JK: Thanks! A lot has happened. A year ago we recorded the CD and since then we haven't had a big period of time where we weren't playing all the time or touring constantly. We tried to take January of last year off‚ but we ended up playing some gigs. It didn't work out that we could just take the whole month off to write. The other thing is‚ we focus so much on publicity and booking‚ since we do everything ourselves‚ like that September tour took up a big chunk of my summer. The planning for the end of the year didn't really take place and in fact‚ in the back of my head I was thinking it was a good idea to take some time off - not as a band‚ but from being so busy traveling.
MM: Yeah‚ taking some time to regroup.
JK: Yeah‚ and comeback and have a lot of material that no one has heard before. But then again‚ there's so much of the country that we haven't played yet‚ and to people who haven't heard our CD‚ so that will be double the fun for them once we get out there in the west.
MM: So that's on the horizon as well?
JK: Yeah‚ it is‚ but we've been conservative about the markets that we're touring in. We've focused on being consistent in those specific markets. We've gone down south twice and since April we really haven't been hitting the northeast as hard as we used to. It's tough to try to do everything at once‚ and it's better to stay and make ourselves known and to get to know people...like you (laughter)‚ you know‚ and go to parties and hang out with people who see us play. To me‚ that's much more important than playing the entire country and never getting to know anyone because you're so busy and it's so frantic. I enjoy the aspect of getting to know people and creating friends...
MM: Yeah‚ creating this little community around your band every time you come to town.
JK: Yeah.
MM: That's one of the things I notice about Raisinhill is that you make an effort to get to know your audience really well. I find that to be really interesting‚ because you make the party happen and I've noticed people reacting to it. But in terms of the sound‚ you have an upright bass‚ it's all instrumental‚ in a way it's jazz-oriented‚ and at the same time it's really rocking. In my opinion‚ your sound is really fresh. Let's talk about your thoughts on the Raisinhill sound.
JK: The sound is definitely a product of three different people. I know that may sound cliché‚ but I just don't know how many bands out there are writing the way that we do and creating a sound together in the way that we do. It's pretty meticulous and it sometimes...let me give you an example: A song like "V.S.S." was created by the drummer (Jay Bond) coming in with a rhythm that he had written down‚ it was my idea to break it up and play part of the rhythm in a circular way‚ and then it was our bassist's (Brian Anderson) job to come with any three notes he was going to play. The three note idea in that tune was a combination of three different brains thinking about a piece of it. So it's that kind of approach as opposed to "just play whatever you want‚" or "just play a drum part over these chords I've written‚" you know? We're really thinking about each one of our roles and how's it's fitting into the collective sound. I can't really tell you why we sound the way that we do‚ I know my specific influences and how that makes me play in this group. I definitely listen to a lot of guitar trios in the contemporary jazz genre‚ but I also listen to a lot of classical music - mainly for the melodies. I think that kind of music is really beautiful‚ inspiring and thought-provoking. The other two guys‚ Brian and Jay‚ can tell you exactly what their influences are and how that comes across in the group. I know Jay is really into Indie rock and Brian is a big Pearl Jam fan and also a big fan of Edgar Meyer. There's definitely some cross-pollination in terms of what we listen to‚ but we're still pretty much stuck on what we like‚ and we don't necessarily have to agree on what we like and what we listen to as a group. That really hasn't changed over the last few years. Sometimes I'll want to play a CD in the van and the other two guys aren't into it and I feel the same way about their music sometimes (laughs)‚ and that's totally cool. For a while I thought I'd want to be in band where everyone was listening to the same thing and thought the same way. I think it's really cool that we are still able...well‚ we get along so well‚ but the fact that we all have our own personalities and our own likes and dislikes‚ and not let that effect the relationship in the band.
MM: But somehow the three of you come together and the chemistry works...
JK: Yeah‚ the three of us come into a room together with no music in mind and create something‚ and create something that we all get really‚ really excited about. That's part of it‚ we might all be listening to completely different stuff‚ but the music that the three of us are making literally makes us jump up and down. We're excited‚ you know? I think it's more of a sense of discovery at first. The initial thing that gets us is just a random discovery that was maybe given to us by our muse or something‚ but in general‚ it goes like nothing‚ nothing‚ nothing and then something huge (laughter). It like we're banging our heads against the wall and asking‚ "Where is it? Where's this idea? What's going on?" And then all of sudden we're all like‚ "That's it! Let's take a break." When that happens‚ and we click‚ it all begins to make sense. We can relax and then that's when the hard work comes in; developing that small idea into a composition and finding other things that are going to work with that one section. We run into that a lot‚ like right now we have eight separate sections that we really like‚ some of them we've had for a year and a half‚ but we can't find anything to go along with it to let it develop into a full song. So not only are we going to be discovering new ideas and new tunes in the next few of months‚ but we also going to try to finish those older ideas that we've put aside.
MM: On your self-titled debut album you use a lot of interludes between the compositions‚ these one-minute grooves that haven't really developed yet but they're just so great (laughs). I think they're so catchy.
JK: Yeah‚ like‚ "Tippy-toes" for an example. That was definitely one of those ideas that we had that little idea and then we finished the composition after the CD came out.
MM: Right‚ but the idea of what you had at the time was worth putting onto the album.
JK: Yeah‚ I remember we talked about that right after the album came out. Actually‚ once we finished "Tippy-toes" we were like‚ "Maybe we should finish all of those little sections‚ and that will be half of the next album‚ and then all of those little sections on that album will develop for the following album." So there's always this trailer before the movie (laughter). You're going to know beforehand whether or not you're going to like the next album.
MM: Right‚ or maybe you like the trailer of the next album (laughing)…
JK: Right‚ right‚ but you'll have to wait a year or two. That might be a good way to market it.
MM: Well‚ let's talk about your own musicianship. I know you studied up here in Vermont at Goddard College‚ and you also studied at the University of Miami. Let's talk about some of your ideas about how you've evolved as a musician - not only with this band‚ but also as a student of music.
JK: What I like about my own evolution is that it's...(pause) man‚ it's hard to say. I guess it's really about how I took my own path‚ like the path of a Goddard student‚ as opposed to taking somebody else's agenda‚ say at a music school for example. When I was at the University of Miami‚ which was for a year and a half‚ it just seemed that everyone was getting exactly the same education. Everyone was reading the same chapters out of the same theory books‚ taking the same ear training exercises‚ the same music history‚ and it also seemed like everything was given to you on a surface level. You were never getting into anything specific‚ like every week you move through things very quickly and you never really analyzed anything thoroughly. For me‚ it seemed like I wasn't really getting anywhere...