The Fresh Beat Band was created by Scott Kraft and Nadine van der Velde, a husband-and-wife producing team who also are behind children’s shows including “Rolie Polie Olie,” “Little Miss Spider” and “Gerald McBoingBoing.”
Though Fresh Beat’s four-year run on Nickelodeon ended in 2013, the brand lives on through concert tours and an animated series (“Fresh Beat Band of Spies”) that premieres in 2015.
In advance of the Fresh Beat Band’s concert Wednesday at Darien Lake, Kraft and van der Velde answered questions by email:
Question: You created Fresh Beat Band with your two daughters in mind. Tell that story.
Answer: Overall, what we tried to do with the series (and all our kids shows) was influenced by both our daughters, but it was most specifically inspired by (our younger daughter) Bea. She went to a 3-year-old birthday that was themed after an older kid’s music show and she bugged us to watch the show and while it had catchy music and funny acting, it ultimately was about hooking up, which is really outside kids wheelhouse at that age. And we realized there were no shows that had the look and feel of the older kid’s music and comedy, but was more appropriate to pre-teens, so we took that goal into the Fresh Beat Band: To create a show with music that sounded “radio ready,” had a style that made it fun and attractive to pre-teens, but was always age appropriate in content. The other thing that really influenced us was seeing how much both our girls loved music and movement – especially dancing – and wanting to give kids an opportunity to have music created specifically for them that was not “kid” music – just “kid appropriate.”
Q: I’ve come across several parents who liken Fresh Beat to a Monkees for younger kids. What’s your take on that?
A: If that makes us Bob Rafelson and Carol King, sure! Scott watched the Monkees as a kid, Nadine didn’t. But beyond that we weren’t overly influenced by them.
Q: What’s been the most unexpected result of the Fresh Beat Band experience?
A: We been really happy at how much the Fresh Beat Band has turned into a total family experience. We created it so that kids would have an age-appropriate place to enjoy what they love: pop music and dancing and silly humor. And we wanted to give parents a brand that they knew was always going to be appropriate for younger kids. We’ve probably been most pleasantly surprised at how much the music and live tour have blown up. We always wanted the music to be mainstream and the tour experience to get families out together, and we’ve been really blown away how successful the show has been in those areas. We love seeing dads and mom rock out with their kids
Q: What motivates you to keep Fresh Beat Band alive with tours and the animated show? At any point, did you give serious consideration to closing this chapter?
A: It’s been a very easy decision to keep it going. We have a great relationship with the cast, with Nickelodeon and the ability to go to a live show and see thousands of families having fun together is awesome. We’ve been involved with the show on every level and are so personally invested, it never gets old — it’s a lot of work, but really rewarding to see kids dance to the show on YouTube, or in aisles of the concert or hear them singing along with their parents is really a blast. Our own kids have grown up with it.