Christchurch band The Response defy description – in fact, they struggle to pigeonhole themselves. The musical duo and married couple, Andy and Vic Knopp, say they “move around” the musical landscape: alt, electronic, folk, indie, pop…
“Eclectic!” Andy laughs. “We don’t take ourselves super seriously,” says Vic. “We have fun with what we do.”
The Response are anything but cookie cutter. Sinking back into their couch, mugs of tea in hand, in the sea of drum kits, instruments and synths that make their home, the pair can’t remember exactly when they began. It was only after releasing their first self-titled album last year that they started playing live. Since then, they have dedicated themselves to being a duo and that shapes their music – they faithfully translate their tracks to the stage without a band or backing track.
“It’s all about multi-tasking,” says Vic. “In our full set-up Andy plays guitar, sings and has a kick drum and keyboard. I play the bass, synth or xylophone, or drum samples while doing the backing vocals. Everything’s triggered live and could fall apart at any moment.”
Their gig at Christchurch’s Pallet Pavilion proved a testament to this. No limb was free, yet despite this, their acoustic renditions were close to perfect. Second album ‘Familiar Ache, released at the end of March, is a reflection of this dedication to one another. They decided to take the band down an electronic path so they could pack up their musical lives into a suitcase. It in no way detracts from their tracks, each stands out on its own and is true to their individual sound.
“We don’t wear our influences on our sleeves; we play them close to our chest,” Andy says.
The two, who met at CPIT Jazz School, are grounded and ridiculously understated.
“Every new song is an achievement,” says Andy. “If I was still writing and recording music when I was 80 and its still just friends and family listening to it, so be it.”
They don’t know how or why people are picking them up, it just seems to happen. Even a French college radio station is playing them on rotation, they don’t know where it is or why, neither of them really understands. Vic and Andy have no grand plan but they may have to get used to more attention, this is a pairing listeners seem to get hooked on.