The Bazillions are a Minneapolis-based kindie band that brilliantly weaves educational concepts into their songs in a fun and accessible way. Mathematical concepts and figures of speech are explained through stories featuring relatable characters (see “Similes and Metaphors” below).
The band’s entry into kids’ music started in 2010 when Adam and Kristin Marshall were teaching at Kenny Elementary School. From their very first days in the classroom, the couple found themselves writing songs for and with their students, which rapidly became regularly requested hits.
There is another dimension to The Bazillions that has always grabbed my attention, and that is their awesome music videos.Pairing up with the design/animation team of Eric Kreidler and Gretchen Blase Kreidler (collectively referred to as eg design), this crafty crew has put a ton of thought into creating powerful visuals that provide even more depth and insight into the concepts they cover. And with over 2,200,00 views on YouTube, I’m clearly not alone in my devotion.
In honor of Father’s Day and school being out, today’s feature includes a Q&A with Adam Marshall, as well as a video for “No Homework.” Ok, and I had to include one of my favorites “Similes and Metaphors,” because it is outstanding and I love the story they tell to help clarify the difference between the two. I needed this when I was in school!
Keep up with The Bazillions at their official site, and look out for their forthcoming album, On the Bright Side, which will be released on July 17, 2015. It’s a gooooood one, folks!
KCG: What does being a Dad mean to you?
AM: I’ve embarked, along with my wife Kristin on the most wonderful, challenging, surprising and hilarious journey I could ever take. Good or bad, there’s something new everyday.
KCG: What is the best thing about being a Dad?
AM: The laughs. My kids are funny. Sure, sometimes it’s unintentional, but either way they’re funny!
KCG: How has your work as a musician been impacted by your role as a Father?
AM: Although I’ve only written a couple of songs that were directly about my kids (“Lookout Man” from Rock-n-Roll Recess was about my daughter Naomi), they are always in my head. I can imagine them as the characters in many of the songs I write. A song like “Front Seat” which is about the day a child gets to ride in the front, passenger seat of a car is not about my kids directly, but as I’m writing the song I can see and imagine them making the transition to the front seat of the car. The lyric may formulate itself because I can imagine how they’d react in that situation. The same would go for a song like “You’re Embarrassing Me.” The story in the song is fictional but I’m sure I thought about my kids when I wrote it. So in a way they’re in a lot of the songs.
KCG: How are you planning to celebrate Father’s Day?
AM: Give my wife and kids a huge hug and then go to record stores and get some vinyl!
KCG: What is (one of) the most memorable moment you’ve had as a Dad.
AM: Other than the day they were born; when my daughter was 2 she grabbed the mic at an open jam party we were at and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. When she was finished everyone clapped. She waited for the clapping to stop then asked if they wanted to hear “ABC.” I guess she was prepared to do a whole set!
KCG: How often do you play music with your kids? Do your kids perform with you?
AM: Since we rehearse in my house, my son Felix will often sit in with the band. He gets his ukulele out and plays along as we rehearse. He just rocks out with us. He has all the moves and looks like one of the guys. It’s awesome. Also, anytime we’ve recorded something new I’ll play it for them. Usually in the car. It’s great to see what they react to, and it’s really great when they start requesting certain songs over and over again. It’s like your own personal focus group.