Image Courtesy of: Relient K Facebook Page
Quick facts about Relient K
PLACE OF ORIGIN
Early Days of Relient K
Relient K was formed by Matt Thiessen (lead vocals, piano, rhythm guitar), Matt Hoopes (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Brian Pittman (bass guitar) during their third year of high school. The band was named after Hoopes’ car at the time, a Plymouth Reliant K. They decided to change the spelling of ‘Reliant’ to avoid a trademark infringement.
The band recorded and released their first demo CD that same year, titled “All Work & No Play” which grabbed the attention of Toby McKeehan from DC Talk who signed them to his Gotee Records label. With the label, the band was able to release their debut studio album, “Relient K”. It was a very rock heavy album that contained some pop culture and Biblical references such as “Hello McFly” being a reference to the “Back to the Future” films, and “My Girlfriend” drawing parallels to 1 Peter 5:8 in the Bible.
In 2001, the band released their second studio album, “The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek”. The album was significantly softer than the band’s first album. The tracks on the album were connected by continued chords to create a fluid transition. This effect would go on to become a trend that featured in several of the band’s later albums. The album was also the record that cemented their place within the Christian rock industry.
Growing in Popularity
The band’s third studio album, “Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…but Three Do”, was released in 2003. The following year, the album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Rock Gospel Album” category and won a Dove Award in the “Modern Rock Album of the Year” category. In 2004, Relient K released their fourth studio album, “Mmhmm”. The album was more serious than any of the band’s previous work as the group experimented with new sounds. Two of the songs from the album became Top 40 hits and made it to MTV’s Top Ten. It was awarded a Dove Award for “Rock Album of the Year” in 2006 and the Christian band was nominated for both “Artist of the Year” and “‘Band of the Year” at the Canadian GMA Covenant Awards. Shortly before its release, Pittman decided to leave the band, as he had grown tired of touring, in order to pursue personal interests. He did, however, keep in contact with his bandmates as they had been friends for over 7 years.
Relient K released their fifth studio album, “Five Score and Seven Years Ago” in 2007. The name of the album came from the first line of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. It was also the band’s fifth album with all five members were on a recording together, and it was their seventh year since Relient K’s first album. It debuted at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and several singles from the album charted incredibly well. That year, the band’s tour bus caught on fire due to an oil spill from the engine. Fortunately, no one was injured. Although they lost valuable instruments, cameras, clothing, and laptops, they were able to save most of their equipment. Their next scheduled show had to be canceled as a result of the incident, but they were able to recover in time for the show following it.
From then on, the Christian rock band continued to release new music every couple of years, toured extensively, and collaborated with other artists. Some of their notable releases include 2008’s “The Bird and the Bee Sides” EP, 2010’s “Forget and Not Slow Down” album, 2011’s “Is For Karaoke” album, 2013’s “Collapsible Lung” album; all of which were successful on the charts.
"Music is one of those conduits that allows for expressing some of those feelings (of spiritually, faith, and what's important to you)." - Matt Hoopes
Relient K and God
The band has often used their music as a way to connect with other people and with God. Their discography contains songs that are both subtle and blatant with their Christian messaging. Though the band hasn’t spoken specifically about their faith as individuals, they have stated that they feel like everyone has their own way of singing about spirituality and that, at the end of the day, their music reflects who they are and what they believe in.
Image Courtesy of: Relient K Facebook Page
The Latest from Relient K
Relient K’s most recent album was their 2016 release of “Air For Free“. This was the band’s 8th album and it charted incredibly well, debuting at No. 44 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart. Later that year, they released the Halloween-themed EP, “The Creepier EP…er”. In 2017 they released another EP titled, “Truly, Madly, Deeply” on Valentine’s Day. During those two years, the band went on tour with Switchfoot. Most recently, in 2020, the band released a combination of live tracks from their 2009 and 2016 performances that had previously only been available on vinyl.