”You are what you eat,” Guy Keltner says of his aspirations to create music reminiscent of his parents’ generation. Given that he was exposed to it for his whole life, his favorite songs are “all Motown, early reggae stuff, classic rock, old school hip hop.” Acid Tongue, Keltner’s band, is described by Freakout Records as having been “perverted in their youth by adolescent exposure to mind-altering substances and strange, spiritually-driven parenting techniques.” The exposure inspired Keltner to channel the “bad” and “weird” elements of his developmental years into his music. He says, “there’s a lot of anguish I’m channeling into our songs and it hopefully comes off as authentic, meaningful, and something genuinely from the soul.”
The content of Acid Tongue music revolves around timeliness. Keltner currently writes about adolescence and says that through the years, his sense of timeliness may shift to new experiences like fatherhood or old age. “But at the end of the day, the songs are either happy or sad. No one is out there writing a song about feeling ‘meh’.” To the adolescents whom his songs address, Keltner says this: “If you really believe in something, pursue it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t post about it online. Get out of your house and make it happen.”
Babies, Acid Tongue’s debut full-length album, was recorded during the 2016 presidential campaign when the band felt, “a huge need…to escape from the news every day,” which lead to them spending a great deal of time in the studio. Emotions ran high during this time, which Keltner says is apparent on the album: “You can feel our energy on each of those tracks, for better or worse.” After listening to the album, Keltner hopes audiences will realize that “Things can be at their lowest point and you can still find something to be happy about or someone to love.” Babies is “a record about people, how they act, and how they interact.”
As a full-time band, Keltner and Ian Cunningham, Keltner’s main collaborator and business partner, have struggled with the time commitment of day-to-day tasks, a commitment which is more than a reasonable load for just two people. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though, as Keltner says they’re getting close to their end goal: “to keep doing what we are doing but get paid a little better so we can quit our other gigs.”
Acid Tongue recently finished their sophomore album. Additionally, Keltner recorded a mini-LP in New York which he calls, “very grungy and soulful stuff,” and is now working on a record with Grant Mullen of Naked Giants, the logistics of which are still being sorted.
Keltner’s favorite thing about Ballard is that it is “still pretty mellow compared to the rest of Seattle.” He feels the Sunset and Tractor Taverns are still booming and the Tractor is his favorite venue to watch a show. His favorite local artists are Smokey Brights, Naked Giants, Shabazz Palaces, Jarv Dee, Dave B, and Travis Thompson.
Fans can find Acid Tongue on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and KEXP. They also play Ballard Seafood Festival on Saturday, June 14 at 2:30 PM. During their set, Keltner will do his best to show you who he is and “get the audience excited to celebrate life, each and every night.” Don’t miss your chance to see this set because, “every show is a unique experience.”