The Basement – 2/27/2020 – The Skinny Limbs


Matt Burdick, Live Music Director

The Skinny Limbs joined us in the studio to talk about music videos, bad day jobs, and Michigan’s underrated west coast.


You can see what else the band is up to on their website.

Transcript below:

Matt Burdick: You’re listening to The Basement on WDBM and we have The Skinny Limbs with us in the studio tonight. You guys want to go ahead and introduce yourselves and what you do in the band?

Max Knoth: This is Max, lead vocals and guitar. 

Nate Knoth: This is Nate. I’m bass and guitar occasionally. 

Mitch Garcia: This is Mitch and I’m on keys.

Jake Knoth: This is Jake and I’ll be drumming 

Connor O’Brien: And I’m Connor. I play guitar. 

Matt Burdick: Alright, whenever you guys are ready, you can go right into your first song.

*The Professor*

You’re listening to The Basement on WDM, our specialty show for live local Michigan music. We are joined in the studio by Grand Rapids-based band The Skinny Limbs. Is there a backstory to that band name? 

Max Knoth: Yeah. It’s just a fun word combo that I thought would stick in people’s heads.

Nate Knoth: And if you could see us, the band name makes a little more sense. It’s true to life.

Matt Burdick:  So what inspired you guys to start making music together? 

Max Knoth: Three of us are brothers, so we’ve been jamming since, I don’t know, since I was like 8 or 10 or something. And then these are our good buddies on guitar and keys with us.

Gia Haddock: So did you guys have like a musical family? What got you into it for the three of you?

Jake Knoth: Well I can speak for the Knoth brothers. Our parents kind of got us into piano lessons. They’re not musicians at all, or artists, but they’re very supportive of that. And they really encourage us to do that as much as we hated piano lessons.

Nate Knoth: At the beginning it was more of a forced thing. None of us really liked it. 

Gia Haddock: Was it all of the classical training you had to go through?

Nate Knoth: Yeah. I mean, you could pick your songs, but most of it’s like, I dunno, “The Mouse Race” and whatever.

Jake Knoth: It was nothing against our teacher either. It was just young little elementary school angst.

Nate Knoth: Yeah shoutout to Mrs. Young.

Matt Burdick: So do you think, having so many members of the band be related, does that help you guys kind of click a little better or do you think that causes more brotherly feuds within the band? 

Nate Knoth: Yes and yes. Yeah I think it does help with some chemistry of just like we learn to play music with each other, so it’s kind of pretty deeply ingrained with us to just have the same sense of rhythm and same sense of where things are going. But then, yeah, that familiarity definitely gets you . In traffic and somebody trying to give directions…. 

Jake Knoth: Today. That happened today.

Nate Knoth: Yeah, on the way over here.

Gia Haddock: Did you guys all pick up instruments in hopes of starting a band? Like did you pick and choose and you were like, “These are the ones we want to do. Let’s do a band together, guys?”

Jake Knoth: I don’t think I ever did. It just kind of eventually evolved into that. Once we started kind of like playing instruments that were more in a rock band  scenario, like I picked up bass guitar first, and then we could learn the songs that we really loved and were like, “Oh, this is fun.” And then it eventually naturally happened to become a band.

Matt Burdick: And what were some of the musical inspirations you guys kind of looked at, like other bands and stuff that influenced your sound? 

Nate Knoth: Yeah, we had tons , just like Jake was referencing when we first were picking up instruments and playing. I think my dad got us for Christmas one year – we both got some Rush booklets and we had the full greatest hits.

Jake Knoth: Bass and guitar tabs.

Nate Knoth: Yup, so Jake and I sat down and he was on bass and I was on guitar and we were just busting out. So definitely Rush is an influence, I guess. We love a pretty wide range of music. 

Jake Knoth: Tom Petty.

Max Knoth: And I felt left out, so then I learned how to play drums, got to jump in with them.

Matt Burdick: You ever think about making a Skinny Limbs tab book? 

