Blast from the Recent Past: Relient K

Kyle Robinson Holly Springs, GARelient K is a successful Christian Alternative rock band formed in 1998.

Relient K comes from Canton, Ohio, and had a solid national fan base and two golden albums by 2004. It was with the release of the bands album “MmHmm” that rocketed them that year. With he marketing success of Capitol Records working with them, the group scored a mainstream hit, “Be My Escape”, as well as several TV appearances and a spot on the Vans Warped Tour.

The album “MmHmm” sold about 800,000 copies, which is still a number that would make the news to this day.

Dave Douglas, the drummer of Relient K, said, “That was the record that took us upstream. We got to do some big-budget video shoots, had a couple of songs in the top 40.” He adds, “It’s an important record as far as the band is concerned, and a lot of fans consider it tone a favorite, with songs they really related to.”

Guitarist Matt Hoopes considers “MmHmm” to be “Probably our most pivotal album, for sure. We had fun recording the first three albums, but every decision was always about the budget. For this one, the idea going in was, ‘Let’s really try to make a great-sounding record.’”

Hoopes vividly remembers hearing the hit single “Be My Escape” on the radio for the first time. He says, “I feel like every person in the band remembers that moment. It’s crazy. You feel this thing happening around you.”

During the beginning stages of the band, the group released their debut album in 2000 which was self-titled, and the band members look back on how far they have come since then. “We were trying our best,” Says Hoopes. “But it just sounds ridiculous. Almost everyone in a cool indie band today was in a horrible pop-punk band in high school.” He adds, “I’m still in that band.”

Hoopes explains further, “The important thing is we are able to solve and bring in different influences, although I think we’ll always have some pop-punk in us. I’m very proud of our last three or four records.”

Relient K was launched in the Christian music scene with many Christian fans, however, the group has never branded itself as a Christian-Rock specific band. Hoopes says, “Christian music is the only genre classified by lyrical content alone, which is a hard thing to quantify because lyrics can mean different things to different people.”

He goes on to say, “We were more about, ‘Are we honest and writing about things that are important to us?’ I think that’s what connected us to people. It almost becomes something bigger than the music.”