nuland said. “It only happens every once in a while, but it’s nice. It’s a very elevating feeling.”
Skinny the Kid is going on tour in the coming months. The schedule is comprised of shows Van Nuland arranged through contacts in places like Astoria, Oregon, and Olympia, Washington. Right now, the list of gigs is small, but growing. In August, they plan to go on tour with An American Forest, who Van Nuland described as an “Americana-rock, country-folk” band. Skinny the Kid will be periodically updating its Facebook page with exact dates and locations of the tour.
“Basically, what I tell people when I ask them to come to our shows is it will be a good time whether you’re just sitting there watching or you’re being a part of the show,” Stevenson said. “I like it when I see people there having a fun time. That’s what I hope people get from watching us.”
Lyndsie Kiebert can be reached at email@example.com