Max Knoth: Whoa. I can’t, it takes me so long to write tabs, but I’m sure these guys could do it.

Nate Knoth: Yeah Max isn’t even willing, they write music and they’re not willing to write out some tabs for us to learn it. So I don’t know if that’s in our near future.

Connor O’Brien: We’ll probably just release the full score at some point. No tabs. 

Nate Knoth: Yeah, the sheet music. 

Matt Burdick: So do you guys actually like write out sheet music when you’re planning out your songs or is it usually all by memory? 

Nate Knoth: No, it’s all just memory. 

Max Knoth: It’s either memory and jamming it out or on our computers on Logic, just tracking it down. 

Jake Knoth: Yeah that’s what we normally do. Demo it out on the computer.

Matt Burdick: Oh, what was the name of that first song you guys played? 

Nate Knoth: That was called “The Professor,” and it’s  off of our most recent EP. Seafarer-EP. Five songs. We’ve got a couple of singles since then. No, singles were before then, my bad. 

Connor O’Brien: Yeah this next song was released as a single to proceed the EP. 

Matt Burdick: Oh, flawless transition. 

Nate Knoth: Yes, thank you Connor. This song is called “Misadventures {And the Like}.”

*Misadventures  {And the Like}*

Gia Haddock: Hello, you are listening to The Basement, your place for live and local music. I am Gia, and we have the lovely band, The Skinny Limbs with us tonight, and they are from the west coast of the state. So going off of that, it’s really interesting hearing like surf rock coming from the west coast, and I’m assuming you guys are inspired by the west coast of Michigan, so what is it about it that you love living on the west side of the state? How do you think it compares to like west coast living on the West Coast of the country? 

Nate Knoth: Definitely some obvious cultural differences in the Midwest. But we still have the same sort of inspiration. Anybody that’s been to the west side of Michigan and seen the beaches, they’re pretty amazing. And a lot of people that show up, my wife’s actually from Virginia and she had never seen the lakes, of course. And I think a lot of people have the idea in their head of a lake, and then they see and they’re like, “Whoa, this kind of feels like an ocean.” You can’t see the other side. The beaches are huge. Beautiful dunes. We grew up, our dad would take us to the lakeshore or take us out to Silver Lake. There’s just a lot of magical places along there and serene scenes. 

Gia Haddock: Yeah I’m actually from Traverse City, so I’ve gotten used to all the nice, gorgeous places out on the west coast. It’s pretty great out there for sure. 

Nate Knoth: Yeah especially up there. Beautful water and everything. 

Gia Haddock: So what do you think people specifically underrate  about the west coast of Michigan?

Nate Knoth: Well I think there’s a lot of things about the beaches. I would say just personally, I think a lot of people underrate the surf quality because the thing is there’s waves, but anytime we have waves, they’re all wind-driven. So it’s usually like stormy and windy and not a good beach day. So even people that live near the beach, you know, often go to the beach on days when it’s flat, so they don’t realize there is some swell occasionally kicked up.

Gia Haddock: So you guys are surfers?

Nate Knoth:  I am, yeah.

Max Knoth: I think we’d be exaggerating a little bit if we… we surf behind boats. The wakesurf.

Jake Knoth: Yeah. Mitch and I skateboard. Connor does too, so there’s a lot of board sports stuff going on, and Nate really is honing in on the surfing stuff.

Gia Haddock: What about skiing or snowboarding?

Jake Knoth: Snowboarding, yeah. 

Nate Knoth: Yeah we’re all pretty into that. 

Max Knoth: But now, yeah, if you go to Utah one time, Michigan snowboarding gets a little ruined for you. A little spoiled there. 

Matt Burdick: while we’re talking about skiing and snow, so you guys have a very summery sound, I would say. Do people kind of react different to that when you’re playing shows in harsh winter months like this and you’re playing these like beachy songs? Do you think it makes it feel a little strange or do you think people are appreciative of that feeling in the winter?

