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Rising collective Kindred does music like a family—but not the toxic kind


“We’re like a family here.” 

There’s something about this phrase that rubs me off the wrong way. Aside from hearing it from employers trying to mask their toxic work culture with a thin veneer of camaraderie, it’s also a statement I’ve come across a million times in various pop culture contexts.

In specific, the word “family” gets easily thrown around in the entertainment field to describe a band’s (or any group’s) dynamic. It’s a cliché tagline—an attempt to sell an image of tight siblinghood and a manufactured illusion of unity. 

Let’s be real, though: How many of these so-called “families” have survived beyond the stage lights and camera flashes? How many of them didn’t end up crumbling under the weight of internal problems and silent animosities? I mean, I’ve personally lost count of “tight-knit” pop groups that couldn’t even make eye contact with their ex-members after disbandment.

Although we can never be too sure of what goes on backstage, “family” has seemingly been watered down to a mere marketing ploy in the realm of pop stardom.

Still from “IDWTXTUBABY” official music video

So, seeing a boy group with a name that literally means “family” piqued my interest. Kindred (an eight-member boy band composed of Pikunin, nouvul, Fern., dot.jaime, Slomo Says, Cavill, VINCED, and Punzi) has intrigued me to no end. Are they just another bunch of artists playing the (empty) family card or would they actually walk the talk? (Spoiler alert: It’s the latter.)

“Kindred means family—a sense of kinship. That’s what [we’re trying] to put out there,” shares Fern. in an exclusive interview. He also emphasizes that their close ties extend outside the members; it includes everybody involved in their career. “The people that help set this up for us [and those] that work with us—our work is their work.”

As we further go on with our conversation, it only becomes clearer that their claim of being a “family” goes beyond lip service. They aren’t your perfectly polished, always-smiling, Sunday-brunching type of fam, though. Kindred is more like that slightly dysfunctional but highly compatible crew. (They’d end up as your fave cousins should you stumble upon them at a dreaded family reunion.)

Yet to be convinced? Well, here are the ways in which the eight-piece band proves it.

Kindred is chaotic but hella productive together

If not in a band, Kindred members are all over the place. One would be in a professional football team, another would be an accountant, while the other would be a counselor. Some of them also see themselves married (with two dogs) or striving toward becoming pilots, scuba divers, and esports players.

They have opposing interests—a factor that can be considered problematic when talking about group works and/or collaborations. But for Kindred, this diversity is their strength, and it manifested best in the way they worked on their 15-track album “Subset.”

“Chop suey” and “hybrid” are the terms they use to describe the record, as it reflects the mishmash of ideas and influences that come from their varied backdrops. The ingredients (a.k.a. genres) seem to be haphazardly thrown into the pot (a.k.a. album) but the flavors still manage to blend in harmony. 

Although as Pikunin says: “[This album’s] only a small subset of what we are and what we are capable of as a group.”

Handling differences is a piece of cake to them

“Honesty is the most important thing for all of us,” nouvul opens up. “I think we are all at a level where we can take criticism [from each other] and push for something that fits the [collective’s] vision much more.”

He also shares that throughout the years they’ve known each other, they’ve learned to set ground rules and disclose their non-negotiables. “If you think about it, it’s kind of like getting into a relationship with each other. I feel like it’s a lot of communication, a lot of course correction, and negotiation. [We now have] a mutual desire to understand, honor, and respect each other.”

Simply put, the members have created a free-judgment space where open communication flows effortlessly—much like what a home is (or must be) to a family.

Meticulously crafted public image? Fuck that

You know how professional titles (and/or educational backgrounds) become irrelevant when it comes to dealing with family matters? That’s how Kindred works, too… well, kind of.

When talking about pop stars, the immediate image that comes to mind is a pretty-faced individual with a personality that is seemingly patterned after a green flag fictional character’s plus jaw-dropping talents. But the eight-member group isn’t all that—far from it, actually.

“We can’t dance properly. If you break down what a pop star is, we [are not] the textbook definition of it,” says Pikunin. “For us, being a pop star is just a mentality that we [adopt] and grow into, so we just want people to see [that] anyone can be a pop star. Even them. Even Scout can be a pop star.”

“We’re just reflections of what you guys can do, too. [We’re] normal people [who do] what they love. That’s it,” nouvul adds. “What makes a pop star is not their looks, talent, or whatever it is. It’s how bad you want it.” 

Kindred doesn’t present themselves as pop icons on a pedestal, but rather as real people who just happen to be genuinely passionate at what they do. They don’t hide behind a facade of perfection. Instead, they embrace their flaws unapologetically—all while hoping that they become a source of inspo for future pop stars.

They fight over petty things, too

Similar to any family that spends most of their time with each other, Kindred isn’t immune to disagreements—yes, petty or not. “One time, tinanong ko si nouvul kung pwede niya ba kunin ’yung keyboard sa kabilang bahay, tapos nag-away kami,” shares Fern. while trying not to laugh. (“One time, I asked nouvul if he could get the keyboard in another house, then we fought.”)

“And another time, [he] was cooking up a beat, and I laughed, and nag-away ulit kami (we fought again).”

The fact that the members can laugh freely while looking back at these tiny moments, though, just goes to show that their clashes (at least thus far) are nothing more than the typical sibling spats: petty *and* hilarious.

To know more about Kindred—and the track they think would lure new fans in—check out our latest “What’s Up?” episode below. (It’s also available on Instagram and TikTok.)

Banner from “IDWTXTUBABY” official music video



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