Jake Knoth: I think people, they comment on that, the sound that we have that sounds very summery in the summer, but in the winter I feel like they react to it more. They don’t  vocalize it, they pretty much just like, there’s, there’s a lot of dancing. We had a show at Hope College and it was awesome. Like there’s a ton of kids dancing, and I think it just evokes that more, which is, that’s great.

Gia Haddock: It’s definitely needed, especially in February. 

Jake Knoth: Yeah. To keep our spirits high.

Matt Burdick: Whenever you’re ready to go into your next song, you guys can do so.


You’re listening to The Basement and we are hanging out with The Skinny Limbs. So in 2018 you guys had an EP called Sunshine Salute, and just this last year you came out with your second EP Seafarer. How do you guys think your sound kinda evolved, developed between those projects as you were going into the new stuff?

Nate Knoth: I think there’s a few, I mean, personally, we feel like there’s some just straight-up quality improvements in terms of the depth of our writing.  But aside from that, I think the first EP had pretty much across the board fairly positive kind of light tones. And then we got a little bit more, I guess complex, just kind of themes and moods in our new album.

Jake Knoth: I think we got way more comfortable in our writing too, and we also kind of had a clear perspective of what we wanted to convey  sonically. And just kinda like, just finding our sound a bit more. 

Matt Burdick: And do you think that  going from writing overall positive songs to songs that are a little more maybe complex emotionally, was that like a conscious thing you set out to do or did that just kind of happen because of the way life goes?

Jake Knoth: I think we did that. The first songs Max wrote more, and Max has more of a –  I guess your inspirations are more happy, kind of like lighthearted stuff. And I started writing more on the new music, and I have more of kind of like a darker influence. Not darker influence, but more like moody and emotional. And then I think Max, that brought it out of Max as well. So it’s kinda cool. Now he’s writing some like more emotionally deep songs. Not that I, I love happy, bright songs, but it’s fun to kind of dive a little bit deeper. 

Max Knoth: Get a little bit dark sometimes. 

Jake Knoth: Yeah. Maybe not dark, but you know, thoughtful.

Nate Knoth: Thoughts are dark. 

Matt Burdick: So is your writing process generally then that one person will build the framework and you all come together, or how collaborative is it? 

Max Knoth: Definitely, I think most of the time it’s Jake and I starting off with just tracking the framework of the song. And then usually we’ll kind of work out the kinks as a band, cause there’s always a few little inspirations that Connor or Nate will bring to the music, which gives it that extra little sparkle, 

Nate Knoth: Add a word here or there. It’s pretty heavily Jake and Max.

Gia Haddock: So you guys have some cool artwork going on, especially on your Seafarer EP and you – Oh, that was you?!

Jake Knoth: Oh yeah, sorry to cut you off but thank you! 

Gia Haddock: Oh, that’s awesome! I was going to ask if you guys like collaborated with someone, but I guess, so you like to do art in your free time?

Jake Knoth: Yeah, we’re all pretty artistic, and that’s what I want to do, for sure. I have an illustration degree, so, it has have yet to serve me fully, but it’s great that we can all kind of create  art for the music. And Nate does a ton of video stuff. 

Gia Haddock: Oh yeah. I’m sorry to cut you off, but also with the music video you guys had, that was very visually super cool, very visually gorgeous. So is that a part of you? Did you guys work with someone else?

Nate Knoth: It depends which, we have a couple that we put out. 

Matt Burdick: “Misadventures” specifically, with the drone shots, the purple and pink glows. They’re both very impressive though, “Memories” and the animation also.

Max Knoth: “Memories” was Nate doing a lot of the animation and taking some of those shots at some local vintage stores. And then “Misadventures” was mostly shot by my buddy Dario Lirio. He’s gotten really good at the drone stuff, so that was a lot of fun to do.  

Nate Knoth: Yeah, so thanks Dario for that. He helped us a ton, he put a bunch of time in. He hooked it up. 

Matt Burdick: Was that all filmed in one day or did you just have an excuse to spend a whole week at the beach?

Max Knoth: That was a few different days, but yeah, I think probably two days mostly. 

Nate Knoth: Two shoot days. A long, long edit night and many days.

Matt Burdick: Awesome. When you’re ready, you can go into your next song.

Max Knoth: This one’s called “Rosebud.”


Matt Burdick: You’re listening to The Basement on WDBM. The Skinny Limbs just played a song. They’re going to play another song in a minute, but first, I want to pivot away from music for a second, and I was wondering what is the worst day job that any of you have ever had?

Mitch Garcia: Easy. Little Caesars. 

Gia Haddock: Whoa. Hot take.

Jake Knoth: I’m going to one up you. Dishwasher.

Mitch Garcia:  I dishwashed at Little Caesars.

Jake Knoth: Dude okay you might have me beat. I dishwashed for my first job, I was probably like 16. I did it for a few months, which was probably way too long, but you got to start somewhere right?

Matt Burdick:  For sure. 

Nate Knoth: Man, I had one job. Overall, I really liked the job because it was outside gardening, but I was working at a tree nursery and for part of my job we were literally pulling stumps out of the ground and that was just the worst manual labor of all time because it was like, just big clumps of dirt. 

Mitch Garcia: Look at you now though. 

Nate Knoth: Oh, it all paid off. 

Max Knoth: It made you into the man you are today.

Jake Knoth:  I worked at a tree nursery for like one hour. It was like, I got the job, it was summertime, I thought, “Alright this is great.” And then I get in there and it’s just like, everyone’s speaking a different language, which is great, but I don’t speak that language. So, they were having a great time teaching me and they were trying, but I just, I could not hang it and I just bailed. I just panicked and bailed. 

Gia Haddock: Did you just leave, or were you like, “I quit. I can’t do this,” and just walked out?

Jake Knoth: I’m sorry to say, I did just leave.

Gia Haddock: Wow! 

Matt Burdick: You ghosted the tree nursery?

Nate Knoth: I never knew about this. 

Jake Knoth: I did, but I got a job immediately after, so it was all good.

Nate Knoth: What about your employer? Where’s the two week notice? 

Matt Burdick: I hope they’re not listening to the show. 

Jake Knoth: No, it was not cool at all, but I don’t know, that was a dark time for me. 

Nate Knoth: Yeah, that’s shameful.

Matt Burdick: Is that why the songs started getting darker? It’s after you quit your job? 

Jake Knoth: Yeah that was the exact moment. 

Nate Knoth: That’s where it began. Turned into dark boy.

Matt Burdick: So what’s next on the horizon for The Skinny Limbs? Musically and show-wise, what do you guys have coming up? 

Max Knoth: We’re going to record three singles this summer, and probably release them, probably one each month. And yeah, we’re planning shows for the spring and summer, but nothing planned right now. Nothing that we can announce.

Jake Knoth: Just stuff in the works basically, so that doesn’t really help anybody for finding us.

Max Knoth: We’re just going to be mysterious like this and just leave you hanging. 

Gia Haddock: So with the stuff you guys have in the works, would you say that you’re doing anything a little different? Like what direction do you hope you guys are going to be going in soon? 

Jake Knoth: I think, I mean, we’re super biased and I feel like we feel like this every time, but these three songs are easily our strongest I think on all accounts. And we’re going to a new producer this time, and we’re really excited for that. To shout him out, Jake Rye. And  he’s awesome. He’s worked with Michigander and Leland Blue, and those guys are amazing and we’re so stoked to be able to work with this guy. So we’re extremely excited for that. 

Matt Burdick: Nice. Shout out Michigan music.

Jake Knoth: Oh yeah. 

Matt Burdick: Whenever you guys are ready, you can do your last song.

Max Knoth: Alright this last one’s called “Bad Timing Boy.”

*Bad Timing Boy*

Gia Haddock: That was The Skinny Limbs, and you are listening to The Basement, our live and local music show. And unfortunately, this is the saddest part of the night where we have to say goodbye to our lovely, lovely band. But thank you for tuning in tonight, and thank you very much for listening.